Can you use contract matt to paint a ceiling?

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 5, 2022 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 0 comments

Contract matt is manufactured to a tighter budget than vinyl matt and contains less polymer binder. This makes it ideal for new plaster, as it allows the substrate to breathe. Some decorators still use it as a mist coat, opting for higher-quality paint for topcoats. However, because it has less binder, contract matt isn’t very durable, so it doesn’t make an ideal finish coat on walls. But can you use contract matt to paint a ceiling??


Using Contract Matt to Paint a Ceiling


Interior ceilings do not need to be very durable, so in theory, you could use contract matt. However, it still comes with a few drawbacks. Contract matt is very porous, so any condensation or bad smells in the room can be absorbed by the paint. So, contract matt is no good in a kitchen, bathroom, or any other room that contains mould.

It can also drag on application, meaning roller marks and picture framing can be an issue. Because of this issue, you should avoid using contract matt on large, open plan ceilings. It can make your ceilings look terrible. Also, you should avoid using contract matt on a ceiling in a room you intend to wallpaper. You can wipe excess past from a vinyl matt, but try wiping it off contract matt and the paint will come off with it!!


So, you can’t use contract matt on a ceiling if it’s in a kitchen, bathroom, anywhere that suffers condensation, large ceilings, or wallpapered rooms. But even decorators I know still use it.

Why? Because it’s cheap and has good opacity!! That’s all it is. You can give a ceiling a “quick refresh” by applying one coat of contract matt over a previously painted ceiling. Bare plaster will look solid after two coats of a good quality contract matt, so you can see the appeal!


The Alternatives to Contract Matt


Most people I know would use vinyl matt on a ceiling, but you could go one better!! There are specialist ceiling paints available now, that look amazing, are easy to use and will not stay porous. Most of these products leave a luxurious, ultra-matt finish. I’d recommend looking at either Teknos Teknoceiling, or Tikkurila Anti-Reflex. Both these products perform better than anything else out there. Or, you could always opt for a regular vinyl matt.

If I had to choose between the two, I think I’d edge towards Tikkurila Anti Reflex. The opacity isn’t as good as Teknos Teknoceiling, but the finish is unreal. It was recently voted the best emulsion for ceilings on a poll we ran amongst Decorators. Click here to see online prices.


Best Brush and Roller to Apply Contract Matt Emulsion


If you are going to use contract matt emulsion on a ceiling, or as a mist coat, then there are a couple of things to think about regarding tools. Contract matt tends to drag, so choose a long pile roller and a paintbrush with a thick stock. You need a brush and roller that will hold a lot of paint, because you need to apply thick coats.

To that end, I recommend the Purdy Colossus for a roller. It is a thick, dense, long pile sleeve which is perfect for contract matt. You can buy it online by clicking here.

As for the paintbrush, we may as well stick with Purdy and go for the Monarch Elite. This brush isn’t cheap, but it will hold and deposit loads of contract matt, so will make your life easier. Available by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can click here to see a full range of Purdy tools, including the two products I have just recommended.

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 5, 2022 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


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