What Is the Difference Between Ceiling Paint And Wall Paint?

Are they different and if they are, then what makes this difference?

If you are into various home renovations, you definitely know how important it is to choose the correct paint for your painting projects!

However, most of us would stumble upon the same question when in need of painting something in our home: what type of paint shall I buy?

Is it worth buying a ceiling paint? Or you could simply make use of the wall paint instead?

This is the point when the majority of home renovators feel the need to know the difference between wall paint and ceiling paint.

Some people wonder whether wall paint is the same effective on ceilings as on the walls, and others are curious about how their wall paint will “behave” is applied on the ceiling.

So today we want to make things clear and explain the difference between wall paint and ceiling paint. You will learn what each of these paints is, what makes it different, and what significant features each of these paints have that make it unique.

The Difference In Ceiling Paint And Wall Paint

Well, the major difference is that the wall paint is initially created for being applied onto the walls whilst the ceiling paint is initially meant for painting the ceilings. However, everything is not that simple as it may seem!

If we take a closer look at the major characteristics of each type of paint, we will see that both ceiling paint and wall paint are rather different substances.

However, it does not mean that these paints can’t be used interchangeably! In simple words, you can technically paint your walls with the ceiling paint. But, you will hardly be able to do it vice versa! Let’s see why it is so.

The Difference In Ceiling Paint And Wall Paint
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What Is Ceiling Paint?

Technically speaking, a ceiling paint is the type of paint that is designed for being applied onto the ceilings. It is a flat paint with a sheen finish because it has a nice blending on the low ceilings. In addition, this type of paint is better for getting more clean surfaces than matte finishes.

However, if we compare a ceiling paint and a wall paint, we will see that the ceiling paint possesses way more viscosity. Which makes sense since this type of paint is typically applied onto the surfaces under a certain angle.

And if the paint was too thin, it would splash and splatter. In addition, thinner paint would dry longer, and it it was applied onto the ceiling, you would have the paint dripping from above on your head! But a thick and viscouse ceiling paint gets dry pretty fast.

What else makes ceiling paint stand aside from the wall paint, you may wonder? Well, when working with ceiling paint, it is much easier to get a smooth and uniform finish.

This is because, in addition to adding body to the paint, a high viscosity also supplies full and opaque coverage in one coat. In simple words, this type of paint will easily cover various stains and all sorts of discoloration on your ceilings with much less effort spent from your side!

What Is Ceiling Paint
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Related: Can You Use Interior Paint Outside?

What Is Wall Paint?

In comparison to ceiling paint, the paint that we usually use for painting the walls has somewhat distinct characteristics. It is thinnner first of all. Also, wall paints typically consist of eggshell paint finish (compare it to the ceiling paint’s flat sheen).

In comparison to the ceiling paint, wall paint has way more colors and shades which means that you willhave a wider choice. Also, wall paints come in two different types, oil-based and water-based paint.

The first one needs more experience and skills from you, and also, it requires the use of additional chemicals, such as solvents, to clean the brushes and everything else that the paint got in contact with.

What Is Wall Paint
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That’s because oil-based paint can not be simply washed off with water and soap. Moreover, oil-based paint needs more time to dry.

As for the water-based wall paint, it dries faster and it is easier in terms of using it. It is also simpler to clean up after working with this type of paint.

So even these general distinctions can make you see better that wall paints and ceiling paints are quite different things! And now let us show you in detail wny these two types of paint can not be used interchangeably sometimes.

HOW TO paint ceilings FAST and like a professional PAINTERHOW TO paint ceilings FAST and like a professional PAINTER

Related: How Long Does It Take For Behr Paint to Dry?

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint

To better understand what makes these two types of paint distinct, we offer you to familiarize yourself with the major aspects that make the difference between these paints. With their help, you will be able to figure out why wall and ceiling paint are not the same thing in fact.

So if we take these two types of piant and decide to compare them, we will see that they have several factors that are distinct:

  1. Finish
  2. Viscosity
  3. Coverage
  4. Color palette
  5. Prices

And what does it all mean, you may be wondering? It’s pretty easy, let us explain! Let’s start with the first aspect which is the finish. See, if we take a ceiling paint, we will see that it shows the flat impact so that light does not reflect on it.

This nuance aids in hiding any irregularities and spots that the surface may have. As for the wall paint, use of the flat finish is a must when you paint them with the wall paint. That’s because any shine, displays on ceilings far more than on the walls, can hook the light the wrong way.

In terms of the viscosity, the ceiling paint posesses literally coutless hiding abilities! In addition, it is thicker. Ceiling paint consists of more significant solids in it, which means that you can paint easily in a vertical direction with much less splatter and drips!

Coverage is also what makes these two types of paints distinct. The ceiling paint finish is smooth and it also gives that uniform coverage on the walls of your home.

When we use the ceiling paint, we provide body to the walls and ceilings as well, and we can get the opaque coverage in a single coat thanks to the high viscosity.

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint
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In this way, it is possible to cover the imperfections on your ceilings with much less effort! This is why it is better and more reasonable to make use of a high viscosity paint in order to give an impressive look to the walls in your home.

In case you are going to use a paint sprayer, you should opt for the correct consistency of the paint though to fit this instrument!

Then, we have colors. If we take a look at the regular color palette of the ceiling paint, we will see that they mostly come in all shades of white, as well as pale colors (for instance, pale pink, blue, or pale yellow) that turn white after they are applied and dry.

Thanks to this, it is very simple to apply the second layer of paint if needed, as well as paint the missed areas.

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint (2)
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However, since the ceiling paints have minimal colors, you might find it difficult to find a suitable paint if you are looking for a brighter color option. On the other hand, it is still possible to create your very own and unique color by mixing several different ceiling paints!

And finally, here comes the price! The most thrilling nuance that so many home renovators are worried about! In general, to paint the ceiling in a standard 10 by 12-foot room, you can expect to pay between 150 and 30 dollars.

However, you need to make sure that the paint you choose is high-quality and contains of 45 percent solvent! Otherwise, it will be too runny.

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint (3)
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Related: 12+ Ideas For Your Living Room Color Palette

Oil-Based Or Water-Based? How to Choose the Optimal Wall Paint?

If you are new to all this painting sphere, you might feel a bit confused when trying to decide which type of wall paint to buy. Shall it be an oil-based or a water-based type of paint? To make this choice simpler for you, we are going to explain what makes these two types of the wall paint distinct.

So first of all, let’s start with oil-based paints. The most important thing you need to know about this type of paint is that it is rather challenging to work with.

It requires the use of a solvent to wash the brushes and rollers, as well as other tools and equipment (e.g. the paint tray), since oil-based paints can’t be washed off with mere water and soap.

Also, you should wear the protective gear when working with it. But even then it’s not the end! In addition, oil-based paint has rather strong fumes which means that the room you are working in must be well ventilated. Finally, this type of paint takes more time to dry which should also be taken into account.

Oil Based Or Water Based How to Choose the Optimal Wall Paint
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In comparison, water-based paints are much simpler to handle! They dry faster and they are easier to clean up after. Also, they are less toxic compared to the oil-based ones, and the smell of the water-based paint is way less overwhelming.

However, this type of paint has its specific nuances! You need to clean the wall first prior to applying this type of paint. In addition, it is recommended to sand the wall as well in order to rough the surface up.

This will help the paint to adhere to the surface much better. In addition, there is another benefit that water-based paints have: they prevent the growth of mildew! And as a pleasant bonus, such paint will not fade in sunlight, as well as it will not crack or chip. Finally, it can be successfully used on the majority of surfaces.

Oil Based Or Water Based How to Choose the Optimal Wall Paint (2)
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What Effects Can Be Achieved If You Make Use Of a Wall Paint?

The result that you may achieve when using a wall paint will mostly depend on the characteristics of the paint. For instance, you can use a combination of high-gloss and matt paints to create texture.

Latex, matt paint, is velvety smooth and opaque. It can hide imperfections and give the walls a rich color. The only possible downside is that it will be pretty hard to clean! You would want to make use of this paint in low traffic areas in your home, such as the primary bedroom.

There are also other options, for example, eggshell and satin.

What Effects Can Be Achieved If You Make Use Of a Wall Paint
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They are a bit more durable and also they have some sheen. But in case you are looking for more sparkle, as well as durability, we would recommend you pay closer attention to semi-gloss and high gloss options.

So, this is what we were going to share with you today on the topic of wall paints and ceiling paints. Now you know that ceiling paints are more viscous which prevents them from dripping while drying.

Also, you found out that wall paints are easier to handle (especially if they are the water-based ones) and clean up after.

Finally, we provided you with several major factors that make these two types of paint – the wall paint and the ceiling paint – distinct. With all that in mind, you will now be able to pick up the most suitable type of paint for your home renovation and painting projects easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ What white paint is best for the ceilings?

If you want a flat white ceiling, then opt for a dull sheen white interior latex paint.

⭐ What paint do you use on ceilings?

It’s either flat or the eggshell finish.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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