Looking Up: What to Consider before that Ceiling Painting Job

ceiling painters in Vancouver Sooner or later, every home or office space needs some freshening up, and maybe even an entirely new wall treatment following renovations. That’s when a good professional painting job makes all the difference, especially when it comes to the ceilings.

Let’s face it: the area above our heads is the one part of a room that most of us aren’t that keen to work on. The angle is awkward, primer and paint seems to drip and spray more readily (thanks, gravity), and balancing almost always comes into play.

Even if you have an especially long roller handle attachment, it doesn’t take long for the arms and back to start aching. Often the outcome is less than satisfactory, which makes the rest of the room really stand out by comparison.

A Painting Job on Ceilings Differs from Walls

A lot of ceilings were typically finished with spray textured surfaces that create a “spatter” or “popcorn” effect. These days, however, many architects and homeowners prefer a flat, smooth (usually drywall) ceiling surface.

Good painting companies know that you want excellent results, no matter what parts of a house or commercial space are being worked on. They also know that there are some extra tricky issues that can come into play when ceilings are being painted, such as:

  • shadows from variations in a ceiling’s texture can be magnified by the room’s artificial lighting (bright halogen, for example), or even by natural light from windows;
  • drywall seams (particularly with newer drywall) can “telegraph” through if prep work isn’t properly done. This is due to filler in the joints between drywall sheets being smoother than the texture of the paper in the surrounding areas;
  • A non-flat paint finish can also highlight defects more readily;
  • Really large ceilings are usually finished in stages; it’s not always reasonable for painting companies to obtain all the paint for such a job from a single batch. Therefore, the painter may “blend back” the finish of each new section by shading the new topcoat back over the previous section with a spray gun. This technique is best left to the pros!

A key point, then: looking directly up at a ceiling won’t reveal defects as readily as when the same area is seen from an angle, which reveals the tiny shadows caused by texture variations. The lower the ceiling, the worse it looks, as the viewing angle is more acute. So the finished effect will be far less esthetically pleasing in a home than, say, a humungous warehouse.

General Advice for Any Painting Job:

painting companies Overall cost – When considering various painting companies for the project, make sure you and the painting company are on board with exactly what needs to be done, from prep to finished project, and that all of those parts of the job are factored into the estimate and final quote.

Interior décor – Take the advice of the experts when you have a mind to get wacky with ceiling colours; this usually backfires, because people don’t clearly envision what the whole space will look like once the paint dries. Even if you are going with a darker or more unusual shade on the walls, trying to match the ceiling is generally a mistake. Keeping the ceiling an off-white or other light, neutral colour is generally best. Otherwise, the room begins to resemble a cave that behaves strangely in various kinds of light.

Condition of ceiling – Unless the textured ceilings to be painted are in good condition, there may be some crumbling. It’s always prudent to have your painter examine the condition of the ceilings before any painting is scheduled to begin. In fact, the best painting companies will insist on it.

Type of paint to use – While it’s perfectly fine for you to determine the ultimate colour, you may not always know what type of paint is best—and there are plenty of kinds out there! Painting companies are professionals for a reason: they know how to paint using the best tools and techniques, but also, what to paint with for each individual job. Let their knowledge be your guide.

Remember, not all painting companies are created equal; the best strive to gain their good reputation by earning it, and the proof is in the pudding… or paint, so to speak. Consider all of the above issues and then decide whether you still want to tackle the ceiling painting job yourself. A reliable and experienced painting company will give you impressive results that will last for a long time.


Vancouver painter and contractor Peter Byrne“PETER BYRNE is the owner and hands-on manager of Kassel Painting Limited. In the last two decades he has run over 1500 painting projects totaling millions of dollars. There is little that can go right (or wrong) on a job-site he has not seen, solved, and lived to talk about.”

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