How to Fix an Uneven Painted Ceiling

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Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths

  • Stepladder

  • Sandpaper

  • Razor knife

  • Lightweight joint compound

  • Taping knife

  • Dust mask

  • Painter's tape

  • Ceiling paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Paint tray

  • Roller

Follow simple techniques to even out your ceiling before painting.
Image Credit: Gary Houlder/Lifesize/Getty Images

If you have an uneven ceiling with ridges and bumps, simply painting over it will not fix the problem. Since painting a ceiling can be hard on your arms and shoulders, don't just start painting and hope for the best. Instead, follow a few simple techniques to even out your ceiling, then apply new paint to a flat, prepared surface.


Step 1

Cover the floor of your room with painting drop cloths.

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Step 2

Stand on a stepladder so you can reach the ceiling. Sand or scrape any raised areas, dried paint drips or bumps off your ceiling using sandpaper or a razor knife.

Step 3

Apply a thin layer of lightweight joint compound to the ceiling using a taping knife. Allow the compound to dry overnight.

Step 4

Put on a dust mask. Sand any rough edges or raised spots.


Step 5

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 one or two more times until you are satisfied with the smoothness of the ceiling.

Step 6

Tape the walls at the edges of the ceiling using painter's tape. Use a paintbrush to paint around the edges.

Step 7

Pour ceiling paint into a tray. Use a roller to apply it to the ceiling. Let dry for 24 hours, then apply a second coat if desired.


Using several layers of thin drywall compound will give a smoother finish than one layer of a thick compound.


Use caution when standing on a ladder.


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