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How to Paint a Ceiling with Light Fixtures !

How to Paint a Ceiling with Light Fixtures

Painting your ceiling is a great way to freshen up a room, giving new brightness (and possibly new color) to a space that needs it. In some ways, painting a ceiling is easier than painting interior walls, since there are not usually windows, doors, and baseboards to work around. However, painting around light fixtures is definitely a complicating factor. No one wants to have a freshly-painted ceiling with a partially-painted light fixture!

Not to fear! There are two good ways to paint around a light fixture so that the ceiling looks amazing, and the light fixture avoids the acquisition of new “character!”

Method 1: Tape and Plastic

Use blue or green painter’s tape to create a clean line where the light fixture meets the ceiling, so that paint gets on all the ceiling surfaces, but it can’t get on the light. This protects the light from brush and roller “oops” moments. Next, use the tape to stick painter’s plastic in place over the rest of the light fixture to protect it from splatters and splashes.

When you paint the ceiling, use a medium-sized brush with bristles that are in good condition. Dip your brush about ½ an inch into the paint, then scrape off the excess against the inner rim of the paint can. You don’t want globs dripping back down on you as you paint! Carefully apply the paint around the fixture. It’s normal to get a little paint on the tape, but you don’t want big, gloopy drips on it.

Paint a perimeter four to six inches around the light fixture with the brush, then start your paint rolling. Use the paint roller to get as close to the fixture as you reasonably can, without risking getting paint on it. Remember to keep your paint roller going in the same direction for each roll, like you would with brush strokes.

Wait until the paint is dry, then remove the tape. If there is any sign that the paint is being torn by the tape removal, use a utility knife to gently cut a small seam at the edge of the tape. That way, the tape comes away clean without pulling at the new paint on the ceiling.

Method 2: Remove the Light Fixture

Removing the light fixture can make your ceiling painting much easier, if you are able to do so safely. Never remove a light fixture without first making sure the power is turned off at the breaker. Many kinds of smaller fixtures can be partially removed with just a couple of screws, and they reinstall in just minutes when you are done.

In the case of recessed canister lights, most of them have a trim ring that is removable. If they have springs holding them on, you can try pulling the trim rings a little bit downward, and wedge them in place with a small object. Then you can use your brush to paint around the light and get just a little bit of paint in behind the trim ring. Other types of trim rings are held by a simple set of wire hooks. You can pull these down several inches and they stay that way, or you can remove them completely for the painting process.

Again, brush first, then roll for best results.

Safety Considerations for Painting Ceilings and Working with Light Fixtures:

- Use an appropriate ladder for the height you are trying to reach. Don’t stand on stools or chairs, and don’t climb a ladder higher than the intended top rung.

- Don’t get yourself involved with anything electrical unless you have turned off the breaker and you know what you are getting into.

- Wear safety glasses as you paint a ceiling. Even when you use eco-friendly paint, you don’t really want it in your eyes!

Ceiling Painting in the San Francisco Bay Area

If you need a ceiling (on anything else) painted in your home, MB Jessee Painting Inc. would be happy to serve you. We provide exceptional interior and exterior painting at a fair price, and we can take care of painting around those light fixtures, so you don’t need to worry about it.

Serving Oakland and the San Francisco Bay area for over 25 years, MB Jessee Painting Inc. is your best choice for a local house painter. Call us today, or contact us online.

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— Nancy Kurkjian

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— Joshua J.
Oakland, CA

“In September, MBJessee finished painting two sides of our 3-story condominium building (six owners). We were impressed by the professionalism of the company and every one of its workers, Matt Jessee couldn't have been more helpful in planning the project. His painters were well-trained, easy to communicate with and eager to please. In addition to painting the stucco, they made extensive repairs on windows and frames, which will save us considerable money in the future. They finished earlier than anticipated, with as many as five men working on the job, and the scaffolding came down the next day. All of us were delighted with the results. Now my husband and I are looking forward to having MB Jessee paint our own apartment later this month. Matt and Gustavo (who will be our crew leader again) have explained how they will work to make the painting proceed smoothly while we're living here, and they have been endlessly patient with our protracted decision-making process. If you look at their website, you'll learn that MB Jessee is an exemplary company that takes good care of its workers as well as its customers, and contributes public service projects to the community. All in all, we can't recommend MB Jessee highly enough.”

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San Francisco, CA

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Walnut Creek

“M.B. Jessee painted the exterior of my Spanish house over 9 years ago, and they did such an incredible job that they are still getting referrals from me today. The paint is holding up perfectly -- there is absolutely no peeling chipping or any other deterioration. I still remember that my final walk-through list consisted of items written on one side of a 3x5 index card (and I'm REAL picky about my house!) However, when Matt and I did that walk-through over HALF the items were no longer an issue, as his team had noticed them first and they had already been resolved.”

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Oakland, CA

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“Hello Matt,Just another notice of thanks to your wonderful crew, Rigoberto, Javier and John. They did fantastic work, with Rigo providing meticulous and conscientious attention to the details and excellent woodwork finishing, as evidenced by the beautiful fireplace. Javier did a fantastic job in the bathroom especially, it looks "brand new," and John always does quality work, both with the interior and exterior. I can tell they care about what they do. Rigo's "punch out" was very thorough, too. I will call again when I need some more work and will definitely recommend your company and fine crew. I also felt as a homeowner, I could leave my house in their good hands during the day and that took a lot of worry from me, they were honest, prompt and reliable. They were also very kind, respectful and clean in their work, very professional. Thank you.”

— Beth Marx & Melissa Kirsch

“Matt, We are very happy with how all of the painting worked out. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the work in the bathroom. I liked working with Victor, he and Marvin were extremely conscientious about doing a great job, not just the minimum. I know the front door took a lot longer than you'd expected. But they did it PERFECTLY. We never thought it could turn out like that! Thanks again for the great work. We'll be calling you again in the future!”

— Craig
Alameda, CA