Is Semi-Gloss Paint Good for Ceilings?

Are you looking to give your ceilings a makeover? Painting your ceilings can be an easy way to transform any space. With the right paint, you can create stunning effects that add value to your home. So what paint finish should you use?

Flat paint is recommended for ceilings, but semi-gloss paint can also be used. Semi-gloss paint is more durable than flat, hence it is best used for bathroom and kitchen ceilings.  Its mold and mildew resistance is perfect for high moisture areas. It can also be easily wiped clean, which is perfect for grease splatters.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The pros and cons of using semi-gloss paint
  • How semi-gloss compares to other finishes
  • Whether your ceiling needs primer

3 Benefits of Using Semi-gloss Paint on Your Ceiling

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

Durability easy cleaning 

One of the main benefits of using semi-gloss paint on your ceiling is its durability and easy cleaning. This type of paint has a glossy finish, making it much more resistant to dirt and grime than other types of paint, such as flat or eggshell.

As a result, it’s much easier to clean off any dirt or grease that may have accumulated over time without damaging the finish. This makes it perfect for kitchen ceilings.

Mildew resistant 

Another great benefit of using semi-gloss paint on your ceiling is its mildew resistance. This type of paint contains a higher level of resin which helps prevent mildew from forming on your painted surfaces.

This makes semi-gloss paint ideal for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other areas where mildew could be an issue. 

Moisture resistance

In addition to being mildew resistant, semi-gloss paint is also moisture resistant. This type of paint contains a higher level of resin that helps it better resist moisture and humidity.

Semi-gloss finish is best suited for areas frequently exposed to moisture, such as bathroom and kitchen ceilings.

4 Drawbacks of Using Semi-gloss Paint on Your Ceiling

High sheen and reflection 

Although semi-gloss paints have many benefits, they also have some drawbacks. One of the main cons of using these paints is that they can create a very high sheen and reflection which may not be desirable in some rooms. This high shine can also increase glare.

Imperfections are noticeable

Imperfections on your ceiling are much more noticeable when using semi-gloss paint. This is because the glossy finish of this type of paint tends to highlight any unevenness and blemishes on the surface. If you have an older ceiling that’s not perfectly smooth, then semi-gloss paints may not be the best choice.

Extra preparation is needed

Semi-gloss paint requires more preparation since it cannot conceal blemishes. This includes sanding and priming the surface before painting to ensure the finish is smooth and even. This can add to the cost and time involved in this project.


Finally, semi-gloss paints are usually more expensive than other types of paint, so they may not be the best choice if you’re looking to save money.  Generally, the shinier the paint, the more costly it will be, though this difference in price per gallon isn’t too significant.

How Does Semi-gloss Paint Compare to Other Finishes?


Appearance-wise, ceilings painted with high-gloss paint have a much more reflective look, with a glass-like appearance that adds brightness to any room. It is also very smooth to the touch and shiny when applied properly, giving the surface an aesthetically pleasing look.

On the other hand, semi-gloss paint provides less shine than high-gloss but still offers a nice amount of reflection and depth to the surface it covers. 

The high gloss level on both finishes makes it rarely used on ceilings. The only exception would be in bathrooms, where the reflective properties of the paint can offer an additional layer of protection from moisture and condensation.

Both paints are tough enough to stand up to wear and tear in most cases. High gloss is more durable than semi-gloss since it has a harder finish, making it less prone to scratches or staining from everyday use.


A key difference between satin and semi-gloss paint is their appearance. Using satin paint on your ceiling will give it a vivid hue with a less intense sheen, whereas semi-gloss has an overwhelmingly glossy finish that reflects light.

The satin finish does not reflect light as much as semi-gloss but provides a pleasant, even tone that can be used for more than just ceilings. The mid-tier level of sheen that satin paint offers is well-suited for ceilings in most rooms.

However, semi-gloss paint is more durable and moisture-resistant than satin paint. Making it best for bathroom and kitchen ceilings and other areas that are likely to be exposed to high humidity or moisture levels.


Using eggshell paint on ceilings provides a slight sheen that adds depth and richness to rooms. Semi-gloss paint has a more reflective quality than eggshells. Eggshell is better suited for ceilings if you want to draw attention to the ceiling without an overwhelming shine.

Unlike semi-gloss paint, eggshell offers lower durability and is less suitable for places such as bathrooms or kitchens that experience high levels of humidity. However, it can achieve a stylish finish on ceilings while looking best in bedrooms or living rooms.

Compared with other paints, eggshell and semi-gloss require minimal maintenance since they can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth if necessary.

However, since semi-gloss has a slightly higher sheen, it tends to show imperfections more easily than eggshell. Additionally, while both offer fair coverage from mildew and mold growths on ceilings, semi-gloss provides greater protection against them due to its tougher finish. 

Flat (matte)

Flat and matte paints provide zero to ultra-low sheen to surfaces, giving a less reflective look and more subtle than other finishes. This makes it ideal for a more muted or classic design. In contrast, semi-gloss paint offers a higher level of reflectivity through its moderate gloss level.

Using flat paint on ceilings gives better coverage and better hides imperfections like cracks or gaps. The durability of these paints tends to be lower than that of semi-gloss because they are not designed to tolerate scrubbing or excessive cleaning without becoming damaged.

However, they are better suited for painting ceilings because ceilings rarely receive heavy wear and tear. When it comes to maintenance, flat and matte paints are easier to touch up since they blend in better with the existing finish. 

Do Ceilings Need a Primer?

Primer is necessary if you are painting a ceiling that has never been painted before, has been previously treated with oil-based paint, has stains and grease splatters, is made of wood, or is going to have texture added, such as popcorn.

However, if the ceiling was painted with water-based paint or already has texture, no primer should be necessary. 

Primer can provide benefits to the surface, such as creating an even base coat for better adhesion and coverage of the topcoat, sealing out moisture, improving durability, and providing mildew resistance.

It can also fill in pores, so they don’t show through after painting, ensuring the final result looks smooth and professional.

While it may not always be necessary to use a primer before painting your ceiling, doing so will result in better coverage and ultimately create a better-looking finish and greater durability over time.

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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