Just finished patching two holes in a ceiling due to a leak in the apartment above.

Ceiling is all smooth and ready to paint.

Question, should I prime the areas that were fixed or prime the whole ceiling?

I'm thinking the whole ceiling because the room was last painted over a year ago and it won't be an exact match to the walls. But also, the original paint is discontinued and the new paint was "closely matched" to the original paint color.

Any input advice is greatly appreciated.

  • Is the primer a different color than the existing topcoat? What a you doing to roughen the surface to accept paint? Is the current coating flat, satin or gloss? Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 19:51
  • Yes, primer is white. And the current coating is flat. I probably should have mixed some of the new paint in with the primer but didn't think of that until responding. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


This is mostly a matter of opinion. You'll usually get a better (more uniform) result if you do things edge-to-edge or corner-to-corner, including primer. The undercoat can have a significant effect on the sheen (and sometimes the color) of the topcoat.

Another consideration is lighting. If the room has few windows and low lighting, the ceiling finish will be obscure. If you have bright natural light or up-directed lighting it'll be in the spotlight, so to speak, and any variations in finish will be much more apparent.

Since you're completely repainting, and assuming the sheen and color of the primer are similar to the topcoat, you can probably get away with just priming the repairs. Again, it's up to you as to what level of finish quality you need.

  • Thanks. The primer is white. The ceiling is a "blue" and I'm using quotes because there are some many color variations. Unfortunately this room gets a lot of light. High floor building northern exposure big windows. I decided to prime the whole ceiling even the areas where we replaced the sheetrock. I used Bulls Eye 1-2-3 5 Gal. White Water-Based Interior/Exterior Primer and Sealer. At the end of the day, I want the ceiling to look good and the client to be happy. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 16:56

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