In the past, the kitchen was the most frequently remodeled room in the house. Nowadays, though, bathrooms have edged past the kitchen and are renovated more than any other space in a home. While replacing your fixtures or tile might require the help of a professional, quite often a fresh coat of paint can do the trick in providing you that new look you are after.
The first thing you need to know about painting your bathroom, though, is that it isn’t like painting the other rooms in your house. Bathrooms are exposed to an overabundance of moisture and high humidity, so there are some tips and tricks to giving your bathroom the best possible makeover.
Tip #1: Wash the Walls First
Even if you can’t see it, mildew might already be in your bathroom walls. If so, it can bleed through the new paint or keep the paint from adhering properly to the wall. So before you paint, you want to do everything you can to get rid of any mildew first. It’s a good idea to wash your walls thoroughly with a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and a regular sponge. After you’ve washed down your walls, rinse them with clean water and wait until the walls are completely dry before you start painting.
Tip #2: Pick the right finish
Interior paints come in flat/matte, satin/eggshell, semi-gloss, and high gloss finishes. It used to be true that high-gloss paints were the most effective way of dealing with bathroom moisture. The higher the gloss, the more moisture-repellent the walls were. High gloss paint also makes it easy to wipe down the walls when those drippy, brown stains characteristic of bathrooms start to appear. The problem with high gloss paint is that it looks awful across large surfaces like walls, because it highlights every little imperfection in your wall and reflects so much light. A semi-gloss finish repels moisture almost as well, and looks just as good.
Flatter finishes are in vogue nowadays, though. The problem with flat and satin finishes is that they absorb moisture, so they’re normally bad for bathrooms. This is where a good bathroom paint comes in, because it has additives that make the paint moisture-repellent and resistant to mildew. Several paint manufacturers produce flat and satin finishes that are designed for high-moisture areas, so a flatter finish is still an option if you’re willing to pay the premium price these specialized paints demand. Using self-priming paint will also make the job easier, since you can usually do your walls with just a single coat of self-priming paint.
Tip #3: Protect the areas you don’t want to paint
Bathrooms, especially smaller bathrooms, are a real challenge to paint because of all of their nooks and crannies. You should apply painter’s tape to the edges of areas you don’t want painted. Choose a painter’s tape that provides a sharp line and is easy to remove, like FrogTape’s Delicate Surface tape. You should also use a sash brush with a tapered tip instead of a flat brush, because the bristles are cut at a diagonal and the brush is easier to control.
Tip #4: Apply, then let it dry.
One of the most devastating things you can do to your paint job is to use the shower too soon. You should give any newly painted bathroom at least a full 24 hours to dry before you use the shower, or you run the risk of the paint getting soft and beginning to run.