PAINT

Painting a ceiling can help hide small blemishes.

Adding a texture to a ceiling is an attractive way to conceal imperfections and light cracks while adding interest and dimension to an otherwise flat surface. It's not a solution for a ceiling marred with deep cracks, but it can be a decorative finish with swirls and stippling effects that hide small blemishes.

Before painting a ceiling prepare the room by lowering and loosening the ceiling fixture from its collar plate. Then thoroughly clean the ceiling with a dry mop to remove any dust on the surface, especially in the corners. You'll need a sturdy ladder and drop cloths to protect the furnishings and floor. It's a good idea to remove as much furniture as you can so it's not difficult to reposition the ladder as you move around the room.

For a 400-square-foot ceiling in an 18-by-20-foot room, a painting contractor will charge $561 to make minor repairs and apply a primer and latex texture paint, which includes labor and material. You can buy the patching compound, primer, paint and tools for $75 and do it yourself, saving 87%. You'll find the materials sold at paint stores and in the paint sections of hardware stores and home centers.

To finish the surface several different tools can be used -- such as a whisk broom, putty knife, sponge, trowel, wallpaper brush or heavy nap roller -- to create different effects. For the best results, practice and experiment on a scrap piece of wallboard to help decide the finish you think suits your ceiling best.

To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$561 -- $75 -- 8.6 -- 9.0 -- $486 -- 87%