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How to avoid roller marks when painting a ceiling

Ceiling colour can draw the eye up to interesting home architecture or lighting fixtures. Ceiling colorization is a nice aesthetic touch, but the painting process is strenuous. Painting a ceiling requires a lot of repeated ladder movement and uncomfortable overhead arm extension. It can be tempting to just roll paint on in the quickest manner possible, but this invariably leads to roller marks. If you want to avoid roller marks on a ceiling, you need to apply your paint in a specific fashion.

Lay dust sheets on the floor to protect against accidental drips.

Place your A-frame ladder in a central location for parallel rolling. You'll likely need to reposition the ladder so it remains centred on whatever area of the ceiling you're painting. Resist the temptation to lean haphazardly off the ladder to save time; repositioning a ladder to a central location only takes a few minutes, and it provides a safer work environment. If your ceiling is low enough, you may be able to reach the ceiling with a simple roller extension pole, making the entire job easier.

Dip the roller into a roller pan or a bucket equipped with a roller screen.

Roll the paint-saturated roller brush on the pan or screen to get rid of any excess saturation or loose roller nap fibres.

Apply paint to the ceiling in parallel strokes, overlapping the previous roller stroke by at least 50 per cent. If you don't generously overlap your paint, you will see visible roller marks as it dries. When rolling on the paint, make sure you roll over each line three times before moving on. The first pass will "unload" the roller, applying most of the paint. The second pass sets the paint, and the third pass will smooth out the paint for a better finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheet
  • A-frame ladder
  • Roller extension pole
  • Paint roller
  • Roller tray or bucket with roller screen
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About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.