Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint: Can You Use Ceiling Paint on Walls?

If you are planning to paint your interior, you must be wondering whether ceiling paints and wall paints are interchangeable or not. Or, what are the distinct factors that separate these two? Learning when to use ceiling paint vs wall paint can enrich your next paint project.

The main difference between the ceiling paint and wall paint is different levels of viscosity or thickness. Ceiling paints are thicker, while wall paints are thinner. This characteristic determines other distinguishable features of the paints and makes them suitable for different applications.

Similarities and dissimilarities between the paints can tell you when to use which paint in your interior. Hence, understanding the differences between Ceiling paint vs wall paint can be beneficial for you.

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint

What is ceiling paint?

Ceiling paint is a niche paint that is exclusively made for applying on the ceiling. When applied to the ceiling, a force of gravity attracts the paints resulting in paint dripping. But ceiling paints are made in a way that their viscosity is thick and do not drip from the ceiling after application.

What is Wall Paint?

Wall paint is exclusively made for applying on the wall. The four main basic components of wall paint are resin, additives, pigment, and solvent. Choosing the right color for your wall can enhance the appearance of your room to the maximum. 

Ceiling Paint vs. Wall Paint: Quick Comparison Table

Ceiling Paint and Wall Paint: What’s the difference? Ceiling Paint Wall Paint
CoverageExcellent, a single layer is enoughAverage, multiple quotes required
Color/ShadeLimited, usually white or shades of whiteWide range of options is available
FinishingFlat sheenEggshell, pearl, or satin
CleaningLess suitableHighly cleanable with soap and water

Ceiling paint vs wall paint: Detail Comparison

Now, we will go into the depth of the differences between ceiling paint and wall paint. The detailed discussion will help you select the appropriate paint type for your next project.

  • Viscosity

Viscosity is the main difference between ceiling paint and wall paint. In simple terms, ceiling paint has higher viscosity or thickness. That means it is a more solid and better option to apply in a vertical position. In addition, it will not drip or splatter due to its thickness. 

Wall paint, on the other hand, has less viscosity and is thinner than ceiling paint. Therefore, they can drip if you apply them to the ceiling, making them unsuitable for such usage. But you can use the ceiling paint on the wall as a primer.

  • Coverage

You can use ceiling paint as the primer because of its better coverage capabilities. The superior capabilities is due to the higher viscosity. If there is any mark on the wall, such as scuffs or scratches, ceiling paints are a better option to hide them. A single layer of wall paints will be enough here.

Wall paints are thinner; that’s why they may not be able to hide the marks properly. You will need to apply multiple coats of wall paints to hide the stains well, which may not always be perfect. So, ceiling paint can be quite beneficial in such situations.

However, if you are using a sprayer for applying ceiling paint on a wall, you need to focus on maintaining the consistency of the paint. Or else the level of viscosity can be different. Experts suggest using flat latex on textured surfaces for best results.

  • Color/Shade Options

White or different shades of white are the standard for ceilings. You will not find many color options when going for ceiling paints. In contrast, wall paints come in different shades. Mixing different colors together will help you to get your desired colors. You can apply this method also for ceiling paints to get different color shades. 

If you are thinking of something dark on your ceiling, first consider the appearance your room will have. It will make your room’s lighting look darker. But light colors make the room look brighter and bigger, even helping in highlighting the walls.

  • Finishing

A glossy look on the ceiling can attract too much attention. Hence, ceiling paints are flat and have a sheen finishing. That means lights will not reflect on it. Such finishing looks excellent on every type of ceiling.

Many people even use ceiling paints on office walls to prevent attention to the interior. Always try to avoid semi-gloss or gloss sheen on the ceiling as it never looks well.

Wall paints have eggshells, pearl, and satin finishing. These are close to a flat finish but have a few reflective characteristics. It makes the walls look more impressive. You may also try to mix these colors to get a flat appearance with a touch of eggshell, pearl, or satin finishing.

  • Cleaning

The finishes you get with wall paints enable you to clean them with water and soap. Usually, walls are more prone to marks or stains, especially if you have kids in your home. You do not have the same benefits with ceiling paint. Hence, if you need better cleaning capabilities, wall paints are a better choice.

  • Durability

Higher viscosity allows the ceiling paints to better adhere to the surfaces. Whether it’s stucco, plasters, or drywalls, you will get stronger adhesion. As a result, ceiling paints are more durable and less likely to peel off or crack.

  • Price

Ceiling paints cost 15% to 20% less than wall paints. So, if you are using ceiling paints, you can save a good amount of money. When you are repainting your wall, you can use ceiling paints as a primer for their ability to hide marks and stains. It will eliminate the need to use other products and will save you some money.

One thing to keep in mind is that cheaper paints consist of 50% solvent in them. In consequence, their viscosity gets lowered and the results are inferior. Using paints with 45% solvent can offer your interior a better appearance as well as superior performance.

Is ceiling paint the same as wall paint?

Ceiling paint has a nice sheen or matte finishing, and certain regular wall paint produces the same results. Both can provide a smooth and attractive outlook on your wall and ceiling. Regardless of this similarity, ceiling paint is not the same as they have different characteristics.

Wall Paint on the Ceiling

You can use regular wall paints on your ceiling to get a variation of colors. A key thing to remember here is that wall paints have thinner viscosity. That means when you start painting your ceiling, it is likely to drip and cause problems for your work. If you are still going on with the process, make sure you use the same sheen for both walls and ceiling for a better appearance.

Ceiling Paints on Walls

You can use ceiling paints on your wall and doors. The best application for ceiling paints on walls would be as a primer. Due to its high thickness, it can cover stains of different colors on walls quite effectively. Its adhesion to the wall is also strong. This is ideal when you want the same flat finish for both the ceiling and the wall.

Is ceiling paint and white painting the same?

Using white color on the ceiling has been the standard for quite some time. If not plain white, some other shades of white are also popular. Although the same color, regular white paint and ceiling paint are not totally the same. White ceiling paints are made to better suit the ceiling with little or no light-reflective characteristics.

Do I really need to use ceiling paint?

If you are painting your ceiling, you need to use ceiling paint due to the benefits it offers. Dripping and splattering are two of the common problems you may face if you use other paints. The ceiling paint’s thickness helps to prevent such problems, and the flat finish suits better on the ceiling. 

Can I mix ceiling paint with wall paint?

You can mix ceiling paint and wall paint if the type and finish are the same. It can be a great way to alter the color of ceiling paint as they are mostly white. Application of the mixed product on the wall can also be beneficial as you will get the advantage of ceiling paint’s higher viscosity.

Can You Use Ceiling Paint As A Primer?

Ceiling paint is excellent for use as a primer before you apply normal wall paint to your interior. Remember that the main purpose of primer is to seal and protect bare surfaces. Ceiling paint is not an actual primer or sealer. Therefore, you need to apply a higher amount of ceiling paint to get effective results.

Can I use ceiling paint as an undercoat?

If you are repainting your walls and want to change the color, you can use ceiling paints as an undercoat to prevent the shining of the previous color. After that, you can use regular wall paint as a topcoat. Nonetheless, ceiling paints are better used on ceilings only. 

Should you paint the walls or ceiling first?

If your plan is to paint the entire room, start with the ceiling. Painting the ceiling later can cause paint splattering on the wall. So, it is better to paint the ceiling first, then the walls, and lastly, if you have any more work, such as painting the trim.

Best paint sheen for ceilings?

Paint sheen comes in various forms, such as satin or matte. It is essential to select the ideal paint sheen for your ceilings. Flat and matte sheen is considered to be the best choices here.

While the flat sheen is completely non-reflective, the matte sheen has low reflectivity. These are excellent to camouflage any imperfections on your ceiling. Their Smooth finishing on ceilings can enrich the appearance of your room.

Another reason to go for one of these two is that they are suitable for all kinds of ceilings. Whether it’s your bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, flat or matte, both will look great.

If you are confused about which paint to go for your ceiling, here is our recommendation:

KILZ Color-Change Stainblocking Interior Ceiling Paint

Stainblocking Ceiling Paint from KILZ is undoubtedly the best option available for painting ceilings. KILZ is one of the most popular brands for paints. This paint is highly effective in hiding stains.

It will look pink when you apply the paint. But after drying, you will get a flat white color ceiling. Though the finishing is matte, it will almost look flat as these forms do not have many differences.

Splatter resistance makes the paint suitable for ceilings. It will take around one hour to dry after application, and after two hours, you can apply the second coat if necessary. The painting experience is smooth with this ceiling paint from KILZ.

Which is the best paint for interior walls?

The choice is tricky when it comes to wall paint. A color that looks brighter is always suitable in rooms. Satin and glossy finishes always remain at the top for sheen.

If you are still unsure about which wall paint to go for, here is our top pick:

Microblend Interior Paint and Primer

Microblend’s interior paints come with so many variants that they have covered almost everyone’s choice. The interior paint from them is highly rated by the users. You can select what you like from its wide range of color and finishing options.

This one is water-based acrylic paint. You can clean your walls with water after applying this product. The finish is silky smooth and has a low odor that makes it perfect for walls.

If you want to make a new blend of colors, you can order multiple variations. It can give your room a luxurious appearance if applied correctly.

What are the best paint brands for wall paints?

When someone enters your room, he will look at the wall first. Hence, it is essential to find the brands that offer the highest quality wall paints. And then you can get your desired color. 

But it can be tricky considering the availability of tons of brands in the market. If you are in a dilemma on which brand to go for the wall paints, here are our top picks:

  • MicroBlend

MicroBlend is not too old but created a great impact in the painting market. Their Automated Paint Machine (APM) enables them to produce perfect color paints for both interior and exterior. Most users reviewed MicroBlend’s paint with high ratings.

  • Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams has been producing the best quality wall paints for almost one and a half centuries. Their paints are antimicrobial and VOC-compliant to avoid odor and harmful effects. You can use Sherwin Williams paints for both your interior and exterior. 

What are the best paint brands for ceiling paints?

Though ceiling paints do not have much variation, it is still essential to select a good brand. One of the key considerations when buying ceiling paint is its durability and its ability to hide imperfections on the surface.

The following brands are our top choices for ceiling paints:

  • KILZ

KILZ is one of the largest and best producers of paints. When it comes to ceiling paints, you can select KILZ without any confusion. The company started its journey in 1954 and has been doing great since then. Its variety of available colors and positive ratings made us select it as one of the top wall paint brands.

  • Rust-Oleum 

Rust-Oleum has been providing high-quality interior paints for a hundred years now. Their reviews have also been great. Rust-Oleum is unbeatable for interior paints, especially for ceiling paints. You can choose from their wide range of options to get an attractive appearance in your room. 


You can see the difference between ceiling paint vs wall paint well. Ceiling paints will work great on walls as a primer, and many people do it too, especially in office spaces. It can help you hide stains excellently. But trying wall paints on ceilings will not provide good results. Therefore it is recommended to get separate paints for ceilings and walls.

Has our information helped you to understand the differences between ceiling and wall paint? Did you apply the knowledge to find the perfect paint for your interior? Please let us know in the comment section and share this article with your friends online.