I’m dreaming of a white ceiling

I know a lot of people are adding colour and patterns to their ceilings these days, but I am still white ceiling person. Even if I wasn’t, the colours and patterns we’ve had on our ceilings for the past two years would not be my choice… ever.

There were the specks and smears. (Sorry for the poor photo quality. I find it really difficult to photograph our dim hallway).

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Then there were the stripes.

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Our home inspector’s explanation for these lines was that the insulation in our attic was insufficient. As a result, the ceiling joists got cold. The temperature difference between our warm drywall inside the house and the cold joists in the attic resulted in condensation. Dust and dirt in the air in the house stuck to that condensation, making stripes.

When we upgraded the insulation in the attic, our contractor had a slightly different opinion. Of course I now can’t remember what he said.

In addition to the obvious dirt, there was the overall grey tinge that you saw on Friday.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we’ve been living with these ceilings since we moved in two years ago. However, I am no longer ashamed. We used Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start primer to make our dreams of a clean white ceiling come true, and I thought it might be helpful to post a bit of a review of this paint.

Out of all of the things I care about in my house, the shade of white on my ceilings is not one of them. My usual method is to use primer to paint the ceilings. For the hallway, foyer and kitchen, I didn’t splurge and go all the way to buying real paint, but I did choose a slightly upgraded primer, rather than the standard formula. The “high hiding” label on the Fresh Start can was what sold me. I had a lot of dirt to hide.

Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer

Fresh Start is a slightly thicker consistency than standard primer, which made me feel like I was covering more dirt. It’s not sticky, though, and was easy to apply.

Whether because of the thicker consistency or because our drywall absorbed the paint, we ended up using more than I expected. I had bought a second gallon, not realizing I had one at home already. The extra paint ended up being a good thing because for our 310+ square feet of hallway, kitchen and foyer we used a gallon and a quarter, just for one coat.

I had hoped that we would be able to get away with a single coat on our ceilings, but we ended up having to do two. I’m not sure if it’s that our ceilings were just too dirty, if the Fresh Start didn’t cover as well as I thought it would, or if we applied it a bit thinly in a few spots, but the next day there were sections where I could still see some of the grey.

The second coat went on very quickly (about an hour) and used much less paint (probably just a bit more than half a gallon). The second coat also did the trick. There are no more dirt spots, and none of the grey has bled through.

Since we were working on a ceiling, it would have been helpful for the Fresh Start to have a tint, like some of the specialized ceiling paints out there. These go on light pink and then dry white. In the dim lighting of our hallway, it was sometimes hard to tell where we had yet to paint. At least, it was on the second coat when we were painting over white, rather than grey.

One coat, two coat. One can, two cans. It doesn’t matter now. All that counts is that the Fresh Start did its job, and we now have the white ceilings that I’ve been dreaming of since we moved in.

There’s still one more painting post coming up this week. Check back Friday to see the progress we’ve made on the walls. (Hint: there will be colour!)

Until then, I’m really curious to hear how you handle your ceilings. Are you all about white, like me? Or are you one of those daring folks that embrace the “fifth wall?” What’s your go-to primer? Anyone else tried Fresh Start?

And just in case you’re wondering, Benjamin Moore has no idea who I am, I bought my own paint, and this post is just my opinion.

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6 thoughts on “I’m dreaming of a white ceiling

  1. Interesting. We’ve always bought Benjamin Moore paints – we’ve somehow had the notion it’s the best quality, but I’ve no idea how we arrived at it. Perhaps just word-of-mouth. My favorite paint store in Manhattan is Vanovic Plaza on 3rd Avenue just south of East 23rd Street. Their guys really know paint, and help you get the shade you want. And they’ve got a huge selection of Benjamin Moore.

    • My favourite paint store ranks up there with my go-to contractors or my doctor or another trusted professional. It’s so helpful to be able to pose questions and talk things through with people who know their work inside out. I’ve tried other paints in the past, but I always come back to BM and now I don’t even bother using other brands.

  2. I was waiting for a photo of the white ceiling. I guess that’s coming with the wall post. 😉 It’s kind of funny how something fairly small like that, that really doesn’t affect your actual life in any way, can make such a difference. I don’t have a go-to paint for ceilings yet. All I do know is that once someone painted one of my white ceilings in the cream colour that he was painting the walls, and I hated it! It made the room super gloomy and depressing. Ceiling-painting is coming up in our new place, too. They are fairly low, and have a lot of scuffs and marks. It will be white, all the way!

  3. I’m a plain white ceiling person too. Our entire house had “popcorn” ceilings when we started our renovations and we are slowly covering them with thin drywall. It is a big job but definitely worth getting rid of the popcorn mess!

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