How to Paint a High Ceiling: 5 Tips

House hunters may be lured by the grandeur of high ceilings, but they forget one thing: Someone has to paint them. For do-it-yourselfers on a budget, a high ceiling is a do-able task with the right equipment. These five tips can make your job easier and provide more professional results.

Rent Equipment for Painting

Remove all furniture and area rugs and cover the floor with a drop cloth. This not only protects your belongings from paint spills, but it also protects you from tripping over a table while you’re focused upward. Don’t “make do” with shaky homemade scaffolding or balancing on the top of a step ladder. Invest in a high-quality extension ladder with efficient safety features. Better yet, if there’s adequate space in your home rent a scissor lift that was made specifically for safely working on high areas. A scissor lift is motorized and ranges in height from 14 to 20 feet and even comes in a narrow size for tight spaces.

Clean Light Fixtures and Moldings

Take advantage of being up high to dust and remove cobwebs from the corners and light fixtures of a high ceiling. Remove light fixtures from the ceiling if possible – you don’t want to paint around a cover plate if you can avoid it. At the very least clean the fixture then cover it with plastic or a cloth. Thoroughly dust the surfaces, including the top of the walls where they abut the ceiling. Remember, everywhere you touch you’ll be knocking loose dust into the air and potentially into wet paint.

Paint Ceiling Edges

Painting clean edges where the ceiling meets the walls is a challenge even when you can reach the space easily. Make sure you have the best equipment for cutting in and the results will look like a pro painted your vaulted ceiling. Start in a corner and use an angled brush and then a mini-roller to paint an edge all the way around the space. When that’s complete it’s time to fill in the rest of the ceiling.

Tools For Painting Vaulted Ceilings

Paint Pro magazine says two of the best tools for painting a vaulted ceiling are the Franklin Bender and the AnglePRO. The Franklin Bender is a pivoting tool that fits on the end of an extension pole and allows the painter to switch from vertical to horizontal with ease. The AnglePRO is a spray-gun extension that pivots up to 145 degrees. The pivoting head makes it easy to maintain a smooth 90-degree angle with the painted surface.

Best Paint for Ceilings

The Benjamin Moore website says standard off-white tones on a high ceiling make a room look imbalanced with all the colorful furnishings, rugs and accessories that have a pale white looming over them. Use warm colors or a faux finish to add more interest and visual balance to the design. Experiment with pearlescent glazes and paints with a soft sheen like eggshell to get the maximum beauty from your high ceiling.