An Overview: What Type Of Paint For Bathroom?

Despite the information that is readily available about these different kinds of paints for use in bathrooms, some people will still paint their bathrooms with plain old flat wall paint. At first, the walls in their bathroom will look good; almost as good as those who have painted their bathrooms with paints recommended by professionals for bathroom use. The real difference will become clear a few weeks or a few months down the road, when the mildew is apparent and not so easy–if not almost impossible–to clean. Bathroom paint is a special type of paint, different from ordinary interior house paint. That paint manufacturers tout as necessary for bathrooms due to certain mold inhibiting properties. But actually what type of paint for bathroom?

Brown Bathroom Paint Color

Brown Bathroom Paint

Bathrooms are wet. If you don’t know that already, you have no business painting your bathroom. So, moisture should be your number one concern when it comes to laying down a fresh coat of paint on your walls. Before even considering specialty bathroom paint, you need to know which paint sheens or finishes works best in bathrooms.

What Type of Paint for Bathroom?


Bathrooms require a coat of water-based primer before painting the walls with your chosen color. This primer helps seal moisture away from the drywall, which could lead to serious problems with mildew. Some bathroom walls and/or ceilings have become so saturated with mildew that the drywall had to come down and in severe cases some of the studs required replacing. Sherwin Williams is one company that makes moisture-resistant primer.

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Mildew-Resistant Paint

Follow the coat of moisture-resistant primer with mildew-resistant paint. In some bathrooms that lack proper ventilation, mildew becomes visible on a weekly basis. While mildew-resistant paint won’t completely prevent all instances of mildew from occurring, it will prevent it from occurring as often, and it won’t allow it to penetrate as deeply, thus preserving the integrity of the actual wall. Certain types of paint claim to resist the growth of mold and mildew in bathrooms. One type of mildew-resistant paint is manufactured by KILZ. Zinsser’s Perma-White claims to be guaranteed to prevent the growth of mold and mildew for a minimum of five years. In case you don’t want white in your bathroom, Perma-White can be tinted to off-white, pastel and medium colors. And it comes in eggshell, satin and semi-gloss sheens. Sherwin Williams also has a bath paint called, simply enough, Bath Paint. It has the same 5-year guarantee as the Zinsser, inhibits mold and mildew just as well, and yet has far more available colors.

Paint Sheen and Bathroom Moisture

This list starts with the flattest, lowest sheen finish and works up to high-gloss. The higher the gloss, the better the paint sheen does in bathrooms.

Flat – Nice matte coating, but best in low-traffic areas where it is never or rarely touched. Absorbs moisture, so it is bad for bathrooms.

Eggshell – Slightly “sheeny” and more washable and scrub able than flat. Like flat, eggshell is good for places without moisture.

Grey Color Bathroom Ideas

Grey Color Bathroom Ideas

Satin – Satin has a bit of a gloss, and can be used in low-moisture bathrooms, such as powder or guest bathrooms. For bathrooms without serious mildew issues, a satin finish paint will do the job. Since the bathroom isn’t prone to mildew, scrubbing with bathroom cleaning products won’t be part of the routine. Satin-finish paint holds up well and cleans up with moderate scrubbing with a damp sponge.

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Semi-Gloss – Best sheen for any kind of bathroom. It repels moisture well. If your bathroom has a serious moisture problem, using paint with a semi-gloss finish (provided it is mildew resistant) will make routine cleaning a much easier process. The smooth finish of the semi-gloss paint wipes up easily with a damp sponge, yet is strong enough not to be marred by many bathroom cleaning products.

High-gloss – Best for bathroom walls because high-gloss repels moisture almost as well as if your walls were coated in plastic. Downside is that high-gloss (in the opinion of some people) does not look good when spread out over large surfaces such as walls. Best for smaller surfaces like trim and cabinetry.

Purple Bathroom Painting

Purple Bathroom Painting

But does this mean you cannot use flat, eggshell, or stain finishes in your bathroom? No. This varies by context. Do you have 2 kids who produce an inordinate amount of water when they bathe? Then, it is recommended against these finishes. However, even flat finish can be used in the bathroom if the conditions are right. So, don’t be scared off of these flatter sheens. In fact, you can even find matte finishes that are specially designed for high moisture areas. Benjamin Moore’s Aura® Bath And Spa Matte Finish is one such paint. Now, you have got ideas what type of paint for bathroom perfectly, right?