How to paint a high wall without a ladder

Written by benna crawford
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How to paint a high wall without a ladder
A ladder makes painting a high wall a lot easier but you can get the job done without one. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

High ceilings give a room a sense of spaciousness and grandeur that may belie its actual square footage. However, painting high walls can be a challenge. If you don't have access to a ladder, or if the only ladder you have is too short, there are some tricks you can use to get the new paint all the way up to the ceiling. Use a lot of dust sheets and prepare for a stiff neck. You may develop a new appreciation for cave-like spaces -- or just invest in a ladder before it's time to paint again.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paintbrushes with extender handles
  • Roller with extender handle
  • Paint
  • Dust sheets
  • Paint tray
  • Blue masking tape
  • Painter's cap (optional)

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  1. 1

    Clear the room of all furnishings, light fixtures and anything that might get in the way or risk acquiring an unwanted coat of paint. Lay dust sheets on the floor under the wall you want to paint.

  2. 2

    Tape the skirting boards and any trim you can reach without a ladder to make the job easier. Use blue masking tape, which pulls up quickly without grabbing the paint or leaving an adhesive residue.

  3. 3

    Attach a screw-on extender pole to an angled cut-in brush for work along the ceiling edge of the wall. The brush should have a threaded handle that will connect to the extender. Buy these in any hardware or DIY shop.

  4. 4

    Pour paint into the tray and begin carefully painting the border of the ceiling and wall. If you have chosen a wall colour that is very close to the ceiling colour, any inadvertent smears or streaks on the ceiling will barely show. If the colours contrast, be very careful and resolve to live with slight imperfections. Take consolation from the fact that they will be up high enough to be nearly unnoticeable.

  5. 5

    Switch to the roller and attach the extender pole to it by screwing the threads on the pole into the connector at the bottom of the handle. Roll paint on the wall from the top down, being careful to blend the brush-painted area along the ceiling border with the rest of the wall to avoid any "seams" showing when the paint dries.

  6. 6

    Use the cut-in brush on the extender to fill in high corner areas and a regular paintbrush or the cut-in minus the extender pole for the lower part of the corners. Paint the section along the baseboards, blending it into the paint you applied with the roller. Remove the tape as soon as you are finished painting to avoid any risk of paint adhering to the edge of the tape and creating a ragged line.

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