Popcorn ceilings can be a beautiful addition to the home but are you asking yourself can you paint popcorn ceilings or wondering how to paint popcorn ceiling let’s face it – to do them seems like a complicated job, especially if you haven’t done a lot of home decorating.
You just need to know what to do to prepare your surfaces for painting, get the right tools prepared, and follow a guideline.
Whether you are familiar with a paint roller or a sprayer, you can have your popcorn ceilings painting finished up in no time by following this simple step-by-step plan.
What You Need To Start
- Foam Roller & Tray or Sprayer
- Plastic Sheeting
- Dust Masks
- Safety Glasses
Step 1 – Prepare The Room
1. Test the water solubility of the ceiling.
In order to get started on painting a popcorn ceiling, you need to check if it has been coated before. Popcorn ceilings that haven’t been painted in the past are usually water-soluble.
If you try with a roller on a ceiling that hasn’t been coated previously, it may soak up moisture and the texture could come off as you use the roller.
So, test this out by spraying a small bit of water on the ceiling. If it starts to get a bit soft, then it hasn’t been painted, and you will have to coat it first.
2. Clear all furniture or cover it up.
When you’re up high, you’re working against gravity, naturally, you’ll get some drips down below – so you’ll have to protect your furniture.
The best way to protect it is to just take it out of the room.
If you have room in your house to store your furniture temporarily put as much of it there that you can.
If the furniture is too big to move, or you don’t have space elsewhere ensure that you cover it with plastic sheets (drop cloths will work too) so any drips don’t stain. Check out our paint sprayer accessories for protective clothing, cloths, and respirators.
P.s Don’t forget to put drop cloths or plastic sheets on the floor as well.
3. Cover all other walls and fixtures with painter’s tape.
Before taping up your room, remove any light fixtures from the ceiling if you are able to. If you can’t remove them, just be sure to cover them completely with masking paper or plastic sheets and tape.
Next, cover all walls, windows, vents, and doors using plastic sheeting, and then cover fixtures with painters tape. If you don’t have any, check out our painters’ tape reviews here.
It’s very important to make sure you have a very tight seal where the wall meets the ceiling using tape. (If you’re using a sprayer then it’s even more vital to keep a very tight seal). If you are going to be texturing your wall as well, then you don’t have to worry about creating that barrier.
4. Before you start, get geared up.
When you’re working on a ceiling, it’s important to have the right safety gear on so you don’t injure yourself. There are always little bits of debris that will fall when doing DIY projects on the ceiling or high up on the walls.
Make sure you have a few dust masks for the job as well as safety goggles or glasses. There’s nothing worse than having something get in your eyes and having to stop the job (especially if you’re on the wrong type of ladder).
P.S. It’s also helpful to have a hat on as well as some old clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit messed up.
Step 2 – Get Your Materials Ready
1. Pick your finish.
When painting a popcorn effect, the most common finish is a flat or matte style. However, you can still use a semi-gloss or satin, although they aren’t used as much.
2. Pick your color.
The most common color is, of course, going to be white. It allows the room to brighten up, enhancing all the other colors and textures in the room. However, you can get away with another color as long as it’s bright – like a light yellow, or grey.
3. Thin your paint.
Acrylic is ideal for popcorn ceilings, but it’s too sticky and can cause damage if applied as it is. For popcorn ceilings, use water to thin acrylic. With a gallon of material, add about ½ quart of water.
Always double-check the back of your can for correct amounts.
Step 3 – The Best Way to Paint Popcorn Ceiling
You can use a roller or a sprayer so follow the guidelines below for your preferred method.
- Painting popcorn ceilings With a Roller
- Painting popcorn ceilings With A Sprayer
How to Paint a Popcorn Ceiling With a Roller
1. Use a large roller
You want a roller head that is at least an inch thick. Also, a roller cover that’s made out of a synthetic material that has a thick texture is perfect. Having a roller extension pole also makes it easier to comfortably cover the ceiling.
2. Add paint to the tray
Pour a decent amount into the tray. After you dip your roller into the tray, use the textured part of the tray to remove any excess before you apply it (this will prevent unnecessary spilling and allow for an even coating).
3. Roll it on
Begin! Use long, straight, complete movements. Try not to roll back and forth constantly in one spot as it will become uneven. If you’ve not used a roller much, check out this guide on using a roller by Dulux.
4. Apply a few more coats
Make sure you put on a few coats. Two or three coats is great to make sure you get a good application on your ceiling. Before applying a new coat, allow 3-4 hours for the previous coat to dry.
How to Paint Popcorn Ceilings With a Paint Sprayer
1. Use an airless sprayer
The easiest sprayer for coating your popcorn ceiling is a quality airless paint sprayer.
How does it work? It fans the material out to evenly coat the surface. Always read the instructions on your sprayer as methods vary between models.
2. Fill the sprayer reservoir (if you have one)
If you have a cheaper DIY sprayer such as found in our Wagner paint sprayer reviews, fill up the reservoir up now. Test the sprayer on a piece of cardboard. If you find that it isn’t spraying well, add a bit of water to thin it out a bit and test again on the cardboard until you get the right amount.
3. Spray it on
Spray in one direction for the entire length of your ceiling for the evenest application. As with spraying interior walls, make sure there’s a bit of an overlap between each line so there aren’t any dry edges.
Wait 2-3 hours for the first coat to dry then begin the second coat.
Spray the second coat in the opposite direction for an even finish. 3-4 coats are usually enough to get a rich popcorn texture with a sprayer.
People Also Ask
Alongside learning how to paint popcorn ceiling, people often as the following questions. Rather than searching the web for an answer, I wanted to highlight these common questions and answers here.
What kind of paint do you use on a popcorn ceiling?
Most standard acrylic paints work best for popcorn ceilings unless the ceiling will be subjected to moisture, in which case you should look for a premium moisture and damp resistant paint. I’d also recommend using a flat, non-gloss paint for textured ceilings as it helps to hide particularly uneven areas.
What is the easiest way to paint a popcorn ceiling?
A paint sprayer is the easiest and fastest way to paint a popcorn ceiling, but it can also be done with a thick nap roller (no lower than 9/16-inch).
If the ceiling is a relatively small area, then a paint sprayer may be overkill and take more time in preparation than it’s worth.
Do I need to prime popcorn ceiling before painting?
If your ceiling has been painted before, then you should not need to prime popcorn ceiling. But, if its the first time then you will need to prime it with an oil based paint.
This stops water based paints turning your ceiling soggy, and applies a hardened layer of paint to work with.
Can you paint popcorn ceiling with roller?
Yes, most people paint popcorn ceilings with a roller and a thick NAP roller cover (generally at least 9/16-inch NAP). It’s also worth investing in a roller extension pole to prevent back and neck pains.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re painting an entire house, a paint sprayer will save you a lot of time and effort.
Do you paint the walls first or popcorn ceiling?
If you are decorating the whole room it’s recommended that you paint the popcorn ceiling first. If you paint the walls first, you may end up with clumps of paper from the popcorn ceiling stuck in your freshly painting walls.