What kind of paint should I use to paint a ceiling?

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are painting a room, chances are you need to paint the ceiling as well. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling will help your room look brand new. In order for your ceiling to look its best after a new coat, it's important to choose the right ceiling paint, which usually isn't the same as your wall paint, even if it's the same colour.

Choose a Primer

It's best to prime your ceiling first and to use one with a stain blocker, such as Kilz Primer. Using primer first will disguise any discolourations due to water damage, for example, and will give you a neutral backdrop that will accurately display your chosen paint colour.

Ceiling Paint

In general, flat paint is the ideal choice for painting ceilings. Flat, latex paint has no sheen and hides imperfections and blemishes well, dries more evenly and will hide roller marks better.

Ceiling Paint for Humid Rooms

When painting a bathroom, which tends to have more moisture in the air after showers or baths, it's best to choose a semigloss or glossy latex paint. The sheen in the paint helps the paint resist moisture and prevent ceiling damage.

Application Tips

For ceilings, it's best to roll the paint on in straight lines instead of a "W" pattern like on walls. This method helps hide any roller marks. It's also best to begin parallel and opposite to the room's entrance. Also, with each new line, blend it with the previous line by overlapping your paint about 6 inches. This method is especially useful for semigloss or glossy paints, which are more likely to show roller marks because of their sheen.

Useful Ceiling Paint Tools

It's easier and less stressful to paint a ceiling standing on 2 feet rather than on a ladder, so purchase a paint roller that will take an extension handle. If you are painting a textured ceiling, purchase a paint roller with a thick nap (at least 3/4 inch) so it will distribute paint evenly over the bumps.

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About the Author

Tonya Goodspeed has written professionally since 2003 and specializes in articles on travel, weddings, invitations and home and garden topics. She also ghostwrites Web and blog content. She earned an English degree with a minor in French from the University of Virginia.