Looking to refresh your room with a new coat of paint? 

Color can work wonders on changing the mood of a room, and paint is an affordable way to get creative with your interior design. 

But those high ceilings have you second-guessing your intuition — is this a project you can DIY? How long will it take to paint your room with high ceilings?

By the end of this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to paint high ceilings and achieve the new look you’re going for. 

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Table of Contents

Painting High Ceilings: What’s the Big Deal?

First things first. You need to understand how and why painting ceilings is different from painting walls. 

There are many things you’ll want to consider that are specific to painting ceilings.

We’ll review … 

  • A few safety concerns; along with 
  • Your painting options; and 
  • Necessary equipment 

… so you can decide if learning how to paint high ceilings is worth your time — or whether you’re better off hiring professionals. 

The team at A1 Paint Removal, Painting and Restoration has years of experience painting high ceilings and can save you time and money. Click below to find out more information and to view our gallery of completed projects.

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Safety Concerns

Before you get started, it’s important to make sure your workspace is safe. 

You’ll want to be sure:

  1. You have the right painting equipment (more on that below).
  2. To use an appropriate ladder (don’t try to paint high ceilings by stacking boxes or using incorrect ladders).
  3. There is proper air ventilation.
  4. You set aside the right amount of time, so you can factor in regular breaks.

Ensuring you have stability when learning how to paint high ceilings over stairs or how to paint high sloped ceilings is of the utmost importance. 

When planning out your supplies, you’ll want to avoid using an extension pole while you’re already standing on a ladder. 

Check your extension ladder’s angle and make sure it’s stable and sturdy before stepping onto it. 

Taking frequent breaks, if you’re using an extension pole, is essential to avoid strain and injury. 

When cleaning, it’s best to not bring the bucket to the top of the ladder with you; that’s an accident waiting to happen for even the most coordinated person. 

Take notes as we outline the equipment you’ll need to gather before starting your painting project. 

Equipment Needs

Special equipment is needed to get a ceiling painted the right way — and to keep safe in the process. 

In order to properly paint your high ceilings, you will need: 

  • Scaffolding or work plank
  • Buckets
  • An extension ladder
  • Extension ladder covers
  • A paint sprayer
  • Brushes
  • Rollers and roller covers
  • An 18-inch wide paint tray
  • An angled paint brush
  • A paint pail that attaches to your ladder
  • A roller shield
  • A paint extension pole
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Interior ceiling paint
  • Primer, if needed
  • Painter’s tape
  • A drop cloth
  • TSP or Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) substitute
  • Clean cotton rags

The good news is that, if you’re interested in more DIY projects or are an avid home improvement guru, many of these tools are commonly used for other household projects, so your investment will be well worth it. 


The good news when painting a ceiling is that you have options. 

If one method will be too difficult or another will work better for the specifics of your space, you have the flexibility to decide whether to use:

  1. A roller and extension pole or a sprayer
  2. Ladder vs. plank scaffolding

Sprayers attach to the tip of your paint spray gun and will usually give you an extension of around 12-30 inches.

Sprayer extensions can help you reach those higher ceilings while not having to move your ladder as much, ultimately cutting down on the overall painting time. 

An extension pole works in the same way and can be used if you’re not wanting to spray your ceiling or just don’t want to purchase a spray extension tip. 

If you opt for this route, you’ll attach your roller frame to your extension pole and paint as normal. 

For high or vaulted ceilings, consider a 4-8 ft. pole or a 6-12 ft. pole, depending on how high your ceilings are. 

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How Do You Paint a High Ceiling?

When figuring out how to paint high ceilings, plan out your project with these four steps:

  1. Prep your ceiling and gather your supplies.
  2. Apply painter’s tape and edge the corners of your ceiling with paint. 
  3. Paint the remainder of the ceiling.
  4. Remove the painter’s tape and clean up your supplies. 

How to Paint High Ceilings in 4 Steps

Now that you have a basic layout of your painting project, it’s time to get to work. 

Follow these four steps for how to paint high, vaulted ceilings in detail, and you’ll have a gorgeous new room before you know it. 

Step 1: Preparation

The first step to painting high ceilings is prepping your work space and gathering your supplies. 

You’ll want to start by:

  • Cleaning the ceiling
  • Removing light fixtures or ceiling fans
  • Choosing the right interior paint color for your space
  • Making any necessary repairs
  • Gathering your tools and supplies
  • Setting up ladders, paint buckets, and rollers; and
  • Placing your drop cloths

Once you’re all set, it’s time to apply your painter’s tape to the perimeter of your ceiling. 

Step 2: Cutting In Edges

Using a plank, scaffolding, or a ladder with a hook for the paint bucket will come in handy for this step and once you’re ready to paint the full ceiling. 

Scaffolding will give you the largest base to work from when painting, so depending on how high and how large your ceiling is, this may be a great way to work. 

Using your painter’s tape, you’ll want to line the perimeter of your ceiling, moving around until it’s complete. 

Next, fill your bucket on the ladder halfway full of paint. Take your bucket and angled brush and attach the bucket to the ladder.

Paint the edges and corners of the ceiling, making sure that the paint is right against the painter’s tape, and start to cut in about 1 inch from the wall.

As you’re painting, slowly fan the bristles out as you guide the brush along the wall line. This cutting technique gives you better control over the paint and helps create a straighter edge.

how to paint high vaulted ceilings

Step 3: Painting the Ceiling

Using a roller, sprayer, or extension rod, paint the main part of the ceiling. Keep in mind that you may need more than one coat.

As you paint, pay attention to blend with the cut-in border along the edge of the ceiling. 

Work in sections, and try to feather out the edges of each. 

Whenever you’re ready to move to the next section, start approximately 2 inches from the previous edge, rolling the paint back into the section you just painted. This will help ensure a smooth, even coat of paint. 

If you’re prepping to paint high vaulted ceilings, you’ll want to stand in the center of the room, so that the ceiling is angled toward you. 

Step 4: Clean Up

Once you’ve completed the painting, it’s time to let it dry and start on your clean-up. 

Remove your perimeter painter’s tape by pulling it away from the ceiling and down towards you. 

Pick up your drop clothes and clean out your paint buckets. 

After the remainder of your supplies are stored away, replace any light fixtures or ceiling fans and stand back to admire your work. 

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Painting High Ceilings: When to Hire a Professional

There are a number of scenarios and reasons that hiring a professional to paint your high ceilings is the right (and often, safer) choice.

If you … 

  • Don’t think you can comfortably reach the ceiling
  • Don’t have the right equipment
  • Want to avoid the mess and mistakes that come with inexperience
  • Have damage to the ceilings, and they need repair; or
  • Are nervous about the project being dangerous 

… it’s best to leave it to the pros.  

Call on the Experts at A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration for Your Interior Painting Job With High Ceilings

The painting team at A1 Paint Removal, Painting and Restoration understands how big an impact paint can have on a home — and how difficult and time-consuming painting high ceilings can be.

Our team of professional painters will work with you every step of the way — from the consultation to the color and finish selection — to ensure you are 100% satisfied with the look of your newly painted ceilings. 

Family-owned and operated since 1995, our expert team will not only help you choose the right type of paint for your ceiling, we can also:

  • Help you with color selection
  • Prep the job the right way; and
  • Complete the job with the highest level of professionalism

If you’re looking to skip the stress (and the manpower) of painting high ceilings, contact us today to learn more about our process.

how to paint high vaulted ceilings