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Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint: Which One To Choose?

Newbies working with paints often confuse wall paints for ceiling paints. You can actually use either as they’re almost the same. But the dilemma occurs when they can’t pick between one. Are you one of them too?

Don’t worry. We’ll clear out the difference for you! 

Which one to choose: ceiling paint vs wall paint?

Ceiling paints are more viscous than wall paint. You’ll get better at finishing. They are more durable, which makes them more appropriate for painting your ceiling. On the other hand, wall paints are relatively cheaper, easily washable, and come in a wide variety of colors. But you can use them alternatively if you have the proper preparation.

This article covers everything you need to know about the differences between ceiling paint and wall paint. 

So what are you waiting for? Let’s hop right into the details!

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint: Quick Overview!

Paints are basically used for decorating purposes and for protecting the surface. Both wall and ceiling paints are widely used and do really well in fulfilling the basic requirements.

As the names suggest, ceiling paints are usually used on ceilings, and wall paints are typically used for painting the walls. But both ceiling paints and wall paints serve pretty much the same purpose. You can use ceiling paints on your walls and vice versa. 

Despite their similarities, both paints have their unique qualities as well. Before choosing paints, keeping those in mind will help you a lot.

Let’s look at the fundamental differences between wall and ceiling paint in the table below:

PropertiesCeiling PaintWall Paint
ViscosityMore viscousLess viscous than the ceiling paint
DurabilityMore durableRelatively less durable
PriceExpensive than wall paintRelatively cheaper
FinishingFlat finishedGlossy, semi-glossy, satin, or eggshell finished
WashabilityCannot resist vigorous scrubbing and cleaningCan withstand vigorous washing
Color OptionOnly comes in different shades of white and lighter colorsComes in a wide variety of colors
ReflectionDoesn’t reflect lights as muchGood reflectors of lights
Drying TimeDries quickerTakes more time to dry
CoverageProvides better coverageGives a less smooth finish

Now that you know the fundamental differences between wall and ceiling paints let’s look into the details!

Ceiling Paint vs Wall Paint: Detailed Preview!

Choosing paint is not an easy decision. Now, let’s look at the detailed head-to-head comparisons between ceiling paint vs. wall paint. Knowing the fundamental differences won’t be sufficient.

You should remember that using a primer is mandatory. No matter what paint you choose, primer is a must, especially if there are cat urine stains on your wall.


Ceiling paints provide higher viscosity as compared to wall paints. Viscosity is closely related to consistency. Ceiling paints have a thicker consistency than wall paints. As a result, it doesn’t drip or splatter when you paint your ceiling in the vertical direction.

In contrast, wall paints have a thinner consistency than ceiling paint. If you try to use wall paint to paint your ceiling, it will consistently splash or splatter. But when you paint your wall with wall paints, it’s not an issue as you remain in the horizontal direction at that time.


Wall paints are less durable than ceiling paints. Wall paints can’t provide strong adhesion to several textured surfaces like stucco, drywall, and plaster. Ceiling paints are completely capable of providing good adhesion to these surfaces.

Another advantage of ceiling paints being more durable is that they don’t easily crack or peel.


Ceiling paints will cost you more than wall paints. If you have a 10 by 12-foot room, it’ll cost you around $150 to $300 to paint the ceiling.

In the case of wall paints, you’ll require approximately $1 to $3 to paint per square foot of your room.


Wall paints have a variety of finishings. They can be glossy, semi-glossy, satin, or eggshell finish. Sometimes eggshell finish can be painted over a satin finish

But these types of finishes are not proper for the ceiling. For this reason, ceiling paints are usually of a flat finish.


Our walls are more frequently washed than the ceiling. That’s why wall paints can resist vigorous scrubbing and cleaning. 

On the other hand, ceiling paints can’t withstand vigorous cleaning and scrubbing.

Color Option

You have a wide variety of color options to choose from when it comes to wall paints. But ceiling paints only come in different shades of white. This also includes lighter colors like pale blue, pale yellow, and pale pink.

The white ceiling makes your room look larger. But if you have a large room, then it shouldn’t be a concern. If you want a unique color for your ceiling, you can mix different colors and choose the desired one.

You must use a primer before painting to get a smooth finish in both cases. Remember, white paint can’t be used as a primer. Make sure to not use ceiling paints or wall paints instead of primers.

Here are some good-quality primers for you to pick from:

Product 1
Product 2


As we have discussed before, ceiling paints are usually of a flat finish. And wall paints tend to be of glossier finish. Glossy surfaces tend to reflect more light, and flat surfaces don’t usually reflect light as much.

If you paint your ceiling glossy paint, the room won’t be as illuminated as flat finish paint.

Drying time

The drying time for paints depends on their viscosity. As ceiling paints possess higher viscosity and thickness, it dries relatively quickly.

But due to lower density and thinner consistency, wall paints take longer to dry.


With ceiling paints, you’ll get a better, smoother, and uniform finish. A uniform finish will help you cover stains and discolorations very easily.

If you use wall paints, you won’t be getting as smooth finishes as compared to ceiling paints.

Final Verdict

From the above discussion, we can say that ceiling paints are more durable and viscous. They provide a better finish, give better coverage, and have less reflectivity. Also, you don’t have to worry about peeling or cracking of paints either. These are the desired properties that are needed for your ceiling.

And when it comes to wall paints, they are cheaper, come in a wide variety of colors. They can also be easily washed.

It’s obviously better to use ceiling paints in the ceiling and wall paints on your walls. But if you want to save some bucks, you can use wall paints on your ceiling. 

In that case, you need to keep in mind the disadvantages of it. 

That’s all we had regarding ceiling paints and wall paints. We hope now you won’t have any confusion while choosing paints for your house.


Question: Can I use white ceiling paint on my wall?

Answer: Yes, you can definitely use white ceiling paint on your wall. These paints provide better durability and produce fewer splashes and splatters.

Question: Should ceiling paints be flat or eggshell?

Answer: In ideal cases, flat latex paints should be used in the ceiling. However, it can be of eggshell finish if the ceiling is not textured.

Question: How much can a painter paint a day?

Answer: An average painter can paint about 150 square feet per hour. A professional painter can cover a regular size office (14′ wide x 14′ length x 9′ high = 504 square feet) in about 3.5 hours.


Now that you know everything about ceiling paint vs wall paint, you’re good to go. We have tried to highlight all the differences in detail. 

Make sure to pick the one you feel is right.

Wish you good luck painting!