How To Paint High Ceilings: The Beginners Guide

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Written By Will Dietrich

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





If you’re wondering how to paint high ceilings, the first thing to know is that it’s not as easy as it looks. It takes time, patience and practice before you can get good at this skill. But once you have mastered it, there are many benefits for both your health and your wallet.


When you are preparing to paint high ceilings there are a number of things you will want to prepare initially. First, remove all the furniture from this room. If that is not possible move the furniture to the center of the room. Next, cover the floor with drop cloth or plastic sheets. Finally tape down the edges of these plastic sheets so that no dust or debris get into the room. You will also want to make sure that any electrical wiring or plumbing pipes are out of harm’s way. If you don’t do these things beforehand, then you may end up with a mess later on.

Choosing the Right Type of Paint

Painting your ceiling is not the same as painting any other wall in your home. You can’t just use regular latex paints for this job because they won’t adhere well enough to plasterboard. Instead, you’ll have to choose between two types of products: water-based acrylics and oil based primers/paints.

Water-based acrylic paints are ideal for painting ceilings because they dry quickly and easily. However, they aren’t suitable for painting over existing wallpaper or paper backing due to their tendency to bleed through those materials.

Oil based paints are more durable than water based ones but take longer to dry. That being said, they tend to hold better onto plasterboards and provide a much smoother finish. Oil based paints are perfect for painting over existing wallpaper and paper backings.

What Do I Need to Paint High Ceilings?

how to paint high ceilings

  • A drop sheet. These sheets come in different sizes depending on what size surface you’re working with. They usually measure around 12″ x 18″.
  • An old towel. We use towels because they absorb most of the paint drips we create while painting our surfaces.
  • Some painter tape. Painter tape comes in various colors and textures so choose one that works well with the color scheme of your space.
  • A good quality ladder. Ladders are essential tools if you plan to work on high ceilings. Most ladders sold today are made specifically for painting high ceilings.
  • A good paint roller with an extension pole, and a good quality paint brush, or maybe a couple of paint brushes, for painting the ceiling, I recommend using a brush with soft bristles as they are easier to work with when trying to get into corners etc.

Choosing the Right Method for you

how to paint high ceilings



  • Multiple people can work on the platform
  • Scaffolding can be used for many different jobs
  • Scaffolding does not require any special tools


  • Scaffolding can dangerous, especially if not assembled correctly
  • Scaffolding requires a lot of work
  • Scaffolding may not be safe for some people



  • Ladders are easy to use
  • Ladders can be used in smaller rooms
  • Ladders do not require any setup


  • A Ladder can only be used in one place at a time
  • Ladders are not very stable
  • Only one person can use a ladder

Extension Pole


  • You can paint your house with an extension pole
  • It’s easier to use than a ladder
  • You don’t have to climb up and down ladders all day


  • The paint job won’t be as good as if you used a ladder
  • You’ll have to buy a lot of paint
  • You’ll have a hard time getting the paint off the wall

Selecting a Paint Color

It’s important to know that the color of the ceiling will effect how the room feels. Choosing a lighter ceiling color will make your room feel taller (which may not be necessary if it’s a tall ceiling). On the other hand darker colors on the ceiling will make the space feel small and more comfortable. It may be a better idea to use a darker color on the ceiling in rooms with tall ceilings.

How to Paint Tall Ceilings with no Ladder

Extended paint rollers are great for painting large areas quickly. They are also useful for applying multiple coats of paint, which saves money and time. The best way to use an extended paint roller is to apply one coat of paint at a time, then move the roller back and forth across the surface to remove excess paint.

Alternatively you could use a paint sprayer. A paint sprayer is a tool used for spraying paint onto surfaces such as walls, ceilings, and furniture. The paint sprayer has a trigger mechanism that allows the user to control the amount of paint sprayed. The paint sprayer also has a nozzle that sprays the paint out at high pressure. However, it is also dangerous because it can cause damage to the walls and ceilings.

How To Paint High Ceilings On Stairs With a Ladder?

You will need a ladder pivot box and an extension ladder, start by putting the Pivot box on the stairs, this creates a level space to place the ladder on. Next place the ladder on top, the pivot box will keep the ladder level while on the stairs. This will allow you to reach the tall ceiling above the stairs. If you do this right, you will end up with a pretty sweet paint job.

How Do You Paint Tall Ceilings On Stairs Without a Ladder?

For this you’re going to need to use an extension pole on your paint roller, this will give you a much needed reach advantage. What we do now is we roll the roller in the paint tray. Our next step is to roll the paint roller on the ceiling, cover the entire ceiling, let it dry and apply another coat of paint.

How to Paint a Vaulted Ceiling

Vaulted ceilings are usually painted using a flat brush, which is used to cover the entire surface of the ceiling. The first step is to remove all the dust from the ceiling. Then, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the area where the painting will be done. Next, apply primer to the wall and ceiling. After that, apply two coats of paint. Finally, wait for at least 24 hours before applying the final coat of paint. Make sure to cover any light fixtures, you can do this with painters tape

How Do you Paint Uneven Surfaces on a Tall Ceiling?

When painting uneven surfaces, you should use a roller instead of a brush. The roller has a larger surface area, which allows you to cover large areas quickly. Furthermore, when rolling over the uneven surface, the roller will create a smooth finish.

Painting Corners and Edges with a Pole

The ‘Lock Jaw” attachment for extension poles allows you to paint tall corners and fine edges with relative ease. The Lock Jaw also makes it easier to get into tight spaces as well as helping to prevent paint drips when working above windowsills and doors.


In conclusion, there are many ways to paint a tall ceiling. Some people prefer to hire professionals who have experience doing so. Others choose to try their own methods. Whatever method you decide to go with, remember to take precautions when working near electrical outlets. Also, always wear safety equipment like gloves and eye protection. And lastly, never work alone! Good luck!


















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