Painting Ceilings

Use Scafold Towers

Painting or wallpapering a ceiling will be easier, quicker and much safer if you use the correct equipment to enable you to reach and work safely at heights. Where possible, avoid using a stepladder - the temptation to over-reach and overbalance can lead to avoidable accidents. Redecorating ceilings can be tiring, especially as it is a job that is best done in one go. You can make a scaffold tower by slinging a sturdy scaffold plank between two pairs of stepladders, but it is far better to use a scaffold tower. These have a stable rectangular base and can be adjusted for height. Scaffold towers can be hired at tool-hire shops and the small added expense is more than compensated for by a job safely and well done.

If your tower has castors at the base, allowing you to move it easily, make sure the wheels are lockable. Scaffold towers are available in a range of heights and sizes. Your tool hire shop will be able to advise you on the best size to suit your purposes.


Because even the best decorators find that paint drips, ceilings are painted first in the order of decoration. Rollers are the ideal tool to use to paint ceilings, but you'll still have to cut in the edges with a small brush because a roller won't reach right into the angle. Start painting by working away from the main source of light and paint in 600mm (2ft) wide bands. Apply a fresh load of paint from the roller just clear of the previous application and blend in the edges for an even coverage. Take care when you work around ceiling roses and other electrical fittings: where possible remove them by switching off the power at the consumer unit and isolating the fuse before exposing electrical connections. Where large pendant lamps are difficult to move, switch off the power as before and wrap the lamps in polythene bags to keep them free of paint spots.

If you are using a roller to paint a ceiling, you will need a stepladder with a platform on which the paint tray can be placed while you work.

Paint Pads With Extended Arms

Paint pads work in a similar way to rollers: they are ideal for painting large areas such as walls and ceilings evenly and smoothly. As with rollers, it is possible to extend the reach of pads with arms that will enable you to reach heights more easily. Loading the pad from its special tray with its extended arm can be a little tricky, however. You don't need to apply pressure to the pad, just sweep it gently across the ceiling in criss-crossing strokes for even coverage. You will also need a smaller pad or brush to cut in the edges of the ceiling where it meets the walls and where two walls meet.

Useful Tip

  • On textured ceilings it is better to apply two thin coats of paint than one thick one so that the texture does not become obliterated.
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