Paint roller marks on a ceiling signal that the paint job was done by an amateur, but you don't have to be a professional to avoid them entirely. Even if you have no experience painting ceilings, you can create a smooth, professional-looking paint surface by following the following steps when rolling paint.

Avoid roller marks on your ceiling by using high-quality materials and the proper technique.
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Tip 1: Use Primer

Always prime porous surfaces before painting to ensure even paint absorption. New drywall, for instance, must be primed before painting.

Tip 2: Cut In Before Rolling

Cut in around the ceiling with a brush before rolling. Brushes leave behind a different paint texture than a roller. For a uniform finish, cut in first and then roll the ceiling as close to the edges as you can get later.

Tip 3: Use Proper Equipment

Well-made paint roller sleeves and quality paint will lower the chances of leaving roller marks. Use a 1/2-inch nap wool-blend roller cover. Wrap masking tape around the roller cover before using it for the first time, then remove the tape to remove any roller lint. Repeat this process until the roller stops shedding lint. Maintain your equipment as you paint. If you take a break, keep your roller moist by wrapping it in plastic or placing it in a plastic bag.

Tip 4: Thin the Paint if Necessary

Thick paint should be thinned 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—strive for a consistency that rolls off the paint roller evenly without leaving any ridges at the painted edges.

Tip 5: Use a Ladder

Use a ladder to get closer to the ceiling with the roller. Altough an extension pole allows you to reach the ceiling from floor level, it does not offer the same degree 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.

Tip 6: Load the Roller Properly

Keep the roller wet but not saturated with paint. Use a clean 5-gallon 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, because this saturates the roller joints and is almost certain to result in roller marks.

Tip 7: Use Proper Roller Technique

Apply the paint lightly against the ceiling without pushing harder than necessary. Use overlapping strokes consisting of a forward stroke with the roller followed by a backward stroke that overlaps. You can also move your roller in the shape of a "W" to ensure an even coat that avoids moving the roller in a series of straight lines. Remember to apply the paint thinly—Heavier coats increase the chance of roller marks,

Begin each roller stroke from an already wet area of paint. Starting a stroke in wet paint rather than on a dry patch prevents the creation of roller edge marks that can dry visibly.