The 9 Best Paints For Steamy Bathroom Ceiling (Expert Choice)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

paint bathroom ceiling

The mold that grows on a bathroom ceiling tends to sneak up on you. One day your ceiling is beautifully clean; the next, there’s unsightly grey-green mold spreading over the paint. Fortunately, great paints are available that combat this problem that will give your ceiling a lasting finish that is durable and attractive. 

I’ve put together a list of nine excellent paint products that are easy to apply and deal with steam and dampness that often condenses on bathroom ceilings. Some of the paints even contain ingredients that combat the growth of mold and fungi on the ceiling.  

The Nine Best Paints For Steamy Bathroom Ceilings

I have listed nine of the best paints to coat your bathroom ceiling. The selection focuses on bathrooms with high moisture levels, which are often prone to discoloration and mold or mildew growth on the ceiling. 

The days of saggy, moldy ceilings in a bathroom are all but gone due to the clever formulations of modern paints. Paint manufacturers have gone the extra mile to ensure ease of application, environmental friendliness, and durability.  

The following paints can be used on concrete, conventional ceiling boards, wood, and metal surfaces.

Zinsser Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White interior

The Rust-Oleum 02761 Paint is an excellent product in that it has been designed for use in bathrooms with high moisture content. This acrylic-based paint has been formulated to resist the growth of mold and mildew on its surface. 

The paint is washable seven days after application and is fade resistant.

  • Paint Type: Acrylic
  • Finish: Semi-Gloss
  • Color: Various
  • Drying Time: 24 Hours
  • Washable: Yes
  • Self Priming: Yes
  • Water Proof: Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof: Yes
  • Odor: Ultra Low
  • Water Based: Yes

Zinsser Rust-Oleum 5024 Watertight Paint

This product, Rust-Oleum 5024, is a rugged, waterproof paint made to damp-proof walls. The finish is brilliant white and dries in a smooth coat. This product is super versatile and is suitable for use on concrete ceilings. 

If you have a damp bathroom with poor ventilation, this is your product.

  • Paint Type : Latex
  • Finish : Matt
  • Color : White
  • Drying Time : 24 Hours
  • Washable : Yes 
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Ultra Low
  • Water Based : Yes

Kilz Restoration Interior Primer

Kilz Restoration paint has been specifically designed to cover stains on many surfaces. Interestingly this primer has an odor blocker specifically designed to mask smells emanating from the surface that is being painted. 

The primer is water and stain-proof. It, therefore, protects the topcoat from any moisture lurking on the painted surface. The primer performs best when top-coated with latex or oil-based paint, making this combination virtually impenetrable for moisture. 

  • Paint Type : Primer / Sealer
  • Finish : Matt
  • Color : White
  • Drying Time : 8 Hours
  • Washable : No 
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Ultra Low
  • Water Based : Yes

Kilz Premium Interior / Exterior Self Priming Paint

Kilz Premium Primer and Sealer is designed to protect most surfaces and is suited to both internal and external applications. The high gloss finish hides stains, seals the surface, and like Kilz Restoration, masks odors that may emanate from the painted surface.

Kilz Premium forms an impenetrable shield against moisture in bathroom applications, thus preventing the bathroom ceiling from staining so matter how steamy it becomes.

This self-priming paint can be top-coated with an oil-based or latex paint if a color other than white is required.

  • Paint Type : Acrylic Latex
  • Finish : Gloss
  • Color : White
  • Drying Time : 1 Hour
  • Washable : Yes
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Very Low
  • Water-Based : Yes

BEHR Premium Plus 

Behr Premium Plus, semi-gloss, ultra-pure white enamel guarantees that only a single coat will be required when painting internal walls. The durable surface is water, stain, mold, and mildew resistant. 

Of course, Behr premium plus is a primer and paint-in-one. The primer and paint combination saves time on painting projects as only one coat of paint is required to ensure your bathroom ceiling looks as fresh as the day you painted it for longer.   

  • Paint Type : Acrylic 
  • Finish : Semi-Gloss
  • Color : Various
  • Drying Time : 4 Hours
  • Washable : Yes
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Ultra Low
  • Water Based : Yes

Rust-Oleum 2774 Perma White 

I like the Rust-Oleum products. The Eggshell semi-matte paint has a mold and mildew proof lining that is washable, scrubbable, and moisture resistant. It is the perfect coating for bathroom ceilings that must withstand a lot of condensation, especially above steamy showers. 

The Perma-White paint can be tinted if you want to break away from the white ceiling finish standards.

  • Paint Type : Acrylic 
  • Finish : Eggshell Semi-Matte
  • Color : White but tintable
  • Drying Time : 4 Hours
  • Washable : Yes
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Ultra Low
  • Water-Based : Yes

Prestige Ultra Premium Interior Paint And Primer

The Prestige Ultra Premium all-in-one paint and primer is an acrylic latex paint that is water-based and washable. The specially formulated primer and paint prevent moisture from penetrating the ceiling, which could cause stains, mold, and mildew growth.

  • Paint Type : Acrylic 
  • Finish : Semi Gloss
  • Color : Various colors 
  • Drying Time : 8 Hours
  • Washable : Yes
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Low
  • Water Based : Yes

Majic Paints – Diamond Hard Acrylic High Gloss Enamel

The Majic Paints Diamond Hard Acrylic Enamel paint is a great choice where a high gloss finish is required. This product is a multi-purpose enamel paint well suited for bathroom ceilings where moisture is a challenge. 

  • Paint Type : Acrylic 
  • Finish : High Gloss
  • Color : White 
  • Drying Time : 8 Hours
  • Washable : Yes
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Low
  • Water Based : Yes

Valspar 1420 Ceiling Paint – Latex – Color Changing Paint

The Valspar 1420 Ceiling Paint is a latex-based paint that is an excellent choice to use on steamy bathroom ceilings. This paint is unique because it starts out being a light purple color when applied but dries into a matt white finish. Only a single coat is required to ensure adequate coverage. 

The color change ensures you don’t miss a spot when painting the ceiling. Missing a patch is a common problem and easy to do when painting the same color onto a ceiling. 

The paint applies easily and also seals the ceiling very well. The protected ceiling will last for a long time and ensure the surface will remain pristine. Since moisture is not able to penetrate the surface of the ceiling, no staining, mold, or mildew growth can occur.

  • Paint Type : Acrylic 
  • Finish : Matte
  • Color : White 
  • Drying Time : 8 Hours
  • Washable : Yes
  • Self Priming : Yes
  • Water Proof : Yes
  • Mold / Mildew Proof : Yes
  • Odor : Low
  • Water-Based : Yes

The Purpose Of A Paint Primer On Bathroom Ceilings

bathroom ceiling

Primer paint is a base coat that is applied directly onto the raw ceiling material. The primer coat forms a stable base for the topcoat to adhere to. This prevents the paint layer from discoloring or peeling off. 

Some paints are a combination of primer and paint that can be applied directly onto the prepared ceiling surface. 

An all-in-one paint with a primer saves time when painting bathroom ceilings as the number of coats required to cover the ceiling is reduced. 

When looking for a primer for use in a steamy environment, use a primer specifically designed for use in a bathroom. Bathrooms are rooms that have a high moisture content due to the presence of steam from a bath or shower.   

Rust-Oleum 276087 primer is an excellent example of a quality primer that covers and protects the bathroom ceiling and kills existing stubborn mold, fungi, mildew, and moss. It also prevents it from growing again and controls odor-causing bacteria in steamy bathrooms.

Rust-Oleum primer is ready to be painted over within an hour of application due to its short drying time.   

What To Look For When Choosing Bathroom Ceiling Paint

paint bathroom ceiling guide

Paint suitable for use in bathrooms is available in a mind-boggling array of options. In the past, oil-based enamel paints were the preferred paint used in steamy bathrooms. The reason was that the enamel paints last well in damp environments.

Traditional enamel paints are no longer popular and have been replaced by water-based latex and acrylic paints. Many of these paints are very well suited to use in steamy bathrooms as they form a watertight seal over the ceiling once they have dried.  

Modern acrylic and latex paints containing anti-microbial additives are the paint of choice for steamy bathrooms in most instances.

Despite the excellent quality paints available, the paint’s finish does matter when it comes to how long the ceiling will look good. High-gloss finishes are denser, thus more waterproof than semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, or matte (flat) paint finishes. 

Semi-gloss and satin paints, made from modern materials, can be successfully used in bathrooms where the high-gloss finish is unsuitable.

When choosing your steamy bathroom ceiling paint, it is advisable to go for the smoothest finish possible. A smooth surface will minimize condensation build-up on the ceiling, particularly above a shower. Look out for an all-in-one primer and paint combination, which is the most suitable application for moisture-prone environments.

A bathroom ceiling paint should be water-based so that brushes and spills can easily be cleaned during application. A nonporous surface as found in semi-gloss or high-gloss paints will assist in the ceiling drying faster and ultimately looking good and lasting longer.  

Caring For Your Bathroom Ceiling

Like other areas in your home, bathroom ceilings need to be cleaned from time to time to ensure a spotless finish that will last a long time.

Bathrooms are prone to high moisture build-up that has to dry every time the room steams up. Short of wiping down the walls and ceilings of your bathroom after every use, adequate ventilation is needed in a bathroom to dry all the damp surfaces. 

Wiping your bathroom ceiling down every few months is a good idea. A damp cloth will remove any built-up grime deposited onto the ceiling’s surface due to the rising steam. 

Virtually all good quality ceiling paints available today are washable. Use a little surface cleaning soap and a soft, damp cloth to wipe the dirt away for visible marks on the ceiling. Avoid using a scourer on the paint, as this will scratch the smooth paint surface.

In addition, getting a close-up view of the bathroom’s ceiling will highlight any potential problem areas. Look out for signs of mold, mildew growth, moisture build-up, or surface imperfections. Any problems can be addressed before any further damage occurs.

Painting the ceiling with quality paint products goes a long way towards preventing ceiling damage or discoloration. Choosing paint with a smooth surface makes it easier to clean. The smooth surface also forms a better seal against moisture, which is the leading cause of damage on most bathroom ceilings. 

Conclusion

Bathroom ceiling paints are readily available. When buying paint for a steamy bathroom, look out for paints specifically marked for bathroom use as they will be formulated to provide a durable, moisture-resistant finish. 

The rule of thumb is that the brighter the paint’s finish, the more suited it is to use on a steamy bathroom ceiling. A matte finish is the least suitable, and high-gloss is the best.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.