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Which type of emulsion paint to use when painting a bathroom in the UK.

Many people have concerns of which type of paint to use when decorating their home. "What bathroom paint to buy" stands out as the most commonly asked question and a room where people are particularly concerned, to ensure they have a good finish which will last while the kids have bath time. In this article we will look at the various options available to homeowners in regards to the types of paint and also brands of paint available to purchase for the project.

Painted bathroom

Bathroom Paint

So why do we need different paint for a bathroom in the first place? The answer for this is durability, due to the damp conditions of which a bathroom paint needs to endure. A standard paint has a higher probability of issues, like bubbling or showing water marks, whereas a bathroom paint is manufactured with increased durability to stand up to the extra demands of which a bathroom places on it.

Type of paint

So which paint should we use for a bathroom? Firstly we start by saying what not to go for. Stay clear of the "bathroom paints" in B&Q / Wickes / Valspar / Dulux bathroom / etc. Although these paints are somewhat durable, we would always recommend you go to a Dulux / Johnstones or Crown Trade Centre for instance. The reason for this is they sell trade paints, which are much higher quality than the paints sold in DIY centres and only slightly more expensive. The "DIY bathroom paints" tend to have a high sheen level and leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the final finish.

Trade Decorating Centre

Durable Matt Paint

Most of the major companies now manufacture a durable matt paint. This is perfect for all bathrooms and offers the matt finish which the majority of home owners prefer. The durable paint will hold up to the must and it's also "wet scrubbable", which means any marks can be easily removed. The durable paint can be expensive. However you should only need between 2.5L to 5L for your bathroom so overall it shouldn't be too bad to stomach the extra cost.

Durable Matt Paint

Recommendations for Durable Paint

The paint we regularly use is Dulux Diamond Matt. It's easily available in a wide range of colours and leaves a nice matt finish. The Johnstone's equivalent "Durable Matt" is also a very durable paint, however we notice a slightly higher sheen level, it is however cheaper than the Dulux paint. As for Crown, we haven't yet used their durable paint so it would be difficult to give a recommendation. Also remember to go to your local trade centre for the paint. You cannot purchase these paints from B&Q or Wickes as the paint they have for sale there is "consumer paint".

Other points

Often overlooked, you will also need durable ceiling paint. Your bathroom's ceiling can hold more damp than the walls, so please remember to get durable paint for the ceiling also.

The other key point to note is to ensure adequate drying time. Do NOT have a shower the same day which the room has been decorated. It can cause problems with the paint, like blistering or water marks, so give the paint 24 hours to fully cure.

Modern Bathroom


Now you're armed with the all the information you need for painting your bathroom. Get the paint on order and remember, happy decorating.

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