Even if you only paint ceilings it will still freshen up your rooms.  Swell Contractors can provide you a free estimate. First, we visually inspect the rooms that need to be painted.  Next, we will discuss the project details with the you.

Ceilings come in all shapes, sizes and conditions. There are various factors that we consider when we calculate our estimates.  We have compiled a list of common cost factors to help our customers better understand how pricing can vary from room to room.

A diagram of the various levels of finishing drywall.


If you are building a new addition, remodeling an entire room or just need to repair a section of an old ceiling then the drywall must be at least a Level 4 finish to paint.

  • Level 0 – drywall hung and fastened, no finishing applications.
  • Level 1 – joints are taped/mudded with joint compound.
  • Level 2 – thin skim coat of joint compound over tape and screw holes filled with compound.
  • Level 3 – 2nd coat of compound over the tape,no sanding.
  • Level 4 – standard finished drywall, all joint compound sanded smooth.
  • Level 5 – extra thin skim coat rolled on entire wall and lightly sanded.
Examples of common ceiling repairs.


When you repaint a ceiling, it is important to prepare the surface.  First you need to scrape off any flaking paint.  Likewise, any debris that was left from a roller from the last time it was painted should be removed.  A light sanding and dusting is recommended.

Next, any cracks, dents and holes must be mudded with joint compound and then sanded. Gaps between the ceiling and molding must also be caulked prior to painting.

We prepare all ceilings to a Level 4 finish for our standard painting services.  Ceilings that have extensive cracking, tape failure or holes from fixture changes require the additional service of drywall repair

A diagram of ceiling heights and a formula how to calculate the surface area of a ceiling.


The standard height of a wall is 8 feet. However, newer luxury homes are built with taller walls to give a grander appearance. Likewise, vaulted ceilings are also common in atrium foyers, family rooms and master bedrooms.

Taller ceilings require the use of extension ladders. Additionally, a stairwell requires an extension ladder with adjustable legs or a stabilizer attachment. Projects that include these details have an increased risk liability and will cost more.

Finally, ceilings with large surface areas require more work and more paint. One gallon of paint will cover an area of 400 square feet. 

Photos of different style ceilings with different level of detail.


Most standard ceilings are flat.  However, some ceilings contain decorative crown molding, coffered molding, beams, or decorative ceiling medallions. In addition, recessed ceilings or tray ceilings can be painted with both the ceiling color and the wall color.

If your ceiling contains intricate features such as these it will take longer to paint and require more attention to detail.  Therefore, the cost to paint a plain and flat ceiling will be less than a ceiling with a high level of detail.

Example of painting over a darker color.


Most ceilings are painted the color white in a flat finish.  However, there are various design techniques that involve painting ceilings colors other than white. 

For example, one technique is to wrap the wall color onto the ceiling.  This is common in attics with uneven walls and sharp angles.  Wall color can also be found on vertical surfaces of a step ceiling.

Another technique involves painting the ceiling one hue lighter than the wall color.  Likewise, .a color that is complimentary and contrasts the wall can be used on the ceiling for a more dramatic effect.

Examples of drywall stains on ceilings.


If one of your ceilings is stained, it does not matter how many coats of paint you apply.  When the paint has dried you will continue to see the stain regardless. The only way to cover the stain is with an oil based primer. This is an additional process for the painting crew.  It takes time to apply the primer and time for the primer to dry.

In the case of stains caused by mold, the painting crew must first clean the area with bleach. This takes additional time for the painting crew to put on protective gear and time to scrub the stain as clean as possible. Extra time will also be required for the surface to dry before the primer is applied.