Cost To Paint a Ceiling in Australia

House painter painting a celiling

As a Sydney painter with over a decade of experience, I’ve been asked countless times about the cost of painting ceilings. It’s a question that pops up consistently, and rightfully so. After all, the ceiling is like the fifth wall of a room, and its treatment can significantly impact the overall aesthetic and ambience.

As ceiling heights, room sizes, and prep work can all vary significantly, costs can range quite a bit. However, here in Australia, for standard 2.4 meter ceiling height and minimal prep, average cost is $25-35 per square meter. 

However, from experience I can tell you costs take a major jump when dealing with high ceilings over 2.4 meters. It’s not just the added wall space, but the constantly working from ladders, poles, and scaffolding that really diminishes daily productivity. 

So when rooms with high ceilings are involved you can expect painting costs per square meter to rise quite a bit. My best advice is ask the painter how they handle tall wall spaces. Their strategies and rates will vary. Going with someone experienced working with heights though can potentially save money and headaches in the long run.

Know this Before Getting Your Ceiling Painted

Professional painters usually avoid small jobs. Why? Well, for us, efficiency is key. When we tackle whole-house painting jobs, we can spread fixed costs like equipment setup, surface prep, and colour mixing across multiple rooms, allowing for more competitive pricing.

However, there are painters who take on these smaller jobs. Side Hustle Painters, Handymen, and Students may offer budget-friendly rates, but their expertise and results may vary. While their labour costs might be lower, clients should be aware of potential trade-offs in quality and reliability.


Key Factors Influencing Ceiling Painting Costs

In my 10+ years as a professional painter, I’ve discovered a few key factors that really drive up pricing on ceiling painting jobs. Here’s what homeowners should keep in mind:

Ceiling Height

It’s simple – the higher the ceiling, the higher the cost. Extra tall ceilings like cathedral styles often require tons of equipment like scaffolding to reach. All that gear rental really ants up the invoice. Not to mention the neck ache! For standard 2.4 meter rooms I can knock out walls/ceilings in a day. Over 2.4 meters? Brace for a surge in rates.

Popcorn Ceilings  

Textured or popcor ceilings are the bane of every painter’s existence. All those bumps and grooves swallow up paint, so extra coats are a must. Then there’s the prep work – scraping, sanding, priming. If considering removing texture altogether, prices can hit the stratosphere due to the messy, laborious process.

Ceiling Size 

This one is common sense. Painting costs directly correlate to overall area size. Large open concept living rooms or master suites? Better bust out the piggy bank! Of course if grouping multiple rooms this matters less thanks to overall house painting quote.

Prep Work 

Chipped plaster, lingering stains, flaws in existing paint – all drive up prep time significantly. Same goes for priming or using special treatment to guard against leaks, moisture etc. The more my team has to do before ever opening the paint, the more hours get logged.

DIY vs Professional 

I admire the spirit of DIY-ers. But between equipment rentals, potential mess-ups, buying supplies in bulk yourself – those cost savings evaporate quickly! My pro team can knock out overhead painting much more efficiently.

Cost to Paint Ceilings in Different Rooms

The cost to paint a ceiling in a bedroom vs. a kitchen or bathroom varies quite significantly in my experience.

  • The final invoice depends on ceiling height, overall area size, and just how dire the existing state is. 
  • If already flaking and stained, intensive treatments to restore it to a clean slate can add hours of work. 
  • Those in downtown high-rises tend to pay more as well compared to suburban homes due to transportation costs to haul equipment.
  • While possible to DIY, between equipment rentals and buying commercial grade paint/primers yourself, you likely won’t save much completing it solo. That’s why even when cash-strapped, I recommend homeowners invest in a pro for ceilings. We have the tools and experience to prep and seal off the space thoroughly, lockout moisture, and provide lasting protection a rookie would struggle to match.

Let me breakdown what you can expect to budget for common spaces:

Bedroom Ceilings

For a bedroom ceiling in Australia, painted by a professional, you’re looking at an average cost range of $500 to $1500 for a standard-sized room. Smaller jobs like single ceilings often command higher rates due to the fixed costs involved in setup and prep work. Always confirm though as intricate trimwork or garish colour changes could slow work.

Living Room Ceilings

For a standard sized living room, you’ll probably invest around $500-1400 to have a professional handle the ceiling makeover. This covers a thorough prep/cleaning, skim coating any flawed areas, priming, and applying two finish coats. 

Where living rooms get tricky is all the obstacles presented by lighting fixtures, fans, media equipment, etc. Working around those adds time. Popcorn ceilings over 2.4 meters also mean breaking out tall ladders and scaffolding to reach, reducing daily productivity and adding to the cost. 

Bathroom Ceilings 

Moisture and lack of ventilation make bathrooms one of the trickiest areas. All those hot showers create moisture that seeps into cracked plaster and feeds mold, resulting in peeling flakes of sadness.

To combat the elements, properly painting a bath ceiling requires more prep and heavy-duty materials compared to a basic bedroom touch up. On average, homeowners pay $300-$1,152 for a pro to come in, exterminate any existing mold, seal the space, and apply two coats of moisture-resistant satin or semi-gloss acrylic paint.

Kitchen Ceilings

Second only to bathrooms, kitchens require the most prep coming in around $500+ per unit for a professional painter. Range hoods, pendant lights, and cabinets all need masking and working around driving up man hours. Stains or grease also must be treated first adding steps. And similar to baths, regular maintenance is key as moist cooking byproducts tend to splatter upwards.

Garage Ceilings

In summary, for typical garage ceiling sizes in Australia, professional repainting costs work out to $840 for single garage ceilings, $1,440 for double garage ceilings, and $2,160 for triple garage ceilings based on current market rates of $40 per square meter. 

Of course, factors like extensive surface flaws requiring repairs or custom finishes and coatings could drive these estimates upwards. Location and painter availability may also cause fluctuations around these averages. However, they provide a sound general budget baseline for planning your overhead garage refresh.

Cost to Paint Different Types of Ceilings

In over 20 years tackling Australian home ceilings, I’ve brushed, rolled and sprayed everything from basic drywall to ornate plaster medallions. And what I can say with certainty is you’ll pay differently depending on what’s overhead! Here is how prices stack up:

Cost to paint basic drywall ceiling

  1. The average cost to paint a basic drywall ceiling in Australia is around $15 – $40 per square metre.
  2. This price typically includes a single undercoat and two finish coats.
  3. The cost may vary depending on factors such as the size of the ceiling, the number of colours used, and the amount of prep work required.

Cost to paint popcorn ceiling

I caution Aussie homeowners to brace themselves on pricing. Trust me, I’ve seen far too many sticker shock moments over the years!

While YouTube makes it look deceivingly easy to refresh or remove heavy textures, the reality down under is far more stubborn. Expect specialised prep, loads of paint, and intensive roller work driving professional painting quotes around $3,000-$4,000 for average sized textured ceilings.

Or you may figure “I’ll just DIY it then!” But before pulling out a scraper based on those online clips, know that Australian plaster and concrete slabs hide lots of flaws underneath. Even if you muscle off every bit of texture, you’ll likely still need thousands in plastering work to smooth uneven contours.

That’s why for popcorn ceiling overhauls, I recommend certified ceiling resurfacing companies using techniques that retain height while transforming textures. Expect around $6,000 for a 2 bedroom unit makeover as a baseline. 

The expense deters many painters too – we chew through tons of paint only to have minimal visible difference at the end! But for those set on removing dated popcorn, specialized resurfacing is the safest, most effective route in Australia.

Cost to paint a 12×12 ceiling

A 12×12 ceiling has an area of 144 square feet or approximately 13.38 square meters. The cost per square meter can range from $30 to $60 depending upon level of painter’s expertise, whether it’s a single small job or part of the house painting project, height of the ceiling, and prep work. Expect to shell out $400 –  $800 to paint a 12×12 standard room ceiling in Australia. 

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Owner at Painters Parramatta | + posts

I'm Ibby, the lead painter at Painters Parramatta. I'm not just a professional painter; I'm a passionate writer with a deep love for all things related to painting. As the proud owner of PaintersParramatta.com.au, I've dedicated my career to the art of transforming spaces and enhancing the beauty of homes and businesses in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia. With nearly two decades of experience in the painting industry, I've left my artistic mark on countless homes and spaces. My love for painting is evident in the meticulous craftsmanship I bring to every project, creating stunning transformations that captivate the eye and enrich the soul.

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