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Painting High Ceilings and Hard to Reach Places

Teresa – Hi, can you offer advice on how to paint a high ceiling over a set of house stairs? and what tools would you recommend, Thank You.

Darren – There are a number of situations where the DIY painter will find difficulty and high, awkward to reach areas are often the most problematic.

The correct answer, of course, is to invest in the right kind of access equipment and ladders, etc or to employ a professional.

But, of course, you’re looking for a more economical solution and this is where a bit of improvisation comes in. You will still need some basic equipment but this can, at least, be viewed as an investment since you’ll be able to use it again and again for other painting projects around the house.

These days there are all manner of decorating tools available and some of them are very cheap. For a one-off job it may make sense to buy cheap tools that you’ll never use again but I will leave that judgement to you.

These are the basics you’ll need. I’m suggesting the better quality options although cheap versions are available…

Extending roller pole
Purdy Power Lock Extension Pole
An extending pole is a basic essential and you’ll soon find it indispensable when coupled with a roller attachment for not only reaching difficult areas but also for efficient painting of ceilings and walls generally.
[amazon link]
Roller frame
Purdy Revolution Frame
For use with above or as a hand held conventional roller.
[amazon link]
Mini-roller
Purdy Revolution Jumbo Mini Frame
Again, can be attached to a pole or used as a hand-held for painting small areas or for reaching awkward corners, edges, etc.
[amazon link]
Roller bucket
Purdy Dual Roll Off Bucket
Much easier and efficient than those silly tray things for loading your roller prior to painting.
[amazon link]
Angled head paint brush
Long Reach Angled Paint Brush
Perfect for reaching awkward spots and can be taped to the end of a pole to get to really high places and around light fittings.
[amazon link]
Paint brush holder
Paint brush extender
A more sophisticated attachment for reaching high places with ease.
[amazon link]

Further tips…

  • If you can, paint the ceiling and walls the same colour to avoid any problems ‘cutting-into’ edges where two or more colours meet.
  • Where possible, finish one wall entirely before moving to the next area. It is more work but will help ensure you get a uniform finish with no obvious break lines. This is what’s known in the trade as ‘keeping a wet edge‘.
  • Use a regular ‘matt finish’ on large areas since it won’t show where paint has dried at the edge (flashing) while you’re trying to cover a large area.
  • Remove any fancy light fittings where possible or, if not, cover with a polythene bag to avoid being ruined by paint splashes.
  • Cover the floor and stairs entirely with good quality dust sheets since it’s a messy job and you don’t need the added hassle of paint spills.