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Old 03-05-2011, 07:30 PM   #1
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Painting Basement Ceiling - Order of Operations


I'm planning on painting my basement ceiling and have a quick question. Is it best to paint the ceiling before or after framing walls and hanging drywall? It seems as though it would be much easier to paint first but I'm concerned about all of the dust from the drywall, etc. Anybody have any thoughts?

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Old 03-05-2011, 07:31 PM   #2
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Wait and do all your painting at once.

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Old 03-05-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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Painting Basement Ceiling - Order of Operations


You should definately complete construction, before painting the ceiling. After drywall is complete, use an airless sprayer (rent $30, buy $300) to prime the walls and ceiling at the same time. The white primer coat on the ceiling may be all you need for a satisfactory finished result. Then apply your topcoat to the walls.

~ Michael Dale
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:41 AM   #4
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Painting Basement Ceiling - Order of Operations


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You should definately complete construction, before painting the ceiling. After drywall is complete, use an airless sprayer (rent $30, buy $300) to prime the walls and ceiling at the same time. The white primer coat on the ceiling may be all you need for a satisfactory finished result. Then apply your topcoat to the walls.

~ Michael Dale

not good
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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Painting Basement Ceiling - Order of Operations


We finish ceilings with two coats of sprayed primer all of the time. People see it and ask how we get the paint to be so uniform and even.

Ceilings are very prone to showing streaks and imperfections. Because drywall primer is dead flat, it has no sheen that shows imperfections, lap marks, ect.

Ceilings do not get touched and handled like trim and walls do, so it is not neccesary for ceilings to have a higher quality top coat finish.

Been doing ceilings like that for years.
Unorthodox? Yep, but that's the way I paint - outside of the box.

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Old 03-06-2011, 07:23 AM   #6
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We finish ceilings with two coats of sprayed primer all of the time. People see it and ask how we get the paint to be so uniform and even.

Ceilings are very prone to showing streaks and imperfections. Because drywall primer is dead flat, it has no sheen that shows imperfections, lap marks, ect.

Ceilings do not get touched and handled like trim and walls do, so it is not neccesary for ceilings to have a higher quality top coat finish.

Been doing ceilings like that for years.
Unorthodox? Yep, but that's the way I paint - outside of the box.

~ Michael Dale
While it is unorthodox, and I've never done it, I can't seem to pooh-pooh it. Over the years, I have seen primers that specify that if the primer finish is acceptable, it can stand without a top coat. He's right that ceilings don't take the abuse of walls and trim, so for ceilings appearance is the primary concern. I'm always seeking dead flats for ceilings, and currently use BM Super Spec Flat, F&H Carefree, MAB Fresh Kote, which are all wall paints, or any of the BM ceiling paints, Muresco and waterborne ceiling finish. I really don't see "unorthodox" as a reason to discount. I can imagine chalking and fading would be concerns, and chalking may make applying a traditional finish difficult at a later time, but I can't see any protective shortcomings with it, given that ceiling finishes don't do much but look good. Can anyone cite any kind of failure that could occur from using primer as a finish? Makes for an interesting discussion. I'm not going to run out tomorrow and adopt the usage, but it is a tool to put in the toolbox to have when I encounter a particularly troublesome ceiling. I would absolutely inform the customer though. But, does a flat primer, after all is said, really have that lower a light reflective value than a standard dead flat wall finish?
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:06 AM   #7
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Painting Basement Ceiling - Order of Operations


You really want to use a finish coat of paint. Primer will attract dust and even more so mildew in a basement. While some drywall primers are flat, some aren't.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:32 AM   #8
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.........
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Last edited by NCpaint1; 03-06-2011 at 06:59 PM. Reason: no more help
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:12 AM   #9
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Yes, in new construction guys always are looking to cut corners to save costs. New construction, low man wins 99% of the time. Its not entirely their fault, builders around here were paying around .70/per foot for painting. Most guys can't even operate at that cost.
.70 a square foot is a joke, but unfortunately you are right. The same thing here low man usually wins. Any professional painter, performing a new construction project the right way needs to get at a minimum double that .70 sq foot and even that's low for a company to make any profit. I would not have my name attached to any project where I was only using primer on a ceiling. Primer and paint each have their own purpose and in my opinion every ceiling should be top coated with paint after primining. To me just leaving a ceiling primed is unprofessiona and not the right way to go about it. .
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:24 AM   #10
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Last edited by NCpaint1; 03-06-2011 at 07:01 PM. Reason: pm for answers
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:48 AM   #11
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You sir are correct. Unfortunately this is the Way of the world these days. Its sad when a professional says on a public forum that leaving ceilings primed is ok. I've never, ever seen a spec on any type of work stating primer is finish. He is obviously and blatantly cheating his customers.
Funny how a primers data sheet usually states that it must be top coated within so many days. You can't even warranty your work if your not performing it according to specs. I've never seen it speced anyplace, not from an architect or on a painting schedule have I seen it said to only apply primer to the ceilings. Its unfortunate that so many call themselves professional painters and take shortcuts, robbing there customers. That's why it is important to educate consumers. There are a lot of good ceiling paints and flat paints that can be applied to a ceiling, leaving a flat, uniform finish. I feel that if there finish is coming out blotchy or un even its because of inferior products or un experienced application.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:59 PM   #12
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I really don't see "unorthodox" as a reason to discount. I can imagine chalking and fading would be concerns, and chalking may make applying a traditional finish difficult at a later time, but I can't see any protective shortcomings with it, given that ceiling finishes don't do much but look good. Can anyone cite any kind of failure that could occur from using primer as a finish?
We've talked about new construction, cutting corners, and what spec sheets for products and jobs call for, but no one, except for Matt, has addressed my question. Sorry Matt, I can't consider your objections troublesome, respectfully, all finishes will collect dust and mildew in the right environ. I didn't suggest cutting corners, I said in my post about telling the customer. In fact, a good primer costs as much as the ceiling finishes I mentioned. I'm not being difficult or defending OP's methods. I'm asking because I've seen some ceilings over the years that take the right amount of angled sunlight to challenge any finish's uniformity. Sometimes, you're not going to defeat the sun. Flats do the same thing as all other finishes, but because they absorb light rather than reflect it, it is less noticeable. The deader the flat, the less. If indeed a primer is a deader flat than a dead flat ceiling finish, why is that not an option for those instances that I stated? As I said, it's not a way to operate regularly, but a tool to use when circumstances warrant it. You cited warranties HPNY, what kind of failure would I have to warranty against using primer as a finish?
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:12 PM   #13
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Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

Wait and do all your painting at once.
I made a perfectly good math joke and you guys are talking about primer. Where are your priorities?

*facepalm*

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:07 PM   #14
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We've talked about new construction, cutting corners, and what spec sheets for products and jobs call for, but no one, except for Matt, has addressed my question. Sorry Matt, I can't consider your objections troublesome, respectfully, all finishes will collect dust and mildew in the right environ. I didn't suggest cutting corners, I said in my post about telling the customer. In fact, a good primer costs as much as the ceiling finishes I mentioned. I'm not being difficult or defending OP's methods. I'm asking because I've seen some ceilings over the years that take the right amount of angled sunlight to challenge any finish's uniformity. Sometimes, you're not going to defeat the sun. Flats do the same thing as all other finishes, but because they absorb light rather than reflect it, it is less noticeable. The deader the flat, the less. If indeed a primer is a deader flat than a dead flat ceiling finish, why is that not an option for those instances that I stated? As I said, it's not a way to operate regularly, but a tool to use when circumstances warrant it. You cited warranties HPNY, what kind of failure would I have to warranty against using primer as a finish?
True, all surfaces can collect mildew, but I have seen areas that were spot primed and never finish painted and those areas typicly collect more dust and mildew and infact will fade/discolor more over time.
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:11 PM   #15
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.70 a square foot is a joke, but unfortunately you are right. The same thing here low man usually wins. Any professional painter, performing a new construction project the right way needs to get at a minimum double that .70 sq foot and even that's low for a company to make any profit. I would not have my name attached to any project where I was only using primer on a ceiling. Primer and paint each have their own purpose and in my opinion every ceiling should be top coated with paint after primining. To me just leaving a ceiling primed is unprofessiona and not the right way to go about it. .


you got that right

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