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The Best Paint for Humid Bathrooms

Updated February 21, 2017

Painting a bathroom can be tricky. After all, this high-humidity room will expose a painted wall to more moisture than most others in the home. That means an increased risk of mould and mildew, and a greater chance that the paint will crack, peel, or bubble up from the wall. Conventional flat paints are at the highest risk of these problems. Other paint types can resist the effects of moisture, and help keep a bathroom cleaner and more appealing. Choosing the right paint for your humid bathroom can help you prevent these unpleasant problems, and can even make cleaning the bathroom significantly easier.

Moisture-repellent Paint

Conventional flat paint tends to bubble and mould in the presence of moisture, but paints with moisture-repellent properties can resist this effect. Some companies sell specialised bathroom paint for particularly troublesome rooms. However, in most humid bathrooms, an ordinary glossy paint should be adequately moisture-resistant. Satin, semigloss and gloss paints all work well for this purpose. The more humid the bathroom, the glossier the paint should be.

Mildew-resistant Paint

Dampness can also encourage mildew growth in paint, even glossier paint types. While it's easier to remove mildew from glossy paints, it's better to prevent this problem early on. After all, mould and mildew can be serious indoor air quality hazards. Choose a paint with included anti-mildew chemicals, or purchase an anti-mildew additive and mix it into your bathroom paint thoroughly before application. It should provide protection from this unattractive, unhealthy problem for years to come.

Oil-based Paints

While these paints can cause air quality problems while they dry, they provide a much more durable, moisture-resistant finish than most water-based paint types. Oil-based paints are less commonly used than latex and other water-based paints, but are still readily available, and could be a good solution for bathrooms with high humidity. They do require the use of solvents for cleanup, and can take a while to dry, so make sure the bathroom has plenty of ventilation while painting. And be prepared to use a different bathroom while the paint is curing.

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About the Author

G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.