Bathrooms · before and after · DIY · Painting

Your 5th Wall….What?

One way to change the look of a room without much cost, effort or commitment is to consider your ceiling. “What?” you say,”My ceiling? Why on earth would I do that?”  Well, let me tell you. Even thought I don’t have a before picture, I’m pretty sure you can imagine what a boring white ceiling would have looked like in my bathroom. Or your bathroom or any bathroom for that matter. Ok, before you get all excited, some bathrooms look great with a white ceiling, but I am talking to those who like colour, are afraid to commit to a whole room of it, or like me, like the white walls in the bathroom but still crave some saturated hues.  What I’ve done is painted a beautiful Mediterranean blue on my ceiling. Even if you aren’t a very skilled painter, it’s really an easy way to practice painting since it’s usually a smaller ceiling space and doesn’t require much prep. bathroombathroom ceiling bathroom ceiling 2    For this project, tape off with painters tape all the top of the crownmould (or wall if you have no crownmould) and around the base of all lighting fixtures (and fan or any other fixtures on the ceiling you may have), being sure you have a good seal so the paint won’t seep under and muck up your clean edge. Use a sturdy ladder that is tall enough for you to stand without having to stretch too hard or hunch over either. I like to paint ceilings in the daytime so you don’t need to have the lights on – it can get quite toasty next to even standard lights when you are hanging about the ceiling for any amount of time and yes, you could paint at night using a construction light and keep your ceiling lights off but I find those lights to be harsh and they throw lots of shadow, making a precise view of the ceiling edge hard to see.  I like to use an angle brush of decent quality – I have used less expensive brushes but for ease of work, it’s well worth the investment to have good brushes in your kit. Paint your edges first, not too thick of a coat, you may as well resign yourself to the fact that it will probably take two coats anyway. If you paint it on too thickly, it will drip and run. That’s harder to fix when dry than just re-painting an edge. Next, roll on the remainder of the ceiling with a roller. If you have a popcorn ceiling, get a specific roller for that type of ceiling. If it is a flat ceiling go ahead with any but keep in mind if you buy a super cheapie roller, it often leaves blobs of fuzz behind and you’ll be picking and wiping as you go. No fun.

Okay – the important thing. Some older homes have been painted with oil paint on the ceiling and even some newer homes have the water based popcorn ceiling painted over with oil based paint. If you know your ceiling is such, DO NOT paint over it with latex paint. I speak from experience here – early on in my many painting experiments, I painted latex over oil not knowing it would be and issue. OY!  what an issue it ended up being. The oil and latex did not agree and the latex bubbled up and peeled and looked disgusting. THEN what a mess to fix too! I had to sand the entire ceiling and start from scratch. Horrible horrible job. Don’t do it.  So now you ask, “How can I tell?”   If your ceiling is popcorn and you think it’s never been painted but want to be sure, wipe a small spot with a damp cloth in an inconspicuous area. If the popcorn comes off, it’s never been painted. Check with your local paint store or home improvement store for the best product to use to paint over the popcorn.  If your ceiling, popcorn or flat, HAS been painted with oil paint, you can either use oil paint again or get the special primer which lets you paint on the existing oil paint but makes it so you can paint latex paint over the special primer. TIP!  An easy way to tell if your ceiling or walls have been painted with oil or latex is the nail polish remover test. If you swipe a cotton ball that has some nail polish remover on it on the area you are testing, it will show the paint colour on the cotton ball if the paint is latex. If it is oil paint, it will not show on the cotton ball.

P.S. The cost of this project was nil, I used left over paint again, but if your ceiling looks about the same size as mine, a litre should do it just fine. And don’t limit yourself to blue – black could be dramatic like a night sky, or a golden hue would warm up a space and cast a beautiful glow. Lavender could look like a sunset and green like a lush forest. You get the idea – but don’t just sit there! Get painting! We can talk about removing the popcorn ceiling on another time. That’s a post of it’s own!

Supplies from Home Depot.

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