We’ve all noticed those little dried water drips on a bathroom wall, and maybe even swiped at them with a towel. Why are the walls drippy? Why are there patchy spots? Well, painting a bathroom is different from painting any other room in a house because of one thing: moisture.
But there are ways to combat moisture and save your bathroom walls from streaks. Here at Northumberland TIMBER MART, we want to be right there with you — standing in the tub fully clothed, trying not to glob paint onto your shower curtain rod.
With these tips, you’ll be painting your bathroom like a pro:
- Check the ventilation: Don’t grab a paintbrush yet. It’s never a good idea to paint in a stuffy room (hello, fumes) but it’s also bad for the paint itself. If your bathroom doesn’t have proper ventilation, the humidity from every hot bath and shower gathers on the walls. Make a habit of letting your ceiling fan or exhaust fan run for an hour after every bath or shower to dry your walls — or open the window if you don’t have a fan — and your paint will hold up better in the long run.
- Clean the areas around the sink: Unless you have tile above your sink and around the mirror, the walls have probably been misted with cleaner and sprayed with water, mouthwash, toothpaste flecks, and maybe even the occasional blob of shaving cream. All of those little bits of moisture can make it hard for the new paint to adhere to the walls. Use a soft cloth and a bucket of warm water with a splash of detergent to gently wash the walls around the sinks and mirrors and let the walls dry thoroughly before you start painting.
- Pick your colour: Standard paint colours for bathrooms are light and bright, especially if there isn’t a lot of natural light, but you can choose anything you’d like. Steer clear of green shades if anyone will be applying makeup in there, because it will give you a sickly pallor when you look in the mirror. If you want to keep a small, dark bathroom from feeling too dim, ask the paint counter to mix your colour at 75 per cent strength.
- Pick your finish: You might like the look of flat, matte walls everywhere else in your home, but the bathroom is a place where you should pick satin or semi-gloss. Flat paint lacks the scrubbability that you need to protect your walls from toothpaste spatter and water drips below the hand towel. Flat finishes are porous and they can actually trap the moisture in a bathroom, while a glossy finish helps the water to bead on the surface. If you’ve had problems with mildew in your bathroom, you can also consider a paint with mold-inhibiting agents.
- It’s time to paint: Bathrooms make for faster paint jobs because they’re so much smaller than bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. Tape around any trim or tile, use a two-inch angled brush to cut in around the edges, and then roll the walls. If you don’t finish the paint job, wrap your brushes and rollers in plastic wrap (or plastic bags) and refrigerate them until you can resume the project the next day.
- Project your hard work: Once the final coat is on the walls, peel off your painter’s tape carefully while the paint is still wet. Let the walls cure for a full 24 hours before having a bath or shower and then make sure your shower curtain will prevent water from splashing onto your fresh paint job.