How to Fix Peeling Paint in Bathroom? Step-by-Step

Is the paint in your bathroom starting to peel off?

Peeling paint in bathrooms is a common issue whether you recently got it painted or if it’s been years.

There are a number of factors at play that cause the paint to start peeling there. However, whatever the cause is, it’s important to act fast.

Not only does peeling paint give your bathroom an unappealing look, but it can also cause other problems. For example, the area becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew, making it completely unsafe.

This is something you want to avoid.

If you are facing the same problem, this guide might be of help.

Keep reading to find out why your paint in the bathroom has been peeling and how to fix it.

Why is Paint Peeling in My Bathroom?

There are some reasons why the paint in your bathroom walls and ceilings is peeling or former bubbles.

They include the following:

High Humidity

This is the number one reason why paint begins to peel in the bathroom.

If you had painted your bathroom in high humidity, it would soon after begin to peel.

This is the same for when your bathroom is exposed to humidity, which is pretty common.

In fact, if the humidity is too much in your bathroom, this should be a cause for concern when there is peeling paint.

This is because humidity can accelerate the growth of mildew, mold, and bacteria.


Another common reason for peeling paint is moisture and excessive exposure to water.

When moisture gets between the layer of the paint and wall, it begins to peel.

The water can absorb in the wall, contributing to the peeling and cracking of the bathroom walls.

And when the paint peels, it becomes easier for the moisture to get in between, leading to this cycle of peeling.

Lack of Preparation before Painting

If your paint has started peeling soon after you got the bathroom painted, this could be the cause.

When the walls have not been cleaned and primed beforehand, peeling is inevitable. This is why it is important not to skip this step.

Moreover, dirt also leads to the peeling of the paint. This is why walls must be properly cleaned before a paint job.

Hence, if there is dirt and you apply paint, it will immediately begin to bubble, crack, and peel.

Poor Paint Job

There’s a reason why people recommend that bathrooms, in particular, should be painted by experts.

Not only does it require proper prepping and priming, but also an excellent painting job in between coats.

Each coat of paint requires adequate time to dry before applying the subsequent.

Moreover, experts are also more likely to use high-quality paints. Poor quality ones can lead to cracking and eventually peeling of the paint.

How to Prevent Paint from Peeling in the Bathroom

Before we discuss how you can fix your peeling paint in the bathroom, it is important first to discuss this.

Prevention is key to ensure that your paint does not peel in the future. The biggest thing to remember when you consider prevention is ventilation.

There needs to be plenty of it in your bathroom.

On that note, here are some things to remember:

  • Keep your bathroom windows open whenever you can
  • If you don’t have many windows, install a fan in the bathroom
  • Keep the fan on for at least an hour after you bathe in the bathroom
  • Keep your window open, particularly when you shower
  • If neither window nor fans are an accessible option, then keep the bathroom door open when you are bathing or showering

How to Fix Peeling Paint in Bathroom

Now, let’s discuss how you can fix the peeled paint in your bathroom.

Keep reading as we walk you through each step in how to fix peeling paint.

Materials Needed

There are a few materials you will need in order to make the process of fixing the peeled paint easier.

Make sure you have each one of them before you begin the repairing process. These materials include the following:

  • Paint scraper
  • Putty knife
  • Protective goggles
  • Sandpaper
  • Plaster
  • Paintbrush and paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Bathroom primer
  • Sheetrock plaster
  • Special bathroom paint


Here is the step-by-step procedure of how to fix the peeling paint in your bathroom wall and ceilings.

Before you begin the procedure, make sure all the walls and ceilings are dry.

This means that you should not be showering or bathing in the bathroom a day or two prior to the repair.

Step 1: Scrape of the Peeling or Chipped Paint

The first step in the procedure is to remove any chipped paint from the bathroom walls and ceiling.

Take a paint scraper or putty knife and carefully remove the paint from the chipped spots.

Make sure you remove all the peeling and cracking paint that has been on the ceiling.

You should do this until only the adhered paint is left on the wall. Keep a trash can with you that can catch all the flaking paint.

Since the flakes can be small and fine, it’s best to wear protective gloves and dust masks.

Now take fine grain sandpaper and remove the paint blisters. Then, take a dry paintbrush and remove any dust.

Step 2: Patch Where Peeled Paint Had Been

Once you have chipped off all the peeling paint from the wall, the entire surface will be uneven.

This is because some areas of the wall will have paint, while others won’t. To create a smooth surface for the wall, you will need to patch it.

Use a quick-setting patching compound and apply it in thin and even layers using a putty knife.

However, you will need to wait in between coats to let it dry before applying the subsequent layer of compound.

Finish with this process and let the dry compound overnight when you are done.

Step 3: Apply a Second Coat of Plaster and Sand if Needed

You might not need a second coat of plaster, but it is always a good idea to do so. You have to wait for six hours to let the coat dry.

Then, apply the last layer of sheetrock plaster and let it dry for a whole day.

Once you have checked the wall to see if it can be sanded, you can begin the third step in the process.

Sand the wall thoroughly with fine grain sandpaper, and don’t forget to wear protective goggles and a dust mask.

This will ensure that there will absolutely be no bumps or uneven spots in the wall.  You can also use a vacuum sander for this process instead of sandpaper.

This can be more efficient and protect your eyes and lungs since the vacuum can catch all dust.

Step 4: Prime the Wall before Painting

Now that your entire wall has been properly peeled and sanded to create a smooth surface, it’s time to prime and paint.

As we mentioned earlier, your paint started peeling in the first place because primer was not applied efficiently.

Primer is the best thing to protect your walls against moisture and humidity.

Get a high-quality primer that can be protected against mold and mildew, has perfect adhesion, and can be quick drying.

Moreover, it’s best if you use an oil-based primer with stain-blocking properties. All of this will prevent future peeling of the paint.

Now, apply the primer with a roller brush or paintbrush. Try to give the primer at least one day to dry before you apply paint completely.

Step 5: Paint Your Bathroom Wall

This is the last step in the procedure of fixing the peeling paint on your bathroom wall.

However, before you begin painting, make sure you have let the primer dry sufficiently.

When picking out paint for your bathroom wall, use one that has a glossy or semi-glossy finish. Such paints do not absorb moisture as easily.

Moreover, such paints also are less likely to crack, peel, or flake. It’s best if you apply two coats of paint.

However, make sure you wait for enough time before you apply the second coat. Lastly, you can also apply a coat of finish to seal in the paint.

This will also add a second layer of gloss.

Addressing Environmental Factors

Improving Bathroom Ventilation

To fix peeling paint in your bathroom, it’s essential to address the environmental factors that contribute to the issue. One crucial factor is proper ventilation. Installing an efficient exhaust fan is vital for removing excess moisture caused by showering or bathing. Here are some points to consider:

  • Choose an exhaust fan with adequate air flow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). For instance, a bathroom with 80 square feet or less requires a fan with at least 50 CFM.
  • Ensure the fan vents to the outside rather than into the attic, as redirecting moisture can create new issues.
  • Run the fan for 10-15 minutes after bathing to help expel as much damp air as possible.

Controlling Humidity and Moisture

High humidity can cause paint peeling in bathrooms. Here are some ways to control humidity levels:

  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture in the air.
  • Keep doors and windows open when possible to promote air circulation.
  • Be mindful of water leaks and gutter problems that could introduce extra moisture to the bathroom area. Regularly inspect and maintain these systems to minimize issues.
  • Consider applying a waterproof primer before repainting, as it can help create a barrier against moisture ingress.

By addressing these environmental factors, you can effectively tackle peeling paint in your bathroom and prevent it from recurring.

Considerations for DIY versus Professional Help

Evaluating the Scope of the Project

Before deciding whether to tackle the repair of peeling paint in your bathroom by yourself or hire a professional, it’s essential to assess the project’s scope.

Consider the size of the area affected, the level of damage to the paint, and any underlying issues that might be causing the problem, such as poor ventilation, high humidity, or water leaks. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is the peeling paint confined to a small area or spread across walls and ceilings?
  • Are there any visible water leaks or signs of excessive moisture?
  • Does your bathroom have proper ventilation to prevent future issues?

If the peeling paint covers a significant portion of your bathroom walls or ceilings or you notice underlying problems, you might want to consult with a professional before attempting a DIY solution.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

When deciding between a DIY approach and hiring a contractor, it’s essential to weigh the costs and benefits. Here’s a quick comparison of the expenses involved in both options:

DIYProfessional Help
* Typically less expensive* Can be more costly upfront
* Materials and tools must be purchased* Materials and labor included in the price
* Time and effort required* Faster, more hassle-free experience

However, cost is not the only factor to consider. Professional contractors have experience dealing with chipped paint, older homes, and various bathroom wall materials that might require a different approach.

They can also offer valuable advice on addressing underlying issues and maintaining your bathroom walls in the future.

Additionally, professional contractors typically provide customer service and guarantees for their work, offering peace of mind in case issues arise after the project is completed.

In conclusion, before starting a DIY repair for peeling paint in your bathroom, carefully evaluate the project’s scope, weigh the costs and benefits, and consider the advantages of professional help.

With a well-informed decision, you can achieve a successful outcome that will leave your bathroom looking fresh and well-maintained for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best patching compound to use for a peeling bathroom ceiling?

The ideal patching compound for a peeling bathroom ceiling is a premixed product that can be applied directly onto the damaged area.

One such product is all-purpose joint compound, which is easy to use, provides excellent adhesion, and dries quickly. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a smooth finish.

Can Zinsser Peel Stop be effectively used to address bathroom ceiling peeling?

Yes, Zinsser Peel Stop is a specialized primer that aids in addressing peeling issues on bathroom ceilings. It works by binding and sealing the old paint, creating a stable base for new paint to adhere properly.

Apply it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results.

How can you deal with mold associated with bathroom ceiling paint peeling?

To deal with mold associated with bathroom ceiling paint peeling, start by eliminating the moisture source causing the mold growth. Afterward, safely remove the mold by applying a solution of equal parts water and bleach to the affected area.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub the area using a brush or cloth. Thoroughly dry the surface before continuing the paint repair process. Remember to wear safety gear when cleaning mold to avoid health risks.

What steps are necessary to properly seal flaking paint on bathroom walls?

To properly seal flaking paint on bathroom walls, follow these steps:

  1. Scrape off loose paint using a putty knife or paint scraper.
  2. Sand the edges of the remaining paint to create a smooth transition between the wall and the painted areas.
  3. Apply a good-quality primer to seal the wall and prevent future peeling.
  4. Once the primer is dry, apply the finishing paint of your choice.

What type of paint should be used to prevent future peeling on a bathroom ceiling?

To prevent future peeling on a bathroom ceiling, opt for a high-quality, moisture-resistant paint. A semi-gloss or satin finish paint is ideal as it provides a mildew-resistant surface and is easy to clean.

Ensure the paint you select is specifically designed for bathroom use, as these products have the necessary additives to protect against peeling and mold growth.

Is it possible to paint over peeling paint, or does it need to be removed first?

Painting over peeling paint is not recommended, as it can lead to more extensive problems down the line. It is essential to remove the peeling paint first, then properly prepare and prime the surface before applying a fresh coat of paint.

By following the correct steps, you ensure a durable, long-lasting paint job that avoids further peeling issues.

The Bottom Line

On a final note, it is important to remember that this job should be done with patience.

You can always hire a professional to fix the peeling paint in your bathroom, but this is an easy DIY project.

However, buying high-quality primer and paint is important for a long-lasting job.

Address the problem of peeling paint swiftly and without wasting more time to contribute to further peeling.

Other articles you may also like: