How to Spray Paint Interior Walls and Ceilings? [Easy and Fast]

spray painting wall and ceiling

While brushes and rollers are the traditional means of painting walls, spray paint is coming more into favor.

For many years, the idea of spray-painting large areas such as walls was considered wasteful and inefficient.

However, new technology in both paints and equipment has made spray paint a viable option for those who want to use a method different than brushes or rollers.

The best reason to use spray paint is when you have an entire house or large area to paint in a short time.

The more you need to paint, the more spray paint works to your advantage because of the faster time and greater efficiency which is gained.

But how to get the job done right without any wastage and what precautions or safety tips you need to keep in mind, we will talk about every bit of those details in this article.

How to Spray Paint Walls and Ceilings?

If you have never used a sprayer before, you’ll want to set up an area where you can test it out – before starting on your wall.

You can start with old newspapers or any other surface that can be disposed of easily.

Once you get used to how it works, then you can start painting the walls. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

Spray Painting the Walls

If you are only painting the walls, start by masking along the perimeter of the ceiling so no paint winds up there. You can use tape to attach masking paper which makes for a great cover.

Be sure to cover the windows, doors, and any fixtures as well just like if you were using a brush or roller.

Step 1. Prepare the wall surface

No matter you need to spray paint the interior or exterior brick walls, it’s important to prepare the surface first.

Clean and wipe them smoothly using a soft cotton cloth before you start the spray painting. If required use a little bit of soapy warm water to dampen the cloth.

This will remove any dust and grime that has been deposited, which may adhere to the surface of walls along with paint if you chose not to clean them first.

If you want to get a good finish consider fixing any cracks or uneven places on the walls using high-quality putty.

Since uneven places may seem awkward after you have spray painted your walls you should try to make them as smooth as possible.

Step 2. Prepare the paint

Painting walls with a sprayer (canned or spray machine) is a bit different from using a roller or a paintbrush.

And for this reason, you need to prepare your paint differently.

The latex paint or an oil-based paint you choose should be thinner than compared to the paint you apply with a brush or a roller.

For thinning the paint you may check the guidelines here or it must be on the paintbox provided by the manufacturer.

Step 3. Spray painting your interior walls

Once you have prepared the paint and the sprayer machine, start painting in one corner and work your way across the wall.

Hold the sprayer at a comfortable distance (about 300mm) and work in smooth, even strokes.

Remember, that the corners of the walls can be difficult to spray paint so start with the corners.

By holding the air sprayer sideways you can cover these corner areas with ease.

Once you are done with the corners, start with one wall at a time.

Do not worry about the other walls until you have completed the paint on the chosen one.

To start painting the interior walls of your room keep the spray paint machine at an angle of 90 degrees and spray as far as you can reach.

When moving to the next section, keep overlapping the strokes both vertically and horizontally. This will get an even coat of smooth paint on the walls.

Once you have completed all the walls in your bedroom or living area, you will need to let the paint dry for some hours.

Do a second coat (or even a third coat) in a similar way if you want to get a better finish.

Spray Painting the Ceilings

Spray painting your ceilings, using a paint spray gun, can be even faster and easier once you know the right procedure and techniques.

If you are only painting the ceiling, mask off the upper walls to avoid drips and runs.

You can use the same basic methods on the ceiling as painting the shining walls. Just like the walls, move to the sections of the ceiling slowly and try to overlap the strokes.

Just be sure to not get directly underneath the airless sprayer to avoid getting drips on you or your outfit.

While using a sprayer machine for painting the ceilings start with low pressure and then increase the pressure gradually until you feel it’s just right.

Using too high pressure at the beginning may create runs and may not help you get full coverage.

Also remember, if you have normal 8-9 ft. high ceilings at your place, you may easily work from the floor.

But if your ceilings are higher than that, you will need to have a ladder for working.

Here are a few additional tips that will help you get the most out of your sprayer. Follow them when applying paint to your interiors…

  1. Wear a disposable suit
  2. Test the settings before applying the paint
  3. Spray lightly on the walls and ceiling to avoid runs and drips
  4. Start moving the sprayer before pulling the trigger for smoother results
  5. Use an angled bruch to paint the edges or corners between wall and ceiling
  6. After the spray application on the ceiling, its often recommended to back roll for getting uniform soft texture

What kind of paint to use on walls and ceilings?

Although flat and eggshell finishes are most popular for ceilings, walls are generally preferred to be painted with sprayable satin and glossy paint finishes.

These finishes are available in both latex as well as oil-based spray paint options.

For walls, you can use either latex or oil-based paints, but for ceilings, it is best to choose latex because oil-based paints for ceilings are more prone to dripping when wet and chipping when dry.

If you have wood ceilings installed, you can however spray with oil-based paints without a problem.

What kind of paint sprayer is the best for interior walls?

While spray painting your interior walls and ceilings make sure that you only use the best paint sprayer for walls and ceilings to do the job.

These are manufactured by popular brands like Wagner Spraytech, Graco Magnum, HomeRight, TACKLIFE, etc.

There are several high-quality airless sprayers on the market and some paint or hardware stores may have them available for rent too.

As these sprayers do not come cheap, you also have an option to rent an airless sprayer if you want the best results without having to pay for the unit itself.

Be sure to follow the instructions and clean them before returning the sprayer to the store.

Stay Protected from Fumes when Spraying

The thing you should keep in mind when using oil-based paints in a spray gun is the fumes.

The fumes are more hazardous when using a spray gun than normal oil-based brush painting because the spray gun is sending out small paint particles into the air continuously which is why it is easier for you to accidentally inhale.

In small amounts, these fumes and particles can cause coughing and other asthma-like symptoms.

However, if you are exposed to them over a long period of time, it can cause serious permanent damage to your body.

The best way to protect against these fumes is to wear a respirator designed for painting.

A good respirator will protect your lungs not only from small paint particles but also from chemical fumes.

Another safety precaution you should take is making sure the area is well-ventilated whenever possible.

Use fans and open up windows and doors whenever you can to get fresh air into the working area.

Cleaning Your Paint Spray Gun after Painting

While using a spray gun can make any painting job tremendously easier, it is incredibly important to keep your equipment well-maintained and clean after each use.

This will ensure that your expensive machine continues to serve you well for a long.

Cleaning your spray gun after use is easy, you just need to follow these steps after painting your walls and ceilings.

Step 1.

First, turn off the power, set the spray gun to its lowest setting, and then activate it somewhere safe to relieve whatever pressure remains in the gun.

Step 2.

After that is done, remove the filter and any tips or attachments you may have used.

You can clean these smaller components by scrubbing them in a water/paint thinner mixture.

But start by using mostly water.

Then, as it becomes more difficult to get the paint off, slowly add paint thinner, kerosene, or turpentine into the cleaning mix to continue successfully removing the paint.

Step 3.

Step three is to flush out the entire system.

To do this, move the siphon tube (sometimes called the intake tube) into a bucket of cleaning solution (a mineral spirit/water mixture).

Turn the power on the spray gun back on and activate it in a safe area away from any people or painting surfaces.

Pull the trigger and you should start to see the gun spraying the cleaning fluid. At first, the cleaning fluid will look dirty or colored.

This is because it’s cleaning out the inner workings of the spray gun.

You want to keep spraying until the fluid starts coming out clear—that is how you can tell that the gun itself is clean.

spray paint ceiling or wall

Ceiling or Walls: What Should You Spray First?

If you are using a brush or a roller for painting, it does not matter much.

However, when using a paint sprayer, you should always start with the ceilings first.

In case you choose to paint your walls first, you may end up getting the paint spatter due to which you might need to paint them again with a final touch.

To keep your walls protected from overspray, while painting the ceiling, you should cover the walls and floor with old newspapers or clothes.

Once the painted ceiling is completely dry, move on to painting the interior walls of your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or bathroom.

Pros & Cons of Spray Painting the Interior Walls


Spray painting the walls and ceiling offer you many advantages. Some of these include:

a) Speed:

The most obvious advantage is the speed of the machine. This means that spray painting takes considerably less time compared to using brushes or rollers.

This means that you can complete the job of spray-painting quickly and cover larger areas in less time – sometimes it can be as low as 10 minutes to spray paint your entire room if you do not need too much paint prepping work.

That not only saves time but effort as well.

b) Less Effort & Greater Efficiency:

With the right spray paint equipment, you will not have to climb up and down ladders as often.

Nor will you have to exert yourself compared to using brushes or rollers.

The spray paint equipment is generally lightweight, easy to use, and can be applied at a distance evenly, which means less effort is required to do a good job.

c) No Additional Prep Work:

Preparing to spray paint a wall is no different compared to using a brush or roller.

You still have to clean the wall, scrape away the old paint, fill in any cracks, dents, or deviations, and tape over outlets, fixtures, and other areas you don’t want to be painted first.

This means that you do not have to do anything extra in terms of preparing the wall for the spray paint as compared to brushes or rollers.


With all the benefits, there are some downsides to using spray paint as the primary way to paint indoor walls, floors, and the ceiling. Some of these include:

a) Paint Consumption:

The biggest drawback to this method is that you will generally need to use more paint compared to brushes or rollers.

With a sprayer, it simply requires more paint to be used to get an even result, so you will be paying more for the paint.

How much more you will pay will depend on the size of the wall you want to cover, so keep that in mind when you are considering this option.

b) Over-Spraying:

It’s far easier to over-spray the paint compared to the amount of coverage from brushes or rollers.

A brush and roller apply the paint directly to the wall underneath.

Spraying means that the paint is spread out over a wider area which makes it easy to over-spray the area you want to cover.

Spray Paint vs. Roller Paint: Which is Better for Wall and Ceiling?

A roller presents different issues compared to a brush, but spray paint still offers certain advantages that are similar to those held over brushing the paint.

These are:

  • Superior Coverage
  • Even Application
  • Less Overall Effort

What about The Roller Marks?

Just like brushes sometimes leave behind indications that they were being used, so too will rollers at times leave marks or more paint behind along the edges.

This occurs when the paint is not evenly distributed along with the roller or properly smoothed out when applied.

The result is that you may see lines of thicker paint that disrupt the smooth application.

However, it is also true that rollers like electric power rollers carry one advantage in that those with long enough handles can reach areas that may require a ladder for spray paint.

But having said that, spray paint is generally superior in most regards compared to using a roller, especially when your ultimate goal is to spray the walls without hitting a ceiling.

While you will need more paint if you choose the spray methods, you can make up for the extra expense thanks to the shorter amount of time, even application, and far less effort than spray paint requires.

Spray Paint vs. Brush Paint: Which is Better for Interior Wall and Ceiling?

If you are painting a wall, going with a sprayer and spray paint is going to be the better choice in most situations.

The reasons why are rather obvious;

1- Wider Coverage:

A single spray covers a wider area compared to a paintbrush.

This means that you cover more of the wall compared to going up and down with a brush.

Wider coverage translates into getting the job done faster as a result. Going faster means less time to paint and less stress on the body.

2- Less Effort:

Another good reason to choose spray paint is that you can reach areas easier compared to a brush.

When painting near the ceiling, you do not have to climb the ladder as much to cover that area of the wall with paint.

Less time going up and down ladders means less effort you have to expend when you use spray paint.

3- No Brush Strokes:

One issue with brushes is that they sometimes leave behind brush strokes.

This is when the paint still shows the characteristics of the brush imprinted on the wall as opposed to a smooth layer.

It can be difficult to see when wet but shows up clearly when the paint dries.

Since spray paint is applied without any device that touches the wall, it only leaves behind a smooth surface of paint when properly applied.

However, there are a couple of areas where a brush may be better compared to spray paint.

This is when you are at the ceiling and need to cover the top of the wall.

A brush is more precise and can get into certain areas somewhat better compared to spray paint.

However, such advantages are usually small which is why using a brush for touch-up work is far better compared to applying the paint across a large area like a wall.

The Bottom Line

All things considered, spray paint for walls and ceilings is superior compared to a brush in most circumstances.

You should although have a paintbrush handy for touching up smaller areas. This will help you make your task easier and faster.

Using oil-based paint in a spray gun is also a straightforward process provided you follow the steps carefully.

Hopefully, with the above tips, your next painting project goes off without a hitch.

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