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Thread: Definitive bathroom primer and paint discussion

  1. #1
    king overbudget dfv2's Avatar
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    Default Definitive bathroom primer and paint discussion

    YES I searched, endlessly. I understand there are 100 opinions, but humor me here one more go-around:

    If YOU were completely remodeling/renovating your master bathroom, what primer and/or paint would you use over bare drywall?
    Steve
    ME

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Go to a good paint store, get their best PVA primer for the drywall. That is really your best first step, and assures future success.

    For many years, the only thing I have painted bathroom walls with is top quality latex, semigloss for the walls, gloss on the ceilings and woodwork. I like Behr. Here in San Diego, I like Frazee. Just go to a good store, and use their best paint.
    I think oil is a waste of effort. You can't really even buy a good quality oil base paint for residential use anymore, and any whitish oil paint will yellow.

  3. #3
    king overbudget dfv2's Avatar
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    Well now the plot thickens! I've concluded from most of my research that I should be looking for a 100% acrylic mildew resistant paint, and also that Behr isn't exactly "the best" paint around.
    Steve
    ME

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    I should have mentioned that anytime you get the top of the line of a paint product, it will be ( or should be!) 100% acrylic .

    You can add mildew resistant additives, but I question how long lasting any of these are. By FAR, the most effective preventive for mildew is ventilation. If you are redoing a bathroom of moderate size, be looking for 100 to 130 CFM. Do not settle for 50 or 70. And spend a few bucks to get 1.0 sones MAX. 0.6 or 0.8 even better.

    Everyone has an opinion on paint. Just because Behr is sold by HD doesn't make it bad. I have put on a lot of Behr and I like it just fine.

  5. #5
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Go to a good paint store, get their best PVA primer for the drywall. That is really your best first step, and assures future success.

    For many years, the only thing I have painted bathroom walls with is top quality latex, semigloss for the walls, gloss on the ceilings and woodwork. I like Behr. Here in San Diego, I like Frazee. Just go to a good store, and use their best paint.
    I think oil is a waste of effort. You can't really even buy a good quality oil base paint for residential use anymore, and any whitish oil paint will yellow.
    Alkyd paints are worse than a waste of effort- the water vapor permeabilty is much lower than that of acrylic, making it more prone to trapping moisture leading to blistering/cracking/flaking. It's relatively waterproof, but in places with numerous & rapid shifts in humidity it is much more likely to have problems than something highly vapor-permeable. Acrylic paints are about 5x more vapor-permeable than oil paints, so it dries quickly & completely. PVA & standard latex paints have comparable permeabilty (~5.5-6 perms), but will vary in other characteristics such as capillary draw, etc.

    Gloss/semigloss acrylic is "naturally" mildew resistant, since it's waterproof to liquid water (won't wick water into the wall from a splashes or condensation), but fairly vapor-permeable- it dries both into the gypsum/wall-cavity, and the room as humidity conditions in each vary, and allows the wall cavity to dry toward the room (when the room humidity returns to normal) without causing seperation at the paint/wallboard boundary.

    But nothing will stay mildew-free if the room relative humidity is allowed to linger at 70% or higher. Even the active ventilation the room RH runs near 100% whenever there's a shower in progress, but with a decent bathroom fan or heat recovery ventilator (under dehumidistat control, if you like) it's manageable. If continuous flow or dehumidtstat control the flow rate of the ventilation doesn't matter a huge amount- a bigger fan will lower the humidity quicker, but none will keep up with a full-on shower, yet even 7-10cfm continuous flow would be able to sufficiently purge humidity in most residential bathrooms, (even though the IRC calls for 20cfm, if continuous flow.) With human-operated ventilation performance is less guaranteed, since the fan is flipped on/off at semi-random intervals whenever the user thinks it's done it's job. Going with a 150cfm fan might be an improvement over a 50cfm fan if manually operated, but dehumidistat control or continuous low-flow is more reliable, and you can do with the smallest, quietest of fans.

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    king overbudget dfv2's Avatar
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    Well I have planned accordingly for humidity control - I installed a 110 CFM panasonic vent fan on a lutron digital timer switch (runs a preset time which you choose).

    And so, as far as paint goes I am still hearing 100% acrylic is the way to go, regardless of manufacturer. I was thinking about using Zinsser perma-white and tinting it, but I wish I had more color options.
    Steve
    ME

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    king overbudget dfv2's Avatar
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    Just in case anyone searches for paint suggestions and finds this thread; I went with Zinnser 1-2-3 to prime everything, put Sherwin Williams bath paint on the walls and Zinsser perma-white on the ceiling. I'll let everyone know in 5 years how it worked out
    Steve
    ME

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    We appreciate you taking time to give us feedback on your project. Your final choices are all top notch. You will be happy.

    Thank you,

  9. #9
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    I use the Zinsser in my bathroom and it works great. Ventilation in my bathroom is code compliant. I have no extractor fan but I do have a window that opens.


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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Ian is correct that most places...if you have a window, you don't need a fan. The reason it almost always causes trouble....you can't get people to OPEN THE WINDOW!

    I have to fight with my wife to turn the fan on, and we have a quiet one! Now, if I stink the place up, she turns it on in a hurry!!!!!!!

  11. #11
    king overbudget dfv2's Avatar
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    Haha! Jimbo you're on to something here. I can't get the gal to hit the fan on!! But, boy does it work well. I steamed up the mirror thoroughly with it off, then switched it on and took my shower. When I got it the steam was gone, everything was bone dry. Thanks for the help guys!!
    Steve
    ME

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Ian is correct that most places...if you have a window, you don't need a fan. The reason it almost always causes trouble....you can't get people to OPEN THE WINDOW!

    I have to fight with my wife to turn the fan on, and we have a quiet one! Now, if I stink the place up, she turns it on in a hurry!!!!!!!
    Running both the bathroom light and ventilation fan off the same occupancy-sensor switch with a 10-15minute timeout cures a lot of ills without the passive-aggressive tactics, eh? :-)

    With occupancy sensor control nobody can forget to turn the fan on, or the light off, and if in the shower longer than the timeout the kid gets the hint that it's time to wrap up business without hearing it from a parent.

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