Is Special Paint Necessary For A Bathroom?

By: Ezra Plank

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Zinsser Perma-White
mold & mildew proof
satin interior paint

  • for bathroom walls
  • glues down peeling paint
  • moisture resistant & blister proof
  • adheres to gloss paints, vinyl wall covering & formica without sanding

Several manufacturers sell paint especially made for bathrooms. Is it really necessary to use this type of paint, or is it just a way of charging extra for something that is of little or no benefit?

Why would I need a special paint?

The reason why painting a bathroom is different from painting another room in your house is the dampness caused by "steam" from your tub or shower. This may cause two problems with the paint in your bathroom:

  1. Peeling
  2. Mold or Mildew

Do I have a problem already?

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If you are redecorating, maybe you have one of both of these problems with your present bathroom. Peeling is rather obvious, but how can you tell whether a suspicious-looking discoloration is mold, or just ordinary grime? Here is a simple test for mold:

Add a little bleach to the stain. If the bleach causes it to lighten, then you most likely have mold. If the stain is not affected, it is ordinary dirt, and you don't have a problem.
Important: If the stain is indeed mold, be sure that you kill it first before you paint over it. Wash with a solution of 2 cups bleach / gallon of water.

How can I protect my new paint job?

Rain damage by tigertwo, on Flickr Ugly mildew.

In order to safeguard against these two problems, there are measures that you can take that don't necessitate buying a specially made paint.

  • To prevent paint peeling, you need to protect the paint from getting moisture between itself and the surface on which it is applied. Using a paint texture that has a protective outer coating of its own may be sufficient. Semi-gloss definitely has this quality - and it allows those sections of your bathroom wall that tend to get grimy to be cleaned with soap and water.
  • You can add a mildewcide, such as M1, to your paint to protect it against this ugly fungus. Adding two tubes of this to each gallon of paint will do the job. In fact, if you live in a region of high humidity, you can even add mildewcide to paint specially made for bathrooms for added insurance.

Where can I find special bathroom paint?

Order Valspar Interior Mid-Sheen Kitchen & Bath Paint online here.
$31.70 / qt

Several paint manufacturers put out paint designed to be used in rooms with high humidity. Most of them guarantee their paint to be mildew and moisture resistant. And they all provide a semi-gloss finish which is washable. Although the paint comes in white, tint may be added to provide pastel colors.


So should I use a special bathroom paint or not? If you haven't had a previous problem with peeling or mildew, and the room is well-ventilated, then it's not really necessary. However, the added cost may be worth it, since it will provide a kind of "insurance" against having to repaint in the near future.

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by Ezra Plank, an Ezine Articles Platinum Expert Author

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