View Full Version : Painting a bathroom - does it matter what kind of paint?

04-17-2004, 07:43 PM
We have just one bathroom in our house, which we're planning to re-do.

The tub/shower surround doesn't go all the way up to the ceiling, so we will have to paint that area, along with the rest of the room.

What type of paint should we use? Is there a type we should specifically stay away from?


04-17-2004, 07:57 PM
Assuming you have an electrical exhaust fan in your ceiling, I don’t see the problem with any paint. No vent when you steam up the room during a hot shower? Problem.

04-17-2004, 08:46 PM
You want to avoid matters and semi-mattes. These absorb whatever touch them. Gloss is a good choice. Often paint is now sold with the qualifier "Kitchen/Bath" -- can't go wrong with that.

04-17-2004, 08:55 PM
Have the paint store add an anti mold/fungus additive.

David Simmons
04-17-2004, 08:58 PM
It sure as hell does. Get the best quality paint available. I think you probably can find a paint that is formulated for bathroom use. The atmosphere in a bathroom, especially if you use the shower, is hard on paint. It will pay off in the long run.

04-17-2004, 10:08 PM
I have to chime in on the recommendation of gloss, and respectfully disagree. I knew I didn't want to do matte, but I went with gloss when I painted our bathroom, and the results were scary. Too shiny, and every imperfection in the wall (and my painting technique) showed.

When we finally had it professionally repainted, we went with semi-gloss. It looks much better.

04-17-2004, 11:34 PM
My dad is a painting contractor, so I done a lot of my own painting with good direction!

High gloss or semi gloss is all I would EVER use in the bathroom or kitchen, good exhaust fan or not. It will get damp no matter what you do. As far as using it in the kitchen, it will wipe clean much better than a flat paint.

04-18-2004, 03:01 PM
Thanks ... we were thinking of a 'satin' finish .. although I think 'semi-gloss' is comparable, yes?

What about oil paint vs. water-based?

Yes, we have an exhaust fan, but we both loooove long, hot showers so it gets a little steamy in there no matter what we do.


04-18-2004, 06:26 PM
Consider using Perma-White® mold and mildew-proof paint by Zinsser. Professional paint dealers should handle it. I've used Zinsser products for years and never been disappointed.

You may also want to re-evaluate your bath fan. If it was provided by the builder, it is likely a piece of trash. Good fans, with adequate CFM for long steamy showers need to be directly vented to the outside, not into the attic, and provision for intake air must be made in case the bathroom door is closed. Otherwise, the best of fans are drawing a vacuum.

04-18-2004, 07:47 PM
No matter what finish you choose for the finish coat, make sure you do sufficient prep.

I used to paint pro for more than a few years and couldn't believe the number of times I prepped work over crappy paint jobs. Old paint would come off in dime and nickel sized chunks. Without the physical bond afforded by a decent prep job the paint is worthless.

No matter what finish you choose (and I've seen nice bathhrooms finished in eggshell) prep like your life depended on it. I'd recommend Scotch-Brite pads. They're from 3-M and are basically the scrubby parts from the back of those dish pads. They're maroon colored, somewhere around the equivalent of 150 grit paper and I get mine at the local auto body shop; Home Depot probably carries them.

At any rate, make sure that every surface to which you apply paint has been sanded or abraded. It is a physical bond that the paint hangs on, and that's the verb that's used, "hanging paint." Rough it up, hang it up.

04-18-2004, 09:54 PM
re: oil vs. latex based..

Just make sure you if the paint on there right now is oil that you use oil in turn. These days you can get good latex paints for bathrooms, but back in the day folks only used oil based. Latex paint tends to flake off oil based paint unless you do a killer priming job before hand (as per MonkeyMensch's advice.)


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