What Paint to use in Bathrooms

What Paint to use in Bathrooms

Whether you are building a custom home or renovating an existing one, there is a good chance you have heard about how important it is to use the right bathroom paint in conversational passing. After all, bathrooms are the wettest areas of a home, and that reality in and of itself can cause significant harm to bathroom wall paint along with costly drywall/plaster damages if you are not careful – aka using ‘regular’ paint that enables water to wreak havoc on your bathroom walls and structure. 

Now, the positive side to all of this is that there is an entire inventory of moisture-resistant paint for bathrooms that helps reduce these risks altogether. To help you with picking the best satin or semi-gloss for bathroom wall paint, we have broken down a comprehensive list of the best paint to use to ensure that your efforts will be nothing but successful. 

The Difference Between Normal Paint and Bathroom Paint 

First and foremost, what is the difference between regular paint vs. bathroom paint? The short and sweet of it is that bathroom paint possesses moisture-resistant properties (higher levels of resin than regular paint) so that water and moisture cannot be absorbed. This means using regular paint in a bathroom without the use of any special primer products to reduce fungal growth can lead to paint decomposition, blistering, peeling, and bubbles. It is also worth noting that bathroom paint usually contains larger levels of mildewcide, an agent that helps slow the growth of mildew. 

The best part here is that the price for moisture-resistant paint for bathrooms is not exponentially higher than regular paint. Therefore, you gain all the long-term perks of waterproof bathroom walls as well as an immediate ROI for the time, cost, and effort saved from having to do repairs down the road. 

The Best Paint To Use In Bathrooms 

Flat/Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and High Gloss – these are the paint styles that you are presented with when picking out colors and finishes for your home. Though you can always go with any kind you wish if you have a super ventilated bathroom, there are some that are much more effective than others when it comes to ensuring lasting quality and structure protection. For instance, most professional painters stay away from flat/matte and eggshell finishes and opt for either satin or semi-gloss for bathroom painting instead. In general, soft paints are prone to fostering mildew in high humidity environments and are not as easy to clean as their satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss counterparts. Keep in mind that high gloss is great for bathrooms but tends to be too shiny for most and shows imperfections easily if not applied correctly.

Fun Fact- 

Before moisture-resistant paint for bathrooms was created, most homes used high gloss paint to help combat the moisture and humidity in bathrooms; higher gloss better performs in bathrooms and is easy to wipe clean. That is why older homes that have not been remodeled tend to have high gloss finishes in their bathrooms.

With that being said, wall paint technology has come a long way, as there are now several moisture-resistant brands like Benjamin Moore on the market to help translate your bathroom visions into tangible realities. This was a direct result of recognizing that bathrooms need more options other than high-gloss, and with some waterproofing additives, that was achieved. 

For some more support here, below is a breakdown of each of the five types along with some recommended moisture-resistant paint solutions that go with it. Remember that these moisture-resistant paints can come in any desired color you need to fulfill your bathroom design goals. 

  • Flat/Matte and Eggshell Finishes: Though not ideal for bathrooms, flat/matte finishes can offer soft dimensions and luxury appeal. Just be sure you go with a resource(s) made for bathrooms specifically to counter its innate peeling and moisture susceptibility.
    • Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa Waterborne Interior Paint – Matte, specially designed for high humidity areas
    • Waterborne Ceiling Paint (508) – the flattest paint Benjamin Moore offers
  • Satin Finishes: Easier to clean than no-sheen paints and perfect for anyone looking for a softer gloss texture. This can be a great middle-ground option, as long as you go with a moisture-resistant satin finish option. 
    • Benjamin Moore Premium Mildew/Water Resistant Enamel Designed Kitchen & Bath Paint – Satin
    • Benjamin Moore’s AURA Interior Paint- Satin (N526)
    • Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Interior Pearl (550)
  • Semi-Gloss Finishes: Renowned for being the most versatile paint finish, this type is water-resistant, easy to clean, and excellent for bathroom walls and trim. Though this can show small/mid imperfections, semi-gloss finishes dry fast, are durable, and overall great for bathroom walls.
    • Benjamin Moore’s AURA Interior Paint- Semi Gloss (N528)
    • Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Interior Semi-Gloss (N551)
  • High Gloss Finishes: Offers the most protection against moisture and is deemed the easiest option to clean. However, a high gloss finish can be a bit too ‘shiny’ for some. It can also show imperfections and error textures very prominently.
    • Benjamin Moore’s ADVANCE Interior/Exterior Paint- High Gloss (794)

Additional Tips To Consider 

Nailing down the right paint is one thing, but that is not all that goes into a seamless and optimized bathroom outcome. With that being said, a key tip that you should keep in mind is the preparation process. For instance, if the paint you choose is not a primer as well, you are going to need to invest in a good quality primer. Some great bathroom primer options include Fresh Start Premium Interior Primers. In short, primer is necessary as a whole, but especially if you want to use a no-gloss or a low-sheen paint in your bathroom.

Something else you should consider is the different areas within your bathroom. For example, shower tiles may require epoxy-based waterproof paint to gain the proper bond within the less porous shower surface, whereas a bathroom ceiling would be better off with acrylic or latex paint. Nonetheless, be mindful that different areas of your bathroom may need different wall paint to amplify steam/humidity protection and that may entail following different guidelines when painting around your shower. 

Last but not least, before touching your walls with anything, be sure that they are prepped correctly. After all, it wouldn’t make much sense to paint your bathroom walls with moisture-resistant paint if there is already mildew making a home there. Because of that, make sure to clean your bathroom walls thoroughly before putting on your primer and then paint. You can wash your walls however you’d like, but a good and effective way to get it clean is using a solution of three parts water and one part bleach. Once your walls are dried and you already placed your tape strips accordingly, then you are ready to get started. 

Summary – Small Details, Big Results 

The bathroom paint results you get ultimately lies within the paint details. In summary, paint may look the same using a surface definition, but the reality is that there are several distinctive types along with finishes that any home or commercial owner should be aware of. That is especially true when it comes to bathroom wall paint, as this particular room requires paint that can withstand the harsh wet environment to prevent short-term and long-term damages. 

Overall, the choice is ultimately up to you if you prefer satin or semi-gloss for bathroom painting. The same certainly goes for color as well. In the end, feel free to be as creative or subtle as you wish to meet your bathroom design objectives. Because as long as you go with moisture-resistant wall paint for bathrooms, you can have the solidifying confidence that your bathroom will be well equipped (and protected) to deliver opulent paint results that last. 

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