How to Paint Popcorn Ceilings

Has your popcorn ceiling started to fade or looking dirty?

If so, it might be time to repaint your ceilings. But what work needs to happen to ensure an even coat of paint covers your textured ceiling?

You may consider hiring a contractor or bringing one in before tackling a job like this.


**DISCLAIMER: Before painting a popcorn ceiling, you should know about testing for asbestos. There is a small chance the stippled texture may contain asbestos if your home was built before the 1980s. It should be tested by a professional before proceeding.**

How to Paint Popcorn Ceilings

Ideally, a paint sprayer should be used when painting a popcorn ceiling. Paint rollers can be used, but renting or borrowing a paint sprayer will save time and money.

We are going to walk you through our process of painting a popcorn ceiling, or any ceiling.

  1. Remove all your major furniture from the room. You’ll be going over the entire ceiling, and having unrestricted access and movement in the room will speed up the painting process.

  2. Cover the flooring with plastic or painter’s tarps. This will ensure that no paint drips onto the floors, which you’ll need to clean up later.

  3. Clean the ceiling of dust, dirt, and cobwebs. Vacuum with a soft brush or feather duster, dropping everything to the floor.

  4. Set up your paint and equipment in an adjacent room. Using a paint sprayer is much easier than using a paint roller. There is less chance of damaging the texture, and it is much faster to paint with.

  5. Paint with the sprayer in a small area at a time. Move the spray head from east to west direction, then from a north-south direction. Moving in this pattern allows for ideal paint coverage and ensures nothing is missed.

  6. Let the paint dry. After you finish the room, let the paint dry. (You can watch it if you want.)

  7. Repeat Step 5. Go over the ceiling after the first coat is dry

  8. Let dry and look for missed spots. Inspect and touch up any missed spots.

Is it better to spray or roll paint on popcorn ceilings?

Why do we prefer a paint sprayer to a roller?

Overall, the paint sprayer creates a better result on popcorn ceilings, especially with ceilings that have never been painted.  

Every job is different. On some jobs, we paint the ceilings with a napped roller and others with a sprayer. Sometimes the combination of both. The tools used depend entirely on the texture of the ceiling and whether it has been painted before.

Do I need to prime popcorn ceilings before painting?

Some ceilings may require a primer before the paint is applied. We want to create amazing results for your home and leave you satisfied.

If the surface has never been painted, use an oil-based primer before painting. We recommend two coats of paint on any surface for fantastic results and longevity.


As you can see, painting popcorn ceilings is no small feat. It takes a lot more effort, care, and attention.

If you are ready for a professional painting contractor to repaint your ceilings, contact Alderson Elite Painting.



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