Painting Floors and Ceilings

Helpful advice for painting floors and ceilings

When it comes to painting floors and painting ceilings, you need to use specialized techniques to achieve just the right finish. With ceilings, you will need additional equipment such as roller extensions, which allow you to spread paint precisely and evenly with minimal labor. Floors, on the other hand, require a number of special considerations, as you need to make sure the paintjob will hold up despite the foot traffic in the room. You also need to select paint that is specifically formulated for the floor surface itself.

How to Paint a Ceiling

Ceilings are a little trickier than walls to paint, and using extensions is strongly recommended. You can get universal attachments that allow you to attach a roller, brush or paint pad, or specialized attachments for each different painting tool. You'll also need a stepladder so you can reach corners that require finishing by hand.

Begin by removing as much furniture from the room as possible. Cover all remaining furniture with drop cloths so that you don't have to worry about paint dripping off the ceiling onto your furniture.

If you're only painting the ceiling, or if you're painting the ceiling a different color than the walls, use painter's tape to secure the points where the ceiling meets the walls. You'll also need to tape around any ceiling fixtures which cannot be removed.

While priming your ceiling may seem like an unnecessary step, it can actually save you time and prevent the need for multiple coats of paint. This is one piece of advice for painting ceilings which many newbies overlook. Once you've primed the ceiling, add "cut lines." These are border lines about 2 or 3 inches in width which follow the ceiling's outermost edges all the way around the room. Apply these with a brush, by hand, or with painting pads. Then, use a roller extension to cover the broad areas of the ceiling, using M-shaped or W-shaped strokes to cover the greatest area in the shortest time before filling in the empty space.

Painting Floors: A How-To Guide

Floors require quite a bit of extra consideration. The first thing you'll need to do is determine whether or not your floor is suitable for paint. Here are the things you'll need to consider:

  • Hardwood floors and concrete floors are best-suited for painting
  • Laminate flooring and varnished, lacquer or shellac floors are not generally good candidates for painting

With concrete, you will also have to conduct two tests to make sure it can be painted:

  • Perform a test to make sure your concrete can properly absorb paint. Do this by sprinkling some water onto the floor; if the concrete absorbs it, you can paint it. If not, your concrete has a moisture-repellent barrier which you'll have to remove before you can paint the concrete.
  • Test your concrete for moisture. Tape a square of plastic wrap measuring about 2 feet by 2 feet onto the concrete, and leave it overnight. In the morning, check the wrapping's underside. If the concrete is damp, or if moisture appears on the wrapping, you should not paint your concrete.

If you're sure your floor is suitable for paint, start by researching different types of specially formulated floor paint. Do not use regular wall paint, as it will quickly wear away when subjected to foot traffic. Most experts recommend using porch paint or floor paint, and you'll need to select a product that is designed for the material you'll be painting.

Once you've selected the right paint and performed the proper tests, follow this step-by-step guide to floor painting:

  1. Prepare the floor by sanding it down to create a smooth, even surface. Vacuum up the dust.
  2. Clean hardwood floors using a trisodium phosphate compound mixed with water. Rinse with water and allow the floor to dry.
  3. Apply one or more coats of paint using a roller attachment. Work your way towards the entryway to the room to prevent the need to walk across freshly painted surfaces.

It is crucial that the room is properly ventilated during your painting project. If you're unable to open the windows due to bad weather, you should put off your painting project until it's warm enough to keep your windows open throughout the entire painting process.