5 Tips for Painting a Stucco Ceiling

A stucco ceiling can look quite grand in a room, at least until you need to paint it. Then, it can seem very intimidating, as you wonder exactly how to get the paint into all the swirls and ridges. It is possible, but there are tips that are worth knowing to make the job a lot easier. Knowing how to paint a stucco ceiling will ensure everything goes much faster and more smoothly.

Clearing the Room

Things will be much easier if you can clear the room entirely. This might not always be possible. Cover anything that remains with drop cloths and ensure that the whole floor is covered with drop cloths. You should also hang plastic sheets from the top of the walls to protect them. Use masking tape to fix them in place.

Inspect the Ceiling

Before starting to paint the stucco ceiling, you need to inspect it closely to judge whether it’s been painted in the past. If it has, you’ll be able to tell because it will appear partially sealed. To do this, you’ll need to climb a stepladder to get close to the ceiling. You shouldn’t try to wash the stucco ceiling. The reason for this is that water can damage the stucco or even cause some of it to fall off, which will alter the look of the ceiling.


If the ceiling has never been painted before, or if it’s dirty and has some water staining, you’ll need to use primer on it before you apply paint to the stucco ceiling. This is best done in two thin coats. You will need to use more coats of primer on any areas of the stucco ceiling that have been damaged by water. Keep applying coats of primer there until no sign of the water stains remains. It’s important to feather the thicker primer into the thinner areas that surround them so the color looks smooth on the ceiling.


When you paint, it’s important that that room is well lit so you can examine your work on the stucco ceiling as you progress. It’s important that after you finish a section you check it from different angles to be certain your paint has covered everything.


The simplest way to apply the paint is by using a long-nap roller. Normally, you’d try to squeeze as much paint as possible out of the roller before using it, but with a stucco, you want as much as possible to remain on the roller without it actually dripping.

To apply the paint, forget the usual rules. This time, you actually want to go in several different directions, as it’s the only way to be certain the paint will reach into all the nooks and crannies of the stucco ceiling. You will probably need to use a paintbrush to reach into the deeper, trickier areas. Apply at least two coats of paint to the stucco ceiling. Depending on the color and coverage, you might even need three coats.