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How To Repaint a Bathroom Ceiling

It is common for moisture to damage a bathroom ceiling causing mold and mildew damage or even peeling paint. If your ceiling is sheetrock or lathe and plaster follow these simple steps to repaint your ceiling and give it a fresh, new look.

A moisture-damaged ceiling

A moisture-damaged ceiling


  1. Remove any loose or peeling paint with a scraper, putty knife, or wire brush. Go easy here so you do not damage the ceiling surface.
  2. Wash the ceiling with trisodium phosphate to remove grease and dirt.
  3. Let the ceiling dry thoroughly. Use a fan and heat, if necessary.


  1. Use a good quality primer and apply at least two coats according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ceiling surface must be completely dry at this point.
  2. Use a primer that is compatible with the paint you are going to use. Use a good product like Kilz for latex paint and choose a primer compatible with oil base paints if you want to use those.
  3. You can use a shellac to seal any stains on the ceiling that will not come off so they do not bleed through the finish.
  4. Cut in around fixtures like lights and fans with a good quality paintbrush designed for the type of primer you are using and for cut-in work. Avoid large paintbrushes or the sponge type paint pads.


  1. Apply the first coat of paint with a good quality paintbrush or short nap roller.
  2. Using a paintbrush, cut in around lights, fans, moldings, and shower trim first.
  3. Roll on a light coat of paint going in one direction and overlapping strokes.
  4. Roll very lightly across the first coat at 90 degrees to the direction you first rolled before it dries.
  5. Apply a second coat using the same technique you used on the first one.


  1. Keep the bathroom fan running to vent fumes outside and help the drying process
  2. Use long rubber or vinyl gloves and goggles to protect yourself while washing the surface with tsp.
  3. Screw a handle extension into your roller handle to avoid having to stand on a ladder or stool to paint.
  4. For a best quality finish apply an oil or latex enamel that will wash easily.

A good quality cut-in brush for latex paintUse a handle extension with a roller

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