Is High-Gloss Paint Good for Ceilings?

Painting your ceiling can be a great way to add a bit of color and texture to an otherwise dull room. But what finish should you use? Is high-gloss paint good for ceilings?

High-gloss paint is not recommended for ceilings. Although it has some benefits, such as durability, mold, and mildew resistance, the cons outweigh the pros. Light reflection issues, difficult application, and inability to conceal flaws make it a less-than-ideal choice for ceilings. Flat paint is a better option.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The pros and cons of high-gloss paint
  • How high-gloss compares to other finishes
  • If you need to use a primer on your ceiling

3 Advantages of Using High-Gloss Paint on Your Ceiling

High-gloss is one of the best paint finishes for ceilings in bathrooms and kitchens. Here is a list of the 3 reasons why.


High-gloss paint is known for being highly durable and long-lasting due to its hard, glossy finish. The glossy finish of high-gloss paint makes it resistant to dirt and dust, which can make it easy to clean and maintain.

However, when it comes to ceilings, this type of durability is usually unnecessary as ceilings are not typically subjected to the same level of wear and tear as walls and other surfaces.

Mold and mildew resistance

High-gloss paint is resistant to mold and mildew, making it a great alternative for areas of the house that are prone to these problems. It can also help protect against moisture damage in high-humidity rooms like bathrooms.

Easy maintenance 

High-gloss paints are very easy to clean and maintain. You only need a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away dirt or dust.

This makes them perfect for kitchen or bathroom ceilings where there may be more spills or splashes than in other rooms in your home. Grease and water splatters are easier to clean off with high-gloss paint.

4 Drawbacks of Using High-Gloss Paint on Your Ceiling

Light reflection issues 

Using high-gloss paint on your ceiling can result in light reflection issues, which can be quite problematic. High-gloss paint is known for reflecting light, which can cause glare and make it difficult to focus on anything in the room.

This is particularly true when it comes to ceilings, as they are often the largest and most reflective surfaces in a room. The intense reflection caused by high-gloss paint can make it hard to see and can be particularly annoying in rooms with a lot of natural light or artificial light.

The light reflection can be especially problematic in rooms such as living rooms, bedrooms, or home offices where you spend a lot of time, as it can cause eye strain and headaches. Additionally, the high-gloss finish can also cause the room to feel overly bright, which can make it difficult to relax or work.

In addition, if you have low ceilings, it can also make the room feel more cramped and smaller than it is. For these reasons, high-gloss paint is not recommended for use on ceilings.

Difficult application

High-gloss paint can be difficult to apply. It’s important to use an even and consistent layer of paint and a quality brush or roller. Otherwise, you could end up with an uneven finish or bubbles in the paint due to air pockets. This can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Will not conceal flaws

High-gloss paint does not conceal surface imperfections very well. If you’re trying to cover up a wall with bumps or dents, high-gloss paint will make them even more prominent. For this reason, it’s usually recommended that flat or matte paints are used on ceilings to hide flaws better.


High-gloss paint can also be expensive compared to other paints, so this should be considered if you’re looking for ways to save money in your home improvement projects.

How Does High-Gloss Paint Compare to Other Finishes?


Semi-gloss has a reflectivity level of 35-70%, reflecting light more subtly than its higher gloss counterpart. This means that when looking up at the ceiling from below, you won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of light thrown around as much as gloss-painted ceilings.

Using semi-gloss paint on your ceiling will make it highly durable and resistant to moisture. However, high-gloss paint is usually more durable and longer lasting than semi-gloss because of its higher sheen level.

Both finishes are easy to clean and can be scrubbed. They are also both resistant to mold, mildew, and moisture. However, their intense glossiness is not for every room.

Semi-gloss and high-gloss are suitable for kitchens and bathrooms where moisture and splatters can be expected, but they should be avoided in areas like bedrooms and living rooms.


Using satin paint on a ceiling will give it an intense color with a subtle luster, which makes it far glossier than eggshell finish paint but not as glossy as semi-gloss. This means that in low-light situations, satin paint won’t produce reflections.

In terms of cost, high-gloss paints are more expensive than satin, as they often require more coats for full coverage. On the other hand, high-gloss paints are extremely durable and flexible.

Both satin and high-gloss will show imperfections in your ceiling and wall, such as bumps and dents. As a result, both are rarely used for ceilings.


Eggshell paint on ceilings offers a non-glare, low-sheen finish that is less reflective than glossier paints. This makes it perfect for bedroom and living room ceilings, where you don’t want the surfaces to be too glossy or create any glare.

Eggshell finish paint is also one of the cheapest finishes, making it a good option if you want to save money. It also offers better durability and flexibility when compared to flat and matte finishes.

Although eggshell paint won’t show as many imperfections as high gloss, it still won’t hide them. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid using eggshell paint on your ceiling unless you’re going to put the work in to ensure it’s perfectly smooth.

Flat (matte)

Ceilings painted with flat and matte paints have minimal to no gloss, making them ideal as they do not reflect light nor create a distracting glare. This makes them suitable for rooms such as bedrooms and living rooms where a subdued and non-distracting atmosphere is desired.

Flat paint is also the cheapest of all finishes due to its lack of gloss, making it a great budget-friendly option. When it comes to hiding imperfections, flat paint is the best choice for ceilings as it completely hides any bumps or dents in your wall.

Unfortunately, flat paint is the least durable and hardest to clean; however, since ceilings are not usually subjected to wear and tear, this shouldn’t necessarily be a concern.

Do Ceilings Need a Primer?

Primer is especially important if the ceiling is an unfinished material such as drywall or wood or has been previously treated with oil-based paint or stain. If a textured finish is added to the ceiling, a coat of primer can help smooth the surface for better texture adhesion and easier application.

On the other hand, if you are covering up an existing water-based paint job or a textured surface, you may not need primer. Primer helps to create a better bond between the surface and the paint, resulting in a smoother, more even finish. It can also help to hide existing imperfections.

Primer also acts as a sealant to prevent moisture from seeping into the ceiling and causing discoloration or staining. When priming a ceiling, it is best to use an oil-based primer for added durability and protection against stains or water damage.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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