How To Fix Peeling Paint on Your Bathroom Ceiling or Wall

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How To Fix Bathroom Ceiling Paint Peeling 

Bathroom ceiling paint peeling is a common issue with bathroom walls and ceilings. Clients often ask us why paint peels in their bathroom wall and how they can fix it. Not only does it make an otherwise beautiful bathroom look bad, but it serves as a breeding ground for mildew and bacteria. Which is exactly what you want to avoid! 

What are the causes for bathroom ceiling paint peeling?

  • Peeling or bubbles happen when you start painting in high humidity.
  • It can also occur when paint is applied over built up water and soap scum. Usually around the things you use every day like the shower, sink and toilet.
  • Another simple mistake that causes bathroom ceiling paint peeling is just improper cleaning, prep and priming. It can often be that painful extra step for people to paint their ceilings. So, it’s really no wonder that individuals often rush through that step in the painting process.
  • Also, another culprit is not allowing enough time in between coats for adequate drying. This severe cracking found on ceilings is actually called ”alligatoring”. It’s really important to give your coats of paint, especially in the bathroom, adequate time to fully dry.

Enough about the issues though as we’re here to discuss solutions! Here is an ideal guide on how to fix bathroom ceiling paint peeling!

The key is prevention 

Before you even get started on fixing your bathroom ceiling paint peeling, you have to think about prevention. Bathrooms can be such a breeding ground for mold and mildew. It’s not just the fact that they’re usually smaller spaces. But it’s the water and humidity that comes from daily showers and baths.

The key to preventing the ceiling paint from peeling in the first place is good ventilation. It’s crucial to have a good fan in your bathroom and even better if it has a timer to keep it on for at least an hour after you bathe. Also, it’s a great thing to have a window open in your bathroom as well. Especially after you’ve hit the shower, it just helps to keep the air circulating, which is exactly what you want to prevent that paint from peeling.

Popcorn and Stucco Ceiling Flattening

Repairing Bathroom ceiling paint peeling can take some time but it’s not hard

If your Toronto house was built before 1979 (and many of them were), there is a chance that lead-based paint was used. You might want to consult a professional painter if this is the case, just to be safe. If you want to try to fix your bathroom ceiling paint peeling or the walls yourself, follow these steps for a great finish.

Step 1: Scrape Off the Peeling or Chipped Paint

  • Before you begin any of your work, be sure all areas are dry. This goes for the ceilings as well as the walls. Don’t use the shower a day or two prior to repair.
  • Begin to remove peeling paint with a putty knife. This will make the surface uneven, but that’s okay for now. 
  • Make sure you wear protective eye gear and a dust mask. This prevents dust particles from getting into your eyes or your lungs, which can be very dangerous.
  • Use a fine-grain sandpaper to sand the area where you removed the paint blisters. Brush off any dust.
  • Be sure to remove flaking paint in all areas. The only paint left on the wall should be firmly stuck to the wall!

Step 2: Patch Where Bathroom Ceiling Paint Peeling Had Been

When the chipped paint or paint bubbles are removed, the surface will be uneven. Some areas will have a layer of paint where others won’t.

  • Use a patching compound to even out the bathroom walls and the ceiling.
  • This will be a skim coat of sheet rock plaster. You can find it at any hardware store. Sheetrock CGC 20 should do the job.
  • Apply it in a thin layer, using a putty knife for this process. You want to let this coat completely dry for at least half a day. If you have a few full days to work with, give it a whole day to dry. 
  • When the first coat is dry, you can sand it smooth. 
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Step 3: Second coat, if needed & sand

  • You might be able to get away with just one coat of the sheetrock. 
  • Like we said, if you need two, be sure to let the ceiling area dry for at least six hours.
  • Be sure to put on some protective goggles and a mask prior to sanding.
  • When the patched areas in your bathroom are dry, sand them down with fine sandpaper. This makes makes sure that there are no uneven edges and it’s all smooth.
  • You can use a vacuum for the ceiling instead of sandpaper. This is to avoid dust dropping directly on you. This helps to protect your eyes and your lungs.
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Step 4: Prime the Bathroom Wall First

  • Usually, bathroom walls start peeling because they weren’t properly primed in the first place. Primer is the first defense against water and moisture! Allow it to be your best friend, especially in bathroom areas. 
  • If you want to go for a quality primer from Benjamin Moore, our expert recommendation is the latex based Fresh Start Primer. This primer works well in bathrooms because it’s mildew resistant, quick drying and has great adhesion. All criteria you want ticked off for bathroom ceiling paint!
  • If you want to go with Sherwin Williams, we recommend their Multi-Purpose Latex Primer.
  • Prime the area you have prepared with a brush or small roller.
  • It’s best to give the primer at least one full day to dry before you put on your finishing coat of paint. 
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Step 5: Paint your Bathroom

  • When the primer is completely dry, it’s time to paint! 
  • Choose a paint that has gloss or semi gloss finish. These paints don’t absorb moisture like other paints do. They also won’t peel or flake over normal bathroom use. A higher-gloss eggshell might also work, but don’t go any lower than that.
  • If you’re looking for a flat finish, check out the Benjamin Moore Aura Bathroom Walls & Spa Matte. It’s a little more expensive, but it will give your bathroom that sharp finish that flat paints usually provide.
  • If you are looking to go with Sherwin Williams Duration Home Interior Acrylic Latex is recommended in a satin finish. 
  • With these paints, you can usually do a second coat, if needed, once the first coat has had time to dry.


Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest page for all sorts of painting inspiration! 

More interesting blogs related to ” How To Fix Peeling Paint On Your Bathroom Ceiling Or Wall “:

  1. Top Colours For Your Powder Room
  2. How To Re-Stucco Your Ceiling If There Is A Water Stain
  3. How To Re-texture Your Ceiling If There Is Damage
  4. Transform Your Bathroom Into A Bright & Calming Oasis

If you’re having trouble picking with bathroom ceiling paint peeling, call 416.494.9095 or email for a FREE quote or visit our website

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