Do You Cut In First When Painting A Ceiling?

Professionals know that you need to cut in twice when painting walls to get the most smooth and even finish. So you wonder if the same rules apply when you’re painting the ceiling.

Considering you’ll want to get a sleek transition from the ceiling to the wall, should you cut in before or after painting?

To help you get the best finish on your ceiling, let’s discuss the proper technique of cutting in and the methods you could use to succeed.

What does cutting mean for painting the ceiling?

Cutting in is the process of applying paint to tight corners of the ceiling where even the smallest of nap roller sizes won’t be able to reach. On the ceiling, it’s usually the edge where it meets the wall.

Professional painters aim to create a clean line of paint, especially if the ceiling and wall have different colors. 

Cutting in may feel like an intimidating task to a beginner, but there are 3 methods that professional painters use that we will discuss below. The methods make the job of creating a clean transition easier so you don’t end up repainting your entire room. 

Do you cut in the ceiling before or after painting?

It’s always recommended that you cut in before painting the rest of the ceiling. This will allow you to create a sleek line between the wall, especially if you have crown moldings or aren’t planning on changing the wall color.

You might have to be precise for this step, but if you’re not a meticulous painter, there are also tools and techniques that will help you succeed. Having a good-quality brush and paint will make the job easier, so the chances of leaving any uneven streaks or brush marks will be low.

How do you cut ceiling lines?

Cutting in ceiling lines can be intimidating for a beginner, but professionals use 3 different methods to create a tidy line:

Method #1: Apply caulk

This method may be the most time-consuming but this will be helpful for when you’re dealing with textured ceilings and walls. Since it’s difficult to create a straight line on a bumpy texture, applying caulk can create the illusion of a smooth transition.

To do this, you’ll need to apply painter’s tape throughout the edges of the ceiling. Then, apply a thin layer of transparent caulk between the tape and the edge of the ceiling. Repeat the steps until you cover the rest of the ceiling.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to use transparent caulk for this method so it’s unnoticeable once you remove the tape.

Method #2: Angled brush

This second method may be the most preferred by many professionals because it’s convenient and easy to do. It might take you a little practice to perfect the technique but once you get the hang of it, it will be a breeze to do.

To start, make sure you have a high-quality angled brush. Dip the ends on the paint and apply it at an angle on the edge of your ceiling. The angled bristles of the brush will help you create a straight line for cutting in.

Once you applied a foot-long amount of paint, stroke the brush in the opposite direction to smoothen out the paint. Use the wide edge of the brush to smoothen out any brush marks by sweeping it back and forth.

Method #3: Use a ceiling edger

If you’re not confident about your skills in cutting in, you can always use a ceiling edger to keep the paint on your ceiling clean. You might be cheating a bit, but this handy tool does the job half the time compared to if you would do it manually. 

You can find a ceiling edger at any hardware store, just make sure you get a good-quality one.

To use, load the sponge with paint, making sure it’s distributed evenly. Align the ceiling edger at the border of the ceiling where it meets the wall. Apply a long stroke of paint in one direction, then go back in the opposite way to spread it smoothly. Repeat the steps until you’ve covered all of the edges of the ceiling.

The pad of the tool is removable, so you can replace it when it gets worn out or if you want to paint another color. Just make sure to clean the plastic edger and securely store it for the next time you get the urge to paint your house. 

How to paint a ceiling

Now that you know the methods of how to cut in the ceiling, let’s put the steps together so you’d know how to paint your ceiling properly:

1. Clean your ceiling by removing any dust or cobwebs to make sure the new paint will adhere to the surface. Remember to also remove any chandeliers and cover any light fixtures.

2. Place painter’s tape on the edges of the wall or moldings. This will ensure you can get the roller to the edge of the wall without getting paint on surfaces you aren’t supposed to. 

3. Apply 1-2 coats of primer to help protect your walls from stains or leaks. Make sure to let each coat dry before applying the next layer.

4. Pick any of the 3 methods above for cutting in paint and use it to paint the edges of the ceiling.

5. Once all of the edges are covered, paint the rest of the ceiling by using the appropriate roller and allow it to dry completely. If you have to apply a second coat, make sure to cut in again before applying the second layer of paint.

Need a painting contractor?

If you’re still not satisfied with how your ceiling paint turned out, maybe it’s time to turn your project over to professionals. Soho Painters are the best painting contractor in New York, whether you need commercial or apartment painting. Armed with the best painting tools and training, you can ensure your walls will have a sleek and professional finish. For questions or inquiries, contact our team now and book a free estimate. 

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