Ceiling Painting

Whether you’re painting a room for the first time or repainting for a new decorating scheme, remember to paint the ceiling, too. A fresh coat of ceiling white will brighten any room.

Prep/Getting Started

Using an airless sprayer to paint your ceilings not only saves time, but frustration as well. If you’re painting a textured ceiling, especially the popcorn style texture, traditional paint rollers can cause the texture to flake off from the surface. Spraying preserves the texture appearance and provides a more complete and uniform coverage.

Safety Notice: Whenever operating equipment it is important to take proper safety precautions, be mindful of potential hazards, wear protective clothing and eyewear, and stay alert. Always refer to the specific instructions and safety procedures for the spray equipment you are using.

Clear – Move as much of the furniture out of the room as possible. Any furniture left in the room should be moved to the center and completely covered. Make sure to have plenty of space for your tools and equipment.

Cover – Cover everything you don’t wish to get paint on. Remove or cover light fixtures.

Clean – Clear ceiling and ceiling corners of accumulated cobwebs with a duster or the extension hose on a vacuum cleaner. If the ceiling has a flat finish or light texture that has been previously painted, wash the surface with a sponge using water and an appropriate cleaning solution.

Safety – When painting indoors, make sure that there is adequate ventilation. Wear protective clothing. This may include: gloves, eyewear, clothing, spray sock (hood), hats, footwear, dust masks and respirators. If you’re painting in the vicinity of appliances turn them off. (See Safety Precautions in your Sprayer Operation Manual.)

Step By Step

Before you start spraying, be sure that all surfaces are properly prepped. Any surfaces you do not want painted should be covered or blocked using a spray shield.

Select the spray tip that best meets your needs for the material (paint) you are spraying and the surface to be sprayed. Be sure the hole size selected does not exceed the maximum capacity of your sprayer. (see tip selector.)

If you are spraying the ceiling only, tape off or protect wall area using paper or film. You can also use a spray shield to protect surfaces you do not want to paint. When using a spray shield, position tightly into the corners between the wall and ceiling surfaces and hold at approximately at a 45 degree angle.

Begin in a corner where the wall and ceiling join together. Work along that edge from one side of the room to the other. Next, point the spray tip at the edge of the previously painted area to overlap by 50% then paint the next strip in towards the rest of the room.

Clean Up

Allow significant time for the paint to dry before removing tape from your trim. This will result in crisp, clean lines.

Remove all coverings from furniture and other areas.

Replace any lighting fixtures that may have been removed and move furniture or other items back into place.

Clean your airless paint sprayer after each use. Follow the directions in your user’s manual for Power Flush™ cleaning with water based materials or use the bucket method of cleaning for Graco 190ES and solvent based products. For more info see Power Flush Video (wmv 1.4MB) or refer to your Sprayer Operation Manual.


Suggested Tools & Equipment

  • 2 empty buckets – For priming sprayer and clean-up.
  • Stir sticks.
  • Paint strainer bag – Helps eliminate tip plugging and provides a better finish.
  • Prep items: tarps or drop cloths – plastic sheeting – masking tape.
  • Paint / Stain – If using paint from multiple containers it is recommended that you transfer / mix paint from multiple containers together in an empty 5 gallon container. This is known as “boxing” the paint and ensures consistent color even if small differences in color exist between paint batches.
  • Paint brush for touch-ups.
  • Graco or Magnum Paint Sprayer (see comparison chart or sprayer selector).
  • Spray Tips (see tip selector) – A wider spray pattern for large surfaces and narrow size for smaller surfaces.
  • Tip Extension(s) – For hard to reach areas that would otherwise require a ladder.
  • Pressure Roller Attachments.
  • Two – 8 inch or larger adjustable wrenches.
  • Additional airless hose sections if needed.
  • Spray shield.
  • Pump Armor for storage after use and TSL for Graco 190ES .
  • Cleaning rags.
  • Cleaning brushes – Stiff nylon (small and large) for clean-up.
  • Safety and protection equipment such as: Safety glasses/goggles – dust masks/respirator - spray sock (hood worn over head to keep off overspray)


Helpful Video:
How to Paint a Ceiling with a Graco Magnum Paint Sprayer