Texture-sprayed ceilings with the appearance of “popcorn” or “cottage cheese” are very difficult to keep clean; cobwebs and dust around vents can be removed by holding the wand of a vacuum about an inch from the surface of the ceiling; however, more forceful action such as sweeping can remove the loose “popcorn” like texture. If an acoustic ceiling is discolored from age, however, there is really no way to “clean” it.
It’s not recommended to roll paint on an acoustic ceiling, as it is very porous. It will absorb a great deal of paint and it’s nearly impossible to achieve even coverage. Often, the entire layer of the “cottage cheese” texture will come right off on the roller, leaving a bare strip of drywall.
The most efficient way to paint a textured ceiling is with spray paint — a flat latex. It’s a difficult job, best left to a professional. One possible complication is the fact that asbestos was widely used in textured ceiling spray prior to 1980.
Service professionals can usually respray the acoustic ceilings in the average sized home in less than a day for about the same price as materials alone to paint it. It is also possible to have the entire acoustic layer removed and retextured like the walls, leaving them much easier to maintain, sweep and paint.
Painting tips & tricks of the day
The easiest way to paint a ceiling is with a roller and an extension handle. This allows you to stand on the floor while you paint. If need be, you can use a stepladder, but it is much slower going and awkward. Start in the corner of the room and work your way across the narrowest dimension of the room with a band about 4 feet wide. Continue back and forth across the room until you are finished.
When the ceiling is dry, you can start painting the walls. Start by using a brush to paint corners, ceiling lines and areas adjacent to woodwork. Paint one entire wall or area at a time.
Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.
To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.
When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.
An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.
When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.
To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.
Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.
To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.
When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact colour with you and can match accessories in store.
When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more easily.
When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.
When painting old woodwork fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.