Can You Use Exterior Paint in a Bathroom?

Bathrooms oftentimes have little ventilation, so it can be a constant battle trying to prevent mold. Seeing as exterior paint is manufactured to withstand the elements, you’re probably wondering whether it’s a good idea in your bathroom.

While exterior paint contains certain additives to protect surfaces from moisture, the United States Environment Protection Agency warns that it is not suitable for the interior of a bathroom. The fungicides and UV-protective additives emit harmful fumes, which can make you very sick.

This article is going to show you:

  • What to do if you’ve accidentally used exterior paint
  • The safest types of paints for your bathroom
  • How to prevent mold growth

What if You Accidentally Used Exterior Paint Indoors?

Exterior paint is hard-wearing, which is why some people use it for everything. Exterior paint prevents mold and mildew from growing, and it is easy to clean. But the fumes from the active chemicals are strong and often toxic.

Exterior paint will stick to anything, so it can be an excellent product to use if you have an ongoing battle with the damp. Exterior paint comes in tubs that are similar in design to interior paints, which can be confusing.

You should be fine with using exterior paint indoors, but make sure that you open all the windows. The strong smell of exterior paint may last for a week before it dissipates, while modern interior paints are odor-free and fast-drying.

What Is Wrong with Using Exterior Paint Inside?

You may notice that exterior paint will have a gloss effect. You can use exterior gloss paint inside, as long as you do not mind a shiny wall.

Manufacturers embellish the colors of their exterior paints to compensate for the dulling they experience in the sun. In a bathroom, there is no weathering of the colors, so exterior paints will remain vibrant for much longer.

Behr exterior paint is a popular choice, as this seals in the old paint and prevents the mixing of colors.

What to Do if You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

If you use exterior paint indoors, you first want to air out the room for a long time before you move back in. A couple of days of airing will make it safe, but the smell may still give you a headache.

The shininess of exterior paint, once dry, may look like it belongs on an exterior wall. This glare may make you reconsider your choice, which then presents the problem of how to remove this exterior paint while indoors.

Removing exterior paint is more difficult than removing interior paint, so you may want to repaint it with another brand of exterior paint. If you do want to remove your exterior paint, you can try the following methods:

  • Blowtorch – Not the best method, since it is both a fire and a fume hazard, You need to take precautions. The heat from the blowtorch will soften the paint then you can use a wire brush or a scraper.
  • Heat Gun – Safer than a blowtorch, but it will still release toxic fumes, so keep the windows wide open. Good for smaller patches of paint around power sockets. Medium heat is safe, but high heat can still ignite wallpaper.
  • Power Sanders – Sanding will create a lot of dust, and external paint will plug up regular sanding grains. You will have to use coarse-grain sandpaper and a professional filter mask.
  • Chemical Strippers – This is a quick and effective method of removing all types of paint. Though paint stripper is highly corrosive, so you need to be careful to protect yourself, the floor, and anything else that you do not want to melt.
  • Scraping – Scraping is hard work, and it is difficult to remove the paint without gouging out the wall. A scraper will also stir up small particles of dust and paint, so wear protection.

What Is the Best Type of Bathroom Paint?

Most rooms in your room will forgive you for using paint that was for exterior walls. But a bathroom is less accommodating and will quickly begin to peel, crack, and go brown if you use anything less than bathroom paint.

Primer will help your chosen paint to stick to the wall and reduce flaking. Dark color paints can look fashionable, but they do show up dirt more than lighter colors. Faint shades of eggshell or satin are easier to clean and touch up with paint for general maintenance.

Bathroom paint is water-resistant, so most water will not settle into any plasterboard or wood that is behind it. You may want to paint any metals you have in your bathroom to prevent corrosion that will turn pipes green or brown.

Which Types of Bathroom Paint Prevent Mold?

Even with an extractor fan, bathrooms are an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew. The damp environment will quicken the rusting of steel screws, shelves, and pipes. Walls will hold on to moisture, and this can cause even more problems in plasterboard walls.

  • Primer – These primers hold moisture-resistant chemicals to prevent splashes from soaking in. This primer will make it easier to wipe off makeup or shaving foam and give you an excellent adhesive surface for the paint to stick to.
  • Additives – All paints have additives, but bathroom paints should hold antimicrobial additives. These antimicrobials kill viruses, mold, fungi, and bacteria that come into contact with the paint.
  • Anti-Corrosion – You may want to stop any exposed steel screws, hinges, and brackets from rusting by painting them with a corrosion inhibitor.

Dual-purpose interior and exterior paints from Valspar have the resistance to the type of abuse bathroom walls endure. This type of paint also contains a primer that prevents the color from the previous paint from mixing in and soaking out to the surface of the new paint.

The higher the gloss content, the less trouble you will have with water soaking into your ceiling. Though you can still have issues with a gloss that does not use chemicals to inhibit life from breeding.

Best Paint for Bathroom Ceilings

Reinforced concrete ceilings will absorb moisture. Moisture can work its way through to the metal rebar, rusting them, and popping off huge chunks of concrete. The best type of paint for a steamy bathroom ceiling is one that forms a watertight seal.

  • Gloss – A high-sheen that is near mirror-like, though it is excellent for sealing out moisture. Gloss is one of the easiest painted surfaces to wipe clean.
  • Semi-Gloss – An oil-based paint that is less shiny than full-gloss but still reflective. The gloss coat may cause drips to form.
  • Satin – A much more pleasant texture that is less reflective but still easy to wipe down and clean.
  • Eggshell – The most common and diverse bathroom paints that are free of oils and the least reflective. If you use eggshell paint, use one with bacteria and mold inhibitors. These inhibitors prevent mildew and dangerous pathogens from growing.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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