Is Special Paint Necessary For A Bathroom?
By: Ezra Plank
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:
- Mold or Mildew
Do I have a problem already?
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?
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?
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.
COMMENTS: Comments to date: 7. Page 1 of 2
Babette London, England
2:55am on Sunday, July 21st, 2013
I don't know if you can buy it in America, but in Great Britain Dulux bathroom paint is real popular. It is specially made to be resistant to moisture for five years.
Bernetta Birmingham, AL
11:43am on Thursday, July 4th, 2013
I noticed you were careful to say that the paint manufacturers guarantee their paint to be mildew and moisture "resistant". This is not exactly the same thing as saying they guarantee that it will prevent mildew or moisture.
Leonardo High Point, NC
7:37pm on Friday, June 28th, 2013
Nice name, Isis. Wasn't there an Egyptian goddess with that name? Anyhow, I think mildew is just mold that's white in color. In my bathroom, I get both white and black mold.
Tifany Hobbs, NM
3:30pm on Sunday, June 9th, 2013
Right, Claudie. And steam, regardless of popular opinion to the contrary, is invisible. What they are calling steam is really tiny droplets of liquid water. They're hot, but they're not over 212 degrees.
Claudie Nashvillle, TN
5:28pm on Saturday, June 8th, 2013
I am a scientist, and one of my pet peeves is the incorrect use of the word "steam". Steam is water in gaseous form at a temperature above 212 deg F. I hope you don't have any steam in your bathroom! It can cause 3rd degree burns.
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