Can You Use Ceiling Paint As Primer? (Better Than Wall Paint?)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

paint for kitchen ceiling

Leftover ceiling paint is a common occurrence that can leave many homeowners wondering what to do with the remaining paint while avoiding wastage. Before painting any drywalls, door frames, or window frames, however, primer is always required to ensure that the proposed surface is adequately prepared for painting.

Ceiling paint can easily be used instead of primer in most circumstances. Ceiling paint has great adhesive properties and excellent coverage that will ensure any cracks, chips, and stains are well hidden. It will provide a flat, seamless finish that is easy to sand and paint over.

Ceiling paint can be used in many different applications, whether painting drywalls, door frames, window frames, or most other surfaces. It will provide a flat, smooth finish with little to no sheen. For any applications other than ceilings, it should be used only as a primer and then finished with a top coat using a different type of paint.

Can You Use Ceiling Paint As Primer?

ceiling paint

Ceiling paint is an excellent choice for use as a primer. A primer is an extremely important part of any paint job, as it will significantly extend the lifespan of the paint job on the whole. Remember that the purpose of a primer is to protect and seal any bare surfaces such as plaster and timber.

Ceiling paint will make an excellent primer for walls, doors, and other trim as long as it is finished with a topcoat with a slightly higher gloss finish.

Using a gloss finish on door frames, window frames, and other trim components will ensure that these elements remain easy to clean. It will also ensure that dirt is far less likely to stick to the surfaces.

Using ceiling paint as a primer will save you significant time and money. This refers to the time taken to paint the surfaces and the time saved on trips to the hardware store and so forth.

Ceiling paint is extremely durable as well as viscose. This makes for a thick paint that can easily hide most blemishes and markings on walls and other surfaces alike. Ceiling paint is generally available only in a small range of colors. Most people do not opt for anything too adventurous when painting their ceilings.

When using ceiling paint as a primer, the dried surface is extremely easy to sand, creating a smooth and flat surface onto which other paints can easily be applied.

It’s important to bear in mind that when using ceiling paint as a primer for drywall, the drywall is extremely porous. Resultantly, drywall will quickly soak up any paint applied to it.

Note the difference between a primer and an undercoat. A primer is designed to protect and seal bare surfaces, while an undercoat is used on surfaces already painted or primed. An undercoat’s role is mostly aesthetic – helping to hide any underlying colors and prevent them from shining through.

Ceiling Paint Vs. Wall Paint

There are several differences between ceiling paint and regular paint. It’s important to understand the differences between the two. This will help you know which option will be best for your specific application. 

On the whole, ceiling paint is far thicker than regular paint. When used in a ceiling application, its inherent thickness helps prevent it from dripping off the ceiling and running down the walls. Because of their thickness, ceiling paints can easily hide most stains and small defects on the surfaces of the walls.

This helps to provide a uniform, smooth, and clean finish upon which the next coat of paint can easily be applied.

With ceiling paint, due to its high viscosity, one coat usually provides sufficient coverage for most surfaces. Most wall paints, on the other hand, have a comparatively low viscosity. This means it will require at least two to three coats of paint before sufficient coverage is achieved.

Because ceiling paint is significantly thicker than wall paint, it is able to have a far better grip on the ceiling. Less dripping of the paint during the painting process results in fewer unsightly runs. These are particularly difficult to fix and remove once the paint has dried.

The finish of ceiling paint consists of a very flat sheen. This is in sharp contrast to wall paint available in an eggshell, pearl, and satin finish. Each of these finishes has its advantages and disadvantages that serve its purpose best under different conditions.

Regarding the availability of colors, ceiling paint has a very limited range. This is because most people tend to paint their ceilings white or other colors similar to white. Manufacturers of ceiling paints have generally had no need to sell their products in a wide range of colors, as the majority of these colors would most likely go unused.

The limited color range of ceiling paints is in complete contrast to wall paints that are literally available in every color imaginable.

When it comes to durability, ceiling paint can potentially overshadow wall paint. Ceiling paint is extremely durable, and it can potentially outlast the majority of wall paints. Despite being extremely easy to clean, semi-gloss and high-gloss wall paints are far less durable than most ceiling paints.

The cost of paint is a major consideration, especially when looking to gain coverage for large surfaces. Ceiling paint is significantly cheaper than wall paint. Not only is the initial purchasing price far lower with ceiling paint, but it becomes a cheaper option overall when you consider how much is needed.

Due to the viscosity of ceiling paint, it can achieve excellent coverage with only one coat. This means that ceiling paint will go much further than wall paint as less of it is required. If less paint is required overall, the project cost is drastically reduced.


If you find a significant amount of ceiling paint left after a project and hope to use it as a primer, there is no reason not to do so. There are several advantages to using ceiling paint as a primer, including its low price and excellent coverage. After painting your primer layer with ceiling paint, give it a good sanding, and you will be ready to add the top coat of paint with ease. 

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.