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As a rule I have never put flat on a bathroom ceiling as a pro. My standard bathroom ceiling paint is Ultra Spec low luster.

However, I have seen lots of bathrooms that have been painted for years with flat ceilings that still look fine. In fact, in my current home (where the previous owners were the worst painters you’ve ever seen...I should post pics), the kids bathroom has fairly poor ventilation (walls are usually pretty steamed up after the kids shower), the flat ceiling paint is in fine shape. That is except for all the globs of heavy stipple. I think Behr was used throughout the house.

I’ve seen my share of flat bathroom ceilings that have had issues. But all new construction baths are done in flat (I know that doesn’t count for much).

So what’s your rule of thumb? When customers ask for flat I just tell them no and they typically don’t argue. But I’m getting this request increasingly.



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I think it’s important to consider the use level of the bathroom.

If it’s mainly used by teens then I will strongly encourage a higher sheen. Whereas if it’s going to be used mainly by adults then it’s not so critical. Also, how likely are they to run their vent fan? A room equipped with a timer switch for the fan is likely to get pretty well vented. Only a window? Ventilation may be sketchy or even non-existent.
 

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Quality flats are moisture resistant and will be fine. Personally, I dont go out of my way anymore. If Im buying paint for a bathrooom ceiling, I will get either a washable flat (I use Pure Performance) or something with a sheen, but if Im doing a whole house, I just go with the regular ceiling paint, cuz thats whats in every single house out here anyway, so eff it. Most bathrooms these days are adequetely ventilated, and its actually been a very long time since I've seen any issues with bathroom ceilings.
 

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I got regal flat in next to a shower that rarely gets used, its fine several years later. Otherwise aura bath & spa. Cost a bit extra but you can be sure its going to hold up to log hot steamy showers.
 

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Ditto. Flat unless there's signs/indicators that there are potential problems (teenagers, younger couples in love, no fan, crappy fan). Always try and do the single sheet of toilet paper test on the fan. Hold it up to the fan and if it holds we're good.


One thing I hate is when you're painting a bathroom and they've got the fan hard wired to the light switch. I understand the reasoning, but I hate painting a bathroom in a rental with a crappy loud fan screaming at me.
 

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A quality flat enamel for me in the whole bathroom. Very low sheen and is more water resistant than just flat. Have repaired around many tub/showers/ceilings in the years of painting and in my rentals. As said before good ventilation(" like the toilet paper sheet test" ) stated before :) Reminds me of the dollar bill tail pipe test to check for a burned valve !! I usually paint the whole bathroom( walls /ceiling) with the same paint....its cost prohibitive otherwise.
 

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Call me a relic, say I'm old fashioned, say I'm over the hill, flat paint in a bath or kitchen ain't got no soul!

Thanks Dad. Just kidding.


I can still remember when I was around 5 years old and my Dad painted the walls and ceiling in our bathroom at the old house with a high gloss oil. That was over 40 years ago. When I last was in that house a couple of years ago, it still looked just as good as the day he did it.
 

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Ditto. Flat unless there's signs/indicators that there are potential problems (teenagers, younger couples in love, no fan, crappy fan). Always try and do the single sheet of toilet paper test on the fan. Hold it up to the fan and if it holds we're good.


One thing I hate is when you're painting a bathroom and they've got the fan hard wired to the light switch. I understand the reasoning, but I hate painting a bathroom in a rental with a crappy loud fan screaming at me.
I always drop the fan cover and unplug it at the fan itself if I'm gonna be there for a while.
 

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Thanks Dad. Just kidding.


I can still remember when I was around 5 years old and my Dad painted the walls and ceiling in our bathroom at the old house with a high gloss oil. That was over 40 years ago. When I last was in that house a couple of years ago, it still looked just as good as the day he did it.
I've read many times on PT about encountering hair spray etc. on walls and ceilings in bathrooms, hell I experienced it myself with my wife and when my daughters were teenagers. I've always painted my bathrooms at home with a semi-gloss, all I had to do was wipe them down with Dirtex and water, no muss no fuss.
 

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BM Aura Bath & Spa which is a matte.



Large bathrooms with high ceilings and great ventilation I'm OK with flat paint.
You gonna buy a whole gallon of Aura B&S for 1 ceiling? I agree that would be a great product though ..

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I have no problem with flat ceiling paint in baths. My own have been fine for years...even above the shower.

I think I used PPG speedhide flat on them, and I have no issues whatsoever.
 

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I have been using BM regal flat on bathroom ceilings, with good results. I have also been using Scuff-x matte on bathroom walls with good results.

I have BM bath/spa matte finish on the walls in both of my bathrooms, and they both have steam runs / fingers and residue from whatever products my wife sprays. The ceilings are BM regal flat finish, and both look like new. both bathrooms have windows and high quality fans that are only 1 year old. I also let the paint cure for 4 weeks before use (BM recommends 2 weeks). The walls are not bad I have seen much worse, but I see it.
 

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I've read many times on PT about encountering hair spray etc. on walls and ceilings in bathrooms, hell I experienced it myself with my wife and when my daughters were teenagers. I've always painted my bathrooms at home with a semi-gloss, all I had to do was wipe them down with Dirtex and water, no muss no fuss.

I have seen literally soaps and hairspray Stalactites dripping from ceilings in poorly ventilated bathrooms over gloss or semigloss paint that actually run deep in to the paint and makes the paint soft and require oil primer to try and keep stains from bleeding. A TSP cleaning and rattle can of kilz works.

Back to the OP, I would think a lower sheen paint would not drip or condense as bad and flat paint has come a long way, used to be a flat wiped with a rag would make whatever you are trying to wash off take much of the finish off with it.
SW came out with a washable flat many years ago and I have found I have not had to re-roll walls as much as time has gone by due to better paints.

As far as painting bathrooms BM Ultra or Eco Spec is not good quality to use in low sheen but satin or semi is fine but go a step up in the product line to BEN and you can use flat or eggshell and that is the direction I have been heading.
 
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