How to Get Up There to Paint High Vaulted Ceilings


You may be intimidated by the task of painting your high vaulted ceiling, envisioning a tower of expensive and bulky scaffolding in your living room. While it's not an easy job, you should be able to paint a very high vaulted ceiling without scaffolding, in most cases. Visit a home supply or paint store and check out the available gadgets that make painting vaulted ceilings easier. You will need ladders to get up there, however. If you don't own tall stepladders or an extension ladder, you can rent them by the day.

Things You'll Need

  • Extension ladder
  • Step ladder
  • Extension pole
  • Brush extender
  • Roller
  • Brush
  • Drop cloths
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Move as much furniture as possible out of the room before you paint. Cover the remaining furniture with plastic sheeting, and the floors with drop cloths.

  • Use an extension ladder or step ladder to paint the edges of the ceiling with a brush.

  • Purchase a brush extender to paint around beams or light fixtures in the middle of the ceiling that you can't reach with a ladder. Clip the brush onto the extender, and adjust the angle as necessary. Screw the other end of the extender to the end of your extension pole. Stand on the ladder if you can't reach from the ground.

  • Roll the vaulted ceiling using a roller and a long extension pole. Adjustable extension poles are available in lengths up to 16 feet, and you can rent or buy 12 foot stepladders. Using a stepladder in combination with an extension pole will allow you to paint very high ceilings, although it will give your shoulders a work out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tape a sponge or rag to the end of an extension pole to clean high light fixtures if you accidentally get paint on them.
  • Use high quality, professional-grade equipment. A lambswool roller will hold a lot more paint than a cheaper one, and is less likely to leave roller marks. Professional-grade roller handles don't flex much and are easier to use on long extension poles.
  • Never put a ladder on top of a drop cloth over a slippery floor, such as tile or hardwood because it can slip.
  • If you don't feel safe working on tall ladders, it's probably best to contact a professional. There's potential for falls and serious injury with tall ladders.

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  • Photo Credit Ladder image by Towards Ithaca from
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