Is Bathroom Paint Waterproof?

studio mcgee sherwin williams bathroom paint
credit: Studio McGee

You're trying to pick out a paint for your bathroom, but with a dizzying number of options on the market, making an informed decision isn't so simple. Everyone enjoys a nice hot shower (or bath), but our bathroom walls don't love the extended exposure to heat and moisture. For a water-resistant paint job, it's important to choose a paint finish that can stand up to the hot and humid environment of a bathroom; but these days, paint manufacturers have started producing special bathroom paints (in a variety of finishes) that have been specifically formulated for livening up lavatory walls.

The claim to fame of bathroom paint is a mold and mildew-resistant chemical composition that purportedly offers the protective properties of a high-gloss finish without the (often unpleasant) high-gloss aesthetic. With the matte-finish trend still going strong, bathroom paint could be the answer to the decor dilemma of what kind of paint to use on your bathroom walls. Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and other major paint manufacturers have recently introduced bathroom-specific paints featuring antimicrobial additives that prevent the formation of mold and mildew — in this respect, bathroom paint is indeed waterproof.

pink bathroom
credit: Decor Pad

But is anything really waterproof? Your bathroom paint may stand up to mold and mildew, but it won't be entirely immune to the effects of its watery environment. Extend your paint job's longevity by making sure that you've properly cleaned and prepped the surfaces of your bathroom walls before you begin painting, especially if painting over cracked paint. And all bathroom walls can benefit from the periodic removal of drip marks caused by the mineral deposits that are left behind when water evaporates. While using a specialized bathroom paint doesn't hurt, the best way to "waterproof" your bathroom's paint job is by sacrificing the on-trend matte look that we're all mad about for a paint with a satin, semi-gloss, or glossy finish. Or, keep the matte and minimize the moisture by making sure that your bathroom is equipped with an exhaust fan for proper ventilation.