What’s The Best Type Of Paint For Bathrooms?

When it comes to home improvement projects, painting is often considered one of the most cost-effective ways to transform a space. However, selecting the appropriate type of paint is crucial to ensure that your efforts yield lasting and satisfactory results. This is particularly true for bathrooms, which are exposed to a unique set of conditions that can challenge the longevity and appearance of paint. 

This comprehensive guide will explore the various kinds of paint suitable for bathroom applications. We will explore bathroom paint options from water- to oil-based paints, from mold-resistant to different finishes. By the end of this article, you’ll clearly understand which type of paint is the best fit for your bathroom renovation or refresh project.

Types of Bathroom Paint

There are several types of paint that are suitable for use in bathrooms, as bathrooms are prone to high humidity and moisture levels. Here are some common types of bathroom paint:

Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints, often waterborne paints, represent a versatile and eco-friendly category of paint products recently gaining significant popularity. Unlike traditional oil-based paints that use petroleum-based solvents, these paints are formulated with water as the primary solvent. Water-based paints have numerous advantages, making them a preferred choice for professional painters and DIY enthusiasts.

One of the most compelling features of water-based paints is their environmental friendliness. Unlike oil-based paints, they release very few volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful chemicals responsible for air pollution and potential health problems. This low VOC content makes water-based paints safer and more sustainable, reducing their impact on indoor air quality and the environment.

Water-based paints are also known for their ease of use and versatility. They can be applied to various surfaces, including walls, ceilings, wood, metal, and certain plastics. They dry relatively quickly, facilitating faster project completion and easier cleanup since water is typically sufficient for cleaning brushes and equipment.

Furthermore, water-based paints come in a broad spectrum of colors and finishes, providing various design options for interior and exterior applications. Whether you’re looking for a glossy finish in your living room or a matte appearance for your bedroom, water-based paint is suitable for your needs.

In terms of durability, modern water-based paints have made significant advancements. They offer excellent adhesion, resistance to cracking and peeling, and long-lasting color retention, making them a practical choice for high-traffic areas and exterior surfaces.

Top Water-Based Paint Brands

When choosing a brand for your water-based bathroom paint, several reputable options are worth considering. Here are a few top choices:

  • Sherwin-Williams: Sherwin-Williams is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of water-based paints suitable for bathrooms. Their products are known for their quality and durability.
  • Behr: Behr is another popular brand that provides various water-based paint options. They provide a variety of paint finishes, making it simple to discover the ideal one for your bathroom.
  • Benjamin Moore: Benjamin Moore paints are highly regarded for their quality and extensive color selection. They offer water-based paints that are ideal for bathrooms and other high-moisture areas.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paint is a type of paint that utilizes oil as its primary solvent or vehicle for pigment suspension. Its durability and smooth finish have been a popular choice for centuries. This type of paint typically comprises three main components: pigments, a binder, and a thinner or solvent.

Pigments are tiny, finely crushed particles that give paint its color. They can be either organic or inorganic and are blended into the paint to achieve the desired shade. The binder is a resin or oil that holds the pigments together and adheres to the painting surface. In oil-based paint, linseed oil is a commonly used binder. The thinner or solvent, often mineral spirits or turpentine, is added to the paint to control its consistency and viscosity, making it easier to apply.

One of the key benefits of oil-based paint is its exceptional durability. Its slow drying time allows for smoother brushwork and blending, making it a favorite among artists for creating detailed and nuanced artwork.

However, oil-based paint also has some drawbacks. It emits strong fumes and requires proper ventilation during application, which can be a health concern. Cleaning up can be difficult since it involves using solvents, which can harm the environment. Furthermore, oil-based paints have a tendency to turn yellow as they age, potentially impacting the look of the painted surface.

Top Oil-Based Paint Brands

If you choose oil-based paint for your bathroom project, choosing a reputable brand that offers quality products is essential. Here are some top oil-based paint brands to consider:

  • Rust-Oleum: Rust-Oleum is well-known for its oil-based paints and primers. They provide a range of finishes and colors suitable for various bathroom surfaces.
  • Valspar: Valspar provides oil-based paints with excellent adhesion and durability. Their products are available in different sheens to meet your bathroom painting needs.
  • Dulux: Dulux offers a variety of oil-based paints known for their quality and longevity. They are a trusted choice for bathroom renovations.

Now that we’ve explored water-based and oil-based paints let’s move on to another category of bathroom paint: latex paints.

Latex Paints

Latex paint, often water-based paint, is a popular and versatile type of paint used in a wide range of applications. It has become very popular because it’s easy to use, has low toxicity, and is environmentally friendly. Latex paints are formulated primarily with water as the solvent, which replaces the traditional use of harsh chemicals like solvents or oil-based mediums. This composition makes them less harmful to both humans and the environment.

The term “latex” in latex paint can be misleading, as it contains no natural latex rubber. Instead, it derives its name from the latex particles originally used as binders in these paints. However, modern latex paints typically use synthetic polymers such as acrylic, vinyl, or styrene as the binding agents. These polymers create a durable and flexible film when the paint dries, which adheres well to various surfaces, including wood, drywall, metal, and concrete.

One of the notable advantages of latex paints is their fast drying time, typically within a few hours. This quick drying time makes it convenient for homeowners and professionals alike, allowing multiple coats to be applied daily. Additionally, latex paints are known for their low odor, making them more pleasant to work with, especially in indoor environments.

Furthermore, latex paints come in various colors and finishes, offering versatility and customization options for any project. They are available in flat, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes, catering to different aesthetic preferences and functional requirements.

Another significant benefit of latex paints is their resistance to cracking, peeling, and fading over time, ensuring a long-lasting and vibrant finish. They are also easy to clean up with just soap and water, reducing the hassle associated with paint cleanup. Water-based paints have gained popularity in recent years due to their lower environmental impact, faster drying times, and reduced odor.

Top Latex Paint Brands

Choosing a reputable brand for latex bathroom paint is essential to ensure quality and long-lasting results. Here are some leading manufacturers known for their latex paint products:

  • Benjamin Moore: Benjamin Moore offers various latex paints suitable for bathrooms. Their products are known for their excellent coverage and color selection.
  • Valspar: Valspar provides latex paints that offer durability and a smooth finish. They are available in various sheens to meet your bathroom painting needs.
  • Behr: Behr is a trusted brand offering latex paints for bathrooms. They are known for their quality and extensive color options.

Mold and Mildew-Resistant Paints

Mold and mildew-resistant paints are specific coatings created to prevent the development of mold and mildew on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Mold and mildew are types of fungi that flourish in moist, humid environments and can lead to unattractive stains, structural harm, and health problems. Mold-resistant paints are formulated to prevent these issues by inhibiting the growth of these fungi on painted surfaces.

These paints typically contain additives like antimicrobial agents, fungicides, and mildewcides. These ingredients work together to create an environment inhospitable to mold and mildew, making it difficult for them to take root and proliferate. As a result, mold and mildew are less likely to form on painted walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.

Mold and mildew-resistant paints are commonly used in home areas prone to high humidity or moisture exposure, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms. They are also suitable for use in regions with a humid climate, where the risk of mold and mildew growth is higher.

In addition to their functional benefits, these paints are available in a broad range of colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to maintain both the aesthetic appeal and the longevity of their painted surfaces. When applied correctly, they provide a protective barrier that not only resists mold and mildew but also enhances the overall durability and lifespan of the painted area.

It’s essential to note that while mold and mildew-resistant paints are effective at preventing fungal growth, they are not a substitute for proper ventilation and moisture control. Adequate ventilation, moisture barriers, and addressing the root causes of humidity issues remain crucial in preventing mold and mildew problems in the home.

Top Mold and Mildew-Resistant Paints Brands

When it comes to choosing mold and mildew-resistant paint brands, you’ll find several reliable options. Here are a few notable brands that offer such paints:

  • Zinsser: Zinsser is well-known for its mold and mildew-resistant primers and paints. Their products provide excellent protection against these fungi.
  • Kilz: Kilz offers a range of mold and mildew-resistant paints and primers designed for bathrooms and other high-moisture areas.
  • Valspar: Valspar’s lineup includes mold and mildew-resistant paints that offer both protection and aesthetics. Their products are available in various finishes and colors.

Semi-Gloss Paints

Semi-gloss paint is a popular choice in the world of interior and exterior home painting. It’s a versatile paint finish that balances the high sheen of gloss paint and the muted appearance of flat or matte finishes. Semi-gloss paint is characterized by its subtle shine and smooth, reflective surface.

One of the key attributes of semi-gloss paint is its durability. It is more resistant to moisture, stains, and wear and tear than flat paints. This makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways, where surfaces are prone to splashes, fingerprints, and frequent cleaning. The slight gloss in semi-gloss paint also helps in repelling water and moisture, making it suitable for exterior applications such as doors, trim, and shutters.

Another advantage of semi-gloss paint is its ease of cleaning. Its smooth finish enables easy cleaning of dirt and stains, making it a convenient option for households with kids or pets. Additionally, its reflective properties can enhance the appearance of architectural details and moldings, giving them a polished and attractive look.

However, it’s worth noting that semi-gloss paint may highlight imperfections on the painted surface, such as small dents or uneven textures, more than flat finishes. Therefore, proper surface preparation is crucial when using semi-gloss paint to achieve a flawless result.

Top Semi-Gloss Paints Brands

When it comes to choosing reliable brands for semi-gloss paints, several options stand out in the market. Here are a few notable brands that offer high-quality semi-gloss paints:

  • Behr: Behr is a well-respected brand known for its wide range of semi-gloss paints. They offer excellent durability and a smooth, shiny finish that is ideal for trim, doors, and other high-traffic areas.
  • Sherwin-Williams: Sherwin-Williams is a trusted name in the paint industry, and they offer a variety of semi-gloss paints with different formulations to suit your specific needs. Their paints are known for their long-lasting finish and color retention.
  • Benjamin Moore: Benjamin Moore is renowned for its wide range of semi-gloss paints that provide a durable and lustrous finish. Their products come in various colors and are known for their exceptional coverage and longevity.

Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint is a popular and versatile type of interior paint that has gained widespread use in houses and commercial spaces due to its unique characteristics. This paint finish falls between flat and satin on the sheen spectrum, providing a subtle, low-luster finish that resembles the texture and appearance of an eggshell, hence its name.

Eggshell paint is highly regarded for its aesthetic appeal and practicality. It balances the matte finish of flat paint and the slight shine of satin or semi-gloss paint. This makes it an excellent choice for interior walls in areas where both durability and aesthetics are essential. It can be used in bedrooms, living rooms, dining areas, and hallways to achieve a sophisticated, subdued sheen that enhances the color and texture of the walls without overwhelming the space.

One of the key advantages of eggshell paint is its ability to hide minor imperfections on walls, such as small dents or surface irregularities, while still being easy to clean. This makes it a practical choice for high-traffic areas and spaces where walls may be subject to occasional scuffs or stains. A gentle wipe with a damp cloth can often remove stains without affecting the paint finish.

Top Eggshell Paint Brands

When it comes to selecting high-quality eggshell paints, several reputable brands stand out in the market. Here are some noteworthy brands known for their exceptional eggshell paints:

  • Sherwin-Williams: Sherwin-Williams is a well-established brand known for its durable and versatile eggshell paints. Their products are known for their excellent coverage and long-lasting finish.
  • PPG Paints: PPG Paints provides eggshell paints renowned for their strength and resilience against damage. Their paints are available in numerous shades, making it easy to find the perfect match for your project.
  • Glidden: Glidden is a brand that provides budget-friendly eggshell paints without compromising on quality. Their paints are easy to apply and offer a smooth, velvety finish.

Choosing the Right Finish for Your Bathroom

Selecting the ideal finish for your bathroom depends on your preferences, the bathroom’s ventilation, and the specific surfaces you plan to paint. Here are some considerations to help you make the right choice:

  • Ventilation: Bathrooms with proper ventilation can accommodate a wider range of finishes, including semi-gloss and satin. In poorly ventilated bathrooms, consider eggshell or satin finishes.
  • Aesthetics: Think about the overall look you want to achieve. Semi-gloss paints offer a modern and sleek appearance, while satin and eggshell finishes provide a softer and more inviting feel. Choose a finish that aligns with your design vision for the bathroom.
  • Moisture Levels: Assess the humidity levels in your bathroom. High humidity, often associated with frequent showers and baths, may warrant the use of more moisture-resistant finishes like semi-gloss.
  • Maintenance: Consider your cleaning habits and how often you plan to clean the bathroom. If you prefer a low-maintenance option, semi-gloss or satin paints are easier to clean and maintain.
  • Surface Type: Different surfaces in your bathroom may benefit from different finishes. For example, bathroom walls may have a different finish than trim, cabinets, or doors.
  • Lighting: Consider the amount of artificial and natural light in your bathroom. Light can affect the perception of paint finishes, with shiny surfaces reflecting more light.
  • Color: The color of the paint can also influence the choice of finish. Depending on the finish, some colors may appear differently, so consider paint samples and swatches to find the right combination.

In the next section, we’ll explore the importance of color selection for bathrooms and delve into ideal color choices to enhance your bathroom’s ambiance.

When Should You Repaint Your Bathroom?

Over time, bathroom paint may show signs of wear and tear. Knowing when to repaint is essential for maintaining the aesthetics and durability of your bathroom. Consider repainting when you observe the following:

  • Visible Wear: If you notice visible wear, such as peeling, cracking, or chipping, it’s time to repaint.
  • Color Fading: Paint colors can fade over time due to exposure to light and moisture. When colors lose their vibrancy, consider repainting.
  • Stains and Damage: Stubborn stains or damage that cannot be cleaned or repaired with touch-ups may require a fresh coat of paint.
  • Change in Style: Repainting is a natural part of the renovation process if you’re undergoing a bathroom makeover and changing the overall style.

Strategies for Seamless Touch-Ups

Touching up your bathroom paint can help maintain its appearance between full repaints. Here are some strategies for seamless touch-ups:

  • Use the Same Paint: To ensure a perfect match, use the same paint that was originally applied. If you don’t have any leftover paint, consider getting a color match from a paint store.
  • Clean the Surface: Before touching up, clean the area to remove dust, dirt, and any residue. A clean surface ensures better paint adhesion.
  • Feather the Edges: When applying touch-up paint, feather the edges to blend them seamlessly with the existing paint. Use a brush or roller based on the area’s size.
  • Allow to Dry and Cure: Follow the drying and curing times for the paint to ensure it reaches its full hardness and durability.
  • Inspect the Finish: Once the touch-up paint has dried and cured, inspect the finish under various lighting conditions to ensure it matches the surrounding area.

With these touch-up strategies, you can maintain the integrity of your bathroom paint and keep it looking flawless.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Paint for Bathrooms

When selecting the right paint color for your bathroom, you need to think about the moisture from showers and baths. Before you decide on the perfect bathroom paint color, remember these important things:

Mirror Reflection

The color you select for your bathroom walls can affect how clear and bright your mirror’s reflection is. Light or neutral colors will make the reflection appear brighter as they reflect more light. On the other hand, dark colors absorb more light, resulting in a less vibrant reflection. Additionally, warm colors can give a warm tone to the reflection, while cooler colors can make it appear cooler.

Mold and Mildew Resistance

Bathrooms are prone to moisture and humidity, which can cause mold and mildew growth on painted surfaces. To prevent this, selecting paint with mold and mildew resistance properties is a good idea. This will help keep your bathroom clean and free from these harmful fungi.

Preventing Paint Peeling

Paint peeling can be a common issue in bathrooms, especially due to high humidity levels. To avoid this problem, ensure proper surface preparation before painting. Also, choose a primer compatible with the existing paint and the new coat. For instance, if you’re using oil-based paint over latex paint, use an oil-based primer for the best results. This will help your paint stay in good condition and prevent peeling.

What to avoid

Avoid using paints like masonry paint that are meant solely for outdoor applications. While more waterproof, Exterior and basement paints might contain potentially harmful substances like mildewcide that can irritate your respiratory system. When unsure, it’s wise to seek the assistance of a professional painter to efficiently and safely paint your bathroom.

Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure no leaks in your bathroom’s water system. Have all your water heating facilities and pipelines thoroughly inspected? For top-notch plumbing services and valuable tips for your plumbing system, consider visiting Damien McEvoy Plumbing.

For bathrooms, latex paint is a better choice, with many modern formulations offering improved durability and resistance to moisture. Opt for a washable water-based latex paint if you decide to go this route. These paints have tightly packed molecules that prevent water from seeping through, allowing you to scrub away stains and debris without worrying about damaging the paint.

When renovating your bathroom, do yourself a favor and select latex paint, which is easier to work with and dries faster. Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint can also help maintain better air quality in a confined space and make cleaning up spills and brushes a breeze with just water.

Preparing the Surfaces

Before applying any paint, proper surface preparation is crucial for achieving the best results. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Clean the Walls: Remove any dirt, grease, or mildew from the walls using a mild detergent and water solution. Rinse completely and allow for the walls to dry entirely before moving forward.
  • Repair Imperfections: Fill in any cracks, holes, or dents on the walls with an appropriate filler or spackle. Sand the repaired areas until smooth and level with the surrounding wall surface.
  • Prime the Walls: Applying a primer before painting is essential to ensure proper adhesion and enhance the durability of the paint. Choose a primer specifically designed for bathroom use, as these often have mildew-resistant properties.
  • Painting Techniques: Use a high-quality paintbrush or roller to apply the paint evenly on the walls. Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for drying periods between layers, and add extra coats as needed to achieve the desired appearance.

Bathroom Paint FAQs

Is it necessary to use special bathroom paint?

While using regular interior paint in a bathroom is possible, using paint specifically formulated for bathrooms is highly recommended. Bathroom paints are designed to withstand high humidity, moisture, and frequent cleaning, which are common in bathroom environments. They also often contain antimicrobial agents to resist mold and mildew.

Can I paint over the existing wallpaper in the bathroom?

Painting over wallpaper can be done, but it’s essential to assess the condition of the wallpaper first. If the wallpaper is peeling, damaged, or not well-adhered, it’s best to remove it before painting. If the wallpaper is in good condition and firmly attached, you can prime it with a wallpaper primer before applying paint.

How can you prevent mold and mildew in your bathroom?

To stop mold and mildew in your bathroom:

  1. Make sure there’s good ventilation by using exhaust fans or opening windows during and after showers.
  2. Use mold and mildew-resistant paint and periodically clean the bathroom surfaces with a mildew-resistant cleaner.
  3. Fix any leaks promptly and keep the bathroom dry.

Can I paint over a glossy surface in the bathroom?

Yes, you can paint over a glossy surface in the bathroom, but preparing the surface properly is essential to ensure good paint adhesion. Start by lightly sanding the glossy surface to create some texture. Clean the surface thoroughly, apply a bonding primer, and then paint with your chosen bathroom paint.

What type of paint finish is best for a small bathroom?

The best paint finish for a small bathroom depends on your design preferences and the bathroom’s conditions. Light colors with a satin or eggshell finish are ideal if you want to create a sense of openness. Consider a semi-gloss finish if you prefer a more reflective and durable option.

How long does bathroom paint typically last?

The lifespan of bathroom paint can depend on factors like paint quality, surface preparation, and bathroom conditions. On average, properly maintained bathroom paint can last 5 to 10 years or more. Regular cleaning, addressing moisture issues, and conducting timely touch-ups can extend its longevity.


Choosing the best type of paint for bathrooms involves considering factors such as moisture resistance, durability, and ease of cleaning. Satin, semi-gloss, and glossy finishes are excellent choices for bathroom walls, trim, and cabinets. If you prefer a softer look, matte and flat paints are specifically formulated for bathroom use. Remember to prepare the surfaces properly before painting and choose colors that complement the size and lighting of your bathroom. Choosing the correct paint and using proper application methods can result in a beautiful and durable bathroom finish.

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