How To Paint High Walls

by | Feb 1, 2022 | Painting | 0 comments

Many people avoid painting high walls because it seems like a difficult and time consuming task. However, leaving a wall unpainted can make the room look drab and shabby, especially if it’s a part of your home.

If you have a tall wall (or walls) that needs painting, keep reading. We’ll cover how to paint high walls in this article. You’ll find a few tips that can make this task a little easier, as well as an alternative to extension ladders if you’re scared of heights.

Select The Right Tools

It goes without saying, you’ll need a ladder to paint a tall wall. Go for a 24-foot aluminum extension ladder. Aluminum doesn’t weigh as much compared to fiberglass, so it’s safer to move around inside a house.

A 24-foot ladder is tall enough for two-story walls, but a 16-foot ladder should be high enough for high bedroom walls.

Paint Walls After The Ceiling

If you’re not painting the ceiling, this point will be irrelevant. If you are, make sure that you paint the ceiling before moving onto the walls.

If you paint the ceiling first, it won’t matter if you spill paint onto the walls, as you can cover it up later. If you painted the walls before the ceiling, you’d need to paint the ceiling upside down.

You’d also need to cover the walls with plastic to prevent any spills, which can be an arduous task.

Choose The Best Paint Finish

Your paint choice depends on your personal needs, but it’s best to avoid shiny paints on tall walls. Stay away from gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

You can go for these finishes if you like the look of shiny walls, but look at how your drywall looks before you paint the wall.

If there are any uneven areas, scratches, or nail pops in the wall, shiny paint will emphasize these issues. Matt paint finishes will minimize these problems, even when you let lots of light into the room.

If your drywall has any nicks and scratches, go for flat paint to dull the surface. However, do take note that flat paint isn’t smooth, so it doesn’t clean as well.

You can try eggshell paint, as this looks flat but has a slight sheen to it.

Lap marks from a paint roller can sometimes show up on eggshell paint once dry. Nevertheless, you can avoid this by using quality paint and rolling the substance in the right way.

Fix Drywall Before Painting

Before you start painting your wall, make sure that you repair any drywall issues and fill in any nail holes. You may want to sand down the walls as you do so.

Sanding the walls down removes any bumps and any roller hairs from the original surface paint.

The walls will be smooth and refined; well prepared for the paint job. You can sand down the walls by fixing a metal sanding head to a painting rod.

Finish Any Brushwork

Make sure that any brushwork is finished before painting the walls. Getting the best line between the wall and ceiling can take a lot of time and effort, since you’ll be on an extension ladder.

Stay motivated though. You can store the ladder away once the brushwork is done.

In most cases, the cut-in ceiling line will need around two coats of paint. You may only need one if the color is like the original paint, but two coats will give the best finish.

If you struggle to be neat with a paintbrush, use blue tape to protect the wall. However, fixing blue tape takes a lot of time, and it can be tricky to apply it in a straight line.

Begin Rolling Paint

Once you’ve finished the steps above, you can begin painting the walls. You won’t need a ladder for this, you just need to purchase a tall painting pole.

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A 4-8 ft pole should be long enough for most high walls, especially if you use a step ladder. You can purchase 8-12 ft poles for higher walls or if you don’t have a step-ladder, but the shorter poles will be easier to maneuver.


Cover the floors with drop cloths to protect them from paint spills.

If you’re using eggshell paint, use a ½ “ nap paint roller. This will create smaller stipple marks on the wall.

Thicker rollers, like ¾ “ nap ones, will hold onto more paint. However, the roller stipple will be heavy on the lower half of the walls when using shiny paints.

If you’re using flat paint, thicker ¾” nap rollers are fine.

Paint Application

When you start painting high walls, begin at the top and work down to the bottom. Don’t move about sporadically, apply the paint in sections.

Begin painting on one side of the wall, then move towards the opposite side. The first coat of paint doesn’t have to be perfect if you’re going over it with a second coat.

Make sure that the second coat is rolled in one direction so that roller marks aren’t visible when the paint dries.

If you’re working with satin or eggshell paint, roll the paint starting at the top, then working down to the bottom. Don’t paint different halves of the wall, as you’ll notice roller marks where the halves meet in the center.

Flat paint won’t highlight this as much, but shinier paints will. Roll from the top down to the bottom in one motion, but don’t stop painting in the center of the wall.

Alternative To An Extension Ladder

If an extension ladder scares you, you can try using a brush extender. This metal tool holds a paintbrush and attaches to a painting pole. You won’t have to use a ladder to reach high areas.

However, using this tool needs practice. A brush extender can help cutting-in in difficult areas, but if you struggle with it, you may end up getting paint on the ceiling.

A brush extender needs more time and can be tricky to maneuver, but it can be a good solution for those who are scared of heights or ladders.

That being said, if you can muster up the courage, using an extension ladder is the best way to paint higher areas.

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