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How to Paint High Places Without a Ladder

How to Paint High Places Without a Ladder

You’ve bought your dream home and you’re simply over the moon. But then there’s a small hiccup- you really don’t fancy the bright medium tone of the ceilings (the previous owner had it repainted royal blue) and you wish to make it a few shades lighter.

Next problem: Tall ladders make you nervous, which rules out an extension ladder. And so you’re almost giving up on doing it yourself.

But hey, not too fast.. Take a minute to read how to paint high places without a ladder below and try repainting it yourself.

Let’s face it: Even if you don’t cringe at the sight of tall ladders, most of us never feel completely safe, no matter how keenly one follows his/her ladder’s safety setup guide.

On the contrary, some of the methods we suggest here are safer and in fact, much easier alternatives to using ladders and scaffolds when painting high exterior walls, high ceilings over stairs, and other terrifying heights.

Let’s get started..

Tools and accessories you need:

  • Lots of drop cloths.
  • Extender pole (choose a screw-on model that you can adjust).
  • Regular painter’s tape.
  • Paint brush (angled and should, preferably have a threaded handle)
  • Roller 
  • Paint
  • A tray/ small container

How to paint high places without a ladder – step by step

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1. Getting ready

Before you go on to paint your soaring ceilings or high walls on stairs, first get rid of the stuff that may be messed up by the paint (plants, furnishings, etc.)

You also want to protect the floor, stair railings, light fixtures, and other immovables from unintended drips and spatter by covering them with drop cloths as necessary.

Lastly, tape the spots that you’re not planning to give a facelift such as baseboards.

2. Assemble the painting gear

There is obviously no ladder or scaffold to set up here. However, you still need to do a basic setup for your painting gear.

And so:

Grab the cut-in brush and attach it to your paint brush extender – depending on the dimensions of the painting extension pole you bought, it should extend high enough to comfortably reach even above the stairs.

Personally, I have a 24-foot extension pole that reaches my 20-foot ceiling effortlessly. Note that a cut-in brush will produce great-looking results if you’ll be repainting spots that are extremely tight such as along trim and baseboards, the ceiling line, corners, and more.

Your last step here is pouring the paint into a tray.

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3. Get painting

Dip the brush bristles straight into the paint, extend it up high where you want to reach, and start by applying a fresh coat of paint to the borders/wall lines.

Achieving a professional touch is not difficult- simply cut in with your angled brush then gently fan your bristles out while guiding the brush along the edges. You may want to slowly overlap some sections to get rid of marks until the entire trim looks immaculate.

With your cut-in border neatly painted, take the roller and roll paint the area you’re yet to touch. You, of course, must fix it to the extender pole to reach those high places before getting down to work.

Now, the process for a stand-out paint job is the same whether you’re painting a high interior wall or a towering ceiling- paint in sections, apply smooth strokes, and continually roll until any unsightly lines or drips have been eliminated.

The last thing you’ll do – you undoubtedly want the paint coverage to fully blend with the previously painted edges – is to fill in the high corner areas with your cut-in brush (still on the extender).


It’s not the only way but an extender pole is one of the fastest and easiest ways to paint high spaces if the current color is anything but eye-catching.

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How to paint high places without a ladder – consider using a paint edger

Must you tape those high ceilings? Well, no!

In fact, for many people who have issues climbing ladders, a paint edger is a must-have when painting high locations. And you should think about it too (the amazing Shur line paint edger is a good place to start).

I often advocate for this method myself because it’s absolutely less messy and has far better results than a brush along the edges (of walls or trims). And, just to confirm, you’ll never need to tape anything.

Follow these steps to paint the edges up there and avoid smearing paint everywhere…

See also: DIY Dog ramp for pontoon boat

1. Gather the requirements

You’ll still need something to extend it- a typical tall paint brush extender, garage broom handle, or even a kitchen broom handle should work!

Needless to say, you need most of the things we highlighted above (apart from the tape).

2. Preliminaries

Begin by connecting the edger to the extender pole.


Now put the necessary amount of paint into the tray (or container).

3. How to paint

Insert the edger’s pad into your paint (since edgers are not made equal, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions in this step).

Bonus tip: Don’t overload it with paint (it seriously messes the edges if flooded with paint).

Now cut in around the edges of the surface you’re renovating, windows/doors, above the baseboards, below trims, and around woodwork with the edger (Maintain a straight line throughout). If through, proceed to pick the paint roller and roll paint the remaining part of the wall or ceiling.


Congratulations on a job well done!

Attic stairs for small spaces

Other alternatives to ladders and scaffolds- think of scissor lifts, cherry pickers (yes!), and the like. They all involve spending time at dizzying heights (so they’re still frightening) not to mention their high rental cost.

As such, I find the above methods more creative and most importantly, friendlier to those who have no time for ladders and other elevation equipment.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the latter and good painting practices when trying this.

See also: Best garage ladder racks

References and Citations:

The Sun: HIGH FIVE DIY fanatic shares the easy way she paints high ceiling corners WITHOUT having to balance on a ladder-

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