Painting ceilings is a job that I get calls about quite a bit. I don’t mind doing them either. With the right tools and know how, they aren’t too hard.

In fact, I’ve actually written about ceilings a few times already here on DIY Painting Tips. You can check out my posts below:

But the question proposed here today is: How Much Does it Cost To Paint A Ceiling?

Ceiling Painting Cost Index:

First Things First

Bedroom Painted Ceiling

Before I dive into the actual costs of painting a ceiling, I want to clarify a few variables to make sure we are all on the same page.

2 Coats of Paint

All ceilings painting costs are assuming the ceiling will get painted with 2 coats of flat white ceiling paint.

When I paint ceilings, whether I am spraying or rolling, I always paint the ceilings with two coats. The first coat goes North to South and then I paint the second coat East to West.

Home Depot Ceiling Paint

The other thing I am going to be assuming through this article is that Home Depot ceiling paint will be used on the project.

I love Home Depot’s Behr Premium Plus Flat White Ceiling Paint. It comes in 2 gallon buckets and is perfect for most 1 room home projects.

Home Depot ceiling paint is also a great quality ceiling paint. I’ve used it many times and never been disappointed.

Average Room Size

We have to have a standard room size for this discussion as well.

According to Timberpeg, the Great Room is the most consistently sized room in homes. In small homes, the great room is roughly 480 square feet, medium homes it’s 487 square feet and in large homes, it tops out at 550 square feet.

So for this post, we are going to be referring to painting the ceilings of a great room with a size of 500 square feet or 20′ x 25′.

Most of The Answers for The Cost To Paint A Ceiling Are Garbage

I want to get this out of the way as well. If you do a quick Google search, you will see construction pricing sites saying that painting ceilings is going to range from $0.90 – $2.50 per square foot. This is an absolute joke. If I charged $2.50 a square foot, I would be making $150+ an hour and landing 1 out of 25-30 jobs. Not practical at all.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire Out Ceiling Painting?

Dining room painted ceiling
Interior of a modern living room in white.

Hiring out ceiling painting is quite common. Ceilings can be a real hassle to paint and can be tough on the body since you are painting above your head the whole time.

BTW – These prices are reflective of a home with flooring and basic furniture in the room. For prices on an empty room with no flooring (a remodel project), see below.

Costs to Paint 8-9 Foot Ceilings

8 to 9 foot ceilings are considered the easiest ceilings to paint and require no special tools and no high ladder work. A painting contractor will either spray or roll these ceilings quite easily. Most of the work will be in prepping the room and getting it ready for paint.

The Cost to Paint 8-9 Foot Ceilings should be in the $0.60 per square foot range, or $300 for a 500 square foot room and should take roughly half of a day.

This cost would include all paint and materials.

Costs to Paint 10-12 Foot Ceilings

10 to 12 foot ceilings are going to take a little more time because there is going to be a bit more ladder work while prepping the room and while actually painting the room.

Competitive prices for 10-12 foot ceilings tend to be in the $0.75 – $1 per square foot range.

So our 500 square foot great room would cost $375 – $500 and take1/2 a day to 3/4 a day.

Costs to Paint 12-18 Foot Ceilings

12 to 18 foot ceilings are going to be much slower and involve a lot more prep, ladder work, special sprayer (or pole) extensions and honestly, are going to be a bigger strain on the painter.

For 12-18 foot ceilings I would typically charge anywhere from $1 – $1.5 per square foot.

Our 500 square foot example would cost $500 – $750 and take 3/4 – 1 whole day.

Empty Room No Flooring

If your room is empty and required minimal prep work, then you can expect your ceiling painting to cost significantly less, since prep work is the majority of a ceiling painting job.

You may find that many painters do have job minimums though. For me, my minimums are typically $250.

How Much Does It Cost To DIY Paint Ceilings?

Living Room Painted Ceiling
Interior of a modern living room in white.

The cost to paint your ceiling is obviously significantly less if you plan on doing it yourself. When paying a painting contractor to paint your ceiling, you are paying almost entirely for labor, the actual materials are quite minimal for ceiling painting.

For our average room size of 500 square feet, your consumable material cost should be roughly 4 gallons of Home Depot ceiling paint ($70), tape, plastic and a roller cover totaling no more than $100.

If you plan on painting your ceiling, you’re also going to have some tool costs unless you already own most of the tools below.

If you are planning on rolling your ceiling, some basic tools you will need:

  • Extension pole
  • Airless Paint Sprayer (optional)
  • Roller frame
  • Roller cover
  • Plastic
  • Tape
  • drop cloths.

Ceiling Painting Cost in Summary

If you plan on painting your ceilings yourself, expect roughly $100 in total cost.

If you plan on hiring a painting contractor, you can expect $350 – $750 for an average ceiling (500 sq ft).


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