Painting Techniques, Part 2

Painting can be a very enjoyable and satisfying way to cut the costs of improving your home. It is one of the easiest home improvement tasks which you can undertake. The following painting guides will help you with tips on painting the unique surfaces in a home.

Painting a Ceiling. Painting a ceiling can be tricky and tedious. When it comes to painting a ceiling, preparing the surface correctly will lay the foundations for achieving that perfect finish, it is important to try to hide any blemishes on the surface.

The Right Tools. When painting a ceiling, be sure to purchase a paint roller with an extension handle. It’s much easier and less tiring to paint a ceiling while standing on the floor rather than on a ladder. When painting a textured ceiling, be sure to use a thick-nap roller to ensure that you get full coverage over the bumps and irregularities in the textured surface. For a smooth drywall ceiling, you can use a roller with a smooth or shorter nap.


Prep the Room. To prep the room, remove all of the furniture if possible before you begin painting. Use drop cloths and/or newspaper to protect the floors and any furniture that you must leave in the room. Canvas drop cloths are recommended; although they’re slightly more expensive, they tend to work better and are reusable. Use quick-release painter’s tape to mask around trim and the area of the wall where it meets the ceiling.


Prime the Ceiling. It’s advisable to prime the ceiling before painting, using a primer with stain-blocker. Priming the ceiling or walls before painting should ensure that one coat of paint will be sufficient.


Paint a Cut-In Line. Begin by painting a cut-in line on the ceiling. This is a 2- to 3-inch strip where the ceiling meets the wall. Start in the corner of the shortest length of the ceiling. For this part of the job, you will need a paintbrush and a stepladder.


Paint the Ceiling. While the cut-in line is still wet, begin painting the ceiling with the roller. This is done while the cut-in line is still wet to prevent a visible line. The proper technique for painting with a roller is as follows:

  • Dip the roller in the deep portion of the paint tray.
  • Roll it back and forth in the shallow end of the tray to squeeze out excess paint and ensure even coverage on the roller.
  • Use the roller to make a zigzag pattern on the ceiling.
  • Go over the zigzag pattern with straight strokes to even out the paint.
  • Once the paint has dried, you may want to go back and apply a second coat, starting with the cut-in line and finishing with the roller.
  • The type of texture and height of your ceiling could dictate what color or shade will be the most aesthetically appealing.


Painting a Panel Door. Painting a paneled door can be a bit tricky. It’s not like a flat door where you can just get a roller and paint the entire surface of the door in a few minutes. It is impossible to get the roller into all of the panel corners and angled surfaces. With a few simple steps and a little bit of patience though, you can have your paneled door looking like new with a fresh coat of paint.


  1. Prepare the door for painting by cleaning it thoroughly. A clean door will accept paint better and will prevent lumps or streaks caused by dirt buildup.
  2. Use sandpaper to lightly scuff the surface. This will help the paint stick better.
  3. Use a high-quality paintbrush. You get what you pay for, and a high quality paintbrush will make the job look better.
  4. Choose semi-gloss sheen when selecting paint for the door. Because it is more durable than eggshell or flat finishes, it may be an especially good choice for exterior doors.
  5. Either remove door hardware or cover it with masking tape.
  6. If some paint does get on the door hardware, clean it off right away with a damp cloth.
  7. Place newspapers or cardboard under the door to prevent paint from spilling on your carpet or floor.
  8. Paint the door panels first, starting with the molding and then painting the interior panel. Work from top to bottom. Finish each panel with an upward brush stroke to prevent dripping. Here is a how-to video  you can watch for tips on the roll and tip method.
  9. Beware of using too much paint at once. Paint can pool in corners and moldings or drip if you use too much. Make the first coat light. You can always add a second coat.
  10. Paint the stiles and rails last. If the door swings out, paint the hinged edge. If it swings in, paint the lock side edge.


Painting accent spaces like your ceilings and doors can really transform the look and feel of your rooms. Along with these tips and DIY steps, all you need is a little design creativity and you’re well on your way to a cozier and more attractive home.  For some color inspiration for your ceiling and other spaces, check out this gallery.