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Ceiling Paint

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: Oct 15 2009

I am new to the lounge. I live in a mcm home in Georgia with post and beam construction. Two owners ago painted our ceilings white. The previous owner to us disliked them so he had them painted a faux wood-grain which looks pretty awful. We have dealt with it but now are getting a new roof and a good bit of ceiling boards are being replaced. Long story short we kinda have to paint the ceiling now and have decided on white. It seems the majority of Eichlers and Eichler-esque homes I have seen online and in books/magazines have their ceilings painted white. I was wondering if there is a common thread to them; for example oil vs. latex? If latex, gloss vs. matte? White vs. offwhite. Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated!

Joined: Dec 20 2004

Kelly More Swiss Mocha (White basically) in an eggshell sheen would be one opinion. Beams are nice when they are dark brown when they are the full length of the house but I painted mine white because the outside of the house is dark.

-- Ralph

Joined: Mar 25 2003

Dark beams look best, but I too have a dark exterior and went with white beams. However, I painted the ceiling a light gray along the lines of what the original Eichler stain color would have been. The bottom line is that you want contrasts in a modern house to show off the clean, geometry of the architecture to shine.

Now on to what I think you were really asking. Considering there are several coats of paint and you don't know if they're oil or latex, use a Zinsser primer like B.I.N., then a latex paint over it.

Joined: Dec 14 2003

I stripped the paint off my interior ceilings and re-stained them back to the original color -- Cabot Dune Gray. The exterior "ceilings" ("eaves" is the correct term, I think) were painted Benjamin Moore Ticonderoga taupe to match. The beams are dark brown.

Joined: Jul 12 2004


I've just been thru the process and wish you well.

Without any pre-knowledge about Eichlers I painted our already painted 8 ft ceilings (no nice peaks) a soft white. I chose the paint brand because it is considered "full spectrum" which means it doesn't have anything black in any of the recipes it uses to make the color of the paint. Our house is rather dark and I wanted to help it in any way I could. The woman who developed the paint is a designer turned paint designer. Incidently she lives in the South and is a delight to talk to. She even does color consultations. Least you think less of a "boutique" type paint, her paints are mixed and bought thru ICI an international company with outlets everywhere. A well respected company. I usually order my paint and pick it up the same day.

An important reason I chose her paint is that it is eco friendly...either no VOC paints and low VOC. This is important to our health as indoor pollution is allegedly 5 times greater than outdoors.

After reading the ground rules I believe I can't write her name but you can contact me directly if you are interested.

I chose a taupe/grey color as an accent color for our beams and I think it looks pretty nice. I used her color "bark".
White beams on white ceilings didn't take advantage of the great lines of the beams. The beam color can be carried out to the outside depending on your outside colors. Visually it helps to double down on the intensity of the beam color when it goes outside so it reads the same as inside.

For the outside of the house I used traditional 50's colors from Benjamin and Moore and used their new "green" paint Aura which is pretty amazing. It covers in one coat and fills small holes etc. It has a slight gloss to its flat paint which works for me.

I did read that the outside beams should be slightly more glossy than the rest of the house's body color to help accent the structure.

Hope this helps.

Joined: Nov 4 2009

jx, I am in the middle of a similar situation except it's only one half of a bedroom ceiling, divided by a beam, and was painted by a previous owner (I assume as a test for painting the entire ceiling in the house. Luckily they didn't.) I've stripped and sanded the painted section, gotten a gallon of Cabot semi-solid Dune Gray deck stain, and in testing on scrap I find the color is a lighter shade of gray than the ceiling. Apparently the original color and wood have darkened with time and the two halves of the ceiling will not be a match. Has anyone had experience using something like universal tinting colors to correct this, and did it work? Also, does anyone know what was used to apply the original stain? Brush? Rag? Sponge? Roller and back brush? The original stain on my Eichler ceiling has a very streaky/washy appearance like it might have been thinned. I can't seem to duplicate the same finish on test pieces. Any advice for anything I've mentioned? Thanks!!

Joined: Jun 10 2009

for my eichler (redwood ceilings, 1971 construction), the stain was semi-transparent, dune gray, light brush application. it is possible that other colors were used, but I have seen dune gray mentioned here and it was an exact match for me (almost 40 years later).

for interiors, I would consider the cabot *water-based* semi-trans (lower VOC and thinner). your store should be able to mix it and tint it as well. in either oil or acrylic, the semi-solid will have too much pigment for an original look and I would avoid it. also, I would not use a roller as it will apply too much stain even with backbrushing. you should consider wiping down with a rag after brush application, though.

go light the first time; you want a wash. you can always add a second coat.

Joined: Dec 14 2003

Sorry, I can't help you. The bits of original stain that I found (under the light fixture canopies) were an exact match for the Dune Gray. I used the semi-transparent stain. Unfortunately, there are a few spots where shrinkage has allowed the plywood of the roof deck to peep through and that has a bit of paint showing. in general, though, I think it is a big improvement.

I would suggest sanding down the ceiling of the entire bedroom and restaining the whole thing.

Joined: Nov 4 2009

Thank you, pauljoyce and jxbrown! You both confirmed my suspicions regarding my incorrect choice of semi-solid stain, and my resulting difficulty in achieving a thin wash-like finish. I'll see about getting the water-based semi-transparent and maybe with less pigment it'll be a better color match as well as being more manageable. Thanks for the application tips, too. I'll test them out. The thought of sanding the rest of the ceiling (it's the larger half, of course!) and restaining it all did cross my mind if a match was not possible, but I hope that will be a last resort!! Thank you both again for your valuable advice!

Joined: Dec 5 2010


here are some tips for ceiling paint

1. Ceilings are usually painted in a white or off white color because it creates an illusion of higher ceilings. Medium and darker colors bring the ceiling down to create a cozy space. Using darker colors on an eight-foot ceiling may make the room claustrophobic, however, in a twelve foot or taller room the darker color may help bring the room into proportion.

2. Buy good quality paint. Cheaper paint means cheap paint and you will probably have to paint several more coats to get an acceptable look. Buy quality and you won’t have to make that second or third run to the store to buy more paint.

3. Preparation should be completed before painting begins.

4. Allow paint to dry between coats. If you do not follow this tip you will be dealing with flaking and peeling paint, which is a mess to eliminate.

5. Don’t wear good shoes or clothing when painting. Wear clothes you can get dirty in and not be concerned about. Wool is difficult to clean paint out of so wear cottons or blends that can be thrown in the washing machine. Cover your head with a bandana or a hat so that you will not have to spend a week getting your hair free of paint.


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