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Changing walls from flat to semi-gloss

All of the walls of my house were painted with a flat paint before we moved in.  I have problems in my bathroom where water splashes onto the wall underneath the mirror or underneath the hand towel, leaving dark streaks where the water ran down the wall.  Is there a way I can paint a semi-gloss sheen in the bathrooms over the existing paint to make it water friendly?  I really like the colors in my house, and I don't want to have to repaint.
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Posted 2015-03-28T19:37:51+0000  by pvanarsdall pvanarsdall


As you have seen, flat paints are generally not well suited for wet, bath environments. You can certainly go over the flat paint with a quality paint of a higher sheen. Due to the dry, porous nature of the existing paint, you should plan on hitting the walls twice,  either with a dedicated primer followed by a finish coat, or, two coats of one of Behr's "paint and primer in one" products. Behr's Premium Plus, Premium Plus Ultra or Marquee can all go directly to the wall. When going over an extremely dry, poor paint, two coats assures a nice even sheen, along with more protection against moisture, and assurance of good color rendition.

In a wet bath environment, I would advise using the Ultra. With its nano composition, Ultra  forms an extremely dense, moisture and mildew resistant finish. In fact, when this paint first hit the market several years ago, it was called "Kitchen and Bath" paint. As the full line of Ultra sheens was added , Behr just dropped the K and B name.

One of the things I like about the Ultra is that you can actually use a lower sheen than the traditional semi-gloss in a bath. I personally have had the Eggshell Ultra in both my baths for the past 4 years and have nothing but praise for its durability. It is very scrubbable and not subject to the permanent streaking you have described.
Posted 2015-03-30T00:42:20+0000  by ordjen
I might suggest waiting until Ordjen stops by to comment but my, not professional painter thoughts:

  • Just repaint your bathroom with semi-gloss paint.  It's no more expensive than the other options and requires the same amount of prep work.
  • Coat the walls with Minwax Polycrylic. 
  • Buy a gallon of the deepest tint base (I believe that's #4) that Home Depot offers but don't have it tinted.  That will give you essentially clear paint.  Test it in a small, inconspicuous  area first, just to make sure the color doesn't change.

Posted 2015-03-30T00:44:20+0000  by Adam444
WOW pvanarsdall!

Two great suggestions ... guess I'll split the tie with my opinion.

I love creative solutions, but in this case the idea of semi-gloss clear coat over paint doesn't match my expectations for a long-lasting high-quality finish. Not that I wouldn't use this technique, I simply think there is a better alternative.

If you look carefully at Ordjen's recommendation, he suggests using a lower sheen, like eggshell.

That is more in line with my idea of a quality coating for a bathroom.

It will easily cover the existing flat paint and leave a low sheen that will wipe off easily.

I recently produced this video to describe "How To" Pick The Right Paint Sheen. 

And the second video describes "How To" Preparing Walls for Paint.

Posted 2015-03-31T15:58:50+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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