Of all the rooms in your home, the bathroom is perhaps the place where you have to think most carefully about the kind of paint you use.
Bathrooms and damp
This is because bathrooms, despite the widespread use of fans, backsplash tiles and modern shower curtains, are prone to dampness.
Not only is there the dampness caused by water splashing up and making direct contact with surfaces, there is also the dampness caused by the moisture and steam from hot baths and showers that forms as condensation on bathroom walls.
Some manufacturers claim to produce specialist bathroom paints, but in reality what this means is the paint has properties best suited to deal with the problems caused by damp conditions.
The two key elements you need to consider when thinking about paint for your bathroom is the type of finish and whether it is antibacterial.
Choosing an antibacterial paint is important because fungus such as mildew thrives in damp and warm conditions like those found in bathrooms. Mildew can be harmful and has been linked to numerous respiratory infections and allergies, so sourcing a paint developed to kill bacteria on contact and that can be wiped clean easily is important.
Different paint finishes
When it comes to a paint’s finish: generally, the glossier the paint, the easier it is to wipe moisture from. Each of the different paint finishes has its own character and some are more suited to a bathroom environment than others.
Here is how the different finishes rate in terms of their suitability for bathrooms:
Matte: while matte’s solid, flat and elegant finish creates a gentle, soothing finish, it does absorb moisture more than other finishes. That said, it looks great in other parts of the home, such as the hall or dining room.
Eggshell: eggshell’s attractive finish has more lustre than matte and is, therefore easier to wipe moisture from, but is best kept away from the bathroom and used in other parts of the house.
Silk: silk is easy to wipe clean and repels moisture to a certain extent, so it can be used in bathrooms. Silk paint also has light reflecting properties, which should also help brighten a small bathroom.
Gloss: gloss provides a hardwearing, wipe-clean finish, so again is good for bathrooms but is recommended on small areas, such as door trims, and areas where there is a lot of traffic and the likelihood of people knocking the surface.