Best Way to Paint a Ceiling

When we redid the entry, the ceiling had to also be patched. The ceiling is just as old as the house built in 1986. I haven’t painted that ceiling in the ten years we’ve been there. Children live in this house. See where I’m going with this?

Buying a can of “white” ceiling paint doesn’t cut it for a new patchwork ceiling. White is not white is not white. If you’ve ever gone to buy white paint you know what I’m talking about. You go with the intent of a ten minute stop and leave with a can of white paint. But when you get there and see 803 shades of white…some with hints of purple, some very yellowy, some just as sad as your 30+ year old popcorn ceiling…you can end up going home with 40 little pieces of paper and a confused look on your face. But no paint.


I didn’t want to be up and down a ladder as I did the area marked off so I used our garage broom’s handle with screw base and attached the paint roller to it. All I had to do was hold the broom handle at normal arm extension and boom. No ladder needed. You don’t have to buy some special pole in the paint department.

PSA to all ceiling painters out there: close your mouth! Just sayin.

 This photo shows what 30+ years of being in my home’s entry looks like before and after paint.

I ended up taping the wall to get a crisp edge to the ceiling/wall seam and it made a world of difference. I tried free-handing it but things were going downhill quite literally. With the tape in place I knew my lines would be straight. It also gave me the opportunity to fix my ceiling bumps. You know I know you do it, too.

You can also see the difference between old white and new white in this shot. May not seem like much but the light that clean, bright white ceiling brought to the entry is unmistakable. It made me consider for half a second maybe of doing more ceilings.

The key with popcorn ceiling painting is a really thick roller. I used a 3/4″ nap in the second highest quality at the store. Anything shorter won’t get the paint in the nooks and crannies of the texture of the *$&@ corn and you’ll have horrible shadowing.

A downside to a 3/4″ thick roller is the sheer weight of that sucker once it’s fully loaded with paint and at the top of a six-foot pole above your head. It’s kind of like running up the stairs and getting totally winded by the time you reach the top yet you can run three miles as a workout no problem.

 And here’s the after!