I painted a ceiling in my house yesterday. The previous finish was white matt but I wanted a satin finish on the ceiling.

I sanded the ceiling before hand with a drywall sander. It was the first time I had used it so I was admittedly a bit heavy handed in some places and stripped back the paint in some areas to the bare plaster. I then "spot primed" these areas and sanded them back.

I stupidly forgot to sand probably the most noticeable spot primed area on the whole ceiling before painting. I did it in the evening so I didn't notice it as there was no natural light. After applying 2 coats of the white satin paint you can really notice the brush marks.

You don't even see it if you stand anywhere in the room, its just when you are walking by or walking into it.... very annoying.

See here... the mark is right where the natural light hits the ceiling.

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I don't think adding another coat of paint on top will fix this, could I possible just sand away the brush marks here and do 1 more coat of paint on the ceiling? that would mean this one patch on the ceiling will only have 1 coat of paint... would that stop it blending in to the rest of the ceiling?

Is sanding the whole thing back, washing and starting again the only way? :(

  • 3
    The reason people almost always use flat paint on ceilings is that flat paint hides imperfections a lot better. Flat paint is microscopically less smooth than satin, and the extreme of that pattern would be a popcorn ceiling, which is super effective at hiding cracks, bumps, dips, seams, etc. I'm not suggesting popcorn, but pointing out that shiny surfaces have to be very smooth and uniform to look good, like a car's clear coat. To even things out, I would do a coat of flat or kilz, then your semi/satin 1 more time.
    – dandavis
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 16:36
  • Aside - great work getting the photo to show the problem. That's really hard to do well and yours are exemplary.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 0:59

1 Answer 1


Don't use a brush.

There is a 99.9999% chance that the original ceiling paint was done with a roller, and you should do the same.

The roller leaves those little stipple marks you see elsewhere on the ceiling, while a brush will leave straight lines. The straight lines will, as you've noticed, stand out quite nicely against the stippled background.

At this point, you're not really putting paint on the ceiling as much as you are putting a pattern on, so you should be able to do it with a reasonably dry roller. Light coats, applied in a zig-zag pattern until it disappears.

  • 1
    I realized I completely forgot to say what tools I used. Can confirm that the previous matt paint was definitely done with a roller. I primed the damaged areas with a brush and then used a roller for the 2 coats of satin. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give it a go tomorrow :)
    – kerberonix
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:25
  • 1
    Pleased to report I followed your advice and repainted the ceiling today. 2 light coats later and the mark has gone!
    – kerberonix
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 17:51

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