Ceiling roller marks are the mark of an amateur when it comes to judging the quality a ceiling's paint job. You don't have to be a professional, however, to avoid them entirely. Even if you have no experience painting ceilings, you can create a smooth, professional-looking paint surface by following a few tips when it comes to rolling the paint in place.
Use high-quality equipment. Well-made paint roller sleeves and paint will lower the chances of leaving roller marks. Use a wool-blend roller sleeve. Wrap masking tape around the roller fibers before using them for the first time. Pull the masking tape off the sleeve to pull away any loose fibers that could mar the paint finish.
Thin thick paint so that it goes on cleanly and smoothly. Use a paint thinner that's compatible with your paint type. Test the paint on a piece of cardboard, before using it on your ceiling, until you achieve a consistency that rolls off the paint roller evenly without leaving any ridges at the painted edges.
Use a ladder to get closer to the ceiling with the roller. An extension pole may allow you to reach from ground level but it does not offer the same level of control over the roller as a shorter pole would.
Position the ladder centrally beneath the area that you're painting so that you have to move as little as possible to cover the area. The less time between paint strokes when covering a new section of the ceiling, the less chance the paint will dry enough to lose its wet surface.
Begin each roller stroke from an already wet area of paint. Cut in a stripe of paint on the perimeter of the ceiling with a brush before rolling the rest of the ceiling. This will allow you to edge the wall closely, as well as give you a wet paint start for the roller. Starting a stroke in wet paint rather than on the dry ceiling prevents the creation of roller edge marks that can dry visibly.
Keep the roller wet but not saturated with paint. Use a bucket with a roller screen for a more even distribution of paint on the roller. Dip the roller slightly against the paint surface in the bucket and then spread the paint along the roller surface with the screen. Do not submerge the roller, as this will leave paint on the joints of the roller where the roller cover connects. This paint can then seep out during application, creating heavier paint deposits on the roller ends causing marks.
Apply the paint lightly to the ceiling. Use overlapping strokes that consist of a forward stroke with the roller followed by a backward stroke that overlaps the first to create a good coat of paint instead of heavy single strokes. The heavier the paint coverage using a single stroke, the greater the chance of leaving roller marks on the ceiling.
Overlap each line of paint by 50 percent to build up the coat and to prevent roller marks on the edges of each paint lap.
Smooth the paint using the paint roller applied perpendicular to the original paint strokes after completing the ceiling coverage. Use a dry roller for the smoothing process to avoid depositing an additional layer of paint and a light touch on the roller to prevent making new roller marks.