Step 1: Test the water solubility of the ceiling
Paint unpainted textured ceilings with a vibrator-type paint sprayer
Test the water solubility of your popcorn ceiling. If the texture becomes soft, the best way to paint it is with a vibrator-type spray gun.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
What’s the best way to paint an acoustical ceiling? That depends on whether it’s ever been painted before. Without paint, it tends to be very water-soluble. This means that painting it with a roller can be very tricky because the acoustical material will absorb the water from the paint and start coming off on the roller. To test the water solubility, spray a small amount of water on an inconspicuous area. If the texture becomes soft, the best way to paint it is with a spray gun.
Step 2: Paint popcorn ceiling
If that’s the case with your acoustical ceiling, use a good, vibrator-type paint sprayer (available at home centers). Since you’ll be working overhead, you’ll need a suction set and portable paint reservoir for the sprayer instead of the usual paint jar. The one we used has a backpack type of setup. To ensure a uniform coat, it’s wise to apply the paint in at least three directions.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Dust mask
- Extension cord
- Safety glasses
- Vibrator-type paint spray gun
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.