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  • Carlton Clark

Ceiling Paint Vs Wall Paint

You go to your local hardware or paint store, find the color you want, bring it home, open it up, and paint your walls and ceiling. It is as easy as that, isn’t it?

Well, not quite.

Yes, you can use the same paint on the walls and ceiling, but you might not get the exact results you’re after. There are subtle differences between the two, and it is recommended to use ceiling paint for the ceiling and wall paint for the wall. It can be disastrous if you are unprepared and use the wrong paint.

This blog post will discuss the differences between ceiling paint vs wall paint.

The Thickness Of Ceiling Paint

You might have heard the term ‘viscosity’ thrown around when it comes to painting, which is a fancy word for thickness.

Ceiling paint is thicker than wall paint, and the reason for this is obvious. When painting your ceiling, you will lay down tarps and sheets to catch any paint drips, but you still want the paint to drip as little as possible. No one wants paint getting in their eye.

The thickness of ceiling paint means it does not drip as much as wall paint does. Wall paint is thinner—you don’t have to worry as much about drips, more the paint running down the wall if you put too much on, but gravity is not working as hard on it as with the ceiling.

You can use wall paint on the ceiling, but you will have to be careful. If you use too much paint at once, it will drip and get over everything below.

Drying Time: Ceiling vs. Wall Paint

Fewer splashes and splatters are a benefit when it comes to ceiling paint, but the thickness of the paint also means less drying time. It does not have as much liquid content, so there is less to evaporate.

When painting walls, the paint you use might quickly dry, but it will not be as quick as ceiling paint.

The thickness of the paint means you need to be careful when using wall paint on the ceiling, and the quick-drying nature of ceiling paint means you need to be careful when using ceiling paint on your walls. If you want to use ceiling paint, be sure that you are prepared so that when you start painting, you can cover the area before the paint starts to dry.

Ceiling Paint Needs Fewer Coats

Because of the thickness of ceiling paint, the layer you apply will be thicker than a layer of wall paint. This might not be a problem depending on the type and quality of paint used. And, if you are using only ceiling paint for the ceiling and walls, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

However, if you use only wall paint, you might have to plan for at least two coats of paint.

The Added Benefits Of Ceiling Paint

Heat rises, which means smoke, dirt, dust, and moisture rise too. If you’ve ever been in a smoker's home, the ceiling is more stained than the walls. You may also see a similar effect in kitchens that cook with a lot of oil. When it comes to mold and mildew, ceilings are more susceptible too.

Ceiling paint has more resistance to mold, mildew, smoke, vapors, and stains. So, if you are a smoker or painting a bathroom or kitchen ceiling (or any other ceiling that might become stained), you should use ceiling paint over wall paint.

Wall Paint Gives You More Options

Next time you’re in a commercial building or at home, look up and notice the difference in gloss between the ceiling and walls. You may notice that ceiling paint does not have a lot of gloss. Most ceilings, whether textured or not, are flat (or, at the very most, are semi-gloss).

Ceilings are often not the focal point of a room, and because they are harder to clean and patch, you need a paint finish that will not highlight dings, dents, and marks. Flat paint hides a lot well.

But, while a flat finish is perfect for ceilings, it is often not the best finish for walls. Thankfully, you have more options at your disposal with wall paint, which is one reason to choose wall paint over ceiling paint.

Is There A Difference In Cost?

Yes, there is.

Ceiling paint costs a lot more than wall paint (provided you are comparing the same quality), and even though it is thicker and will require fewer coats, you will still be better off financially if you use wall paint instead of ceiling paint. It might take more time, but you will save on materials.

Is There Any Reason Not To Use Ceiling Or Wall Paint?

While the two types of paint are pretty interchangeable, provided you prepare correctly when substituting one for the other, there is a scenario when you should not use ceiling paint.

And that is when you are using a paint sprayer.

Some paint sprayers can handle the viscosity of ceiling paint, but not all can. If you use a paint sprayer, match the paint viscosity to the sprayer’s capacity.

The Benefits Of Using Ceiling Paint OR Wall Paint

It is recommended that most painting contractors and DIYers to use the designated types of paint when you are painting walls and ceilings. Still, there are some benefits to using only wall paint or ceiling paint:

  • It is much easier: You only have to buy one type of paint, you do not have to switch back and forth between tins, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning your brush or roller between coats. Let’s face it, if it only makes a little difference, maybe you don’t want to spend all the extra time.

  • You can match the color: While there will likely be matching wall and ceiling paint colors, it is not guaranteed. If you are using the same paint tin, you will guarantee your ceiling and walls match.

  • You can match the finish: While you might find two semi-gloss paints, the exact amount of gloss might differ slightly. Using one paint, you ensure the exact level of finish on both your ceiling and your walls.

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