Can You Use Semi Gloss Paint On Ceiling?

When repainting the house interior, choosing the wall paint will likely be the first thing on your mind.

However, you should also carefully consider what type of finish to use on your ceilings. Making the right choice here will do wonders for the whole room.

It can brighten up the whole space and make the room feel more spacious or intimate.

Even though people often spend the most time thinking about which color to use, the paint sheen or level of paint glossiness is very important, too.

The ceiling with the right sheen level will look better, last longer, and require less maintenance.

A lot of homeowners like the look and feel of the semi gloss finish but are unsure whether it’s suitable for the room ceilings.

Below, you’ll find out can you use semi gloss paint on the ceiling and learn the pros and cons of doing so.

So, let’s dive in!

Can You Use Semi Gloss Paint On Ceiling?

Painting the ceiling.

Semi gloss finish is beneficial in multiple ways but it’s not always the perfect choice for painting the ceiling.

These types of paint are commonly very durable, and easy to clean.

Plus, unlike flat or matte sheen, they have a shine to them that’s appealing to some people.

Instead of absorbing the light, semi gloss paints catch it, so they’re rather reflective and have an almost glass-like finish once dried.

This characteristic sheen comes from the high concentration of polyurethane.

Semi Gloss paints can be latex, water, or even oil-based and are commonly much more enduring than low-sheen paints.

Plus, like all ceiling paints, they have high viscosity which means fewer drips.

When deciding whether to use the semi gloss paint on the ceiling, most people base their decision on personal preference and taste.

However, the choice should mainly depend on the room in which that particular ceiling is in.

When To Use Semi Gloss Paint On Ceiling?

Bathroom with white painted ceiling.

Semi gloss paint for ceilings works best in bathrooms and kitchens as that’s where its features and characteristics work to the homeowner’s advantage.

These are commonly the rooms with the most moisture in the house, especially the bathroom.

Although, if you do a lot of cooking, the kitchen will be pretty humid, too. This can lead to the development of mold and mildew.

Compared to flat and mate finishes, semi gloss paint is much more resistant to dampness and stains from moisture and grease.

This is because it features more resin and binders which makes its molecular structure tighter.

So, the moisture, which can lead to fungal growth and mold, can’t penetrate as easily as with flat paints.

Also, the chances are that you’ll have to clean the bathroom and kitchen ceiling more often than in the other rooms.

Semi gloss paints will withstand frequent cleaning and preserve their finish.

When Not To Use Semi Gloss Paint On Ceiling?

Unless you really like a shiny finish, there’s no particular reason to use semi gloss paint outside the bathroom and kitchen.

The bedroom or living room are not near as damp as the bathroom and kitchen, so you won’t have much use for the semi gloss moisture-resistant properties.

Another reason why you shouldn’t use semi gloss paint on ceilings is mostly aesthetical.

Due to its shinier finish, semi gloss paint will reveal any imperfections and blemishes on ceilings, especially if the previous finish was textured.

These flaws will be particularly visible in brighter rooms with more light, as bedrooms and living rooms typically are.

Also, when using semi gloss paint, the painting process itself is more complex and challenging.

So, if you still decide to go with a semi gloss finish in these rooms, make sure to properly prepare the surface beforehand and have it as smooth as possible.

Can You Paint Over Ceiling Paint With A Semi-Gloss Paint?

Bucket of semi-gloss paint.

In most cases, when painting the ceiling with semi gloss paint, the surface will have the already existing finish, most commonly flat sheen paint.

You can freely do this, but there are some things you should pay attention to.

First of all, you should use the same type of paint.

So, if you’re painting over, for example, latex or acrylic-based paint, your semi gloss finish should also be latex or acrylic-based.

If the precious paint is solvent-based, only the same or water-based paint should go over it.

As for adhesion, the previous coat of paint should hold a semi gloss finish rather well.

Most likely, you’ll be able to paint straight over it, without the need for a primer. Of course, if the previous coat of paint is damaged, you should even it out.

Significant smoke or grease stains should be cleaned first before applying primer and semi-gloss paint.

Should Ceilings Be Painted Flat Or Semi-Gloss?

This will depend on the room the ceiling is in. A flat sheen will deliver a subtle finish that works best in well-lit rooms, such as bedrooms, living rooms, or studies.

It diffuses light and hides blemishes on the ceiling surface, so it’s perfect for these areas.

The advantage of a flat finish is also that it can be easily touched up in case of smaller damages.

On the other hand, flat sheen paint is very porous, so the dust, debris, and moisture will penetrate easily which makes it harder to clean and can lead to the development of mold.

So, for high-traffic and moist areas in the house, a semi gloss finish is the better option. It’s moisture-resistant and will keep your ceiling much cleaner.

Of course, you can go with eggshell or satin finishes which are less porous than a flat sheen and less shiny than semi-gloss paints.


If you’ve decided to refresh your living space a bit and repaint the rooms in your house, you may be somewhat overwhelmed with the numerous options available.

Nowadays, home improvement stores carry a variety of different painting materials with a seemingly endless choice of colors and textures.

So, selecting the right one is not always easy, but the proper choice is key to having your home look nice and clean.

Sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple. If the room you’re painting is moist and dumped, use a semi gloss finish.

For brighter and more open spaces and when there are flaws and imperfections on the surface, go with a flat sheen.

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