Painting your bathroom is a little different than painting other rooms in your home. Bathrooms obviously have a lot of moisture in them, so you'll need to use a paint that can withstand persistent moisture every day of the year. That's where bathroom paint comes in, which is paint that's designed for use in bathrooms only.
However, if you're going to your local DIY shop and looking for a section called ‘bathroom paint' then it may be hard to find what you're looking for. That's because the term ‘bathroom paint' doesn't really exist, although some manufacturers may still use the term to reassure you that the paint is suitable for use in the bathroom. Instead, you're looking for a paint that has properties in it that's suitable for use in bathrooms. That doesn't mean the paint can't be used in your living room too, it just means that it's paint that's capable of surviving in a wet bathroom environment.
You're really looking for two things that make a great paint for a bathroom. Mildew-inhibitors are the first thing to look for, which is paint that includes anti-microbial additives that are capable of stopping mildew from forming. However, it's important to be aware that it won't completely avoid this from happening, it's just less likely.
The other property you're looking for is paint that has a tighter structure and a tougher finish. This means you can wipe it down without causing damage to the paint, as long as you're not using non-abrasive cleaners. It also allows for the use of flat or matte finishes, although I'll come back to these types of paint later.
Because a lot of ordinary house paint now has these properties, there is no real need for anything called bathroom paint these days.
While many paints profess to be ‘mould and mildew' resistant, what this actually means is that they only help slow its formation. If your walls are constantly wet then all the mould resistant paint in the world won't stop it from eventually forming. Instead, it's better to tackle the problem head-on and, in theory, try to prevent moisture from collecting on surfaces in the first place.
Here are a few ways to mitigate moisture on bathroom walls:
The key word here is ‘mitigation'. You're never going to prevent moisture on your bathroom walls (unless you stop using your bathroom altogether) but you can take steps to ensure that only a little moisture collects.
Read this article for more tips on preventing moisture and condensation in the bathroom.
So, what paint is not going to be ruined after a few months and will help protect your walls from growing mouldy? Let's go over a few.
The type of paint you'll choose for your bathroom depends on how well ventilated your bathroom is. For example, if your bathroom doesn't suffer from a lot of condensation build-up then you can choose a paint that is less resistant than others. On the other hand, a bathroom with poor ventilation would be better off with a paint that has high water-resistant. Personally, I would always go for the highest water-resistant paint anyway, but the cost may also be a factor you need to consider.
Let's take a look at the types of paint available on the market and find out how useful they are in a bathroom setting:
Out of all the options, semi-gloss paint is probably your best bet. However, as shown above, technically all of these types of paint can be used. It all depends on your unique bathroom, so you'll have to use your best judgement to decide which type of paint you will ultimately use in your own bathroom.
Just remember that anything that is labelled as ‘bathroom paint' tends to command a higher price than normal acrylic paints on the market. Get used to checking the can of any paint you like the look of to see if it contains the properties that a wet bathroom environment requires.