Whether you want to make your new home feel like yours or update your home's look, painting the interior is a great way to express your creativity and personality. Before you crack open the paint can and grab a brush, there are a few things you should know.
Some areas in your home, like the bathroom, kitchen and basement, have higher moisture levels. Since paint reacts differently in high-moisture environments, you'll need to take some extra precautions to ensure it will hold up over time. Use this guide to learn how to spot high-moisture areas and how to paint them properly.
What Areas in My Home Might Have High Moisture?
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor or moisture in the air — people often describe a humid room as warm and sticky. Certain areas of the home will naturally be more humid than others. Depending on outdoor conditions, damaged or inadequate insulation or ventilation can also lead to high humidity levels in the house.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping your home humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. However, the humidity can increase due to everyday activities like showering, boiling water or using an electric dryer for laundry. For example, the bathroom is a common high-humidity room, with extra moisture in the air from warm showers or baths. Other rooms in your home, like your kitchen or basement, can also be hotspots for high humidity.
Signs your home has high humidity levels include the following:
- Moist or sticky air
- Foggy windows
- Condensation on windows and doors
- Visible mold
- Mildew smell
- Rotting wood
While too much moisture can lead to mold and mildew developing in your home, you still want to retain some humidity. Keeping the air in your home at a healthy humidity level will help protect things made from leather or wood, like furniture and flooring. It also helps relieve dry skin, itchy eyes and noses.
The Best Paint for a High-Humidity Bathroom
Even if your home's overall humidity is within recommended levels, areas like your bathroom will see increased humidity when in use. Paint that is not humidity-resistant can chip, peel or bubble over time. So, what paint is good for high-humidity areas like the bathroom?
Satin and semi-gloss paints are more moisture resistant, which makes them ideal for high-humidity areas. On top of that, paint developers have developed paint specifically for areas that face high humidity. For example, AURA® Bath & Spa from Benjamin Moore is expertly designed to let you enjoy your shower without worrying about humidity damage to your paint.
AURA® Bath & Spa is high-performance 100% acrylic resin paint. When you choose this paint for your bathroom, you'll enjoy the following benefits:
- An easily washable surface
- Exceptional durability
- Fade resistance
- Mildew resistance
Paint Recommendations for a High Humidity Basement
Your basement is another area of your home that requires special attention when it comes to painting. Basements tend to have a high moisture content, which means they need the right prep and paint to keep them looking beautiful for years to come.
If your basement walls are drywall, you'll want to use a latex primer before you paint. You can follow up with a humidity-resistant paint, like the AURA® Bath & Spa mentioned above or Benjamin Moore Kitchen & Bath. Yes, you can use these paints in rooms other than the bathroom or kitchen!
For basement walls made of stone, brick or concrete, you'll want to use DRYLOK® Masonry Waterproofer. This product penetrates and adheres to the wall's pores to create a protective barrier. DRYLOK® is made specifically for basements and will protect your walls from any potential water damage from increased humidity. You can also tint this product, giving you the protection you need with a look you love.
How to Prep High Moisture Areas for Paint
Painting a high-moisture area requires a little extra preparation and care. Don't worry — it's nothing you can't handle! Just follow our checklist below and you'll be an expert at painting indoors in high humidity:
Test your humidity levels if possible: Knowing how much humidity you're working with can help you better prepare for your painting process. The higher the humidity level, the longer it will take for the paint to dry. If your humidity levels are 80% or above, the drying process will take too long, which can make your paint look gummy and unappealing. For the most accurate humidity reading, use a hygrometer, a device specifically designed to read indoor temperature and humidity levels.
Set up fans or a dehumidifier: You can help bring the humidity levels down by setting up fans or a dehumidifier a few hours before painting.
Clean the walls: Paint adheres better to a clean surface, so you'll want to ensure your walls are clean before you start painting. High-humidity areas are also more likely to have mold or mildew growth. If you find any, you'll need to remove it before painting to ensure it doesn't reappear later.
Dry the walls: While you may not be able to remove all of the moisture, it is crucial to at least ensure the surface is dry. Any condensation on the wall before you start painting will only add to your drying time and can make your final result less than ideal.
Use a moisture-resistant primer: Starting with a moisture-resistant primer is essential for high-humidity areas. After all your hard work, you want to make sure your efforts last. A good moisture-resistant primer paired with humidity-resistant paint will keep your paint looking its best.
Plan to paint multiple thin layers: As you now know, the higher the humidity, the longer it will take the paint to dry. One way to combat this is to paint thinner layers instead of thicker coats. A thinner layer will dry faster than a thicker one and this technique will give you a more even finish in high-humidity areas.
Shop Benjamin Moore's Premium Paint Options for High Humidity Areas
Painting in high humidity requires special paint and tools. As the number one Benjamin Moore Retailer on Long Island, Aboff's Paints has you covered with everything you'll need for your next paint job.
There's nowhere better to shop for high-quality paint and supplies than one of our 32 convenient locations. Our team will use our years of industry and product knowledge to help you find the right tools, paint finish and paint color to fit your needs. Find an Aboff's Paints near you and visit us today!