Best Ceiling Paint and One Awesome Timesaving Tip

Use the best ceiling paint, it will make your work A LOT easier.

Most Important Ceilings Tip: use the best ceiling paint to cut your work and stress

Even if the customer is a cheapskate, we easily convince them to use the rather expensive Waterborne Ceiling Paint Ultra Flat (508) (from Benjamin Moore). It is without a doubt the very best ceiling paint on the market, and you can also find it online here.  Yes, it costs a little more but it’s designed to hide and cover yellowing and the stray mark from when you were playing hockey inside. (Puck marks need 2 coats).  This great paint covers all in one coat if the old ceiling is white. (Off-white will need two if changing colors). IN ONE COAT!

Brush?  On a ceiling?
No my friend, don’t work so hard. Don’t work so long.

The second important point after choosing the best ceiling paint is to use a quality roller and use it instead of a brush (almost).

If you are painting ONLY a ceiling and nothing else, skip to the last paragraph “Just painting the ceiling“,  (You will want to read my concise post Read Preparing Walls for Painting Efficiently for that part).

But if you are also painting the walls, here is a big time saver.

The important point when doing only one coat: you have to go slower and cover all well. A quality wool/poly roller ‘cover’ or ‘sleeve’ is essential here.  You don’t want to have to hear the term “Flashing”. Because the old paint will have a sheen that is either flatter or glossier than what you are using (usually), and if you miss a spot, it will ‘flash’.  It’s a sore thumb.  You can touch up skipped spots, but hopefully, you will inspect the job BEFORE you clean up! Normally with walls, when doing a second coat, you can go faster on both coats. We often do 2 quick coats even if we might be ok with one on walls, but not so for ceilings as much because they are hard work even for us. But painting a ceiling sucks and we always want to just do one coat.

Best Ceiling Paint for Old Painted Ceiling with Discoloration

If your old painted ceiling has some discoloration, go with the runner-up, Ben Moore Muresco, you can find it on Amazon. This one hides better than the one above and it will also act as a primer if you have a new ceiling.

Secret Painting Ceilings Tips: Eliminate (almost) the brushing

No need for much brushing.  The corners, yes a little and of course around the lights, but not the long sections where walls meet the ceiling. Here is how (you can also watch this video at the end of the post).  Best to use a long nap roller cover: we like 3/4 inch (or more), in a wool/poly blend.  (We always use this type in a Wooster or Purdy roller: the poly gives longevity and the wool sucks up the paint). The Wooster 3/4 inch wool blend is only 9 bucks. A better value is to buy a pack of several and not worry about getting more later. This will last a homeowner a lifetime. Learn how to quickly clean paint rollers here.

You don’t have to worry about getting ceiling paint on the wall as you will be painting over it soon anyway!

5 easy steps to paint your ceiling:

  1. Load up the roller with a good quantity of paint*
  2. ‘Smush’ it into the corner where the wall meets the ceiling.
  3. Slide it a few feet, pushing harder as you go.
  4. Stop, roll the roller about 1/4 rotation and slide another 3 feet.  Make sure you are getting it into the corner so you don’t need to brush.
  5. After all that is done, hit the corners where the two walls meet and any lights/fans etc.

Just painting the ceiling – big tip:

Painted Ceiling

Obviously be sure to protect your floor and furnishings from drips: tape light plastic to the walls near the ceiling and remove the art. If you use old bed sheets etc to cover things, be sure to wipe any drips as they happen because they will bleed through onto your things. As with all paint jobs ROLL FIRST.  Why? See my post about painting walls. If doing only one coat, as discussed above), go carefully making sure not to leave any skips (you can touch up skips later). You can also get those great drop cloth with grip, lightweight and slip free.

Come as close to the wall as you can to the wall without touching (obviously). Then brush with a good quality (we like Purdy latex-only) brushes. The quality bristles will find the corner for you and you don’t really even need a steady hand. The 3 inch (if you have a strong arm, as it is heavy when wet!) is only 15 bucks and it will work like new for life (see my post on how easy it is to clean up).

(See my posts on How to Choose the Best Painting Brushes and You Don’t Need a Steady Hand (If You Have a Good Brush))

Have a question about the best paint for a ceiling? Please write below, or email me.  I’ll try to reply asap!


painting tools infographic by brad the painter

*Learn how to not drip at my other post, “Do You Paint Walls or Trim First?”

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