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How To Choose The Right Paint For A Bathroom

You can help to prevent moisture before it begins to form on walls.  Fans, ceiling heaters, watertight shower curtains/doors, back splashes, and shower/tub tile surrounds, are all helpful in preventing water from gathering on paint finishes.  

In reality however, you can't avoid moisture on bathroom walls.  All you can do is try and reduce its affects. It is worth noting that good ventilation is essential in reducing humidity and moisture. If you do not have an extractor fan in your bathroom, then try and leave a window open to let the steam escape. Mildew and other fungi just love damp enclosed spaces with little ventilation.

Choosing your paint

Before mildew-resistant properties were added to paint, high-gloss paints were an effective way of dealing with bathroom moisture. The higher the gloss, the better it tends to perform in bathrooms. That's why in older bathrooms, you'll often find finishes of semi- and high-gloss paint.  

Gloss paints do not prevent mildew however.  But it does make it easier to wipe down the brown stains and mildew, so characteristic of bathrooms.

Bathroom paint is a special  paint designed for bathrooms and incorporates mildew-inhibiting properties. However, the downside is that bathroom paint can be significantly higher priced than ordinary interior latex-acrylic paint, close to twice the cost.

With so many alternatives to choose, it can be difficult to know which ones are best for your needs, so here’s what you need to know to help you make the right choice:


smooth matt coating, but probably best in lower-traffic areas where it does not get scuffed easily. It’s suitable for most rooms but it tends to absorb moisture, so is not ideal for bathrooms or kitchens.


slight sheen and more washable and scrub-able than flat. Acrylic Eggshell is suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.


Satin has a little bit of a gloss, and can be used in low-moisture bathrooms.


This works well in the bathroom because the gloss repels moisture well. The downside is that gloss does not look good over large surfaces such as walls. It is best used for smaller surfaces like trim, cabinets, widows etc.

In most cases, you do not need to buy specialty mold/mildew inhibiting bathroom paint. Just remember to keep your bathroom well-ventilated. A modern formulated paint like an acrylic eggshell or satin finish paint is fine for most bathrooms.

Whatever you choose for your bathroom, you can pick up all your paints, tools and other decorating supplies here at The Paint Shed, the UK's most recommended independent paint retailer.

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