How to Paint High Ceilings and Walls

Painting a room or ceiling can seem simple, until you add another 3 or 4 feet to the height. Even the most sturdy of us will feel woozy on the top of an extra tall ladder. Here is how to paint high ceilings and walls.

Pick your tool

You’ll need to land on a plan for reaching those tall corners. Are you going with a scaffolding or traditional ladder. Extensions poles will give you some reach but likely you’ll have to use a ladder or scaffolding to reach tops and corners.


In most cases, a ladder will give you enough help reaching the walls and ceilings to paint. You’ll be able to use an articulating, platform or step ladder for your project. Make sure you are not required to use the ladder unsafely (above the noted step) or overextend yourself to reach.

When working on a ladder, it’s important to be in good health and physical condition. Place your ladder on solid flooring off of rugs or other slip hazards.


If you are working in a really large room, a scaffold might be of benefit. It’s offers a sturdy surface to hold you and your painting tools. Make sure you assemble the scaffold according to manufacturer’s instructions. The downside to a scaffold is the equipment is cumbersome and difficult to move from wall to wall. Some hardware stores will have scaffolding set ups available for rent or purchase. Make sure it is not only completely assembled, but locked into place and immobile before you attempt to climb on it.

Room preparation

Protect your furniture, floors and trim from splatters by taping off and covering. Spills and splatters are even more prevalent when working up high. Use drop cloths to protect the entire floor, more than just immediately under the walls. Remove fixtures, art, and other items you don’t want paint on.

Now that the room is cleared, let’s clean! Wash the walls down using a mild detergent and sponge. Let them dry for at least an hour before moving forward.

Prime and Paint

If you are painting the ceiling, begin there with primer. Cut in the walls with a paint brush and move to a roller for the majority of the ceiling. Follow the same method to paint.


Once your ceiling is painted and dried, you might need to tape it off. This is especially important if you are painting the walls a different color. Prime the walls, using the cut in method to outline the trim, doors, and other architectural elements. Follow up with the roller for the larger areas.

If your project seems too big, call us! We offer free, in-home estimates. Call today to schedule yours!