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The Best Paint For Bathrooms

Finding the right paint for your DIY project can be a difficult task. There are hundreds of paints to choose from that all sound like they do the same job. The reality is, paints can vary hugely, which is why our team of experts have put together this guide to painting bathrooms and the best paint for bathrooms, so you all the information you need to get painting.

Bathroom painted using a bathroom paint

Painting Bathrooms

When it comes to painting bathrooms, as with any project, it is important to understand the things to consider. Painting bathrooms walls & ceilings is done using emulsion paints that are designed for interior use. These are any paints that are water-based, as oil-based paints are not often used today on walls. These oil-based paints are used on wood & metal as they have more durability that is required when areas such as doors & skirting boards.

When it comes to bathrooms, you can not discuss paint without mentioning moisture. Bathrooms are high-condensation rooms, which experience humidity and moisture consistently. This means that whatever paint you use must be able to endure high moisture conditions.

At this point you will be wondering, which of these paints are able to withstand this moisture? To discuss this, it is important to talk about the various paint finishes that paint comes in, which all vary in their level of sheen, otherwise known as the amount of light the paint reflects. The more sheen a paint has, the more light it reflects. This sheen also provides paint with durability. The more sheen a paint has, the more durable it is.

High & medium sheen finishes such as gloss and satin are primarily used on woodwork and metal such as doors, radiators & skirting boards, while low and medium sheen finishes are used on interior walls & ceilings. The paint finishes that are available include:

  • Matt - the 'flattest' finish of paint that is the most popular finish for interior walls & ceilings. It's low durability is the reason why it is used on walls & ceilings in low-traffic rooms.
  • Eggshell - eggshell is perfect if you want a slightly higher sheen than matt and require the added durability that comes with more sheen. It is used on interior walls & ceilings as well as on wood & metal in oil-based form.
  • Satin - a mid-sheen finish that is designed for use on woodwork & metal.
  • Silk - a mid-sheen finish that is traditionally used on interior walls & ceilings.
  • Soft Sheen - a mid-sheen finish with a subtle look compared to silk, for interior walls & ceilings.
  • Gloss - the highest sheen of paint, most commonly used on woodwork & metal.

While any water-based paint can be used on interior walls & ceilings, the most common finishes used on these are matt, eggshell, silk & soft-sheen.

The Best Paint For Bathrooms

Now we have covered the various types of paints, it is now time to discuss what paints can be used in bathrooms & which are the best bathrooms paints available in the UK.

All of the paints we discuss in this guide are examples of trade paint. The major paint manufacturers generally develop two versions of their paints, a retail version and a trade version. These are developed to suit the needs of DIY'ers and professional decorators. Trade paints are higher quality, durability and have a better coverage when compared to retail paint, as a professional decorator must achieve a high-quality finish as efficiently as possible. If they have to apply three coats of paint rather than two, this can significantly increase labour costs.

On the other hand, many DIY'ers look for a retail paint that can get a job done as cheaply as possible as they do not know the difference in quality between retail paints and trade paints. While you will save money upfront, with a lower coverage and often the need to apply more than two coats of paint, retail paints can often end up costing more than a better quality paint. If you buy a cheap paint, you will end up paying twice.

Overall, we recommend spending slightly more up front on a good-quality paint that will ensure you achieve professional results, quickly & easily. Do not worry, you do not have to be in the decorating trade to buy trade paint, anyone can buy it and use it just as easily as retail paint.

Furthermore, none of the paints on our list are 'bathroom paints'. This is due to the other major difference between trade and retail paint. Retail paints are heavily marketed to target specific jobs, such as bathroom paint, kitchen paint or radiator paint. The reality is, there is no such thing as a bathroom paint, these are just standard emulsion paints that are targeted at a retail customer. You do not need to buy a paint described as bathroom paint, you simply need a paint that is suitable for a high-condensation room.

Painted bathroom

Matt Paint

Matt paint offers a velvety smooth finish that hides imperfections on walls due to its lack of sheen. This is described as 'dull' by some, but when used can bring a beautifully modern look to any room. It is ideal for larger rooms as it does not offer a light or spacious feel like other finishes. Not only this but if you have an older property that does not have perfectly smooth walls, it is your best option.

A standard vinyl matt paint is not suitable for use in a bathroom as they do not have the moisture resistance needed to perform long-term. If you want to achieve a modern, matt finish like many people, do not worry. Durable matt emulsions have been designed using an acrylic formulation, making them much more durable and moisture resistant than a standard matt paint.

In the case of bathrooms, we would recommend using a durable matt emulsion such as Crown Trade Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt or Dulux Trade Diamond Matt. These durable matt paints can be wiped down easily without causing the paint to scuff or mark, allowing them to stay looking beautiful for years.

While Dulux Trade Diamond Matt is an excellent durable matt emulsion, we recommend Crown Trade Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt as the best matt paint for bathrooms as it has a fantastic performance at a more affordable price.

Not only is it 100% more stain resistant compared to conventional matt vinyl emulsion, but it also has a 10,000 scrub durability, meaning that you can scrub bathrooms walls to remove any marks or dirt that naturally collects in those high-moisture environments. Furthermore, it leaves a fantastic finish and has a coverage of 14 square metres per litre, which is considerably higher than many retail paints.

Aside from its performance, as with all of the paints on our list of the best bathrooms paints, Crown Trade Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt can be mixed in almost any colour with the paint mixing service here at Painters World. This includes British Standard, NCS and RAL colours, plus equivalents of all other major manufacturers colours, including designer shades. All you have to do is tell us the name of the shade and we do the rest. We do not list of all of the colours we can mix on our colour charts, simply a range of popular shades, which is why you can type in the name of a shade in a text box.

Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint is a popular choice for an oil-based paint for wood & metal, however it does come in water-based form. These emulsion paints can be used in high-condensation rooms, which is why they are an often popular choice for use in bathrooms. In terms of finish, it is somewhere between matt and a silk finish. To be exact, it has the same amount of sheen as an egg, which is where it gets the name. While it will show more imperfections than matt emulsions, it is more delicate than silk or soft-sheen.

When it comes to a water-based eggshell, we would highly recommend Tikkurila Optiva Semi Matt 20. As with the full Tikkurila range, Optiva is a specially development paint that offers fantastic durability, excellent opacity and provides a beautiful semi-matt, uniform finish. Tikkurila instead of labelling their paints as matt, eggshell, satin or gloss instead list their paints with the level of sheen they have. For this reason, the 20 on Tikkurila Optiva Semi Matt 20 refers to an eggshell finish.

Once again it is available in thousands of colours as it can be mixed in our paint mixing service here at Painters World, giving you full control on the colour you opt for.

Soft Sheen Paint

Soft sheen paint is ideal for high-traffic areas, offering a more subtle sheen than a silk emulsion. It is not best suited for walls with imperfections, however it has a beautiful ability to create a light feel to a room with a slightly polished finish.

When it comes to soft sheen paint, there are a number of options including Armstead Soft Sheen & Dulux Trade Soft Sheen. We would recommend Armstead Soft Sheen as the best soft sheen to use as it has a 14 square metres per litre coverage, plus it provides an equally impressive finish than other soft sheens at the best price.

Overall, we would recommend using an eggshell paint for a bathroom over a soft sheen paint, however this is completely up to you.

Silk Paint

Silk paints are vinyl emulsions that have a higher sheen level than eggshell or matt paints, with more of a shine than a soft sheen paint. Due to this, they have the moisture resistant properties that give them the durability they need to perform excellently in bathrooms.

The best silk paint according to our team of experts is Dulux Trade Vinyl Silk. With excellent moisture resistance, high levels of durability and the ability to be wiped down easily, it offers everything you can ask for in a mid-sheen finish paint, from a brand you can trust.

It is important to remember that if you opt for a vinyl silk paint, your walls will be more prone to showing imperfections as their level of reflection will highlight these. Having said this, on a smooth wall, silk paint will create a light and spacious feel to your bathroom that goes perfectly with bathroom tiles.

Anti Condensation Paint

Anti condensation paint is paint that is designed to prevent the formation of condensation on interior walls & ceilings. They achieve this by retaining heat, which in turn allows them to reduce the chance of condensation forming.

This is particularly important in bathrooms due to the high humidity that is caused. If left exposed to high levels of moisture, many bathroom walls can develop mould growth. Aside from the aesthetic damage that black mould causes, it can pose a health risk to those living in a property, especially those that are vulnerable to respiratory problems.

By applying an anti condensation paint, condensation and thus mould is significantly reduced. If you are looking to prevent mould, we highly recommend Suretherm. This is a thermal paint that absorbs heat, allowing it to prevent condensation. It comes in white as standard, which can be used as your topcoat or applied before you decorate to offer added protection against mould. It can be wallpapered over or painted over using any emulsion paint, meaning you can be protected and paint your bathroom in a colour of your choice.

Tips For Painting Bathrooms

Here are some simple tips to make painting your bathroom as easy as possible:

1. Ensure the room is dry

Moisture and paint are not a good combination. If you are planning to paint a bathroom, ensure the room has had sufficient time to dry out. If you do not do this, the moisture will find its way between the wall and the paint film, causing the paint to peel & flake.

2. Pick the right colour

Bathrooms are often smaller than other rooms and need a clean feel. This makes picking the right colour to use crucial. In reality, you can create any look you desire in a bathroom, but we especially love whites, light greys or blues to help create light in a small space. If your bathroom is slightly larger, you have the ability to get more creative, with darker tones such as anthracite grey or black grey working amazingly well if you want an ultra-modern look.

3. Masking

A bathroom unlike other rooms cannot be cleared of furniture when painting. For this reason, it is crucially important to ensure you mask & cover anything you do not want painting before you start. This will make your job much easier when it comes to tidying up and will ensure you get a neat and professional finish.

4. Remove your toilet tank

Toilet tanks can make it very difficult to paint a bathroom wall neatly. As with any fitting such as light fittings, it is recommended you remove them when painting to get the best results.

5. Use high-quality tools

It may seem like a simple thing, but using good-quality decorating tools is the easiest way to improve the finish you can achieve. The quality of your paint brush, roller & tools have a significant impact on the quality of a decorating project you are undertaking. Our recommendation when you go to buy any decorating equipment is get the best you can afford. The difference in quality between cheap equipment & good quality equipment is huge, plus in the scheme of a decorating project, the price will be negligible.

We hope this has answered any questions you may have had regarding painting bathrooms and the best paint for bathrooms! At Painters World we have a wide range of paints available, so no matter the job, we've got the right tools for you! Shop our huge range of products today and get FREE next working day delivery on all orders over £50.

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