How to Smooth a Textured Ceiling to Paint it

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Texturing can add a look of complexity to a ceiling, but there are times when you might want a smoother surface for a new coat of paint. It's a simple job but it can be time-consuming and messy. Using the right equipment and approach can cut down on both the time and the mess; your ceiling can be ready to paint after only a day's work.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • Dust-free drywall sander
  • 100-grit sanding mesh
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Drywall compound
  • Wallboard knife
  • Cover the furniture and floor with drop cloths to protect against falling dust and particles.

  • Put on the face mask and goggles to protect your lungs and eyes.

  • Attach a dust-free drywall sander, which is simply a mesh sander equipped with an attachment for a hose, to a vacuum cleaner. Attach the drywall sander and hose to a sanding pole for a longer reach.

  • Sand the texture from the ceiling using 100-grit sanding mesh. Take care to not go below the surface of the ceiling into the drywall.

  • Remove dust from the ceiling surface once you've gone over the entire area.

  • Spot-prime any thin patches where the sander may have gone past the texture into the ceiling paint. Use two coats of an oil-based primer to apply the spot patches, allowing it to dry completely before continuing.

  • Combine premixed drywall compound with water, thinning the mixture until it's the consistency of mayonnaise. Apply the thinned compound to the ceiling using a wallboard knife, covering the entire surface. Allow the covering to dry.

  • Lightly sand the new surface smooth to prepare it for the new coat of paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your ceiling texture contains asbestos, consider having a professional remove the texture.
  • If your ceiling may have been textured prior to 1980, have a lab test it for asbestos before attempting removal.
  • If asbestos is present use a HEPA-filter respirator mask designed for particulates, protective goggles, rubber boots and clothing that can be disposed of when the job is completed.
  • Your best bet may be to hire a professional to do the job.

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