Painting a drop ceiling is something we do on a regular basis. It is not difficult but it can take more prep work than usual if it is in an occupied space. Dropped ceilings are the ceilings installed below the structural ceiling and are commonly comprised of acoustical ceiling tiles and a network of metal grids and wall channels.
By the nature of the ceilings construction, it must be sprayed. When we are doing a ceiling we tend to use a latex dryfall material. Dryfall is a paint that “dries as it falls” and is manufactured to dry at various fall distances. For example you can buy 8 foot dryfall, 12 foot dryfall, etc. These are paints that dry when falling 8 feet and 12 feet respectively. The dryfall distance is theoretical and dependent upon the environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. Even though the paint should be dry we always take measures to limit the surrounds to over-spray. This includes protecting the floor, walls, etc.
After everything is protected from over-spray, we will go through and seal any stains on the ceiling. We normally use a shellac based sealer since it dries very fast and is very effective.
One of the most important factors when spraying this type of ceiling is to look at it from several different angles to insure proper coverage. When painting a drop ceiling we usually have 2 or 3 different employees look from all possible angles to make sure everything is completely coated.
After we are certain everything is coated we will do a second finish coat for good measure.
The nice thing about taking all the time it takes to cover everything up is clean up is fast and much easier. The biggest challenge is disposal of all the masking materials.