Can Ceiling Paint Be Used On Walls?

If you are thinking of doing a little home remodeling or you have recently purchased a new home, you may, at some point, wonder whether or not you can use ceiling paint on the walls. We've researched the properties and uses of ceiling paint versus wall paint so that we can answer this question for you.

Yes, ceiling paint can definitely be applied to the walls of a home. However, it's recommended only to do so when using it as a primer and not a finish or topcoat paint. Using ceiling paint on the wall can have its advantages and disadvantages, including the following:

  • Ability to hide wall marks
  • High viscosity
  • Durability 
  • Limited color options

It's not uncommon to use ceiling paint on areas other than the ceiling. However, it is helpful to understand the difference between ceiling paint and wall paint and to know in which circumstances it may be more or less fitting. Below, we will discuss these differences and the advantages and disadvantages of using ceiling paint on the walls. We will also provide the most commonly used industry home painting standards.

A blue painted wall with wooden laminated flooring, Can Ceiling Paint Be Used On Walls?

Ceiling Paint Vs. Wall Paint

The biggest difference between ceiling paint and wall paint is their viscosity or "thickness" levels. Ceiling paint has a higher viscosity than wall paint, meaning that it's thicker and will adhere better when applied. It's designed with more solids in the paint mix so that it won't drip or splatter as much when rolled onto the ceiling. Ceiling paint also offers more "coverage" or more use from one application layer instead of applying two or three coats to sufficiently cover a surface.

Ability to Hide Wall Marks

Ceiling paint's viscosity gives it superior blocking advantages and makes it a great option as a primer for walls and trim in high-traffic areas. Areas in a home that may develop mildew stains resulting from poor ventilation can be easily covered up with ceiling paint. It's also a good option for rooms laden with cigar or cigarette smoke, cooking splatter, handprints, scuff marks, and other types of stains. Though ceiling paint cannot cover every single type of stain, it's significantly better at doing so than your typical wall paint.

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Another common reason why flat paint is used over semi-gloss or high-gloss paints to paint a ceiling is the high durability. Semi-gloss paint is simply not as durable as flat paint, and even the smallest scratches can be enough to show the entire wall’s surface appearance.

Higher Viscosity

The viscosity of ceiling paint means very little paint mist and fewer drips when the paint is applied. Typical latex paint is much thinner in consistency, so using ceiling paint on a wall can make the painting process as a whole go a lot smoother, as it minimizes the time needed to fix noticeable drip spots.

Limited Color Options

Ceiling paint, for the most part, is designed to allow for an easy paint application for a uniform and undecorated appearance of the ceiling. This being stated, the color options for ceiling paint can be very limited when compared to wall paint options. However, you can always have your paint mixed at a local paint shop or do this yourself.

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Is It Worth It To Buy Ceiling Paint?

Buying ceiling paint can absolutely be a worthwhile purchase, depending on the factors involved with your painting project. Though it's labeled "ceiling paint," it can actually be used on any paintable surface of your home, and it's particularly suited for rooms where surface stains may be a problem. You'll find that ceiling paint is a bit more expensive than typical latex paint, but it's increased coverage advantage, and stain-blocking abilities make it a worthwhile purchase.

What Are The Different Finishes For Ceiling Paint?

For the most part, ceiling paint comes in a flat white finish, but it can also come in an eggshell finish. Why? Because these are the most basic sheens when it comes to the paint textures, and they allow little light to bounce off the surface, which is typically preferred in homes and buildings. Any sheen or glossy finish easily shows up on a ceiling, directing attention towards it instead of the walls or other areas of a room.

Flat Finish

Flat or "matte" finish sheens allow for a smooth texture and a relatively uniform appearance. This can be ideal for the formal rooms in a home, such as the dining and living room areas. Matte finishes offer minimal light reflection, which is advantageous as they can help hide wall and ceiling imperfections such as holes, dents, or patchwork areas. They don't require as many paint coats as gloss or semi-gloss sheens and are pretty easy to touch up, as there is little contrast between the new "touched-up" paint and the rest of the wall or ceiling surface.

Eggshell Finish

Using an eggshell finish can typically be a safe bet when you're unsure about which type of paint sheen to use. Considered the "go-to" paint sheen, eggshell paint has a very soft appearance that works very well in areas such as family rooms, living rooms, and hallways. This finish is considered a low-gloss finish, as it is more reflective than a flat sheen but not as shiny as a semi-gloss or gloss sheen. Eggshell finish sheens are also easier to clean than flat finishes and are just as durable.

Should You Paint The Ceiling Or Walls First?

If you plan to paint an entire room in your home, it's recommended that you paint from the top down. This means that you should paint the ceiling first and then the walls and trim. The reason is that by painting the ceiling first, you won't need to worry about potential paint splatter, mists from the roller, or drips messing up the newly painted walls. And if this does happen, it's relatively easy to correct since you plan to paint the walls anyway.

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Should Walls Be Painted Flat Or Eggshell?

The paint sheen used for a particular wall or space will depend completely on the homeowner's preference, though there are popular or "standard" uses for each one. For example, an eggshell sheen is often used to add a stylish but simple finish to trim, kitchens, and foyers. It works great in low traffic areas, and its smooth and elegant surface makes it a popular pick in office or business settings.

Flat paint is relatively difficult to clean because of its porous surface. If you are painting a room that is more susceptible to dust or debris, handprints, or high humidity, a flat sheen probably won't be the most ideal for that particular space. A flat finish is likely to become stained or develop mildew spots fairly quickly.

Whether you're simply looking to touch up certain rooms in your house or planning out a multi-room home renovation, it's important to know which type of paint will be used in each room beforehand. Remember, the higher the paint's sheen, the more it will shine, and the easier it will be to clean. So to say, the home's high-traffic or busy areas may work better with gloss or semi-gloss paint.

If you find that you're struggling to decide on the best paint option, a qualified paint professional can help you pick the right paint sheen for the rooms in your home.

Wrapping Things Up

So yes, you can use ceiling paint to paint the walls in your home, but it's best only to use it as a primer. Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn more about ceiling paint features and how it works for different applications.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other home improvement posts at

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