Can I Use Ceiling Paint on Walls? Uncovering the Truth

Bob Thomas


Painting your home can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing the right type of paint for different surfaces.

A common question that arises is, "Can I use ceiling paint on walls?" In this article, we'll dive into the differences between ceiling paint and wall paint, the pros and cons of using ceiling paint on walls, and expert tips for getting the best results.

Quick Summary

While it's possible to use ceiling paint on walls, it's not the most ideal option due to differences in paint formulation and finish.

However, if you decide to proceed, proper surface preparation and application techniques are crucial for a successful outcome.

Understanding Ceiling Paint vs. Wall Paint

Ceiling paint and wall paint may seem similar, but they have distinct differences that affect their performance on different surfaces:

  1. Formulation: Ceiling paint is designed to have a thicker consistency to prevent drips and splatters, while wall paint is thinner and easier to apply with a brush or roller.
  2. Finish: Ceiling paint typically has a flat or matte finish to hide imperfections and reduce glare. Wall paint, on the other hand, comes in various finishes like egg shell, satin, and semi-gloss, which offer more durability and washability.
  1. Color: Ceiling paint is often available in limited color options, with most brands offering only white or off-white shades. Wall paint comes in a wide range of colors to suit your design preferences.

Pros and Cons of Using Ceiling Paint on Walls

While using ceiling paint on walls is possible, there are some pros and cons to consider:


  1. Cost-effective: If you already have leftover ceiling paint, using it on your walls can save you money.
  2. Flat finish: The flat finish of ceiling paint can help hide minor imperfections on your walls, such as small dents or uneven textures.


  1. Limited color choices: Ceiling paint typically comes in white or off-white shades, which may not be suitable for every room or design style.
  2. Less durability: Ceiling paint is not as durable as wall paint, making it more susceptible to scuffs, stains, and wear over time.

Expert Tips for Using Ceiling Paint on Walls

If you decide to use ceiling paint on your walls, follow these expert tips to ensure a successful outcome:

  1. Proper surface preparation: Clean and prime the walls to ensure proper paint adhesion. Use a high-quality primer that is compatible with the ceiling paint.
  2. Apply multiple coats: Ceiling paint is often less opaque than wall paint, so applying multiple coats may be necessary to achieve full coverage.
  3. Use proper painting techniques: Use proper painting techniques: To achieve a smooth and even finish, use the right painting tools, such as high-quality brushes and rollers. Apply paint in a "W" or "M" pattern, working from the top down, and maintain a wet edge to avoid lap marks. Make sure to allow enough time for the paint to dry between coats.
  1. Protect the paint: Since ceiling paint is less durable than wall paint, consider using a clear protective finish, such as a water-based polyurethane, to add extra protection against scuffs and stains.
  2. Test a small area first: Before painting the entire wall, test the ceiling paint on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it adheres well and provides the desired coverage and finish.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q: Can I mix ceiling paint with wall paint to get a better finish?

  A: Mixing ceiling paint with wall paint can help improve the durability and finish of the paint on your walls.

However, it's essential to make sure both paints are compatible (water-based or oil-based) before mixing.

It's also a good idea to test the mixed paint on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to your walls.

Q: How many coats of ceiling paint should I apply on walls?

  A: The number of coats needed depends on the paint's coverage and the color difference between the existing wall color and the new paint.

Typically, two coats of ceiling paint should be sufficient, but you may need additional coats if you're trying to cover a dark color with a lighter one.

Q: Can I use ceiling paint on textured walls?

  A: Yes, you can use ceiling paint on textured walls.

However, keep in mind that ceiling paint is generally thinner, which may require additional coats for full coverage.

Also, consider using a thicker nap roller to ensure the paint reaches the crevices of the textured surface.

Q: Is it more cost-effective to use ceiling paint on walls?

  A: Ceiling paint is usually cheaper than wall paint, but its lower durability and limited color options might not make it the most cost-effective choice in the long run.

Investing in high-quality wall paint can provide better long-term value, as it is specifically formulated for walls and offers a wider range of colors and finishes.

Q: Do I need to prime my walls before applying ceiling paint?

  A: Priming is recommended when using ceiling paint on walls, especially if you're painting over a dark color, bare drywall, or a glossy surface.

A primer will help the paint adhere better, providing a smoother finish and ensuring better coverage.

Q: Can I use ceiling paint on exterior walls?

  A: It is not recommended to use ceiling paint on exterior walls.

Exterior paint is specifically formulated to withstand weather conditions and UV exposure, whereas ceiling paint is designed for indoor use only.

Using ceiling paint on exterior walls may result in premature fading, peeling, or cracking.

Q: How long does ceiling paint take to dry on walls?

  A: The drying time of ceiling paint on walls can vary depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and paint brand.

Generally, ceiling paint dries to the touch in 1-2 hours and is ready for a second coat after 4 hours. It's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for specific drying times.

Q: Can I use a paint sprayer to apply ceiling paint on walls?

  A: Yes, you can use a paint sprayer to apply ceiling paint on walls.

A paint sprayer can provide an even, smooth finish and save time compared to using a brush or roller.

However, make sure to properly prepare the room and protect furniture, floors, and other surfaces from overspray.

Additionally, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for thinning the paint, as ceiling paint is typically thinner than wall paint and may require adjustments when using a sprayer.

Q: What type of finish does ceiling paint have when applied to walls?

  A: Ceiling paint usually has a flat or matte finish, which helps to hide imperfections and minimize glare.

This type of finish can be suitable for walls in low-traffic areas or rooms where a subtle, non-reflective appearance is desired.

However, keep in mind that flat or matte finishes are less durable and may be more challenging to clean compared to satin or semi-gloss finishes.

Q: Can I tint ceiling paint to match my desired wall color?

  A: Yes, you can tint ceiling paint to match a specific wall color.

Many paint stores can customize the color of your ceiling paint using a tinting machine.

However, note that ceiling paint has a different formulation than wall paint, so the final color may appear slightly different when applied to walls.

Always test a small area before painting the entire wall to ensure you're satisfied with the color.


While using ceiling paint on walls is possible, it may not be the best choice due to its limited color options and lower durability.

However, if you decide to use ceiling paint on your walls, proper surface preparation, application techniques, and protection can help you achieve a satisfactory result.

If you're looking for a specific color or a more durable finish, consider using wall paint designed for use on vertical surfaces.

Suggested Products:

  1. Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint: An ultra-flat finish designed to hide surface imperfections on both ceilings and walls.
  2. Sherwin-Williams Eminence High-Performance Ceiling Paint: A high-quality paint that can be used on walls as well for a consistent finish.
  3. BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Interior Matte Paint: A versatile paint suitable for walls, ceilings, and trim, with excellent coverage and durability.
  4. Valspar Ultra Flat Ceiling Paint: A paint specifically designed for ceilings but can also be applied to walls for a flat, uniform finish.
  5. Glidden Interior Latex Ceiling Paint: A low VOC, low odor paint that can be used on walls and ceilings for a smooth, even finish.
  6. PPG Diamond Interior Paint: A high-quality, durable paint suitable for walls and ceilings, with excellent coverage and stain resistance.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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