How Long Does It Take To Paint A Ceiling

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Ceiling?

Are you staring at your ceiling, contemplating giving it a fresh coat of paint only to find yourself with 100 questions you don’t have the answer to.

How long should it take to paint a ceiling? How do you paint ceilings? Do you paint a ceiling with a brush or a roller?

Slow down!

As a professional painter and decorator, I’ve painted ceilings pretty much every week for the last 10 years, so I know exactly how long it will take and the steps involved to get a flawless finish. That’s why I put this article together!

I’ll cover how long should it take to paint your ceilings, the DOs and DONTs when painting a ceiling, and the steps to actually complete the job.

Let’s dive right in!

Painter and decorator rolling a ceiling with a paint roller

How Long Will It Take To Paint A Ceiling?

Painting a ceiling is something you can usually do a DIY job you can complete the same day you start.

For an average-sized room (12ft x 12ft), you can usually paint a ceiling in about 4-6 hours. Here’s a breakdown of how long it would take to paint a ceiling:

  • Setting up the rooms: 30 minutes
  • Preparation: around 45 minutes to an hour
  • Applying the primer: 1 hour
  • First coat: 1 hour
  • Second coat: 1 hour

However, the above is just a guideline. And the actual amount of time you’ll spend painting a ceiling will depend on:

  • The condition of the surfaces
  • How big your ceilings are
  • Whether you have additional detailing like a cornice or a ceiling rose
  • The skill and speed of the painter

Rules For Painting Ceilings

When it comes to painting ceilings, there are a few rules you need to follow if you are going to get the finish you dream of.

Here are my top 5 things you must do when painting a ceiling:

  • You must remove your fixtures and furniture from the room before painting. The last thing you want is to find paint splatters on your priceless items!
  • Prepare your ceiling before painting. If you don’t prepare the surface, you won’t be able to get a smooth and durable finish.
  • If you want to paint your entire room, you need to paint the ceiling before the walls. If you don’t paint in this order, you might end up with paint drips or splatters on your wall/woodwork.
  • Apply the paint to the ceilings in sections. Painting a ceiling this way prevents overlapping layers.
  • One of the biggest debates when it comes to painting ceilings – is whether you should cut or roll first. You must cut-in your ceilings before you roll them for the best and quickest finish.
Woman covering walls with plastic sheeting and masking tape before painting ceilings

How To Paint A Ceiling For Beginners

Now that we have covered how long would it take to paint a ceiling – let’s look at how to go about it.

I’ll cover the tools and materials you will need, the preparation work involved, and the steps you need to take to apply the paint.

Tools You Will Need

Before you start ceiling painting, you need to gather all the tools and materials you need for the paint job:

  • Plastic sheeting or cloths for covering furniture and flooring
  • Ladders – pick a ladder suitable for the height of your ceiling
  • Masking tape
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Sponge
  • Sandpaper
  • Filler
  • Filling knife
  • Stain blocking primer
  • Paint tray
  • Extension pole
  • Angled paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint – I’d recommend ceiling paint from Dulux or Farrow & Ball

Setting Up

The first step you need to take when you paint your ceiling is to set up your work area. As I mentioned earlier, setting up will take approximately 30 minutes.

Here are the tasks you need to complete to set up your room for painting:

  • Put plastic sheet covers over your flooring and furniture.
  • Position your ladder underneath the section of the ceiling you want to apply paint to first.
  • Stick your masking tape along the edges of your ceilings to prevent any of the paint from the ceiling from getting onto your walls. Also, it will help to give you straight lines when painting.

How To Prepare Ceilings For Painting

As any professional painter and decorator will tell you, the most important step when it comes to painting a ceiling is the preparation work.

You need to complete several preparation tasks before you start the painting process. But it should take no more than an hour to complete the prep work – let’s get to it:

  1. The first step is to clean your ceiling. Take your sponge and bucket and use a warm and soapy solution to scrub your surface, removing dirt, dust, and grime.
  2. Next, you will need to start sanding the ceiling to give you a smooth surface to apply the coats of paint.
  3. Next, fill any cracks, holes, or imperfections in the ceiling with your filler and filling knife. When the filler dries, lightly sand the areas to ensure a smooth and level surface.

Steps To Painting Your Ceiling

  1. Apply a coat of primer to your ceilings using either a brush or one of your rollers. You need to apply the primer to the ceiling to help the paint adhere to the surface and give you a better finish.
  2. Once you prime your ceiling, it’s ready to be painted. The first step to take to paint a ceiling is to cut in the edges. To cut in, take your angled brushes and apply a stroke of paint about 2cm away from the edges of the ceiling. With the second stroke, get as close to the edge of the ceiling as possible and paint in a straight line.
  3. When you finish cutting in the first section of the ceiling – roll the rest of the ceiling with your roller in an ‘M’ or ‘W’ pattern.
  4. Continue this process until you have painted the entire ceiling with your first coat.
  5. When the first coat dries, repeat the process to apply the second coat to finish the job.
Man using a paint brush to paint the edges of a ceiling

Is It Hard To Paint A Ceiling?

Painting a ceiling is something you can tackle on your own if you have some DIY experience.

However, painting ceilings are more challenging to paint than other areas of the home. For example, painting a ceiling takes a little more time and effort to paint than walls. That’s because:

  • It involves working overhead. So, it can be a physically demanding interior paint job.
  • Painting a ceiling involves working around awkward angles and hard-to-reach areas.
  • When painting a ceiling, you are more likely to have drips and spills of paint due to the nature of painting a ceiling.

However, if you are not handy with a brush or a paint roller, you might be better off contacting our professional painters in Hampstead for help. That way you’ll save yourself from the disappointment, time, and hassle of a messy paint job.