How to Paint 18 Foot Walls


Many newer homes feature open splan with high ceilings, tall foyers and high wals. While it might seem like a daunting task to paint an 18-foot wall, you can accomplish the task yourself safely with the right tools, as long as you're comfortable with heights and working on an extension ladder. Approach the job methodically with all the necessary tools and materials gathered before you start and work from the top of the wall down. You should be able to paint the wall in a day.

Things You'll Need

  • Painter's tape
  • 16-foot extension ladder
  • 6-foot stepladder
  • Feather duster or brush
  • Drop cloths
  • Spackling paste
  • Putty knife
  • 3-inch brush
  • Paint
  • 1-gallon bucket
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Roller grid
  • Roller handle
  • Lambswool roller
  • Extension pole
  • Prepare the area for painting. Remove window coverings and art work from the wall. Push furniture to the other side of the room to allow you plenty of space to set up a ladder.

  • Protect trim and baseboards with painter's tape. Press down the tape firmly with your fingers to prevent paint from bleeding through.

  • Extend a 16-foot extension ladder to a comfortable working height for reaching the top of the wall. Place it against the wall. The distance between the base of the ladder and the bottom of the wall should measure about 1 foot for every 4 feet of ladder height. In other words, the base of a fully-extended 16-foot ladder should be 4 feet from the wall.

  • Protect the floor below the wall with drop cloths or builder's rosin paper.

  • Climb the ladder. Remove dust and cobwebs from the top of the wall using a soft brush or feather duster. Repair nail pops and cracks with Spackling paste by applying it with a putty knife. Unless you have a steady hand, apply 2-inch painter's tape to the ceiling where it meets the wall.

  • Fill cracks and gouges on the lower part of the wall, using a 6-foot stepladder to reach the areas half-way up. After the repairs are dry, sand them if necessary.

  • Mix all of the paint you'll be using together in a 5-gallon bucket. This ensures uniformity of color; there may be slight differences between gallon cans of paint. Pour a little of the mixed paint into a bucket or one of the paint cans.

  • Paint along the top of the wall at the ceiling using a 3-inch wall brush. Work your way from one end to the other, and then start at the beginning and apply a second coat. Remove the tape from the ceiling and take the extension ladder down.

  • Paint the edges of the rest of the wall with the brush, either from the ground or from a stepladder.

  • Roll a first coat of paint on the wall, starting at the top and working down toward the bottom in sections. Either work from the ground, using a 12-foot telescoping extension pole, or from the stepladder using a 6- or 8-foot extension pole.

  • Apply a second coat around the trim and along the baseboards with your brush while the wall is drying. Allow everything to dry for about two hours.

  • Roll a second coat of paint on the wall. Let it dry for at least two more hours before removing the painter's tape.

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