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How to Paint a Bathroom the Right Way

Many people like to paint the bathroom more frequently than other rooms in the home. This is often because it is typically one of the home’s smaller rooms and it can be completed relatively quickly. However, there are other good reasons to paint your bathroom frequently. We all know that the bathroom receives more moisture than other rooms in your home due to the constant use of the shower and sink. This moisture will often cause mold, and mold can cause the current paint on your walls to become discolored.

Cleaning the mold and applying a fresh coat of paint is often the best way to fix the problem. Even without a mold issue, a new paint job is a great way to update your bathroom and give it a fresh look. In this blog article, we will talk about how to paint the bathroom properly so that you get the maximum benefit from your efforts. This includes properly preparing the walls for painting and using the correct paint for the job.

How to Choose the Right Color for your Bathroom

Choosing colors for any room can be difficult. However, choosing a paint color for the bathroom can be more difficult because it is a room that gets so much use, including use from guests.

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Whites, off-whites, and most grays are usually a safe choice. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can go with pastels or colors. If you do go this route, keep the hues similar to the fixtures and accents already in the bathroom, such as the sink countertop and floor tile. A sharp contrast between the paint color and fixtures is not likely the way to go. Also, consider the amount of light your bathroom receives. If your bathroom does not receive a lot of light, go with a light paint color. This can also help your bathroom feel bigger. If it does receive decent light, you can go with a darker paint color.

Need help choosing a color? Check out another of our blogs: The 9 Best Paint Colors for Your Bathroom

As far as choosing a sheen for your bathroom, you always want to go with a high gloss or semi gloss finish. Glossier paint contains more binders than flat paint, which will help defend against moisture. Avoid flat, eggshell, or satin sheens, which are more appropriate for dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms. Apply latex trim enamel on any woodwork in the bathroom.

Prepare Your Bathroom for Painting

Anytime you are painting, it is essential that the surface is clean. You first want to scrape off any loose paint that is flaking or peeling on the ceiling and walls. After scraping, use 120 to 140 grit sandpaper to further smooth out the surfaces. Next, clean the walls and ceiling with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) and water on a cloth or sponge. This acts as a powerful detergent to get rid of mold, grease, and other unwanted substances. Once you have finished cleaning the walls and ceiling, allow them to dry completely and then use painter’s tape to cover any areas where you do not want to get paint.

Note: Wear gloves when cleaning with TSP, as it can burn your skin if you come into contact with it.

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Apply Primer to the Walls and Ceiling

After the room has completely dried, it is time to prime the walls. Use a high solids latex primer for better paint coverage. It also helps stop the primer from bleeding through the paint and helps ensure a smooth finish. Allow the primer to completely dry before moving to the next step. This could take up to 24 hours.

Click to see the best interior wall primers

Apply Paint to the Walls and Ceiling

It is finally time to paint. Start with the ceiling and then move on to the walls. You can then paint any trim in the bathroom. Be sure to cut all areas with your brush before rolling the surfaces. Use a synthetic bristle brush when applying latex paint. It is best to use an angled brush with a width of 2 to 3 inches for cutting and painting the trim.

Tip: When you begin to roll, a smaller roller, such as a 6 1/2-inch mini roller will do as good a job applying paint to the wall as a standard roller and can get into the smaller areas of the bathroom that a larger roller cannot.

As with most painting projects, it's best to apply two coats of paint, even when you are using a primer. Avoid the mistake of trying to skip the second coat by applying one thick coat. This will almost certainly result in paint drips on the walls once the paint has dried. You would then need to spend far more time sanding the walls to fix the paint drips than you would have spent applying a second coat in the first place.

After you finish painting the trim, the painting is complete. You can now remove the painter’s tape and complete the clean up process. After cleaning up, you can relax and enjoy your freshly painted bathroom.

Note: Always remember to be safe. Painting in smaller rooms in your home can mean poor air circulation.

Do what you can to increase circulation by opening windows, using fans, etc, which will also reduce the time needed for the paint to dry. You can also consider wearing a respirator to avoid breathing in the paint fumes.

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