Bathrooms require special paints, especially in the area of the ceiling where the hot, humid air from the shower and bathtub will regularly deposit beads of water. If you choose the wrong paint for your bathroom ceiling, it could start peeling in the matter of a year or even less. Additionally, if you choose the wrong color of paint you could end up regretting it for aesthetic reasons, so choose carefully before beginning your paint remodeling project.
Mildew-Resistant, Scrubbable Paints
Bathrooms are typically very moist environments and they're also really small, which makes them a high-risk environment for mold and mildew. Some paints on the market today are mildew resistant, which is important in a bathroom. Look for paints that are specifically labeled "mildew resistant." In addition, some paints are labeled scrubbable, meaning that they're easy to wash and resistant to damage from cleaning. This is also advantageous in a bathroom. If the bathroom has no shower or bathtub, these properties might be less important.
Kitchen and Bathroom Paints
Some companies release paints that are specifically for the kitchen and bath. These paints are mildew-resistant and easy to clean and are designed to exist in humid environments without peeling. In addition, some paints are thicker than others. Paints that are thicker adhere to ceilings well and drip less, so ask the clerk at the store what among their bathroom and paint selection would be the best for the ceiling. This will depend on what types of paint they have at the store where you shop.
Semi-gloss or Gloss
In general, the best paint for a bathroom is semi-gloss or gloss. Glossy paints show surface blemishes easily, so sand your ceilings well before applying this type of paint, or stick to semi-gloss. Avoid anything matte or eggshell — this will not resist water or mold and will be difficult to clean. The glossier the paint, the more durable, washable and moisture-resistant it is.
Latex or Oils
Oil paints used to be the standard in home renovation. Now most people prefer latex paints because they're easier to apply, present fewer environmental hazards, dry more quickly and are very durable. However, latex paints will not adhere to oil-painted surfaces. Since ceilings are usually not repainted as often as the walls, the paint on there now could be quite old and it might be an oil-based paint. If you're painting over an old coat of paint, apply a primer designed to work over oil paint before painting with latex-based paint.
White paint is typical for ceilings, especially in bathrooms. Light paint colors such as white and cream push up the ceilings visually and create a sense of space. If you'd like a color besides white, stick to a light color, such as powder blue or pastel yellow.