Type of Paint for Bathroom Ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathrooms are one of the toughest areas in a building for ceiling paint coverings, due to frequent high moisture from baths and showers. Ventilation fans can help minimise humidity, but many never completely eliminate it, allowing for moisture to collect and sit on surfaces until it evaporates away or penetrates existing finishes. It is important to use quality paint products on bathroom ceilings, and to prepare well before repainting.

Oil or Latex?

Select a good quality, durable, moisture-resistant ceiling paint for use in a bathroom. While some painters might recommend only alkyd or oil-based paints, some manufacturers claim their specialised latex products intended for use in high-moisture areas are equal in performance and value. Selecting the right paint comes down to a number of things, including personal colour and texture choices.

Surface Preparation

Prepare the existing ceiling surface so the new paint will adhere well. Use medium grit sandpaper or sanding sponges to roughen up a smooth and glossy existing finish. Clean well with diluted bleach and a soft cloth. Allow it to dry thoroughly. Some experts recommend priming with a mildew-resistant product (like Kilz) prior to finish-painting.

Choose Your Brand

Many paint brands have paints specifically designed for bathrooms or other moist areas, including the following three well-known brands:

Sherwin Williams: Duration Home (Alkyd)

Benjamin-Moore: Aura® Bath and Spa Matte Finish (Acrylic Latex)

Rust-Oleum: Zinsser Ceiling Paint


Use appropriate paint applicators, as recommended by paint manufacturers. Read and follow all manufacturers' safety and other guidelines, instructions and warnings for handling and maintaining products and equipment. Wear proper safety equipment and gear for the particular circumstances. Adequate ventilation in bathrooms is crucial for minimising moisture.

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About the Author

Charlie Hare has been writing since 1970 for a large Fortune 500 company. Hare contributed to, compiled and published the quarterly "Facilities Flyers," which was distributed to over 300 employees, as one of his duties. He has submitted instructional content online since 2007, specializing in topics such as cars, home and garden, computers, and pets and animals. Hare attended Manchester Community College.