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Can You Use Ceiling Paint On Walls?

When painting a room, especially if you are doing it for the first time, you will naturally have a bunch of questions and dilemmas. One of the main ones, at least for me, always used to be can you use ceiling paint on walls. 

Rookie painters often aren’t sure if they should paint the ceiling and wall the same colour. And if yes, do they need to use two different kinds of paint?

Here’s everything you need to know about using ceiling paint on your walls (and vice versa).

Can You Use Ceiling Paint On Walls?

You can use ceiling paint on the walls. This tactic will be especially useful if you want to use ceiling paint as a primer. Bear in mind however that while this is a cost-effective solution, you may not be satisfied by the colour or the flatness of the paint.

The reason ceiling paint is not usually used on walls is the limited colour palette, the flatness of the paint and its high viscosity, which doesn’t make it the best choice.

However, since it is cheaper than wall paint, you can use it both as a primer for your walls (a great solution!), or in closets, stairwells, or the rooms you don’t often use. 

As long as you make sure to wait between your coats of paint, you can get away with ceiling paint on the wall, if you are fine with the flatness of it. 

What Is the Difference Between Wall Paint and Ceiling Paint?

Ceiling paint is much flatter, does not reflect light and is great at hiding marks and stains. It also has a higher viscosity, i.e. it is thicker than wall paint. 

The main purpose of ceiling paint is to cover any imperfections, so it will reflect much less light. It’s great at evening a surface out and providing a smooth finish.

Given its purpose, it also happens to be much thicker, i.e. it has a much higher viscosity. This is what prevents it from dripping all over your floors, and enables it to stick to the ceiling so well. Wall paint is thinner and more watery, so it isn’t the best solution for your ceiling, as it will likely drip. 

The higher viscosity also helps the paint last longer once it’s dry. It seals the ceiling, so to speak, so there will be less marks on it. One layer of ceiling paint will for the same reason go much further than a layer of wall paint. You won’t need to keep adding to it: more often than not, a single coat of ceiling paint will be all you need. 

The downsides of ceiling paint, especially in terms of its use on a wall, are first and foremost its flatness. Ceiling paint can look very dull, so unless that is specifically the effect you are looking for, you may end up very disappointed if you use it on your walls. 

Ceiling paint comes in much fewer colours than wall paint does too, so there will be a limited range of options. It will however be noticeably cheaper, so if you need to paint a room at a more affordable price, using ceiling paint can be your solution. 

Can You Use Ceiling Paint On Walls as a Primer?

Yes, you can definitely use ceiling paint as a primer on your walls. It will provide a very even base for your wall paint, and will be flat enough to hide any imperfections.

The best way to use ceiling paint on a wall is as a primer. If you have a bucket left over, don’t let it sit: old paint won’t be as good as buying a new bucket. Use it as a primer instead if you have a wall to paint. You can also use it as a primer on your doors and windows. 

Make sure to wait between the primer and paint, to achieve the smoothest possible result. 

Can You Mix Ceiling Paint With Wall Paint?

You can mix ceiling and wall paint, as long as it is the same type of paint: latex with latex, as opposed to latex with oil. 

There is however only one way to do this right. And it’s not pouring one type of paint into the other. If you were to add wall paint to ceiling paint, aiming to create the colour you are looking for, the paint would end up dripping and drying weirdly. 

If you however first use ceiling paint on a wall, and then top it with wall paint, you will get the best of both worlds: the durability of ceiling paint, and the colour and finish of wall paint.  

Can You Use the Same White Paint For Walls and Ceiling?

You can use the same white paint for your walls and ceiling. Just note that you should be using ceiling paint on the walls, as opposed to wall paint on the ceiling. 

When painting an entire room white, the simplest thing to do is use the same ceiling paint all over and call it a day. This can in fact work very well, as there will be no visible difference, and the room will feel bright and spacious. 

The one downside is that the white may feel a bit flat and dull, but if a uniform whiteness is what you are going for, this is in fact the best solution. 

Is Flat White Paint the Same as Ceiling Paint?

Flat white paint and ceiling paint aren’t necessarily the same thing, even though most ceiling paint is flat. 

Both of these paints have a matte finish, and will result in a smooth surface. The one difference is that ceiling paint will have a higher viscosity, so it won’t drip as much. Flat white wall paint will be less thick, and won’t cover imperfections as well. 

What Is the Difference Between Flat White Paint and Ceiling Paint?

Ceiling paint is thicker and better at covering imperfections, white flat white paint is more runny and meant to go on the walls. 

Flat white paint has a matte finish and there’s more pigment in it. It is more opaque than other finishes, and it’s great for covering up any colour that used to sit on the wall you are now painting. 

If you need to cover up any damage, it’s the best paint to buy. 

On the other hand, ceiling paint has all the same properties, but it also comes with a higher viscosity. This prevents it from dripping all over when you are rolling it out on the ceiling. 

When to Use Ceiling Paint on Walls

You should use ceiling paint of your walls if you want to achieve a uniform colour all over a room, want to hide visible imperfections, or prime your walls. 

Ceiling paint on your wall will hide any stains, scratches, splatter or handprints. It’s also a good choice when you want to achieve that cosy feeling and make a space seem cleaner and more uniform. 

You can also use ceiling paint on a wall when aesthetics play a less important role and you want to focus on functionality: basements, garages, stairwells. Ceiling paint is more durable and easier to clean, so you won’t have to worry about additional marks showing up as often, or being as stubborn. 

How to Use Ceiling Paint on Walls

If you want to use ceiling paint on your walls, just follow these simple steps:

  • Get all the tools you need to paint a room: rollers, brushes, masking tape and so on
  • Prep your room by removing everything you can from it, and covering everything that’s staying to prevent any damage
  • Clean all the walls and ceiling to remove any dirt
  • Add masking tape where you need to
  • Place a tarp or other plastic cover on the floor
  • Use a primer if you need to on the ceiling
  • Paint the ceiling with even strokes
  • Paint the walls with your ceiling paint, using it as a primer
  • Cut in the corners and edges if you are adding a layer of wall paint
  • Paint your walls 
  • Put the furniture back once the paint has had enough time to dry 

How many coats of paint you need will depend on the state of your walls and the paint you have chosen. It could be as little as one. 

Can You Use Wall Paint on Ceilings?

You can theoretically use wall paint on your ceiling, as long as you understand that it is much thinner, so it will drip more and can turn into quite the messy job.

Also be sure to choose a wall paint that has the right sheen (ideally something flat) and that matches the one you have chosen for your walls. 

Since ceiling paint is cheaper than wall paint, you are still advised to buy a bucket of it: the end result will be much better too. 

Wrapping It Up 

Using ceiling paint on your walls is often the simplest solution when painting a room. As long as you are happy with the flatness of the colour, don’t shy away from this money-saving option. 


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