I have fresh knockdown textured ceiling. I plan to give it a coat of primer and a coat of white ceiling paint. The whole house is undergoing complete remodeling. There is no furniture, and no flooring. There is no need to cover anything and/or tape stuff up. I have access to commercial grade sprayer. The area to be painted is rather large. That's why I am trying to find more effective way to accomplish the project. What is more effective way to paint ceilings? What is spray and roll method?


Spray and roll, more commonly called spray and backroll around me is when you spray the paint on and then another person follows behind you with a roller to roll the freshly spread paint. One of the reasons to do it is to get more even coverage in textured ceilings.

It's easier to do with two people so if it's just you might just want to skip the sprayer to keep things simple.

If you've never used spray equipment before it can take some time to get used to. Chances are you're going to mess up the first go (drips, sags, missed spots, etc) so at least practice on some cardboard or something.

I own and have used sprayers but I also own a Wagner Power Roller. It's a system that feeds paint through a tube into a roller so I don't have to keep a tray of paint. I eventually got good with the sprayers but with the power roller there was very little learning curve, no need to tape as much and cover everything. In almost every way I found it easier than the sprayer.

They make roller arms that attach to airless sprayers that do the same thing. There called pressure rollers. If you have access to the airless sprayer maybe you can find one to borrow or rent.

  • This is the way I would go spray and back roll. If you are a novice at spraying with a big rig, shadowing the crevices, thicker in spots than others can easily occur. I speak from experience on this. This takes time to learn and get an even coat. Back rolling gives the chance to even out the coat, and the nap of the roller will have a better chance of "dipping" into the varied surface of a textured ceiling. – Jack Dec 15 '13 at 15:14

Definitely spray, especially since you don't have to cover anything, and the area is large. This is based on my experience spraying walls and ceilings at our home over 40 years. I find spraying to be kind of fun because it goes on so fast. And I like how smooth the surface is after it's sprayed.

That being said, I've also learned (the hard way) to test the sprayer for leaks each time before use. Since I have only sprayed latex, this is easy. I just put some water in my Wagner Paint Crew paint tray and turn it on. If there are any leaks, this finds them. Also, while you do this, spray some on a wall you'll paint later. That will give you a feel for spraying the ceiling. When done, dump the water out, add the paint, and spray into a 5-gallon bucket until the paint starts flowing.

I recommend that you go over the ceiling twice. After you put the first coat, go back to the starting point, and spray a second coat perpendicular to the first. This is to ensure full and even coverage.

One other thing: start on the least conspicuous part of the ceiling. You'll get better as you go. So save the most visible part until last.

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