How to Fix Peeling Paint in the Bathroom

Your enemy in a bathroom is high humidity, which can cause paint to peel, mildew to grow and drywall to crumble. Peeling paint in a bathroom is usually caused by excessive humidity, and installing a fan or cleaning your existing one will help. Another cause is painting over oil or dirty walls--because people often use sprays in small bathrooms, the build-up on the wall will prevent paint from adhering if it's not cleaned off first. Whatever the cause, it's relatively easy to fix.

  • Drop cloths
  • Scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Caulk
  • Spackle
  • Primer
  • Roller
  • Brush
  • Paint
Clear out the bathroom. Remove everything from the counter tops, take down window coverings and cover the floors, tub or shower stall and counter tops with drop cloths.

Scrape loose and peeling paint with a paint scraper.

Wash the walls and ceiling with mild detergent and rinse them well. If there's any mildew, use a mixture of one part bleach to two parts water to spray on the mildew. Rinse it off after 15 minutes.

Fill cracks and gaps around the area where the paint was peeling with paintable silicone caulk. If the surface is rough or uneven and can't be sanded smooth, apply some spackle once the caulk has dried, then sand it. For large areas, use joint compound, applied with a 6 or 9 inch drywall or putty knife.

Match the texture, unless the surface was smooth to begin with. Paint and hardware stores carry texture in spray cans, making it easy to apply and match several different textures. Follow the label directions for application and drying times.

Prime the areas you have scraped, sanded and patched. If the entire bathroom needs to be repainted, prime everything.

Paint the bathroom. If you're just touching up the patches, do any necessary brush-work first, then use a 6 inch roller for the flat areas. Apply two coats of paint, lightly feathering it out with the roller so it blends with the surrounding surface.

Tips and Warnings

  • Open windows and use a fan to dissipate fumes and make the patching compound and paint dry faster.

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