Flat black interior paint selection

Asked August 10, 2014, 10:54 PM EDT

I will be painting a dedicated home theater room.

The drywall is textured with a medium heavy orange peel finish.

The plan calls for a dead flat black on all of the ceiling area and some painted cabinets.

In a low light setting this gives the illusion of the ceiling fading from view and makes the room feel topless or open.

I have done some tests with latex enamel flat black and found that every speck of dust in the room seems to gravitate to the surface and stick like glue when you try to dust it off.

Wiping it with a damp cloth only makes it worse.

Is there some alternative solution here without adding a sheen to the paint?

Can I have a black that will not reflect all of the light from a movie screen and still not collect dust?

Thank you for your help.

David B.

Pierce County Washington

1 Response

David, Your question is a little complicated. I have some suggestions below. However, you may want to talk to a major paint store professional or seek them on line to ask your question about the paint. Also, check with those who install theaters.

Here are some suggestions and I would encourage you to go to the web site to understand "ghosting," soot, Brownian movement, thermal differences, electrostatic attraction, air flow etc.

The dust collection on a ceiling or wall may result from several factors: thermal or temperature, pressure or moisture differences between the ceiling and above or nearby. Also due to electrostatic attraction, the Brownian movement, burning candles, inefficiency of furnace and cooling system filters or not changing them enough, warm air rises to ceiling bring with in smaller dust particles, conduction,

convection, radiant energy from light reflecting off of various surfaces in multiple directions including ceiling, etc. I would suggest exploring whether you need more efficient filters in your air handling system such as a HEPA filter - CONSULT your furnace manufacture or distributor as your system may be stressed by trying to force air through the higher efficiency filters. Be very careful of some of the ozone and ion air cleaners as they can deposit dust on surfaces and ozone is a lung irritant. You might explore a larger HEPA room air filtration system - HEPA = high efficiency particle arrestor or air filter.

As you know, black color shows more of the lighter color dirt and dust. Rough, textured or even pebbled may collect more as air flows across them and dust particles "catch" of higher parts of the surfaces. Perhaps the pebble is being used for acoustics? Enamel paint is often used where you want heavy coating and somewhat washable surfaces. Enamel tends to have more paint "pigment" in it. Is enamel needed or can you get the effect with flat latex black? The problem with dust and black also occurs on black cars.

The following information will give you details on dust and its movement and collection as it relates to science.

1. See Joe Lstiburek at : search for ghosting, Brownian movement etc. on his Building Science site below. Building Science Digests by Joseph Lstiburek

BSD-150: Black Stains on Carpets and Ghosting of Framing

By Joseph Lstiburek
Created: 2006/12/21 http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-150-black-stains-on-carpets-and-ghosting-of-fra...

Electrostatic Attraction and Brownian movement and other reasons that dust. soot and dirt deposit on walls.

2. See also: Dirt Streaking & Ghosting


3. See also: Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair InspectAPedia


I hope I was able to give you a partial answer to your question and with more information from the sources noted, you may be able to resolve the issues.