How to Paint a Textured Ceiling Containing Asbestos

Updated February 21, 2017

Textured ceilings typically resemble popcorn with small, raised specks on the surface but can have other textured designs as well. If the ceiling is older, it may contain asbestos, which is a harmful substance that is toxic if inhaled. While asbestos ceilings should never be cut into, painting them is beneficial since it seals in the asbestos. Painting can be done by homeowners, but the proper preparation is required.

Remove all items from the room you are painting and cover the entire floor and all surfaces with dust sheets. Tape plastic over the windows, window sills and doors to protect them from splatters. In addition, remove all light fixture globes from the ceiling.

Open a can of stain-sealing primer and pour it into a paint tray. Insert a long-handled paint roller into the primer and push the roller along the ceiling in long, even strokes to apply it. Work in small 4- to 8-foot long strips along the length of the room so you don't miss any spots. Allow the primer to dry and apply a second coat.

Allow the ceiling to dry completely for 24 hours to ensure the primer is no longer sticky.

Pour a latex, water-based paint into a clean paint tray. Flat paint is generally best for ceilings.

Insert a clean paint roller into the paint until it is saturated. Apply the paint to the textured ceiling in the same way you applied the primer, using long, even strokes. Allow the ceiling paint to dry and apply a second coat.

Pick up the paint can and place a ladder along one side of the room. Climb up onto the ladder and use a 2 1/2-inch angled paintbrush to paint all the way around the edge of the ceiling where it meets the wall.

Remove all the plastic and the dust sheets from the room and discard them before returning the room's furniture. Reattach light fixtures to the ceiling once it is dry.


Lambs wool roller covers that are 3/4-inch thick offer the best application for textured ceilings. Always use long, straight strokes when painting the ceiling instead of the traditional "w" or "v" pattern used for painting walls.


Do not press hard on the roller as this can damage the ceiling texture.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheets
  • Plastic
  • Painter's tape
  • Stain sealing primer
  • Paint tray
  • Long-handled paint roller
  • Latex, water-based paint
  • 2 1/2-inch angled paintbrush
  • Ladder
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.