Painting a ceiling costs roughly $0.75-$1.23 per square foot. As with any interior painting project, how much you pay will depend on many factors. For example, how much paint do you need? Do you need a latex-based or oil-based paint? Your ceiling’s square footage, the type of paint you choose and several other elements can influence the overall price.
Continue reading to learn more about all of the factors, and get tips on how to receive free estimates from interior painters near you.
What’s in this cost guide?
Your total cost to paint a ceiling will depend on its square footage. Using the average price of $0.99 per square foot, you can estimate how much it will cost to paint your ceiling.
Ceiling painting cost:
|Square feet||Estimated cost|
|150 sq ft||$148.50|
|250 sq ft||$247.50|
|350 sq ft||$346.50|
|450 sq ft||$445.50|
|550 sq ft||$544.50|
Ceiling painting projects are typically priced by the ceiling’s square footage. Multiply your ceiling’s length by its width to determine its square footage.
One gallon of paint covers approximately 400 square feet. To estimate how many gallons you will need for your ceiling, divide the total square footage by 400. This will be for one coat of paint, so you must double the total you buy if two are required.
Factor in additional costs for prep work, paint prices and any extra work that may be needed to finish your ceiling.
Related content: How much does it cost to paint your interior?
A few different elements go into the overall cost of painting a ceiling. Your painter will guide you through your paint options, and they will inspect your ceiling to see how much prep work they may need to do.
Ceiling paint prices
The paint you choose will affect the total price of the paint job. Paint prices can range from $20-$50 a gallon, depending on the quality — a luxury or high-quality brand paint will cost you more per gallon.
Ceilings may need more than one coat of paint to get complete coverage. Painters will purchase the appropriate amount to give homeowners the best finish.
Additional preparation may need to be done to your ceiling before the painter can work. For example, your ceiling may need to be repaired or have a texture (like a popcorn ceiling) that must be sanded down to have a clean surface for painting. If you have trim on the ceiling, this will need to be taped off before painting can begin. This extra labor may bring the price up.
Painters typically price their services by the square footage, so your ceiling's size will impact the overall cost. You can estimate the cost by measuring the interior space. The ceiling's height and complexity could also add to labor and material costs.
Your ceiling’s material will also determine the type of paint required to give the best coverage. For example, professional painters often use flat latex paint on textured drywall. Meanwhile, oil-based paints aren't used as often. High-gloss and semi-gloss paint is not commonly recommended.
There are also specific paints made for masonry, stucco or plaster ceilings. When you’re browsing through your paint options, look for products with "ceiling paint" labels.
Ceiling paints are thicker than other paints to prevent dripping and give better coverage for spots or stains. Some paints are made explicitly for ceilings and are marked as such.
- Flat latex paint (also called water-based paint) is versatile and best at hiding imperfections in your ceiling. It’s recommended for textured ceilings. You can purchase flat latex ceiling paint at retailers for about $14-$25 a gallon.
- Eggshell is another popular ceiling paint finish that absorbs light. A quick search online at retailers found prices ranging from $14-$21 a gallon.
- Satin paint has a bit of a reflective surface but has a low enough sheen to avoid highlighting any ceiling defects or imperfections. Satin finish paint prices range approximately from $15-$36 a gallon at retailers.
Remember to discuss your ideas with your interior painter. They can help you decide which ceiling paint to use based on your budget and preferences.
When it’s time to hire an interior painting company or contractor, do a little research to find the right one for your project.
First, go online to look at professional painters' profiles and job experience. Read their customer reviews, and look at any pictures they have of their previous work. Make sure they have enough experience painting interior spaces.
Keep track of the top painters and contact them after your list is complete. But before you reach out, have your estimated square footage ready so they can give you an estimate of how long the paint job will take and what it might cost.
You should also have a list of questions to ask them as well. For example, ask them what types of paint they're familiar with and recommend for your ceiling. And make sure you ask about their license, credentials and certifications.
A painted ceiling can give your home's interior a clean, finished look and create the illusion of a larger or cozier room. Being a homeowner isn't easy — you have many repairs, maintenance and home improvement tasks you need to do. Make your life easier by hiring a professional to come in to do the work for you. Start looking for interior painters in your area on Thumbtack today.
How long does it take to paint a ceiling?
Including set up, prep work and the actual painting, the paint job can take several hours (depending on your ceiling’s size). If a lot of preparation is needed, or if you want to also paint your walls and trim, the process will be more time-consuming.
How hard is it to paint a ceiling?
Painting a ceiling requires some more setup and is a bit more strenuous than painting a wall. However, a painter can do it successfully.
How many coats of paint does a ceiling need?
If you’re painting over the same color, one coat should suffice. If you’re changing colors or have visible stains or marks that you want to cover, two coats may be necessary (not including the primer).
Do I need to add a primer to my ceiling before painting?
In most cases, it’s best to prime your ceilings before adding paint to hide stains and help the paint adhere to the surface.
Is it OK to paint my walls before the ceiling?
When painting your interior, it’s best to paint the ceilings first. Then, you can move onto the walls without worrying about paint splattering from the ceiling.
Related content: How much does it cost to paint your home's exterior?
Additional source: 2020 National Repair & Remodeling Estimator