I’m a painter and decorator in the UK and I have been in the game for over 20 years. I’m regularly asked how it would cost for me to just paint a ceiling. This is normally because a client is decorating the rest of a room themselves, but struggle with ceilings.
First of all, I’ll take you through the process I go through when painting a ceiling, so you can better understand how much time it takes.
I would enter the room and sheet everything up, including the floor and furniture. The next thing I do is fill any imperfections and cracks in the plaster. Occasionally the repair work is slightly more extensive, and I end up pinning plasterboard back to the joists to prevent movement, which may otherwise cause cracks to open up again.
Then I wait for the filler to dry. Sometimes the repairs need a second fill, which I carry out, then I’m left waiting again.
Once the filler is dry, I give it a quick sand (most decorators have dust free sanding equipment nowadays), then onto the painting, I cut in around the room and the lights, then roll it off. I’ll bring my fan heaters in and open a window. Even though I’m accelerating the drying time of the paint, I’m still left waiting for well over an hour for the first coat of paint to dry. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 hours.
Every decorator has their own preference when it comes to ceiling paint, and you should trust their judgment. I like to use Tikkurila Anti-Reflex or Teknos Teknoceiling, both give a luxurious ‘low-sheen’ finish and avoid defects such as flashing and picture framing. These are both specialist ceiling paints and are quite pricey. However, they genuinely give the very best results, especially in light-critical (open plan) areas. Click here to see online prices.
The second coat of paint flies on, nice and easy. Then its just a case of clearing my tools away and leaving the room nice and tidy.
I should also add, There is a little bit of time organising the van before I arrive, then cleaning tools out after I have finished.
For an average sized ceiling, all this might take me 6 hours, maybe even longer. Most decorators would charge by the day, but you may get some who are happy just charging by the hour. A decorators’ day rate anywhere between £160 and £300 per day. Materials for a ceiling may cost £30 or £40.
So, you should expect a decorator to charge £200 – £340 to paint a ceiling. Obviously, I can’t put an exact figure on it because there are too many variables, but that should help you work out roughly how much your painted ceiling will cost.