Why Does My Ceiling Paint Look Patchy? - Housepoint (2023)

You may be wondering why your ceiling paint looks patchy. This could be a result of the texture of your ceiling being uneven. Here are a few ways to fix the issue. Water down your paint. Try to paint over a repair patch without using primer. Finally, try painting in smaller sections. You should see the difference. But if you can’t seem to fix it, contact a painting professional and have them take a look at your ceiling.

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Using a paint roller

If you’re trying to paint a ceiling and find that your application is looking patchy, there are some easy ways to fix the problem. First, use a paint roller that has slightly more paint on both ends than the rest of the roller. This is common, and it will make the paint appear patchy. Another easy solution is to use a paint tray. A paint tray is a slanted tray with a textured ridged surface that allows the roller to be dipped into the paint. Then, roll the roller over the ridges, which will help distribute the paint evenly. This will help eliminate excess paint on the roller.

Another common reason why ceiling paint looks patchy is because of poor application techniques. Many painters fail to keep a wet edge and end up with patchy paint. While it may be tempting to reach for another paint roller, it will only make the ceiling look patchy. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to paint the ceiling with a smooth finish. Just keep in mind that poor lighting can affect your vision, making it hard to paint an even surface.

Secondly, use a brush with the right type of paint. The paint roller meant for acrylic paint will not work with oil-based paint. Always make sure to buy a large enough amount of paint. Excess paint on a roller may result in patchy results. Another way to avoid a patchy finish is to wash the walls with soap and water to remove any leftover paint.

Watering down the paint

You might wonder why your ceiling paint is patchy after drying. In the case of patchy paint, you’ve likely applied the paint unevenly. This problem can be caused by several things. One of these is the quality of the paint. If you’re not sure what to do, here are a few steps to correct the problem. Water down the paint with a sponge dipped in soapy water and then blot the area dry. Next, apply the original paint over the primer.

Apply a thin coat of paint first. After applying the first coat, feather the edges to minimize uneven lines. Afterward, water down the paint roller covers and shake it to remove excess water. Avoid using latex and oil paint. Mixing them could result in an uneven surface. If the paint is too thin, you may need to apply a second coat. If this still doesn’t solve the problem, repeat the process until the paint is perfectly smooth.

If you’ve already applied the first coat, you can go over it again. This is a good idea, but the second coat will be much smoother and will not be patchy. But if the first coat is too thin, you’ll have to wait another 24 hours before you start the second coat. If you don’t want to wait that long, water down the paint again. If you’re concerned about it, remember that it might look patchy. So, be patient and repeat the steps above.

Painting over repair patches without primer

Before you paint over a repair patch, you should apply a coat of primer to the wall where the patch is located. This will ensure that the repair blends in with the surrounding wall and prevent it from looking patchy later on. You can use a 3/8″ nap paint roller to apply primer. If your patch is small, you can start by painting the patch first and then feathering outward over the surrounding areas.

Always use a tack cloth to sand any repair patches. Primer is a necessary step when painting over an old ceiling because it creates a barrier between latex paint and oil-based paint. This step should be done at least 24 hours before you want to paint over the repair patch. Otherwise, you will end up with a patchy ceiling. When applying paint over a repair patch, wait for the new paint to dry completely before applying a second coat.

Another common cause of patchy ceiling paint is surface debris. Whether this is dirt, soap residue, or even an old paint roller, these factors can cause uneven paint coverage on the ceiling. Old paint rollers and different kinds of paint can cause uneven paint application. Before you begin painting over the patch, make sure that the area is clean and that there is enough light. Without adequate lighting, you might miss a spot or make a mistake.

Painting in smaller sections

There are several reasons why you may experience patchy ceiling paint. One of them is the lack of time to let the paint dry between coats. Another reason could be that you applied the paint too thickly. If you follow these tips, you will avoid a patchy finish. Below are some of the most common causes of patchy ceiling paint. And remember: painting in sections is more efficient than painting a whole ceiling at a time.

If the ceiling is rough-textured, cut in before painting. This may cause uneven paint application or overlapping of wet and dry paint layers. Patchy ceiling paint can be easily fixed with a few or several lines. However, if you’re not confident in your ability to paint the ceiling in small sections, you can simply repaint the area. The following tips will help you avoid patchy ceiling paint.

Preparation work is the key to a successful painting. To avoid patchy ceilings, prepare the ceiling surface by cleaning it thoroughly, sanding off old paint, and applying a primer. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations before applying any paint to the ceiling. Don’t forget to use an extension roller. Make sure to read all labels to be sure you’re using the right product for your needs. Also, make sure to give yourself ample time to complete the painting process. Don’t rush it. Take your time. And don’t forget to add lighting to the room so you can monitor the progress of the paint.

Proper lighting

Poor lighting often results in patchy ceiling paint. It’s important to have adequate lighting to do your job properly. Also, make sure you read the paint label before starting. Painting can be a stressful task. You should set aside enough time to complete the job and avoid rushing. Proper lighting will allow you to see your mistakes and fix them right away. Here are some tips to fix patchy ceiling paint:

First, make sure you have adequate lighting to complete your painting project. Poor lighting will result in blotchy paint, and it may also lead to overpainting. Try using a small lamp to see where you need to paint. Make sure you have good, even lighting, so you don’t overpaint. Second, apply a thin coat to the area. Lastly, apply a sealer to the freshly painted area to prevent any unwanted fading.

The next thing to do is to find high-quality paint. Painters for ceilings should have a high-quality primer and sealer. If you’re using oil-based paint, avoid painting over it with latex paint, because it will leave a patchy finish. Also, do not rush the painting process, as the first coat should cure before the second coat. Remember that the number of hours between coats depends on the type of paint used, the humidity level, and the ventilation in the room. Always check the label on the paint and see if it has cured properly.

Sealing the surface

Many times, a primer-sealer is required before you can paint over a previous paint job. This is particularly true in older houses, where a previous paint job is likely to have a patchy finish. After washing the walls and ceilings thoroughly with soap and water, you should apply the primer with even strokes and then apply the original paint. The primer should cure for several hours before you apply the second coat.

Another common problem with painted ceilings is uneven texture. This can be caused by many factors, including a thin layer of paint or an old paint roller. It can also be caused by different types or brands of painting equipment. Here are a few tips for sealing the surface of ceiling paint that looks patchy

When painting over an older building, it is recommended to use a primer-sealer mixture on the ceiling first. While this can take up to 30 minutes, it is better to apply the primer and paint in between. If you want to avoid patchy results, use a primer-sealer on the ceiling before painting. If you apply too much paint or too little, the primer may not dry properly, leading to a patchy finish. Alternatively, you can apply a thin layer of paint first and then apply the second coat.

When painting your ceiling, you must use high-quality paint that is designed for ceilings. Choose a quality paint primer and sealer. It is not advisable to paint an oil-based paint over a latex one, because this can cause further damage to the ceiling. If the old paint has cracked and is starting to peel, it is best to repaint the ceiling. This will prevent the patchiness from getting worse.

Related posts:

  1. Why Is My Ceiling Paint Chipping?
  2. Why Is My Ceiling Paint Not Covering My Ceiling Well?
  3. Why is Ceiling Paint Different Than Wall Paint?
  4. Why Does My Ceiling Paint Look Uneven?
  5. Why is Ceiling Paint So Thin?
  6. Why Does My Ceiling Paint Look Gray?
  7. Why Does My Ceiling Paint Look Streaky?
  8. Why Should I Paint My Ceiling White?


Why does my newly painted ceiling look patchy? ›

Patchiness usually happens if you don't use enough paint, or apply it unevenly. Using a touch more paint, and painting in small sections one at a time, usually does the trick. Also, rolling in a grid fashion will get you an even finish too. But, sometimes, changes in the gloss level leave things patchy.

How do you paint a ceiling without it being patchy? ›

Good technique with the roller is also most important to achieve a good finish, make sure the roller is well loaded with paint and work a small area at a time (couple sq m) get the paint on the ceiling, don't over roll it and then finish by going over it with very light strokes before moving on to the next area always ...

Why does my ceiling paint look streaky? ›

Such lines are called lap marks and are usually the result of uneven paint application or overlapping wet and dry paint layers. You may be able to salvage your paint job if there are just a few lines. If there are many paint laps, you will likely need to repaint the entire ceiling.

How do you paint a ceiling evenly? ›

The best way to paint a ceiling is to use a paint roller and work in grid-like sections of 3 square feet to 5 square feet each. This helps keep edges wet and allows you to see your progress to ensure an even coat. For smooth ceilings, use a low nap roller.

How do I stop ghosting on my ceiling? ›

Ghost Busting Remedies
  1. Be sure gas or wood stoves are properly adjusted and vented.
  2. Keep the indoor relative humidity below 55% in the winter. ...
  3. Replace furnace filters often.
  4. Seal around doors and windows to eliminate cold air drafts.
  5. Stop burning candles, incense, and wood-burning fireplaces.
Mar 16, 2018

How do you fix a patchy paint job? ›

Lightly sand the troublesome area with 150-grit sandpaper, then tack the walls. That's painter lingo for “Wipe it with a cloth to get rid of dust.” (Easier than the lingo makes it sound!) Then re-paint the area, maintaining a wet edge—meaning, don't let the paint dry until you finish the wall.

Is it better to paint a ceiling with a brush or roller? ›

Is it better to paint a ceiling with a brush or roller? 'We recommend using both a brush and a roller,' says Helen Shaw at Benjamin Moore. 'A brush is needed for painting the edges of the ceiling and the roller to paint the rest of the ceiling.

Do ceilings need two coats of paint? ›

Generally, you will want a minimum of two coats of paint – this is a good rule of thumb for any wall or ceiling you're painting. You'll rarely get a seamless finish from just one coat of paint, and even if you do, coverage isn't the only goal when it comes to painting a room.

How do you roll ceiling paint without streaks? ›

Step 6: While the ceiling is still damp, use an unloaded paint roller in a corner of the ceiling and lightly pull it in a straight line without pressure. Continue this action, slightly overlapping each line. This will prevent ceiling paint streaks.

What is the best paint for ceilings? ›

Eggshell paints offer a low sheen while still absorbing most light and hiding ceiling imperfections. Satin finish: Satin paints are slightly more reflective than eggshell paints but still have a low sheen overall. Paints with a higher sheen than satin finish paints tend to highlight nicks on the ceiling.

How do you smooth a speckled ceiling? ›

When scraping popcorn ceilings, you'll want to use a 4-inch utility knife or a drywall knife to chip away at the texture and create a smooth surface. You'll probably need to skim it with a thin layer of joint compound to smooth out imperfections, then sand it smooth before repainting.

What size roller should I use to paint a ceiling? ›

Ceilings and Drywall - Medium 3/8″ nap roller covers work best. Walls, Wood, and Metal - Small 1/4″ nap roller covers or foam rollers will produce the smoothest finish.

Should ceiling paint always be flat? ›

Ceilings should almost always be painted in a flat, matte acrylic paint. The reason for this is that: Flat paint will not reflect light or draw attention away from the wall and room furnishings. Ceilings don't receive much wear and tear, so a glossy, durable paint is not necessary.

Do you paint the ceiling or wall first? ›

The ceiling should always be painted first. This allows you to effectively cover the surface with at least two coats while not having to worry about any over-spray (the effect of excess paint being sprayed onto the walls) by the roller. When painting the ceiling, you should always use a roller with a double arm frame.

What does ghosting look like on a ceiling? ›

Ghosting happens when mildly damp, warm, and possibly sooty interior air condenses on the sections of walls and ceiling that are colder because part of the wood frame is uninsulated. This results in black sooty stains on your walls and ceilings that follow the patterns of your home's framing.

Can you paint over ghosting on ceiling? ›

Can you paint over ghosting on ceiling? First, it's essential to understand that simply painting over ghost streaks and stains (even if you can cover them completely) is little more than a temporary solution. While repainting is an eventual part of the process, you have to stop the root causes for any long term relief.

What does ghosting mean in painting? ›

Instead, “ghosting” refers to a relatively common issue – streaks and stains along walls and ceilings, sometimes called “soot staining” or “thermal tracking.” For people unfamiliar with the problem, paint ghosting can be mistaken for mold, an issue with the paint, or other major issues.

Why does my paint look uneven after painting? ›

There are a few culprits, including not properly cleaning the surface and picking up dust and debris, applying the paint too thick, or applying too many coats of paint over time, says Stipe. “It's important to thoroughly prep the surface by cleaning and sanding before painting,” he explains.

What happens if you apply second coat of paint too soon? ›

Applying the second coat too early will result in streaks, peeling paint, and uneven color. Not only will this ruin the entire project but it'll cost additional money to get more paint in some occasions. It's best to wait for the first coat to dry.

Will paint blend when it dries? ›

Unfortunately, in most cases the answer is no. There are a few circumstances where it can be done with good results, but in most instances the touched up spot will not blend in, but rather result in a slightly different color that looks even worse than the original blemish.

Should ceilings be painted flat or satin? ›

Flat Acrylic Ceiling Paint

As the most common type of ceiling paint, this is best suited for low-humidity rooms, such as the bedrooms and living spaces. Flat paint does not reflect much light, which is appropriate for most ceilings.

Should I paint my ceiling flat or eggshell? ›

On the contrary, flat paint offers a chalky, matte finish that doesn't reflect light. Therefore, flat paint is a good choice when it comes to applying on ceilings. Flat paint actually lowers down the light glare, making it an appropriate choice for ceilings.

Where do you start when painting a ceiling? ›

Just like a vertical wall, begin by cutting-in where the roller won't reach. Using a brush, paint around down lights and edges to create a border. Once you've loaded your roller evenly, begin in one corner and move fluidly in a parallel motion. For best results, work in 1 metre sections painting across and then down.

Do professional painters water down paint? ›

“Watering Down” paint is a derogatory term used to describe a poor practice that cheap professional painters do to make their product go further. These painters add too much water to the paint, often as much as half a gallon of water per gallon of paint. This results in a lighter color and lesser quality finish.

How long should you wait for a second coat of ceiling paint? ›

Adding a Second Coat

After your first coat of paint is dry, it's safe to recoat typically after four to six hours. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least three hours to recoat your paint or primer if it's water-based. Waiting 24 hours is best for oil-based paint and primer.

Why am I getting roller marks on my ceiling? ›

Painting a ceiling with a roller can sometimes leave marks. This can happen if the edges of your roller dry out too quickly. The dry nap on the roller edges can leave marks in freshly painted areas. Low-quality paint and a cheap roller can also leave marks in a ceiling.

What shade of white is good for ceiling? ›

For seamless color flow, select a white for your ceiling that shares a similar undertone as the wall color. Favorite whites for ceilings include White Dove OC-17, Cloud White OC-130 and Decorator's White OC-149.

What color hides ceiling imperfections the best? ›

Gray hides more imperfections on an exposed ceiling than white while not being as bold as black. With gray paint colors, you can play around with undertones such as brown, blue, and green.

What is the best white paint finish for ceiling? ›

The most popular gloss for ceiling paint is flat. Flat has almost no reflective quality. Some brands advertise their product as being "ultra-flat," but the difference between this and flat is negligible. If you want any kind of sheen on the ceiling, use eggshell gloss paint.

What is a speckled ceiling called? ›

A popcorn ceiling, also known as a stipple ceiling or acoustic ceiling, is a ceiling with one of a variety of spray-on or paint-on treatments. The bumpy surface is created by tiny particles of vermiculite or polystyrene, which gives the ceiling sound-deadening properties.

How do you get a smooth finish on a ceiling? ›

Sand Before You Paint

Over time, and as the layers of paint build up, bumps and crud can get stuck to the ceiling. On untextured ceilings, it's a good idea to start with a quick once-over sanding with 100-grit drywall sanding paper. This helps ensure a perfectly smooth paint job and increases paint bonding.

What ceiling texture is popular now? ›

  • The most common type of ceiling finish is flat or smoothed ceilings. ...
  • The great thing about flat ceilings is that they are highly universal. ...
  • Some people associate swirled ceilings with outdated interior designs, but that's far from the case.
Oct 3, 2022

Are foam rollers good for painting ceilings? ›

Rollers are ideal for painting large areas, particularly ceilings. They are quick and easy to use. There are several types of roller to suit different paint jobs: foam, mohair or sheepskin, available in short, medium and long-pile.

How much paint do I need for a 12x12 ceiling? ›

the square footage of the room. This room is 12 x 12 with 8 foot ceilings. This room has 384 square feet (not including windows and doors). If we know that we will use around 2 gallons for two coats in this room.

Can you put too much paint on a roller? ›

Perhaps you're using a long-napped roller, loading too much paint on the roller or brush, or not spreading the paint well. The fix. Once the paint dries, use fine sandpaper to remove the run, then retouch the area with a brush and a little paint, feathering the edges.

Is matte or satin better for ceiling? ›

Choosing Between Matte and Satin

Perhaps a satin sheen works better on the walls than matte because it's easier to clean. Does your ceiling or wall have lots of imperfections or bumps? Then you should choose matte over satin because it hides surface imperfections better.

What is the best Benjamin Moore ceiling paint? ›

When it comes to the best type of paint for ceilings, Benjamin Moore's Waterborne Ceiling Paint is a “dead flat” paint that applies smoothly, hides most ceiling imperfections and is specially formulated to minimize both lap marks and splatter.

How often do ceilings need to be painted? ›

You should paint your ceiling with a fresh coat about every ten to fifteen years. And it's best to paint your ceilings at the same time as the rest of your interior walls since the paint job requires moving furniture and obstacles out of the way. It's best just to do it all at once.

Do you tape the ceiling when painting? ›

If you're painting your walls, tape the edges of the ceiling (right where the ceiling and wall meet), skirting boards, window frames and door frames, light switches and sockets. If you're painting a ceiling, mask sections of the adjoining walls using masking tape.

Should you change direction when painting a ceiling? ›

The first thing you need to decide is what direction you are going to roll. You want to keep it consistent on the entire ceiling. Most people agree that the best strategy is to roll toward (parallel with) the prevailing source of natural light, such as a big window. This prevents any roller lines from showing up.

Why do people paint their ceilings white? ›

A white ceiling will reflect the most amount of light and can help tie together other contrasting elements of your room. According to Sherwin Williams, white is the right choice, especially when the room lacks light. “While somewhat cliché, white ceilings are sometimes the best choice for a room.

How many coats of paint does a new ceiling need? ›

Generally, you will want a minimum of two coats of paint – this is a good rule of thumb for any wall or ceiling you're painting. You'll rarely get a seamless finish from just one coat of paint, and even if you do, coverage isn't the only goal when it comes to painting a room.

Will roller marks go away when paint dries? ›

No they will not. If you see them when it's whet they will be there when it's dry. That's why a quality roller and paint along with good technique are so impy.

Why can I see roller marks after painting? ›

Roller marks are exactly what they sound like — evidence of where the painter used the roller brush. They are often caused by a painter putting a second coat of paint on the wall before the first coat has completely dried.

What causes ceiling ghosting? ›

What are they? Ghost spots or thermal ghosting are caused by a combination of moisture, condensation, cold spots, static electricity, air currents, and a good supply of dust, soot, and other particles drifting in the air.

Do professional painters use 2 coats of paint? ›

As a rule of thumb, you should always expect to apply two coats of paint regardless of what the label says. Colors such as reds, bright yellows, and oranges may require three or more coats. However, there are situations where one coat of paint is perfectly acceptable.

Should I paint ceiling roller or brush? ›

Is it better to paint a ceiling with a brush or roller? 'We recommend using both a brush and a roller,' says Helen Shaw at Benjamin Moore. 'A brush is needed for painting the edges of the ceiling and the roller to paint the rest of the ceiling.

How do you paint a ceiling with a roller without streaks? ›

Step 6: While the ceiling is still damp, use an unloaded paint roller in a corner of the ceiling and lightly pull it in a straight line without pressure. Continue this action, slightly overlapping each line. This will prevent ceiling paint streaks.

How do you paint a ceiling without roller marks? ›

Use a 2- or 2-1/2-inch angled brush to cut in a 3- to 4-inch-wide band of paint around the edges of the ceiling. This allows you to roll on paint afterward without getting too close to the walls and accidentally getting paint on them from the roller.

Why is there white patches after painting? ›

The term 'chalking' refers to the formation of a white, chalky powder on the surface of the paint film. This condition often occurs as the paint weathers and the binder is slowly degraded by sunshine and moisture, releasing the binder's hold on the pigment.

Will another coat of paint cover roller marks? ›

All you need to do is wait for it to completely dry and then apply another coat of paint. To avoid an overloaded roller, soak up any excess paint from your roller using a lint-free cloth. Then, go over the area again using light pressure until the paint streak disappears.

How do I fix ghosting? ›

Tips on Fixing Monitor Ghosting
  1. Open your monitor's display menu.
  2. Find the overdrive setting.
  3. Turn on the overdrive to customise the level.
  4. Slowly change the level and check the monitor ghosting test.
  5. Find the optimal overdrive result.
Nov 4, 2022

What does a ceiling look like before it collapses? ›

a cracking sound; sagging or dropping of the plasterboard sheeting and/or the cornice; visual cracking; and/or. small circles or blisters in a line caused by nails or screws, indicating that the sheeting may be pulling away from the joist (beam) above it.

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