Bathroom DIY is one of the hardest at-home jobs you can undertake because of the wet environment. Floors need drainage, tiles need edge sealing, air circulation is important, and the paint you use has to withstand constant moisture.

If there’s airborne moisture and/or plumbing leaks, and your paint isn't up to the challenge, you’ll eventually see blistering or bubbling in your surfaces.

Here are some tips for preparing the surface and choosing the right paint to keep bathrooms looking great for years.

Prepare the surface
The reason paint bubbles or flakes in wet conditions is inadequate surface preparation. Paint will eventually blister in any place where dirt or moisture has stopped it from sticking to the surface properly, especially in wet conditions.

Paint needs a pristine surface to do its best work, and an orbital sander is great for removing old, flaky paint and getting the surface back to square one. Use a silicon sealant containing fungicide to fill any gaps to prevent water getting in behind the wall.

Next, surfaces need to be primed before the top coat is applied. Primer is special paint designed to help the top coat stick to the surface. If priming isn’t done properly, especially on a porous surface like plaster or brick, moisture gets in to form bubbles. The primer blocks tiny holes and gives the top coat a smooth, sealed surface for better adherence.

Keep moisture at bay
Even if you use primer, you can still have problems if moisture is present in the substrate. If there’s always water trickling down inside the wall, this will eventually cause the paint to bubble as it evaporates.

So before priming, make sure sources of moisture and water are removed. If there’s a gap where the bath rim meets the wall, this needs to be sealed.

Once you have removed the moisture’s source, you need to dry out the surface completely before priming. A blower dryer can speed up this process, and if there was deep moisture penetration, it can be paired with a dehumidifier.

In the long-term, if you don’t have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, it will fill with water vapour, which condenses and encourages mould. Ventilation is key to keeping bathrooms dry and paint jobs looking better longer.

Use the right paint
One of the best ways to combat moisture is to use high-gloss paint. Compared to matte paints, those with higher sheens are better at repelling water. That’s because paints with a higher gloss finish have more binder in them. A high concentration of binder, in the form of natural or synthetic resins, gives paint its sheen and forms a tighter bond that blocks moisture.

Traditionally, oil-based gloss paints are used in bathrooms, but a modern option is water-based latex paint. This paint doesn’t give off fumes as it dries and the brushes will wash out in water. If you choose a matte finish, ask about mould and mildew resistant paints. These can be used as primers or as the final coat itself.

When painting the ceiling, avoid the regular, cheap ceiling paints and choose a semi-gloss, mildew-resistant paint to keep it looking good.

As you plan your bathroom renovation, don’t forget to call on Kennards Hire for equipment and advice to get your DIY done right.