The Truth About Bathroom Paint

If you have been considering renovating your bathroom for some time you have probably heard the term “bathroom paint” thrown around more than once. Have you stopped to ask exactly what bathroom paint is, or have you been sold on the fact that it is a paint designed just for your bathroom and you have to have it? Before paying the hefty price for this designer paint let us take some time and review what this paint actually is. If, after considering all the facts, you still feel it is the right choice for you then you can rest assured it probably is. After all, research is the consumer’s best tool when making major purchases.

Let us start with the myth: bathroom paint is a very special kind of paint – different from any other kind of paint used in your home – and it is meant to only be used in a bathroom.

The truth: There is no such thing as bathroom paint. This kind of paint is simply paint with enhanced properties that make it desirable to be applied in a bathroom, but could really be applied anywhere in your home. These properties are

  • Mildew Inhibitors: this kind of paint has anti-microbial properties that help to resist mildew. Unfortunately they do not avoid it all together, but will help more than normal paint.

  • Tougher Finish: this paint, when dried, will stand up better to general cleaning than normal paint. Since bathroom walls might be cleaned on a more frequent basis this paint will not wear like regular paint will provided you use non-abrasive cleaning products.

  • Tighter Structure: this means the finishes are flat or matte, and stand up well in high humidity environments like bathrooms.

Pro Tip: some brands of paint have actually incorporated these properties into their regular line paint, and have eliminated the need for the consumer to purchase special quality paint. You should ask about this when you are comparing brands of paint to purchase.

In all honesty bathrooms are wet. It is a fact you cannot escape from unless you have a bathroom in your home that never gets used. When considering refreshing the paint in your bathroom you should think about moisture as the #1 issue. Moisture will affect your bathroom walls in two ways: steam from hot baths or showers will gather on your walls, and water splashes from sinks or tubs will also make contact with your walls. It is really difficult to avoid this, so all you can really do is mitigate the risk of it happening and the long-term effects of it.

Before the days where paint had mildew-resistant properties high-gloss finishes were thought to be the most effective way of dealing with the moisture problem of bathrooms. But let’s be clear on this: high-gloss paints did not prevent mildew in any way they simply made it easier to wipe down the walls and remove moisture from gathering there. Since high-gloss finishes are not the trend these days and home owners want completely matte finishes this causes an issue with how to deal with moisture in the bathroom. And that is where paint with mildew resistant properties comes in. When paint has the properties listed above, and can come in any desired finish it ensures the outcome will be trendy and to the owner’s liking.

You might already be sold on this idea, but then you stop and think: how much does it cost? Well, that depends on the brand you are going with and if they have already incorporated some of these properties into their regular paint or if they are still marketing it as special paint. If you are purchasing something branded as specialty bathroom paint then you might be looking to pay upwards of one and a half times the cost of a regular quality gallon of paint.

Overall, in most cases you probably do not need to buy this specialty brand marketed for bathrooms paint. However if you know your home has had an issue with a lot of moisture, mold or mildew build up in the past you may want to strongly consider it as an option. For most bathrooms purchasing a high end premium paint will provide outstanding quality and a superior finish.


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