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When we bought our house I fell in love with our vaulted master bedroom and bathroom. It adds so much character and drama. You know what’s not so fun? Figuring out how to paint it. We also have a vaulted foyer and we called in a pro on that job. To figure out how to paint a ceiling that is two entire stories high was just not worth it to us so we paid someone. This was first time we’ve ever paid someone to paint and let me tell you it was painful. Worth it but painful. So when it came to painting our bedroom and bathroom we decided we were going to tackle the project ourselves. Let me tell you it has been much easier than I thought. Today I’m sharing 11 tips for painting a room with a vaulted ceiling.
First off we bit off quite a large project since we also repainted our molding which is a huge job in itself. It looks fantastic but it was a ton of work. Luckily the walls and ceiling went much more quickly because of some of the tools we used.
#1 Use an 18 Inch Roller
This is the best tip I can give you. Buy an 18 inch roller. You will not regret it. It is heavy to use but the work goes so quick. You also need an 18 inch roller pan and cover to go along with it. Money well spent. Mike ended up washing out the roller and used it for both the ceiling and walls. I will caution you that it does splatter more so than a normal roller so protecting other surfaces is key.
Also, don’t forget to paint your ceiling! It always makes a huge difference and we made the mistake of not painting the ceiling in past rooms and always regretted it. You will not want to go back and do it later.
#2 Use an extending pole
Combined with a ladder this is how you reach up to the ceiling and walls. It also makes it easier to paint in general because it gives you more leverage when painting. We always use an extending pole when painting walls.
#3 Use a paint brush extender
This tool is awesome for trimming out the ceiling. It’s not very precise but saves you from having to climb on a ladder to cut in.
#4 Use good quality drop cloths
We have a few canvas drop cloths we have had forever. They are a bit of an investment but if you ever want to paint anything else, they are worth it. We use the canvas on the floor, with the addition of some old bed sheets (although they are not as absorbent). Plastic drop cloths are great for covering up furniture. It’s worth it to get a thicker plastic, otherwise the blow all over the place when your heat or air conditioner kicks on.
#5 Always have a rag and bucket of water for cleanup
This is a life saver tip for us. We fill up a bucket with a squeeze of dish soap and warm water then throw a couple of rags in there. Whenever we have a drip, spill or mistake we wipe it up with a rag right away. Latex paint cleans up really easy when it’s still wet. Once it’s dry, that’s a different story. This is also why I always wear painting clothes to paint.
#6 Use ladders of multiple heights
A three step stool is great for getting the tops of normal walls. The 5 foot ladder will get a large majority of the vaulted ceiling. The 12 foot ladder was only needed for the very top. Having multiple ladders made it easier to get the job done since dragging around a heavy ladder is no fun. Also, we could both use a ladder at the same time.
#7 Paint the molding before the walls
If you are painting the molding, do it before the walls. Whether you are going from wood to white or just a fresh coat of paint, it’s easier to get this job done first and you don’t have to be super precise with your lines since the wall paint will even it out.
If you have to paint molding with a carpeted room, we used a paint guide to help prevent painting the carpet. Wipe it off every time you move it to prevent paint smears.
#8 Tape the molding before you paint the walls
From years of practice both Mike and I are good at cutting in. We still taped the molding for two reasons. One, remember how I mentioned that paint splatter? This helped to reduce the mess. Unfortunately we didn’t realized this until after we started painting the walls. Two it helps to create a cleaner line between the wall and molding. Taping is not perfect so you will need to go back and touch up a bit after you remove the paint.
Another tip with tape is that the longer you leave it on and the more coats you put on the harder it will be to remove. We made a huge mess with the tape around our layers of molding paint and it required lots of touch up
#9 Use a new brush to cut in
If you want a sharp cut in line, a new brush is so important. The bristles are nice and smooth and the brush does most of the work. Normally I love Wooster brushes but we found these brushes wedge brushes called the Whizz and I loved how easy they were to make a crisp line. It’s also great to have a smaller brush for hard to reach areas.
#10 Clean your brushes really well
If we are going to take a break for more than 20 minutes we wash out the brushes. They stay nice longer and it’s harder to clean them when the paint starts to dry. We used to do a plastic bag trick in the fridge but there is enough risk of paint drying we just wash them now. Also it’s important to clean them up right after your done, or you can throw them in your bucket of cleaning water to soak before you wash them.
My method to wash brushes is to rinse until the water is clear, massage in some dish soap, use a wire painters comb to clean up any paint residue and rinse again until clear. This wire painters comb is fantastic for getting out paint. We have had our for years and it looks like a train wreck but still works phenomenally. It’s a must for cleaning brushes.
#11 Touch up, Touch up, Touch up
Touch up is so important for a professional looking paint job. Go back and touch up any mistakes you find. Sometimes it’s hard to see after you been painting for hours, or have lost the daylight. Wait until the next day when you have good lighting to touch up. Sometimes you don’t notice for a couple of days, so give it some time and keep your paint handy to make sure everything is done right.
#12 Bonus Tip
Enjoy the fruits of your labor! If you are painting a room with a vaulted ceiling it’s a ton of work, but it will look fantastic. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
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