Can You Apply Semi-Gloss Over Ceiling Paint? (How-To)

Semi-gloss paint is glossier and more protective than flat ceiling paint. So, can you paint over ceiling paint with semi-gloss paint?

You can put semi-gloss paint over ceiling paint but you have to ensure that the ceiling is very smooth. This is because semi-gloss paint due to its reflective properties will highlight and reveal any imperfection in the ceiling.

If the ceiling is rough, you’ll need to repair the imperfections with spackle compound. Also, you should know that you’ll need to scuff the ceiling paint before putting semi-gloss paint over it.

This is to smoothen the ceiling and allow the semi-gloss paint to stick better to the ceiling. Painters often put semi-gloss paint over ceiling paint especially if mold or moisture resistance is required.

Does Semi-Gloss Paint Stick To Ceiling Paint?

Semi-gloss paint sticks properly to ceiling paint because ceiling paint is a flat paint that has very low moisture resistance. Also, since ceiling paint is flat, it has no sheen or chemical that will repel semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint also sticks well to ceiling paint because semi-gloss paint by design has impressive adhesive qualities.

You should know that semi-gloss paint will not stick well to ceiling paint if the ceiling paint is filthy or in bad condition. Dirt and moisture especially will not let semi-gloss paint stick well to ceiling paint. Also, if the ceiling paint is cracked or peeling off, the semi-gloss paint will not stick. Asides from the poor paint adhesion, the semi-gloss paint will also highlight the dirt and peeling ceiling paint.

So, in summary, semi-gloss paint will stick to ceiling paint as long as the ceiling paint is in good condition and wasn’t sealed. A light buff with fine-grit sandpaper will also improve paint adhesion and make the semi-gloss paint stick better.

If the ceiling paint was previously sealed with a top coat, the semi-gloss paint will not stick unless you remove the top coat especially if the top coat is moisture-resistant. In most cases, you wouldn’t have to worry about this because ceiling paints are not usually sealed. So is semi-gloss paint good for the ceiling? Let’s find out.

Is Semi-Gloss Paint Good For Ceiling?

Generally, semi-gloss paint isn’t good for ceilings for different reasons. For starters, semi-gloss paint takes longer to dry than regular flat ceiling paint. The longer dry time means that you might experience paint drips if you use semi-gloss paint on a ceiling especially if the ceiling has already been installed.

Also, semi-gloss paint is more reflective than regular ceiling paint. As such, the semi-gloss paint will highlight and reveal imperfections, scratches, and dents in the ceiling, unlike flat ceiling paint that hides imperfections.

Another reason semi-gloss paint might be considered bad for a ceiling is that the paint is more difficult to apply than regular ceiling paint due to its oil-based and thick texture. Some semi-gloss paints especially oil-based semi-gloss paints contain chemicals that can produce paint fumes if used over large areas like the ceiling.

However, it’s not all bad news to use semi-gloss paint over a ceiling. There are also a few advantages to doing so. The biggest is that semi-gloss paint is moisture-resistant. Semi-gloss paint due to its slightly glossy finish prevents moisture and, in some cases, mold from growing on the ceiling.

Painters often advise DIYers to use semi-gloss paint on the ceiling in cases of patches and leaks. Also, the glossy appearance of semi-gloss paint might be an advantage to you if you fancy having a reflective ceiling.

So in summary, either semi-gloss paint is good or bad for your ceiling depends on your choice, taste, and needs. Now, let’s check out how to paint over ceiling paint with a semi-gloss paint.

How To Paint Over Ceiling Paint With Semi-Gloss Paint?

To paint over ceiling paint with semi-gloss paint, you’ll need a few tools and supplies:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Spackle or joint compound
  • A paintbrush
  • Clean rags
  • A pair of gloves
  • A ladder (Optional)

Here is a 5-step guide on how to apply semi-gloss paint over ceiling paint:

  1. Check if the Ceiling Paint Is Dry
  2. Wipe and Clean the Ceiling Paint
  3. Repair the Ceiling With Spackle Compound
  4. Sand the Ceiling Paint
  5. Apply Thin Coats of the Semi-gloss Paint

Now, let’s get to work.

1. Check If The Ceiling Paint Is Dry

You should know that you can’t put semi-gloss paint over ceiling paint if the ceiling paint isn’t dry enough for a top coat. So the first step is to check if the ceiling paint is dry enough for top coat application.

Since most ceiling paints are water-based and flat, it doesn’t take long for the ceiling paint to dry. On average, ceiling paints dry enough for top coat application in about an hour after the ceiling paint was applied.

If the ceiling paint has been previously applied, then you don’t need to wait for it to dry. But you’ll need to carry out the next step.

2. Wipe and Clean The Ceiling Paint

The next step is to get rid of dust and grime on the ceiling paint. This step is very important if the ceiling paint has been applied previously. Though it may not look like it, ceiling paints are usually very filthy as the paint will be riddled with dust, cobwebs, and dirt.

You’ll need to remove the filth to allow the semi-gloss paint to stick to the ceiling paint and to prevent bleed-through and staining when the semi-gloss paint is dry.

You should wipe the ceiling paint with a clean cloth. Stubborn stains can be brushed off with a soft brush or a damp sponge.

3. Repair The Ceiling With Spackle Compound

With the ceiling paint clean and dirt-free, you will get a good glance of the ceiling to spot dents, imperfections, and damages. Since semi-gloss paint will highlight the imperfections in the ceiling due to its reflective nature, you need to ensure that the ceiling is in perfect condition. This means to repair the ceiling with spackle compound.

Spackle compound also known as joint compound is a white powder made from gypsum and water. The powder can be mixed and used to seal, cover, and repair parts of the ceiling where there are gouges and damages.

After using the spackle compound, you’ll need to leave the paste to dry fully before going in with your task. Spackle compound dries quickly since it is made from plaster and water. On average, the joint compound paste should dry in less than 30 minutes.

4. Sand The Ceiling Paint

Sanding is very important before applying semi-gloss paint. You should sand the ceiling paint with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Ensure to pay attention to the parts of the ceiling where you repaired with spackle compound as spackle compound tends to dry unevenly. After sanding, remove the dust by wiping the ceiling paint with a clean rag.

5. Apply The Semi-Gloss Paint

You can apply semi-gloss paint using a paintbrush. An angled paintbrush will be better as it will help you to get in tight corners and fittings in the ceiling. Based on experience, you only need a coat of semi-gloss paint over the ceiling paint. You can also apply two coats but both coats have to be very thin and even.

Also, ensure to allow enough dry time between coats of semi-gloss paint. If you’ll be applying more than one coat over the ceiling, you’ll need to sand lightly between semi-gloss coats for proper adhesion. After applying the semi-gloss paint, ensure to leave it to dry for at least 24 hours before trying to clean or wipe the ceiling.

Does Semi-Gloss Paint Change The Ceiling Paint Color?

Semi-gloss paint doesn’t change paint color but the paint can make ceiling paint color appear brighter or deeper than it is. This is because semi-gloss paint reflects light well.

Since the paint is reflective, the ceiling paint color will seem more vibrant or more colorful. The change in appearance is caused by the glossy texture of the semi-gloss paint.

You should know that either the ceiling paint appears lighter or darker depends on the color of the ceiling paint and the light in the room. If the room has wall lights, chandeliers, lamps, and so on, then you can expect the semi-gloss paint to be more reflective causing the ceiling paint color to appear brighter than it was before.

On the other hand, if the room lighting is low, then the semi-gloss paint will be less reflective making the ceiling paint color appear darker or deeper. In summary, the semi-gloss paint will not change the ceiling paint color but it can affect the appearance of the ceiling paint.

How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Last On Ceiling?

Semi-gloss paint can last over 10 years on a ceiling if properly maintained and cleaned regularly. This is because ceilings are low-traffic areas. This means that nothing happens on the ceiling.

Since you don’t walk on the ceiling or eat on the ceiling, there is nothing that can ruin the semi-gloss paint on the ceiling but dust and dirt. But if you clean the ceiling regularly, then nothing will ruin the semi-gloss finish.

Another thing that may affect the durability of the semi-gloss paint over the ceiling is moisture and this only happens when there is a leak or damaged pipe in the roof. If you notice that an area on the ceiling is getting wet or damp, it means there is a leak there and you should fix it immediately.

Asides from dust and in some cases, moisture, nothing can damage semi-gloss paint on a ceiling. You should also know that semi-gloss paint itself is very strong and durable. The durability of the paint coupled with the low traffic on the ceiling means that semi-gloss paint can last well over 10 years on a ceiling.

Final Words

Overall, you can put semi-gloss paint over ceiling paint. Since ceiling paint is flat, semi-gloss paint will stick to it [perfectly with little sanding required.

However, you should ensure to repair and remove all imperfections on the ceiling as semi-gloss paint due to its reflective features will highlight any imperfection on the ceiling.

Also, you should only apply thin coats of semi-gloss paint over the ceiling. If the semi-gloss paint is thick, it might fall right off the ceiling.

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