Should You Paint The Ceiling or Wall First?

If you have taken up the task of turning your home into a DIY project, you are not alone and we are here to help you understand whether to paint ceilings or walls first. This is one of the first few decisions that you will be making when you buy a new house and even when you decide to redo your home.

Duration : 2-4 days
Cost : $$
Skill : Intermediate

Is there really a definite method to follow when deciding about whether to paint ceilings or walls first? Why do some people swear by painting the ceiling first and the wall later?  Let’s read on to learn more.

Ceiling First, Walls Later.

While most stand by this method when it comes to deciding whether to paint ceilings or walls first, let us understand a few reasons why.
  1. We do not have too much control over the ceiling and there are high chances of the paint dripping on the areas where the ceiling meets the wall and messing up the finish of the walls.
  2. It is easier on your shoulders, neck, and eyes to cut into the edges of the wall than of the ceiling.
  3. It makes perfect sense to start painting the room from that part where we have the least control, getting that right, and then moving on to the next aspect i.e. the walls and then the trims.
  4. We can paint at least two coats on the ceiling without worrying about over-spraying on the walls.
  5. It is tricky to paint the edges where the wall and ceiling meet. But when you paint the ceiling first, it makes it easier for you to then paint the edges.
  6. Ceiling walls are usually mono-colored and it would be easier to finish that first and then take up multi-colored walls.
  7. Every room has only one ceiling but multiple walls. When you finish painting the ceiling, you feel like half the task is done.
  8. Ceilings require less work than walls and can be tackled quickly.
  9. Because of gravity, it is almost certain that paint will flow downwards from the ceiling to the walls. When we paint the ceiling first, we don’t have to worry about any paint dripping on the walls because we are anyway going to paint over it.
  10. Rule of thumb; ceilings, walls, windows, and then floors. Always start from up and work your way downwards.
PRO Tip: You may even use painter’s tape wherever you are not very comfortable or if it is your first time painting your home.

Plan first

  • When painting a home, decide on all the rooms that require painting. This is the most important step, every room needs to be scanned and you need to make an informed decision as to which rooms need the walls/ceilings to be painted.
  • Make a note of all the walls and ceilings that need to be painted.
  • Ceiling paint is different from wall paint as it is made thicker so that it does not drip and spreads easily and evenly. Make sure you select the correct paint while painting your home.
  • It will take lesser time to wrap and cover the furniture/floor rather than trying to remove the paint later on. Spend a considerable amount of time doing the needful.
  • It is painful to say this but, the more expensive the paint, the better it is going to apply to your walls. So, invest wisely.

Prepare well

  • Move all the furniture out of every room that needs to be painted or you may even pile it together and keep it in the center of the room.
  • Make sure all the paintings or wall art is removed from the walls and kept safely.
  • Remove all pendant lights, chandeliers, and fans to ensure ease of access for painting the ceilings. This way you can work faster.
  • Ensure that all nails are removed from walls and that any rough edges are sanded down carefully.
  • The edges of the door and window frames need to be neatly caulked on the wall. This ensures a neat job while painting the wall.
  • Cover your hair with a scarf/cloth and use gloves throughout.

Let’s start

  1. We start with painting the ceilings, followed by the outline to the edges that connect the wall and the ceiling, then outline the doors and window frames, if any. Then use a filler to paint the major area of the walls.
  2. When starting with ceilings, use a paint roller as this ensures even pressure over the width and even coverage on the ceiling.
  3. We should wait for the ceiling paint to completely dry before we start painting the walls.
  4. When we start with the walls, the outline must be the first step, after which you can fill the major areas with a spray painter or a paint roller.
  5. Many find this step fun - using a roller to paint the middle areas of the wall. If you are using a roller, dip it in paint and make sure that it is coated from all sides.
  6. You may use criss-cross strokes to apply the paint on the wall. After this, you must use up and down strokes to ensure that no area on the wall is left without paint.
  7. Apply gentle but angled pressure on the roller while painting the edges where the wall and the ceiling meet.
  8. There may be some paint on the trims/skirts of the wall, this can be rectified in the next step when we start painting the trims.
  9. You may even paint the trims first and then paint the wall. Many find this method easier.

Final touches 

  • Make sure you allow each coat to dry evenly before applying the next coat.
  • We recommend at least two coats of paint to ensure a well-done job.

Tool List

  • Ceiling Paint
  • Wall Paint
  • Primer
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Rag Cloth
  • Newspapers/Plastic to cover any furniture
  • Spray Painter / Paint Roller

PRO Tip: Use a 2 ½ “ angled sash brush for cutting in your walls.

While there is no wrong method while painting your home, after years of expertise we have put together one of the easiest ways for you to paint your home. Follow these steps and enjoy the best possible results while painting the ceilings and walls of your home. Painting your room can absolutely transform the look of the room and make it look squeaky new. Go ahead and follow these tips while deciding whether to paint ceilings or walls first. 


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