How to Paint a Bathroom: Step-by-Step Process for a Fresh Look

Last updated on April 5, 2024

Learn how to transform your bathroom with a fresh coat of paint, covering everything from surface preparation to the perfect finish.

Key takeaways:

  • Choose paint with satin or semi-gloss finish for bathrooms.
  • Calculate paint needed based on square footage and desired coats.
  • Thoroughly clean surfaces before painting for optimal adhesion.
  • Remove obstructions like towel bars and lighting fixtures.
  • Use proper roller technique for an even and smooth finish.
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Choose the Best Paint for the Bathroom

Selecting the right paint for a bathroom isn’t just about the hue; it’s about combating mold, mildew, and moisture. Opt for paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish, as these surfaces repel moisture better than their matte counterparts and are easier to clean.

Look for products labeled “bathroom” or “kitchen” paint, which are formulated with additives to resist the steamy conditions. Mold-inhibitors should also top your priority list.

While oil-based paints might seem durable, they are harder to apply and can yellow over time — a less than ideal scenario for a fresh, clean bathroom aesthetic. Water-based latex paints have improved dramatically, offering durability without the fumes and complications of oil-based products. They also dry faster, meaning you can get back to your fully-functioning bathroom sooner.

Remember, quality matters; higher-end paints have better binders and pigments, translating to a more durable and attractive finish that withstands the test of humid bathroom conditions.

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Calculate How Much Paint You Need

Accuracy in measurement is key to avoiding midway supply runs or excess paint lingering after the job’s done. Generally, a gallon covers 400 square feet, but bathroom walls, often interrupted by tiles and fixtures, might need less. Use the square footage of exposed wall to estimate your needs; remember two coats for longevity and true color.

Take into account the paint’s type and finish—higher gloss might spread differently than matte. When in doubt, round up; it ensures you’re covered for unexpected patches and future touch-ups.

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Clean All Surfaces to Be Painted

Before a single drop of new color graces your walls, a thorough cleaning is non-negotiable. Painting over dust, soap scum, or mold is akin to setting yourself up for failure. Here’s how to tackle the task efficiently:

Firstly, grab a sponge or cloth with a non-abrasive cleaner to eliminate any grime. A mixture of water and gentle detergent or white vinegar often does the trick. Don’t ignore the ceiling; steam from showers can lead to a buildup that your paint won’t adhere to.

Next, survey the walls for mildew, a common bathroom nuisance. It must be treated with a mold-killing product or a bleach solution before proceeding. Safety tip: always wear gloves and ensure proper ventilation when using harsh chemicals.

Lastly, rinse the walls with clean water and let them dry completely. Any lingering moisture could hinder paint adhesion, leading to blistering or peeling – the enemies of a smooth finish. Patience in prep pays off in performance.

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Remove All Other Obstructions

Before diving into the painting process, clear the space. This isn’t just about taking out rugs and toiletries; consider what’s affixed to the walls. Do towel bars and lighting fixtures really need to cover areas you’re going to paint? Absolutely not! Unscrew them and keep the area obstruction-free. This not only makes it easier to paint but also prevents any unfortunate paint splatters on your fixtures.

Don’t overlook the toilet tank lid – remove it to avoid a cumbersome maneuvering around it with a paintbrush. Privacy can wait; even the door can come off its hinges if it makes the job smoother. A clear canvas ensures a professional-looking finish, without the battle scars of rookie mistakes.

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Paint With the Roller

When using a roller, the technique is everything. Start from the top of the walls and work your way down to prevent drips and streaks. Apply paint in a ‘W‘ shape to distribute it evenly, and then fill in the gaps without lifting the roller. This will help you avoid the dreaded ‘roller marks‘ for a smooth, even finish.

Opt for a roller with a long handle to reach the ceiling and high places without straining your back. Remember to reload your roller with paint frequently, but avoid over-saturation to evade unnecessary drips.

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