Best Way: Paint Ceiling and Walls

Best Way:  Paint Ceiling and Walls


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This Post:  Best Way: Paint Ceiling and Walls will instruct you on the best way to paint a room. If you follow my method, it should make this task easier, and when completed, will be something that you are proud of.


Materials & Supplies Needed:

    • Ceiling Paint & Primer combo
    • Wall Paint & Primer combo


In order to purchase any Materials & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under:  Home Products – Supplies  in my Top Menu.

Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.


Tools & Supplies Needed:

    • Painter’s Tape
    • Small Ladder or Step Stool
    • 1 ½” or 2” Angled Brush
    • Edger Pad
    • Roller with new Heads
    • Extension Rod for Roller
    • Plastic Drop Cloths
    • Painter’s Latex Gloves
    • Painter’s Hat or Cap
    • Paint Pan
    • Paint Can Key
    • Paint Can Spout
    • Plastic Paint Shield Edger
    • Roller Head Cleaner
    • Hammer


In order to purchase any Tools & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under:  Home – Garden:  Tools and Equipment List  in my Top Menu.

Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.




Step-by-Step Instructions


Please review the information included here in the first 5 Steps, and then review my page:  5 Steps for Project ManagementWhen you have completed those first 5 Steps, you can return here to continue on to Step 6.


Step 1 – Assess the Project


Choose your Paint colors and finishes, and calculate your square footage for coverage.


    • Before you can begin a painting Project, you will need to decide on your colors for that room. The choice are nearly endless, since nowadays, Paint is computer mixed, and you are only limited by your imagination. Once a color or colors have been decided upon, you will need to choose a type of Paint. Generally, white ceilings are done in a Flat Finish Paint, but some folks opt for colored ceilings as well. The choice is really up to you. Calculate the amount that you will need based on a 2 coat process.
    • Wall Paint comes in a variety of finishes: Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, Egg Shell, Flat, etc. Keep in mind, that a Flat Finish for Wall Paint does not wash well. Usually a Semi-Gloss or Satin Finish is best, with a High-Gloss Finish for painted Moldings. Ceiling Paint is usually Flat to reduce glare from lighting.
    • Once your colors and finishes have been decided upon, you will need to measure your room for coverage needed. You will take the wall width x the height, add all of your walls together to get your square footage coverage.
    • Although many Paints claim to be one-coat coverage, most are not, so I would plan on doing 2 coats. Figure that into your square footage coverage, keeping in mind that the second coat will usually use a little less Paint than the first.


Step 2 – Create a Materials & Tools Needed Sheet


Based on your choices and needs, create your Materials & Tools Needed sheet.


Step 3 – Calculate Project Cost


Complete per my page:  5 Steps for Project Management


Step 4 – Order Your Materials & Tools Needed


Complete per my page:  5 Steps for Project Management


Step 5 – Inspect Your Delivery


Complete per my page:  5 Steps for Project Management

After reviewing the information included here in the first 5 Steps, and then completing those first 5 Steps per my page:  5 Steps for Project Management,  continue on to Step 6.


Step 6 – Move Furniture and Lay Down Drop Cloths


Before you begin to paint, declutter the room. Then, move all of the furniture to one side, keeping it about 3’ away from the wall to allow your Ladder or Step Stool room when doing the Ceiling trim edge. Then, lay down Drop Cloths. Cover any furniture near the half-way point just to be safe so it does not get any splatter. Finish half the ceiling, then move the furniture back, keeping it a few feet from the wall so that you do not have to move the furniture again when painting the walls. Return everything to it’s proper place when the painting is finished.


Step 7 – Shake or Stir Your Ceiling Paint


Shake or stir your ceiling Paint.


    • Unless you just returned from picking up your Paint (which should have been machine shaken when you purchased it), you should either turn the Can upside down and shake the Paint up for about 60 seconds, or stir it with a stick. I find that the shaking method works best, since I do not need to worry about spill over into the lid crevice, which either needs to be wiped clean or you run the risk of the lid not opening easily the next time you need to open the Can.


Step 8 – Edge Your Ceiling


Paint about a 2” edge around the perimeter of your Ceiling. Then, roll the entire Ceiling.


    • Put on your Painter’s Gloves and Cap.
    • Get a clean Rag, wet it with warm water and squeeze it out. Lay it across your Stool or Ladder for easy access if needed. This will be used as needed to wipe any errors. You should also wipe your Brush with the damp Rag before beginning to paint. This will help the Brush absorb the initial Paint.
    • Set your Can to the left of your Stool or Ladder, assuming that you intend to work in a clock-wise fashion. Dip your Brush and gently wipe both sides and edges on the lip of the Can. Do this several times to fully prime the Brush. Then, dip the Brush and gently wipe and begin to apply your Paint either directly to the ceiling (if you are not using an Edger Pad) or to the top half of your Edger Pad, if that‘s what you are using.
    • If you are using an Edger Pad, apply the Paint generously and completely to the top half of the Pad, being careful not to get it on the Edger Wheels or Framework of the Edger. Then, beginning near the corner and working to the right, set the Edger Pad against the Ceiling, with the rollers riding along the wall. While keeping slight pressure on the Edger, slide the Pad back and forth for 2’ – 3’, making sure that you are getting all the way to the edge, where the Ceiling meets the wall.
    • If you are using your Brush directly on the ceiling, start near the corner and initially apply your Paint in one direction with the tip of the Brush, staying about ¼” away from the corner and the edge on your first swipe. Then, go back in and fill in the bare spots all the way to the edge, once your Brush has less Paint on it. Then, turn your Brush to use the flat wide sides and paint in smooth back and forth motions, staying a ¼” away from the edge, and smoothing out any heavy spots. You should be able to cover about 2’ – 3’ before you need more Paint on your Brush.
    • Using your Rag, wipe off any Paint that was accidentally applied to your wall. Do this as you go, before the Paint dries. Repeat the entire process until the entire perimeter edge of your Ceiling has about a 2” painted edge. You should stir your Paint a little every 20 minutes or so to keep it from skinning up on the surface.
    • Clean out your Brush thoroughly with warm water when finished with all of your edging. Shake the Brush outside to remove excess water or squeeze it out using a clean Rag or Paper Towels. Set it aside for now.


Step 9 – Roll Your Ceiling


Once your edge has been completed, it is time to use your Roller to complete the rest of the Ceiling.


    • Redampen your Rag and place it on your Ladder or Stool in case it is needed.
    • Attach your Paint Spout firmly to your Can. Position it directly across from your handle for easier pouring. Position your Paint Pan near and to the left of your starting point. Stir your Paint lightly, and then pour the Paint into your Pan, filling the Pan about ¾ full.
    • Dampen a Roller Head with your damp Rag in order to prime it for accepting Paint. Then, slide the Head onto your Roller Frame. Screw in your Extension Rod into your Roller Frame, and scope it out to the point where it is comfortable for you to use your Roller on the Ceiling. Spin your Roller Head on the Frame to make sure that it moves freely. If not, figure out what is causing the binding and correct.
    • Roll the Head into the Paint several times until the entire Head is covered in Paint. Use the part of your Roller Pan closest to you in order to roll off excess Paint. You do not want Paint dripping from the Head.
    • Starting at the corner, apply the Paint in a back and forth motion to cover an area about 3’ x 3’ – 4’ x 4’. Keep the Head against the Ceiling, but do not apply a lot of pressure. Then, reroll the same area side to side, without adding any more Paint. You will apply a little more pressure when doing this.
    • Once the area has been rolled in both directions, lightly pull your Head over the entire area in order to spread any remaining excess Paint. You will not apply any pressure when doing this, simply keep the Head lightly against the Ceiling. First, pull along both of your edges, overlapping your initial Trim edge. Then, pull the Head toward you at a 45 degree angle across the painted area, slightly overlapping each row. Remember to stir up your Paint each time before you refill your Pan.
    • Repeat the process until half of your Ceiling has been painted. Then, move the furniture to the other side of the room and finish the Ceiling.
    • Allow for an hour or two for the 1st coat to dry before applying a 2nd coat. 2 coats are always recommended, regardless of the Manufacturer’s claim for one-coat coverage.


Step 10 – Clean Roller Head and Pan


Pour any leftover Paint back into the Can, using your Stir Stick to assist. Clean the Paint Pan. Clean the Paint completely from your Roller Head.


    • When the Ceiling has been entirely painted, pour any excess Paint back into the Can, using your Stir Stick to assist you. Remove your Paint Spout, clean out any Paint in the channel where your lid goes with a damp Rag or Paper Towel, put the lid back on the Can, and gently pound it tight with a Hammer.
    • Clean up your Paint Spout and Roller Pan using warm water and dish soap. You can use your Stir Stick to assist you. Then, dry and set these aside.
    • Remove your Roller Head from the Frame. Dribble a little dish soap on your Roller Head, and while running the Head under warm water, use your Roller Head Cleaner to scrape the Paint from the Head. You will need to do the entire Head several times with the Cleaner in order to get the majority of Paint removed. Then, while continuing to run the Head under the water, starting at the top and working down the Head, wrap your hand around the Head pushing downward while gently squeezing and rotating the Head to get the entire diameter. Repeat the process until the water runs clear. Give the Head a final squeeze from top to bottom and stand up on some Paper Towels to dry.


Nice Job! I bet your ceiling looks great!


Now, take a short break or get some lunch, and come back and repeat the process on your walls.


Step 11 – Tape Off Your Moldings and Baseboards With Painter’s Tape


Tape off your Moldings and Baseboard with Painter’s Tape, or if you are comfortable using your Plastic Paint Shield Edger instead or your Edger Pad, you can use either one of those.


    • You will need to decide on how you will address your Moldings and Baseboards. You can either paint around them freehand, tape them off with Painter’s Tape, use your Edger Pad or your Plastic Paint Shield Edger, whichever way you are most comfortable.
    • Once that decision has been made, and the taping completed (if that is the way you will go), you need to shake up your Wall Paint for about 60 seconds, with the Can upside down.
    • Place your Ladder or Stool at your starting point and dampen your Rag. You will probably not want to use the Extension Rod when doing the Walls. You will have better control if you use your Step Stool or Ladder without it.
    • Using your Paint Key, open your Paint. Dampen your Brush and your Edger Pad to receive the Paint.
    • Use your Brush to apply Paint to the top half of the Edger Pad, being careful not to get any on your Wheels or Framework.
    • Begging in a corner, use your Edger Pad to edge the top of your Wall first, and then, go down the top half of your Wall corner. After moving your Ladder or Stool to the next position, finish your Wall corner the rest of the way down before continuing with the top of the Wall. It is important to complete an edge from end to end while the Paint is still wet in order to keep a line from forming where it has dried. Keep your damp Rag handy, constantly checking for any Wall Paint on your ceiling. Be sure to wipe this off completely, rinsing your Rag out with warm water whenever it becomes full of Paint. You always want to make sure that you are using a clean area when wiping or you will just make a bigger mess.
    • Complete all of your top edges, around Window and Door Moldings, Wall corners, and Baseboards with your Edger Pad or whatever method you are using, for one Wall at a time.
    • You can either edge all of your Walls and then use your Roller, or you can edge and then roll one Wall at a time; whatever you prefer. You will not need to worry about leaving lines due to drying, because you will be overlapping your edging with your Roller.
    • Remember to stir your Paint every 20 minutes or so in order to prevent if from skinning on top. Either wash out your Brush and Edger Pad when you have completed all Walls, or if you are doing one Wall at a time, cover them with Plastic Wrap when they are not being used to keep them from drying out.
    • When you are ready, attach your Paint Spout, dampen your Roller Head and place it on the Frame.
    • Beginning at the top of the Wall and working down, apply your Paint the same way that you did on your ceiling; rolling up and down, then side to side, and pulling it out at a 45 degree angle. You should apply enough Paint down the Wall so that you only need to use your Ladder or Stool on the first pass. Complete the top portion from end to end, then move your Ladder or Stool aside and going back to the side where you started, complete another row from left to right. Then, repeat the remaining parts of the Wall.
    • When the first Wall has been completed, go to the next and repeat the process, until all of your Walls have been painted. If your are painting an accent Wall a different color, you should complete the first color, clean your Brush, Edger Pad, and Roller Head, and then go on to the new color.
    • When all the Walls have been completed, clean all Tools, discard any that are used up, and close up your Paint tightly.


Step 12 – Paint Moldings and Baseboards as Desired


If desired, paint your Moldings, Baseboards, and Trim.


    • If you will be painting your Trim after putting a fresh coat of Paint on your Walls, I do not recommend that you use Painter’s Tape, unless you wait about 72 hours before applying to your Walls. Then, I would use a 60-day release Tape, as it is less adhesive. Instead of using Painter‘s Tape, I would use your Plastic Paint Shield Edger. You will need to have your damp Rag handy to occasionally wipe off the edge of the Shield.
    • The painting process is the same as when you painted your ceiling and walls. Clean up all of your Drop Cloths when finished, and put all of your leftover Materials away, as well as, all of the Tools used. Then, rehang any pictures and knickknacks and reposition your furniture.


Nice Job! I bet the room looks great!


Please leave a Comment or ask a Question in the Comments section below.


Thank you,

CJ Dodaro



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