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Considerations when painting joists & bottom of underlayment in unfinished ceilings

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Flyover

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I have a couple rooms in my house where we're keeping the ceilings unfinished, and the joists and underlayment of the floors above will remain exposed. We want to paint these "ceilings" black for a cleaner look. I have two questions about this:

1. Is regular old satin finish black paint OK?

2. How meticulous do I need to be about taping off ducts, copper pipes, wires, etc.? I don't care about a few black spots on them, but are there any practical concerns with this? (Some of the ducts and pipes get slightly warm but nothing gets anywhere close to hot.)
 

kok328

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1. whatever finish you want to use, doesn't matter. flat would be my choice.
2. again, up to you on what you want it to look like. professional job or look like a 5yr. old found some paint and a brush. The trend in the commercial stores and/or restaurant's is to paint everything (conduit, ducts, plumbing, etc...).
 

bud16415

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I would paint it all and would spray it.

Flat black is easy to smudge and will show fingerprints if you touch it in the future.
 

Sparky617

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Rent an airless sprayer to do it. If your ducts are metal you may want to prime them first with an automotive spray primer. Same with any metal electrical boxes. Then you could spray latex egg shell on everything. My uncle did in his basement a number of years ago, it makes everything kind of fade away without losing more headroom.
 

Flyover

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A few of you are adding specifically that I should use a paint sprayer (rather than brush/roller, I presume). Why?
 

slownsteady

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The way I see it; the sprayer is a time and effort saver. There are lots of nooks and crannies in your project. However, if you have the time and enjoy the craft.....
 

Sparky617

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A few of you are adding specifically that I should use a paint sprayer (rather than brush/roller, I presume). Why?
There is a lot more real estate to cover painting the joists and subfloor than painting a drywall ceiling. You will have more brush time than roller time given the obstructions you need to work around. I'd definitely spray it with something like I linked earlier.
 

mabloodhound

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That Graco is a great sprayer but a lot of money. We just did our house with the Wagner $89 sprayer using latex paint and it worked fine.
 

Flyover

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Regarding spraying vs. rolling/cutting: makes sense, I just have to consider the trade-off between the cost of buying/renting new equipment & learning to use it, also the extra work I have to do to prep the space to keep paint from going everywhere, versus rolling and brushing which I already know how to do, own all necessary equipment for, and can do without a ton of tape/dropcloths.
 

bud16415

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The Wagner is not appropriate for house paint. (according to web page)
As @mabloodhound said above many have had success with the Wagner guns. The latex can also me thinned with water a small amount or there are different tips and needles that can be used for different paints.

For the OP. The learning curve is not that long and the time savings in doing the job is great. Some drop cloths should be used as well as some masking around the edges. Give brush and roller a go first and if it is fast enough then go for it. :coffee:
 

Flyover

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What might put it over the edge is being able to do the job in small increments in spare bits of time. I almost never have a big chunk of time I can block off for one thing, so being able to quickly open up the can, brush a little, then close the can and wash up -- without a lot of site prep and tear-down -- is a big plus.
 

Sparky617

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That Graco is a great sprayer but a lot of money. We just did our house with the Wagner $89 sprayer using latex paint and it worked fine.
That's why I recommended renting one, unless you have a need for doing this frequently. You can rent one for $60 a day. If it is going to take more than a couple of days you'd be better off buying one and selling it on Craig's List when you're done.

 

Flyover

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Thanks everyone. I'll probably start with brushes/rollers for the reasons I gave, and then consider switching to spraying if brushing/rolling really becomes impossible.

Just want to recap the answers I got to my questions:

1. Regular ol' paint is fine; flat might show smudges easily so I'll probably go with satin as originally planned.
2. It's safe (and trendy) to paint ducts & wires, but they need to be primed first with automotive primer. I don't really want to paint them -- something about painted wires just doesn't sit right with me -- so I'll put some effort into protecting them from splatters and drips. (I don't care about the black PVC pipes though.)
 
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Bob Reynolds

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You can spray that entire area in a few hours. You will spend more time masking than anything else.

I would mask first. Once it is masked then rent a paint sprayer for the 4 hour rate. Paint and then take the sprayer back.

I have used flat black and stain black for these jobs. They both work but the satin seems "washable".

It will take you weeks to paint it with a brush and roller and your results will not be as good as with the sprayer.
 

Flyover

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@Bob Reynolds what entire area? I don't think I ever specified the area. I'm not in a rush but you do make spraying sound even faster, and brushing/rolling slower, than I had previously considered. This project is still "in line" behind several others but this is great info and I will keep it in mind. Thanks.
 

ekrig

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One comment about the paint sheen: I personally never use flat on walls anyone, only the ceiling. Since you don't normally touch the ceiling you don't typically need to worry about smudges. Still, if wash-ability is a consideration, I'd go with eggshell. Since the whole point of painting the ceiling black is to have it "disappear," I doubt you want to make it somewhat shiny with satin, meaning it will reflect a lot more light and make the ceiling more noticeable.
 

Flyover

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I see what you're saying, that makes sense. I'll look at eggshell then.
 
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