Ceiling Dye – What Is It?

“… one can as easily come across a “Ceiling Dye” as they can an “Acoustical Ceiling Coating.”

At an ever increasing rate, when renovating a commercial building, architects, property owners and managers, and environmentally aware professionals are turning to acoustical ceiling restoration as an alternative to replacing the old materials with new. And, in searching for a material to specify, one can as easily come across a “Ceiling Dye” as they can an “Acoustical Ceiling Coating.”  Are they the same or is there a difference?  The purpose of this article is to respond to that question.

Properly done, a restored ceiling will retain its white color longer than a new one, cost one-half as much and be completed in one-third of the time … the key words here are “properly done.”  For in the process of restoring an aged/discolored acoustical surface, a coating material is applied and the selection of the proper one has a direct affect on the resulting performance of the ceiling.  That performance capability becomes the basis for arriving at an answer; for a “properly” restored ceiling should result in the following:

  • Enhance the acoustical properties
  • Improve the fire retarding and smoke development characteristics
  • Decrease dependence on artificial sources through better dispersion of existing light
  • Hold its white color longer than even new materials under similar conditions

If a product manufacturer can provide independent laboratory testing data that supports the performance characteristics, then it makes sense to specify their product.  But where there is a lack of legitimate test results, claims on printed labels, brochures or Tech Data Sheets are just that … unsubstantiated claims of which the buyer should be aware.

Comparing the acoustical coating with the ceiling dye

It appears that the only products on the market that have had independent studies done; utilizing the appropriate ASTM tests are the acoustical coatings.  Whereas those who advertise their products as a ceiling dye, typically rely on verbal claims that are not supported by independent testing.

On one such manufacturer’s website they describe their ceiling product by saying, “When applied over acoustical tile, acoustic properties are not reduced and tiles retain the majority of their sound absorbing qualities.” Well, which is it?  Given that acoustical properties are the sound absorbing qualities, this statement contradicts itself and the site references no supporting test data.

Another manufacturer states in their literature that their ceiling dye “maintains 95% of the acoustics.”  Yet, when asked where the 95% came from, it was not a result of legitimate testing, but more by “perception.”

It is common to dye fabric and other absorbent materials; changing from one color to another but, when restoring a ceiling, the air diffusers, t-bars, speaker plates and other metallic surfaces are treated at the same time.  These “ceiling dyes” also coat metallic surfaces and when wiped off, the color of the metal has not been changed.  Therefore, “dyes” are “coatings” of some sort.  And, the only point that can be made is that for whatever the reason, calling them a “ceiling dye” is for a marketing purpose than a description of the product performance.

Other considerations in choosing a product

Whether it be a coating or a ceiling dye, having legitimate third-party test results is an obvious indicator of an attractive product to specify.  But there are other signs that can lead to a wise choice.  Look at the manufacturer of the product.  How long have they been in the ceiling restoration business and not ceiling cleaning which is an entirely different technology?  The longer they have been in business, the greater their experience and ability to deal with challenges when they occur.

Does the manufacturer provide a training program for contractors who wish to offer the ceiling restoration service to their clientele?  And, do they have a certification program for their better contractors?  Any product is only as good as its application, so the committed manufacturers offer training in order to ensure that their product is applied as designed.  If they do not provide training, one must ask how concerned they are about proper application.

Comments (9)

I am looking to paint my acoustic ceiling for my 1400 sqft yoga studio. My husband and I plan to do it ourselves and were hoping that you could tell us what we will need and how much it will cost. We are looking to start production on this in a week or so, so it’d be great to hear back from you ASAP. Thank you so much!


I forgot to mention that we will be needing a dark gray color…not sure if that makes a difference =)


ProCoustic can be provided in any color. No problem.


Sorry for the delay in responding. If it is not too late, please call me at (781) 767-2270 and will be pleased to help.



Hi I am Ricardo Hörmann from Chile.

I wonder if you have some film or video promotional material that we could place at YOUTUBE where the process of Dyeing ceilings with ProCoat products is been shown.
Recently, one new competitor from Spain(?), is broadcasting at the web in Chile the alternative to Clean Ceilings”.Will send you the video as son I get a copy Regards RHF

I recently estimated a 1500 sq ft ceiling, but sherwin Williams and Ben Moore could not supply me. Please let me know how to order in Scranton, Pa 18505

Call me at 781-767-2270 and we will see that you get what you want.

I am moving my shop location and I would like to paint the suspended ceiling a pale blue. Please help me. 603-744-9494

Our ProCoustic Acoustical Coating can be tinted to any color. Call me at 781-767-2270 and let’s discuss further.

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