How to Smooth a Textured Ceiling to Paint it

Updated February 21, 2017

Texturing can add a look of complexity to a ceiling, but there are times when you might want a smoother surface for a new coat of paint. It's a simple job but it can be time-consuming and messy. Using the right equipment and approach can cut down on both the time and the mess; your ceiling can be ready to paint after only a day's work.

Cover the furniture and floor with dust sheets to protect against falling dust and particles.

Put on the face mask and goggles to protect your lungs and eyes.

Attach a dust-free drywall sander, which is simply a mesh sander equipped with an attachment for a hose, to a vacuum cleaner. Attach the drywall sander and hose to a sanding pole for a longer reach.

Sand the texture from the ceiling using 100-grit sanding mesh. Take care to not go below the surface of the ceiling into the drywall.

Remove dust from the ceiling surface once you've gone over the entire area.

Spot-prime any thin patches where the sander may have gone past the texture into the ceiling paint. Use two coats of an oil-based primer to apply the spot patches, allowing it to dry completely before continuing.

Combine premixed drywall compound with water, thinning the mixture until it's the consistency of mayonnaise. Apply the thinned compound to the ceiling using a wallboard knife, covering the entire surface. Allow the covering to dry.

Lightly sand the new surface smooth to prepare it for the new coat of paint.


If your ceiling texture contains asbestos, consider having a professional remove the texture.


If your ceiling may have been textured prior to 1980, have a lab test it for asbestos before attempting removal. If asbestos is present use a HEPA-filter respirator mask designed for particulates, protective goggles, rubber boots and clothing that can be disposed of when the job is completed. Your best bet may be to hire a professional to do the job.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheets
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • Dust-free drywall sander
  • 100-grit sanding mesh
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Drywall compound
  • Wallboard knife
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About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.