Your bathroom walls are not unlike your kitchen walls. Unlike your kitchen, however, bathrooms are high-humidity environments because of hot showers. That means the best paint for bathrooms is semi-gloss paint. You want moisture-resistant paint that’s easy to wipe down, won’t bubble or peel under temperature stress, and expect them to last at least five years under moderate to heavy use.
Semi-gloss makes for the best bathroom paint
Semi-gloss finishes repel moisture well and are easily wiped. They’re moisture-resistant and come in a nearly endless variety of colors.
What about eggshell finishes or satin paint for bathroom walls?
- Eggshell refers to the finishes in paint, not just the color (though it does resemble an eggshell). Eggshell finishes are relatively easy to wipe down and are increasingly durable against moisture and humidity. They’re just not usually as good for bathrooms as semi-gloss paints, especially with cheap eggshell paints.
- Satin finishes are a little more glossy but not glossy enough. Use satin paints in a low-moisture place, like small hallways outside a bathroom. Depending on your location in the country, they can also be practical in basements or sun rooms.
Are high-gloss paint for bathrooms any good?
High-gloss paints are great at repelling moisture, letting water bead and wash down the wall. It can be wiped down with a soft cloth if it forms streaks. But high-gloss doesn’t look great when painted on large walls because it’s almost too shiny. You can get away with it if your bathroom is really small or dark.
High-gloss paints will show imperfections in your walls, like prior paint that’s dried in clumps, drywall repairs, small holes, and so forth. Low or no-sheen paints are more forgiving, especially for older or damaged walls. We recommend customers steer away from high gloss for large spaces or walls despite the fact it’s essentially waterproof paint.
Instead, use high-gloss on the trim or bathroom cabinets. It’ll give you something to contrast with in small spaces, can reflect light in interesting ways, and gives you maximum water-resistance in places that need it.
What’s in the special “paint for bathrooms” formula? Is that marketing speak?
Some of the best paint for bathrooms is marketed that way because of additives. Made by various latex paint manufacturers, the additives make for moisture-resistant paint that can go just about anywhere in the house with a flat finish. That means you get the best of all options.
They come in various colors and work well on other moisture-prone areas like bathroom ceilings, where matte finishes look better. They’re also mold resistant and reduce mildew growth.
The additives, however, like other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause an odor and may disagree with some people’s senses and preferences.
A note about existing mildew or mold on your bathroom walls
If you’ve got mold and mildew in parts of your bathroom walls or ceiling, you should contact a professional painter to help. The paint you get is irrelevant if the area isn’t properly treated and prepared to remove mold and mildew.
We’ve been to many homes where people have painted over mildew or mold growth, either purposefully or without knowing what it was, only to have it reappear. Mold in particular must be treated with bleach or chemical solutions to remove it. Sometimes, we’ve had to help people remove parts of their ceiling because the mold has grown into the drywall.
If you think mold and mildew might be a problem in your bathroom or other parts of your home, give us a call for a free consultation in the East Bay Area. Mold and mildew-resistant paints can’t fix mold that’s already there. Removal also requires gloves and a respirator because fumes can be unhealthy in small spaces.
Ready for some help choosing the best paint for your bathroom walls?
Our team of professional painters at Woodiwiss Painting has consulted with hundreds of customers and painted thousands of square feet of bathroom walls and ceilings. The right paint for your bathroom is a call, click, or message away.
Call (925) 595-3081 or email [email protected] to get started.