Tips for painting a ceiling that spans multiple rooms?


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Old 01-11-10, 06:27 AM
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Question Tips for painting a ceiling that spans multiple rooms?

Total newb to the forum, but I've had some experience painting smaller rooms and have had decent success. Now, however, I'm faced with a daunting task: after knowing our three little boys would destroy our common areas as they went from newborns to school-age kids (and boy did they do a good job!), it's time to repaint multiple rooms.

The walls aren't that problematic, other than the sheer number of repairs, it's the ceilings -- or rather, The Ceiling. The Ceiling spans across the LR, kitchen, casual eating area, DR, foyer, hallway, and there are no natural demarcations between these rooms.

Honestly, I'm not sure I could possibly cut-in all these surfaces in one day, but I also don't want to have huge lap marks. I'd like to paint The Ceiling in a flat off-white, same color for all rooms, and am looking for some best-practice advice on how to do it with a minimal amount of paint lap marks.

Should I do one room at a time and feather the very edge? Should I do a hard line and lightly sand whatever lap marks I get? Hire a pro with a sprayer? Add false framing to divide the rooms?!? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 01-11-10, 08:28 AM
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Hi ilikebeer:

Sounds like you really have an open floor plan.

Before we moved the Boston area we had a similar situation to what you described. I didn't paint the ceiling in every one of the areas at the same time and it didn't seem to present a problem. In our situation, there were different lights and reflections from windows and shadows. It didn't really look like a continuous flow.

Maybe you don't have as much of a problem as you believe.

I also always used the same ceiling paint. I prefer the Glidden paint that is pink when first applied. 'Lap marks' aren't as much of a problem as areas you miss. I also do my cut in with a paint pad that has rollers on the edge.
 
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Old 01-11-10, 10:51 AM
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Providing you use flat latex paint, there shouldn't be any issues stopping and starting between rooms. What will make lap marks show with flat paint is where the lap mark [double coat] has better coverage than the rest of the ceiling. In that case, you would need 2 coats anyway. A quality paint will almost always cover better than it's cheaper counterpart = better looking job

As BRSF mentioned, ceilings don't always need to be repainted when the walls are. If there are no stains or dirt/grime from a heating system, you can often get by with painting the ceiling every other time. Of course as a pro painter it's my opinion that the ceiling should be painted every time

It's rarely a good idea to do any spraying in an occupied dwelling. I've done a lot of spraying in new construction but when a house is completed - there is too much to cover up, overspray WILL go everywhere
 
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Old 01-11-10, 11:04 AM
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Unfortunately, I *have* to paint the ceiling due to a case of user error when operating a washing machine upstairs....I know I have to prime already, so there will definitely be multiple coats (flat latex for sure). Thanks for the tip on spraying -- I had a feeling that would be overkill.

As BRSF mentioned, the ceiling, while without natural boundaries, does have significant placement and/or lighting differences that will probably allow me to strategically place any areas for potential lap marks.
 
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Old 01-11-10, 11:07 AM
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Are there water stains on the ceiling? if so, what primer do you intend to use?
 
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Old 01-11-10, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Are there water stains on the ceiling? if so, what primer do you intend to use?
There are, indeed. As for primer, I'm all ears...
 
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Old 01-11-10, 11:26 AM
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I've never seen a latex primer [even if it claims to hide stains] to have a long term effect on water stains. The stain will either bleed thru immediately or months down the road

Most water stains can be sealed using an oil base primer. Original kilz should work although there are better primers available. Your local paint store should have a good selection, not so much at a big box. The ultimate in stain hiding is pigmented shellac like zinnser's BIN...... but it's also the stinkiest
 
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Old 01-11-10, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
I've never seen a latex primer [even if it claims to hide stains] to have a long term effect on water stains. The stain will either bleed thru immediately or months down the road

Most water stains can be sealed using an oil base primer. Original kilz should work although there are better primers available. Your local paint store should have a good selection, not so much at a big box. The ultimate in stain hiding is pigmented shellac like zinnser's BIN...... but it's also the stinkiest
Again, thanks for the very helpful advice. One very large problem will be the stinky factor -- I mentioned our three boys, and my wife is probably far more sensitive to smell than even they are. Any thought on least-nasty oil-based primers? I'd probably need to send the wife/kids away if I used BIN from the sounds of it.
 
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Old 01-11-10, 03:51 PM
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Ya, the odor can be something hard to deal with
Oil base primers aren't as bad as shellac and the more fresh air circulation you can have, the better it will be. Would it be feasible to just oil prime the stains? [plus a few inches]

Solvent based coatings seal the substrate better than latex does so when you top coat over it with latex, the areas that were spot primed will take longer to dry and maybe have a bit of shine until completely dry. After 24 hrs those areas should blend in providing there aren't any coverage issues. You could use a latex primer over the whole ceiling [after spot priming] if coverage is thought to be an issue - remember I've not seen your ceiling.

I worked with an old painter many years ago that often added a little cheap perfume to oil base coatings to help combat the odor. I was never convinced that it worked. There are some oil base primers that claim 'low odor' on the label. I don't know if that's true - years of painting have left me with a poor sniffer
 
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Old 01-11-10, 04:25 PM
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That's a very good question...when I say water damage, I mean it!!! Four tape joints about five feet long, a few light fixtures, some minor bubbling in other spots.

Based on your incredibly helpful advice, I'll probably try Kilz on the spots + a few inches, then prime over everything with latex primer, then two coats of paint. My best understanding is that I won't even know if the treatment has been effective until at least a few months later (probably once it turns humid around here)?

Thanks again...this has saved me a huge amount of future aggravation!!!
 
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Old 01-11-10, 04:34 PM
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Oil base primers like the original kilz do a good job of sealing water stains. Occasionally really bad stains will require a 2nd coat. On rare occasions I've run across stains that would only be sealed with BIN. If a stain comes thru the oil primer, latex primer and top coat, it shouldn't be too hard to shellac those places and touch them up with the top coat. If you see the stain coming thru your latex primer - either reprime those areas with oil primer or BIN before continuing.

I assume you've got some drywall work to do before you get to the priming stage. If there is a stain that you mud over, occasionally those areas will bleed thru the new joint compound but it often takes months for it to be apparent - something to think about
 
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Old 01-11-10, 04:39 PM
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I've done more drywall work than I'd like -- as an aside, if you know someone that's really a perfectionist that you wish ill upon, tell them to start mudding...it's a recipe for full mental meltdown (I can control the twitching now, barely, when I see the imperfections in my walls...hang on, I see another spot).

I haven't yet gotten up there to see the full extent of the damage, but it looks like the bubbling actually isn't on taped joints, go figure.

Again, thanks for your invaluable assistance!
 
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Old 01-11-10, 04:54 PM
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I suppose you know that anything bubbled, needs to be cut out. Removing and retaping loose tape is fairly straight forward. If the paper face of the drywall is bubbled - it will also need removal. because the gypsum will be exposed, it will also need an oil primer before patching. The moisture in j/c and latex primer can partially dissolve the expose gypsum. Zinnser's Gardz is the only latex primer that I'm aware of that can be used trouble free in place of oil primer on exposed gypsum.

Take a utility knife and cut the perimeter of the bubbled paper. If you just scrape and pull - most of the paper will come off the entire piece of drywall
 
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Old 01-12-10, 06:16 AM
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Can I simply use whatever oil-based primer I use on the stains on any exposed gypsum?
 
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Old 01-12-10, 01:10 PM
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Yes, that's what I use I just mentioned gardz as it's another option for the exposed gypsum, but gardz won't work on the stains.
 
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Old 01-13-10, 12:02 PM
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Arghh...

On the advice of the paint shop guys (not big box), I decided to try the Zinsser ODORLESS Oil-Base Stain Blocker. Two coats on now, and I can still see the distinct outlines of the water stains.

My question is -- should I continue to apply coats of this primer and hope it eventually covers, or should I break out the respirator and the exhaust fans and buy some BIN?
 
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Old 01-13-10, 01:42 PM
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Before you go to BIN, try brushing a coat of latex paint over one of the worst looking spots. If it covers [and doesn't bleed thru tomorrow] then more than likely the stains are sealed. Sealing a stain and covering a stain aren't always the same thing.

Without being there to see, it's impossible to say with certainty that the stain blocking primer failed or not..... but in all my years of painting, I've only once came across a stain that pigmented shellac [BIN] wouldn't seal.

One more thought - did the primer get mixed up well? If the solids were left in the bottom of the can, that could cause the primer to be ineffective.
 
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Old 01-13-10, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Before you go to BIN, try brushing a coat of latex paint over one of the worst looking spots. If it covers [and doesn't bleed thru tomorrow] then more than likely the stains are sealed. Sealing a stain and covering a stain aren't always the same thing.

Without being there to see, it's impossible to say with certainty that the stain blocking primer failed or not..... but in all my years of painting, I've only once came across a stain that pigmented shellac [BIN] wouldn't seal.

One more thought - did the primer get mixed up well? If the solids were left in the bottom of the can, that could cause the primer to be ineffective.
I think the sealing versus the covering is the key -- although the can itself mentions covering, as long as it seals and the paint goes on without either bleeding or flashing, I should be good to go. I brushed on a light coat a few hours ago, and it's almost completely invisible!!!

Thanks again for your help...now to paint the whole thing! Beer 4U2Beer 4U2
 
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Old 01-18-10, 02:36 PM
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Ahh, there is just one more thing.......

You usually can't get away with spot priming with a stain blocker. The primed "spots" will stand out, even after you have painted over them. The spot primed areas will be whiter, and shinier than the rest of the ceiling.

Normally, you would spot prime with the best stain blocker for the particular stain you are trying to seal, then you should totally prime the whole ceiling (in this case). Then you paint the ceiling. This will prevent the spots (the primed area itself) from "flashing" through.

If the lighting in the rooms is not good, you may get away with spot priming, then painting over the top. If total priming is not an option, make sure the borders of the spot primed areas are not well defined and you might be OK.

If you use a dead flat, (many flats are not absolutely flat, but have a low angular sheen or glow), you should be able to cut in first without the lapping being a noticeable issue -particularly around the perimeter of the room, at the wall/ceiling line. You may want to cut in around the ceiling lights in the middle of the room, as you roll out the ceiling to be safer in terms of lapping, but I don't think that will be a problem with a "dead flat" - flat.
 
 

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