A Quick Primer on Ceiling Painting

Of all the surfaces in your house, you could paint you would think the ceiling in any room would be the most straightforward of them all. You just get some flat white paint and roll it on, mission accomplished, right?

Well, actually the ceiling is its own special surface in interior painting and has a number of requirements and a number of options you might not know about.

Let start with the paint…

Ceiling paint is not the same as wall paint even if they are both water-based latex paints. Ceiling paint has to adhere upside down without dripping off until it dries so the first thing to note is that ceiling paint is formulated to be thicker than wall paint. It also is often tasked with covering up stains like water stains that you might not ever get on a wall. The added thickness also hides minor imperfections in your drywall so just applying a thicker formulation of paint yields multiple benefits.

Ceiling paint is often ignored during repainting. Sometimes the paint on your ceiling has to outlast the wall paint because quick budget redecorating efforts often entail repainting the walls but skipping the ceiling if it looks basically okay. By okay we mean “it still looks clean and white”.

This can be a mistake though because while your ceiling may look like a uniform color, it might not be the same shade you applied a long time ago. As a white surface, over time it may begin to subtly become grayish. This is because odor and fumes from things like cooking, using a fireplace, burning candles, and using air fresheners can slowly start to impact the color of the ceiling as these fumes gravitate upwards. Cigarette and Cigar smoke can dramatically impact the color in record time as well.

It’s not unusual for someone to start painting a ceiling with a new can of flat white latex ceiling paint and be shocked at the difference in shades. You often don’t notice how dingy and dirty a ceiling can be till you start to repaint it.

What about the finish?

Most ceiling paints dry to a flat finish. For white ceilings having a flat finish removes any glare that might be generated by your room’s lighting and removes the chance of having unintended reflections from the ceiling. For Bathrooms and kitchens, you can try using satin or eggshell finishes where you might want a bit of added light. These finishes tend to be more washable as well.

Why are most ceilings white?

White ceilings are probably still carrying over from the days when you lit your home by candle, lamp, or fireplace. Somehow white just became the default color because it does brighten a room and it does keep the focus on the walls and their color. White also works with just about any décor and wall color choice while making a room feel larger and the walls seem higher.

You do have color options though…

You can take some of your wall color paint and mix it with the ceiling white to create a lighter complementary shade that ties things together without a stark transition from wall color to white ceiling. Depending on the room and its purpose you can even completely abandon white for a straight complementary color. Why not a pale-yellow ceiling in a blue room? Some rooms are more conducive to a non-white ceiling like a dining room, a bedroom, a basement den, or a home office. Where it might be less successful is in hallways, entryways, laundry rooms, closets, and anywhere you need more light than style points.

Mixing wall ceiling and trim colors may not be for everyone, and not for the faint of heart, but it can produce some dramatic results. Keep in mind however that you may want to sell your home one day and a paint scheme that is well away from what’s expected might come back to bite you.

Thinking about getting your interior freshened up with a bit of painting, ceilings included? CertaPro of Mountainside offers a whole range of painting services for your home, why not get a free estimate and color consultation to make your next makeover a success.