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Tips for painted ceilings that look good

Ceilings tend to receive the least amount of attention when it comes to decorating, but here are a few tips to let your ceilings be a feature rather than an eyesore!


Because of their inaccessibility ceilings tend to get overlooked when re-decorating a home. Painting ceilings can be hard work if you don't have the right tools and materials, and do it right the first time. And you also need to bear in mind that you don't necessarily have to do the work yourself - hire a painter / decorator, or handyman, to do all the hard work for you and let your ceilings stand out.





Make it easier

  • Painting ceilings can be messy, with paint spatters all over the place, which is why you should always paint the ceiling first when re-decorating any room. But if it's only the ceilings that need attention make sure you put down drop cloths to cover up furniture and floors to protect them.
  • Invest in a quality paint roller that reduces the amount of paint spatter and covers the ceiling easily. You will need a short nap roller for smooth ceilings, and a long nap roller for popcorn or textured ceilings.
  • Wear a cap or scarf to cover your head and don old clothes. You might be able to cut down on the mess but there will always be a few drips and drops.
  • Buy an extension pole if you are using a paint roller, unless you plan on running up and down a stepladder during the entire process. While you will need a ladder to cut in around the edges of walls, for the main area an extension pole will reduce the work load and make painting the ceiling faster.
  • Only use quality paints with high hiding factor on ceilings. Take a look at the wide range of ceiling paints at your local Builders store and select the best product for your particular situation (cover up stains, prime sanded or new ceilings, etc.) and don't be afraid to ask for advice if you are not sure.

Cover up stains

Water stains, stains left behind after removing mould, or burn stains around light fittings can't be touched up and hidden out of sight on a ceiling that hasn't recently been painted. You will need to paint the entire ceiling.

- Water stains

After resolving any leaks that have caused water stains, let the ceiling board dry out completely before painting. In damp weather a hairdryer helps to speed up the drying process if you are in a hurry to re-paint. Darker stains may need a coat of Prominent Universal Undercoat before being painted over. 

- Mould stains

To prevent a reoccurrence of mould growth wash down with Prominent Progold Fungal Wash (available at your local Prominent Paints store). You will find plenty of tips in our Bathroom section for removing mould or fungal growth. Where damp occurs on concrete ceilings, scrape away any paint to the concrete and apply a coat of Prominent Dampcure before painting.

- Burn rings

Light fittings close to the ceiling and those fitted with bulbs that generate heat (halogen or incandescent) tend to have a problem with burn rings around the fitting. Before painting use an old toothbrush and sugar soap to clean the area to remove as much residue as possible. Wipe and dry with a soft cloth and then apply your choice of ceiling paint.

- Peeling or cracked paint

Use a paint scraper to remove as much loose paint as possible and then sand away rough edges with 120-grit sandpaper. Where large areas of paint have peeled off you can smooth interior crack filler and then sand and remove dust before applying Prominent Plaster Primer.

- Bulging or visible nails

After hammering in or replacing missing nails, sand these areas with 80-grit sandpaper and fill with interior crack filler if holes are visible. Let this dry and then apply Prominent Plaster Primer as per the instructions. Once dry, check to see if a second coat is required, or apply ceiling paint to cover up.

Painting over oil-based paints

Before the launch of water-based enamels and specialist ceiling paints, many homeowners painted ceilings with oil-based enamel paint. With the move towards eco-friendly paints, oil-based paints have been replaced with paints specifically designed for bathrooms and kitchens, that contain fungicide to prevent mould, and that do not yellow over time. If you already have oil-based paint on ceilings and want to cover this up, sand with 120-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the finish before applying a more eco-friendly ceiling paint.

Painting new gypsum, RhinoLite or patched ceilings

All new finished ceilings must be primed before painting.  Brush down to remove any excess dust before applying Prominent Plaster Primer and allowing this to dry. Some finishes may require a second coat, so inspect the surface before lightly sanding with 120-grit sandpaper and applying ceiling paint.

You may think that it's a lot of work to paint a ceiling, but the methods shown above will not only ensure a professional finish, but also a lasting paint job.