These are my go-to ceiling paints, two of the best being made today. Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint is better than the Kilz Ceiling Paint and will cover in one coat in most cases. Any needed primers and more are also shown below.
Either way, your ceiling is going to look great.
What white paint is best for ceilings?
High-hiding, flat ceiling paint is formulated with stain-blockers and more total volume solids than wall paint. The idea is that you only want to do one coat. In most cases, after sealing stains and priming dark spots, white ceiling paints cover in one coat. The ones shown here are perfectly good as a ceiling tile paint and as a base for stars in the ceiling.
(Read more about total volume solids on Wikipedia.)
This is the Cadillac of ceiling paints, but the cost is a bit more than the others, you can check the price online here. I use this over all others because frankly, I hate ceilings. And if any old dark marks show through, I look bad.
The answer comes with free delivery, believe it or not.
Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint Facts:
- Will not yellow with time (only Ben Moore can say this!)
- Ultra-flat so it hides imperfections
- A gallon covers 400-450 ft² for a smooth ceiling, less for textured surfaces
- Zero VOC
- Best hiding ceiling paint today
I can’t say enough good things about Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint. I’ve rolled hundreds of gallons of this paint! It ships for free, so give it a try.
This is a stain-blocking ceiling paint and in some cases will cover in one coat. Check price online.
- Goes on pinkish and turns white when dry
- 400 ft²/gallon on smooth surfaces
- Priced lower than the premium above, but you may need twice the amount
- Zero VOC’s
The pink to white transformation is perhaps useful. Meh. I would have preferred a lower price and not have to pay for the chemistry for pink ceiling paint. Still, Kilz Ceiling Paint is one of the very best and you can use it with confidence.
Will it block the stains like the stain you see below? Hmm, I’ll say no.
But for yellowing and most ceiling scuff marks, yes. Looking for a ceiling paint with primer? This is it.
Kilz ceiling paint at Lowes is exactly the same price as this one online, but you don’t have to go get it!
5-gallon ceiling paint pales:
Looking for a 5-gallon ceiling paint pale? You’ll spend about the cost of 4¼ single cans, so yes, it would be worth it, but generally, ceiling paint does not come this in this size.
This size is for wall paints, but not ceiling paints. You could certainly order 5-gallons of flat in the Ben Moore Ultra Spec, a white, low-sheen wall paint, and that would work, but it would not be the high-hiding formula Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint and Kilz Ceiling Paint. But if you have new ceilings, it may be the most cost-effective to go (over your primer).
I don’t recommend the Behr ceiling paint 5 gallons pale. I’ve been ‘forced’ to use it and it does not cover like the ones on this page.
Spot Priming (often a must)
If you have water damage, marks from broom handles or other marks, these will not be covered in the one coat that the best ceiling paints promise.
What to do?
Easy, just spot prime But no ordinary primer will block water stains: you must use a stain-blocking primer.
Go-to primers: any of these will do most ceiling stains:
- Check online Kilz Premium, it is less powerful, but easiest to work with: like any other waterborne paint but with stain blocker, is Kilz Premium: not like the ones below but less messy.
- Much more stain-blocking power: Prime Lock from INSL-X (which is Benjamin Moore’s brand) is oil-based so get a low-cost disposable brush. Check Prime Lock price here.
- For bad water damage, I’d jump to the nukes: BIN (see online here). This is a water-based stain blocker which is about the same as the Kilz Premium just above.
- The mother-of-all-primers, BIN Shellac-based white primer: alcohol-based and you can use rubbing alcohol to clean up. Tip: wear gloves. You can see it here.
No stain damage to cover? Ordinary marks from broomsticks etc. can be spot primed with the same ceiling paint that you will also use for the full coat. If it’s a very dark spot, it may need a 2nd ‘primer’ coat. If you have a lot of bad spots: just pony up and do 2 full coats. But…
Keep that roller and brush wet until the ceiling paint dries and you are sure all the marks covered well. If you still see them after (you hope) you’re done, just give them a quick brush or roll.
Using primers like the PrimeLock and the BIN Shellac without excellent ventilation is a bad thing to do.
Or just use a respirator: you will never smell a thing and you’ll be safe.
If you want the same model I wear, get the 6300 half-mask (all sizes shown here). Sizes: 6100=small, 6200=medium, 6300=large. Children and small women will prefer the 6100, and most men the 6200. I’m a freak with my 6300.
Then, this filter starting kit gives you a ‘retaining clip’ so you can change the outer paper filter (the paper is grade ‘P95’ which better than the N95 filter used in medical masks). Changing the outer filter keeps dust out of the more expensive chemical cartridge underneath.
I have simplified the very complex world of respirator filters in this post.
Readers tell me they prefer the full face mask to protect the eyes as well. This is a superior way to go but just costs a little more. See it here. It comes with the HEPA filters (better than P95 or N95 filters) but no chemical cartridges.
A pro tip: only cut once
Just doing the ceiling and no walls? Jump to the tools.
If you are doing the walls as well as the ceiling, of course, do the ceiling first, but don’t ‘cut’ with the brush. Take the roller and jam it into the corner with the wall (you’ll have to brush where two walls come together of course, but nowhere else.
When you do this smooshing into the corner with the ceiling white, you’ll likely leave drips down the wall, but just come back with the roller and smooth them out.
Now, you have white in the corner and you don’t have to cut the ceiling. When it’s all dry, just cut the wall up to that corner (two coats most likely), and you’re done.
I’ve always wanted to write about how to paint stars on ceilings.
What paint? Ceiling star paint is the same as those I recommend above, but there is a trick to application. I recently removed some stars that had been pressed on and they did pull off the Kilz Ceiling Paint that was on the ceiling.
To avoid the eventual removal problem in the future, get a high-quality collection of stars, not made in China.
The plastic stars for ceiling paint do not contain any harmful chemicals: just
The star ceiling paint that you would use is just as shown above, which of course is black at night.
- Can be removed without staining.
- Comes with a stencil to reproduce the actual night sky, forming 31 constellations.
- One-ceiling box for a 23 ft² room or the double box for only a little more cost!
- Four sizes simulate different brightness (magnitude) of stars.
These dots don’t lose their power over the years like the glow in the dark stars for ceilings of old days. Today’s phosphorescent material is not like that of the 70’s.
Read more from ScienceNotes on glow in the dark stars for ceiling paint.
Finally…Tools I Use (very reasonably priced)
Here is my page with all the tools I use: I chose sellers that ship for free!
There is only one ‘kit’ with a brush, roller, and pan that I recommend: keep it clean and it will go like that bunny.
Below are the basic painting tools to apply either of the ceilings paints shown above and will last a homeowner a lifetime—just keep them clean. There is no sense of buying ‘throw-away’ painting tools for paints that are not toxic.
Just doing the ceiling?
You’ll have to cut carefully. What tool to use?
Protect the walls by taping light plastic over them, overhanging your dropcloths.
My roller handle is from a pro brand and not expensive. The budget ones bend in use!
My preferred roller cover for ceiling paint is a 50/50 wool/poly blend. It holds a ton of paint (wool) and lasts (poly).
Go with the ½ to 1-inch nap. Bigger nap: holds more ceiling paint, small nap leaves a smoother finish.
Any questions or comments? Please feel free below. I will see your comment within a day in most cases. Good luck!
Here is a video of me explaining how to avoid cutting the ceiling.