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Is Ceiling Paint Different from Wall Paint?

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Ceiling paint is formulated to cover, stick, and hide well when you paint a ceiling. Wall paint in contrast is designed to burnish less, wear better, and wipe better.

Ceiling paint contains small amounts of lamp black or tallow blue pigment. Many ceiling paints are a slight grey color during application and turn white when they dry after you paint the ceiling due to the lamp black added to the white color formula.

Ceiling paint will have some better additives than wall paint that will reduce spatter. The trade off is ceiling paint having a softer binder, the liquid that carries the pigment and allows the paint to spread. And the extender pigment itself will also generally be softer than the one used in wall paint. This means that a ceiling paint will not last under hard scrubbing. But you generally will not need to scrub stubborn marks off the ceiling neither.

Light bulbs and windows that come within a few inches of the ceiling tend to cast light at a sharp angle to the ceiling. This makes any defects with the drywall or plaster on the ceiling stand out like a mountain range by causing the light to reflect differently in those areas.

Ceiling paints are therefore often white and have flat sheens. They scatter the reflected light in all directions, camouflaging any imperfections. This is why new homes are painted with flat paint on the walls and ceilings. Another reason why only white ceiling paint is sold is because it can be tinted to any color.

Flat wall paint can be also used to paint a ceiling, though. There are often no problems aside from it being perhaps a bit messier if it is rolled on too fast. Both ceiling and wall paint will have much the same acrylics and polymers; so it will make no appreciable difference if you use either paint on the ceiling. The major difference in paint is between Interior and Exterior brands. When you paint a ceiling or wall indoors, be sure to use an Interior Paint.

The way you paint a ceiling is different mainly in that it is advisable to wear a hat or bandana in order to keep ceiling paint from splattering on your hair. You will also need a roller with an extension handle and a shield on it to protect you from potential spatter problems. And do not forget to prime the ceiling before applying the ceiling paint. Make certain you use interior rather than exterior primer.

So even though ceiling paint has been specially made to paint a ceiling, it is wall paint, if of somewhat lesser quality.

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