I'm doing a repaint on a ceiling ATM and found it looks hideous. Can see every roll line not because of built up paint on the roller edge. I think I'm laying it off properly. I have worked out after a bit of investigation that there wasn't prepped properly originally and they skipped the undercoating process. The original work was done with a spray gun. Does anyone have any ideas how to sort this out?

It looks horrible. enter image description here

  • It's hard to tell from the picture whether it's perfectly smooth but unprimed, or an uneven surface. If the surface is uneven, the only real solution is to fix that first; paint won't hide it. If the problem is just lack of priming, prime it, then repaint. The work so far is a sunk cost. The only way to make it look right is to do it right.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 23, 2017 at 18:33
  • @RebeccaClark What kind of paint were you using - Satin, or Glossy . The issue is probably not the undercoating (primer) - many paints come with the primer in it. You probably did not spread the paint out.
    – Ken
    Apr 23, 2017 at 20:24
  • The drywall has a paper coating and the joint compound doesn't. They are also different brightnesses. They absorb paint at different rates and inexpensive paint is less opaque, so the difference in color can show through. Primer is designed to seal the surface and provide an opaque layer so that the paint goes on something that is uniform. On a primed surface, uneven paint thickness will be much less noticeable, High quality paint will make a big difference (many store brand paints are not high quality).
    – fixer1234
    Apr 23, 2017 at 20:54
  • Looks and sounds more like a problem with your painting prep or technique or the paint you're using. Looks and sounds like you're not applying the paint uniformly and or not maintaining a wet edge where you're rolling. Also it helps to use a high quality, flat paint for ceilings. Apr 24, 2017 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


You probably did not spread the paint out.

Please watch the following video it will help you.

How to Paint a Ceiling With a roller Video 1

How to Paint a Ceiling with a Roller


How many coats of paint did you apply? The picture looks like one coat was applied. The amount of paint you load onto your roller, and the type of roller used, sheen level, and direction your applying the paint, really makes a difference on how well a finished ceiling looks. I suggest a 3/4' lambswool roller cover. This cover will allow you to apply more paint and lay it out a easier. Two other suggestions: consider a dead flat ceiling paint and apply your final coat in a direction across your first coat. Changing direction should help avoid lap marks.


Use a shellac based under coating like Zinsser B-I-N primer sealer. It has very good stain blocker coverage but hides joint compound "shine-off" and some imperfections in the actual drywall job. It's thin. It is not meant to cover. It is meant to block what is underneath from the topcoat. This is not in lieu of two topcoats. There is no such thing as a one coat paint. Two top coats, always. Primer is actually in topcoating it is just a cheaper product which is why pros tint primer to the topcoat color. (When they advertise primer-paint in one it is an advertising gimmick.) Thus the fix is three coats, shellac primer/blocker and two top coats of flat. (Always flat for ceiling.)

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