Where the wall meets the ceiling

graywings123December 19, 2009

I recall reading here that the wall paint should be used to fill in the tiny curve between the wall and ceiling paints. How strange would it look if the ceiling paint came down and filled that curve?

I do not have a steady enough hand to do this freehand - I have to use painter's tape. And even applying painter's tape on the ceiling in a straight line is difficult. I can, however, get a straight line of tape on the wall. I would let the wall paint cure before applying the tape and painting the ceiling.

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Lori A. Sawaya

I have a picture somewhere that illustrates exactly what you're wanting to do. I can't find it right now...

It's not uncommon for that line, where the ceiling and the wall meet, to be structurally uneven. If you follow that line precisely, you're not going to have a straight line of color. You can strike a new line just a little bit down on the wall that IS level. Dropping your ceiling color down so it's on the wall and level is actually a common strategy. Once it's done, no one can really tell unless you point it out.

Painters often do this just eyeballin' it and freehand. If you look really closely you'll see that a lot of homes, new and old, may have rather imperfect ceiling/wall lines that need to be *straightened out* with paint/color.

Not that you're hanging a wallpaper or border, but those uneven lines can really show in that case. Bringing the ceiling color down on to the wall just a snidge -- striking a new level line for the border, for example -- is the only way to do it or else the border would look all wonky and unlevel.

I've never done it, but you can also reverse the strategy and take the wall color up past the joint and right on to the ceiling just a snidge. The theory behind doing that is for lower height ceilings -- supposedly it visually fools the eye into seeing a *higher* ceiling. I'd love to see what that looks like / feels like!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 5:02PM
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paintguy22

Why can't you just run the tape up onto that curve? I wouldn't suggest painting the ceiling after the walls are done of course because you could splatter and drip ceiling paint on the walls, but you can do this: paint the ceiling, then paint the walls and run the wall paint up onto the ceiling about 1/4" or so. After the walls are dry, tape them off at the ceiling line and then just cut in the perimeter of the ceiling again. If you want to be sure that the ceiling paint doesn't bleed under the tape, use the wall paint first to seal up that tape edge...that way, any bleeding will be done with paint that is the same color as the walls.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 6:08PM
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decorativewalls

QUOTE:::
And even applying painter's tape on the ceiling in a straight line is difficult.

Is this because your hands are not steady enough , your arms get tired from holding up, your ceiling could be textured, and lastly could be from uneven drywall installation or just shifting or settling of the house?

Of course a good steady hand and good practice of cut in MOA is a sure way to accomplish this.

Another thing you might try is stand on the ladder higher engouh to where you can have a good run with the brush and by starting about an inch below the ceiling line , pull the brush toward you as you excel all the while maneuvering the brush up toward the ceiling. The brush should fan out nicely to create a nice clean paint line.

Another thing you might want to try is just bring the paint of the ceiling down about 1/8 to 1/4" onto the walls top edge line.
If you are afraid you can't keep the straight line here , use delicate blue painter's tape orange core 2080 and run a straight line of the tape across the top of the wall 1/8" or 1/4" down. You might want to use a 4' ruler and make small tick marks in order for you to apply the tape to meet a straight line for you.

Of course all of the things may take you a little while longer to set up before you can actually get to the real painting part. Other than that, just a good steady hand.

If you have textured ceilings, try using the end of a flat edge screwdriver or butter knife and lightly scrape away or scrape down the texture right at the edge line. Then use your tape to apply.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 7:59PM
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graywings123

Thanks so much for the replies. This is a 90 year old house, and I didn't even think about the possibility of the ceiling lines possibly being uneven. This idea is sounding better and better.

My problem is a lack of a good steady hand, fatigue setting in as I work, not painting regularly enough to learn and keep the skill, and probably not enough patience.

Paintguy, I was already planning to do something like you suggest. I was going to roll the ceiling first and do the ceiling cut-in after the walls dried completely and were safe to tape. It's a take-off on your advice on how to avoid hatbanding, which has made painting so much easier for me.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:48AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

It does take practice a patience! Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:20PM
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