As you can probably imagine, your shower walls would stand to benefit quite a lot from applying a bathroom-safe, waterproof paint. That being said, no ordinary paint can be used on your shower tiles and walls since most can’t protect against water damage or humid conditions.
Luckily, thanks to the advancements in the paint industry over the last several decades, there are specifically designed waterproof paints that can be safely applied to any indoor (or outdoor) shower.
However, in order for you to jump into the market with all of the necessary information to make an educated decision, there are a few considerations you will need to make beforehand. With that, and everything else you need to know about waterproof paints for showers, as well as some of the best available paints on the market. We’ve put together the following guide.
What to Consider Before Buying Paint for Your Shower
One of the most important things to consider before buying paint for your shower is the safety precautions that need to be made before applying the application. Since most of these paints are commercial-grade and strong enough to endure high temperatures and extreme moisture levels. They are also more than likely to contain harsh, and dangerous chemicals. Meaning that you will need to equip yourself with all of the necessary tools to safely paint your shower, without putting yourself in harm’s way. The best way to do this is by ensuring that you always have good ventilation, and are using a proper respirator if you don’t already have one.
Another point of consideration you should make is whether or not you need to apply primer beforehand. A good primer can help to seal out water and moisture, as well as help the paint adhere to the surface below, both of which are essential. When moisture penetrates the paint layer and comes into contact with the surface underneath, it can not only damage the paint but potentially the surface as well. Which causes the paint to peel, and mold to form. However, if you combat this with a quality primer, it can help to prevent this entire situation from occurring.
Type of Paint
Since this paint is going to be applied in a location that is sure to endure hours of high heat and moisture, you will need it to be durable. Generally speaking, there are two primary choices when it comes to waterproof paints; water-based and oil-based. While water-based applications are more likely to maintain the overall color and aesthetic of the paint for a longer duration of time. Oil-based paints are by far the better alternative for showers because they are more likely to be able to withstand high levels of moisture and also give off more vibrant hues.
Type of Shower
Another essential factor to consider is the type of shower you have. Depending on whether your shower is made of tile, porcelain, plastic, metal, or drywall, this can have a dramatic effect on which paint you should use, and how it should be applied. All of these materials are going to carry different consistencies, which can affect how the paint adheres to the surface.
Not only that, but some might carry varying waterproofing capabilities, and may just be more ‘aesthetically pleasing’ when matched with certain paints, and levels of gloss. For example, if you paint over tiled surfaces then you might have better luck with high-gloss tile paint. This is because when you paint over ceramic tile walls you might lose some of the tile’s unique characteristics because the grout lines are going to be the same color as your tiles.
The next thing that you will want to think about is how to apply the paint, as you can either roll or brush the paint on, or spray it on with a can. Roller painting allows the paint to go on as a thicker coat, which generally means that it is going to adhere better to the surface. Plus, if you use a foam roller to apply the paint then this will probably result in a much smoother finish.
That being said, spray painting can get the job done about 2-3 times faster than roller painting. Since the paint essentially transforms into mist, which allows you to apply coats at a much faster rate. Depending on what you’re painting, and how much surface area you need to cover, one method may be better than the other.
The last thing that you will want to take into account is the actual finish of the paint itself, since waterproof paints for showers also typically have rather unique finishes. Of the available finishes, the options that are likely to be the best for showers are semi-gloss, or high-gloss. Satin is where you start to see some glossiness, and this can certainly be used in low-moisture bathrooms on the walls and ceiling, though maybe not the best choice for the shower itself.
Whereas semi-gloss naturally repels moisture, and doesn’t offer as high of a shine as high-gloss, making it suitable for both the walls and shower itself. While high-gloss also repels moisture, but doesn’t have the best aesthetic appeal when applied to large surfaces because it naturally reflects light and shows up any bumps that are present. Regardless, either one of these choices is more than suitable for painting a shower.
10 Best Waterproof Paints for the Shower
The number one best waterproof paint for showers is the Bathworks DIY Bathtub & Tile Refinishing Kit. Available in 4 neutral colors, this exceptionally durable formula can be confidently applied to any porcelain, fiberglass, cultured marble, plastic shower modules, and any other bathroom surface.
Furthermore, the kit comes with a non-slip guard kit and can cover up to 60 sq. ft. of surface area (average bathtub). Plus, once this top-of-the-line, commercial-grade bathtub, shower, sink, and bath wall paint is applied, the entire solution dries in less than 24 hours. Providing an extremely glossy, durable and long-lasting finish for years to come.
Another fantastic alternative is the INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer, which is, without question, the best primer option on the market. This premium-quality, acrylic-urethane bonding primer-sealer comes with unparalleled adhesion to even the most challenging of surfaces. Including glossy tile, PVC, vinyl, plastic, glass, fiberglass, galvanized metal, and more. Successfully bonding to ‘hard-to-coat’ surfaces with relative ease, and can be top-coated with almost any product.
Moreover, the entire application fully cures in temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and covers up to 75-100 square feet of space for both interior or exterior use. Plus, the Stix Waterborne Primer levels to a smooth surface and cleans up with the simple use of soap and water.
Next up is the Rost-Oleum Specialty Tub and Tile Spray Paint. This extremely durable one-step epoxy acrylic formula is capable of withstanding heavy moisture, extreme heat, and can safely be applied to any ceramic, porcelain, or fiberglass surface. Making it perfect for any indoor or outdoor tiles, sinks, or bathtubs.
Furthermore, it is a durable and corrosion-resistant finish that is smooth, glossy, waterproof, and porcelain-like in appearance, and dries to the touch in just 15 minutes. Covering up to 15 square feet of surface area per can. Although, you will need to wait up to 3 full days for the surface to fully dry before you can expose it to water. Nevertheless, it’s proven to be one of the most effective, and inexpensive ways to waterproof your shower.
The RTG Supply Co. Shower & Tub Refinishing Paint is a remarkably strong, water-based polyurethane formula that provides a long-lasting finish to any acrylic, fiberglass, or enamel surface. The finish is not only low-sheen, helping to make even the unsightliest showers more alluring, but it’s also long-lasting and carries unbeatable resistance to extreme water temperature.
Also, this unique formula is low-VOC, eco-friendly and made without the use of toxic fumes, making it perfect for either indoor or outdoor use. Plus, it dries quickly in as little as 1 hour, provides up to 80-100 square feet of coverage per quart, and is easy to clean and maintain with the simple use of soap and water.
Another extraordinary alternative is the Rust-Oleum 206999 Marine Topside Paint. It is a strong oil-based formula that is flexible and applies easily to any fiberglass, wood, or metal surface with excellent levelling. Its durable coating resists abrasion and extreme weather conditions, as well as provides long-lasting UV protection. Making it ideal for either indoor or outdoor use.
Furthermore, it carries superior gloss retention and provides a smooth finish which helps to maintain the beauty and elegance of your home surfaces. Plus, it dries to the touch in as little as 1-2 hours and covers up to 100 square feet of surface area.
Next up is the Magic Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit. Which features a spray-on formula that provides superior white color, with smooth coverage and a glossy finish. This quality application gives off a high-gloss porcelain-like finish that features a ‘Bright White’ color, and covers up to 35-45 square feet of surface area. Which is generally enough for the average bathtub or shower. Moreover, its 360-degree valve spray can is able to operate at any angle (even upside down), and successfully works on ceramic, porcelain, acrylic, and fiberglass surfaces.
Sliding into our 7th spot on the list we have the Ekopel 2K Bathtub Refinishing Kit. It is another extremely effective and long-lasting waterproof paint that can be confidently used to repaint any shower inside of your home. The kit itself comes with a foam roller with covers, material scooper, easy-pouring, and safe-to-use Ekopel 2K enamel.
Moreover, after the Ekopel solution is applied, it cures in less than 24 hours and provides a thick, full-seal coating that beautifully restores tub surfaces to a ‘like new’ bright glossy finish. Plus, the entire solution is eco-friendly, non-toxic, and fume-free, made without the use of harmful chemicals.
The Homax Tub and Sink One-Part Epoxy spray is another very popular application that can be used in showers. This high-gloss and protective finish works on a variety of different surfaces that are subject to severe and frequent washing, including fiberglass, porcelain, glazed ceramic tile, laminate and more. Making it ideal for any indoor shower, bathtub, or sink.
Moreover, it comes in a 32oz aerosol can that allows you to easily spray onto any surface, and provides a tough as tile, hard, protective finish that remains beautiful for years to come. Plus, this product is manufactured in the United States, and dries incredibly fast.
Alternatively, they also provide a brush-on formula that carries all of the same features but instead provides superior adhesion, and covers more surface area.
Next up is the Armoglaze Shower Base Refinishing Kit. With the proper surface preparation, Armoglaze is a specially formulated epoxy enamel formula that can easily adhere to any porcelain, enamel, acrylic, fiberglass, or terrazzo surface in less than 36 hours. The unique formula was developed by professional re-glazers who wanted a much sturdier design, with it being much thicker than DIY adjusting and incredibly easy for anyone to apply. Furthermore, it is a high-quality odorless enamel that carries no VOCs, toxic fumes, or harmful odors, and provides a porcelain-like finish that is easy to clean and maintain.
Plus, you are even provided with an easy-to-follow instructional video that offers step-by-step training on how to re-enamel your shower with confidence. As well as all the application tools needed for the entire process. However, to help you get a jumpstart on the process, we have provided the following video that will help show you how to refinish a shower or bathtub using the Armoglaze Shower Base Refinishing Kit; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsCfA0EfzZo.
Finally, we have the Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing 2 Part Kit. Which comes with a durable, high-performance, epoxy acrylic paint that combines the performance of a professional-quality formula, with the convenience of a consumer-friendly process. Moreover, the kit allows for simplified cleaning and etching, ensuring that no acid-etching is required, and that the entire process can be completed in less than a day.
Plus, the entire Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing 2 Part Kit provides a finish that is durable, washable, and self-levelling in order to minimize brush marks. While also providing excellent wear and abrasion resistance, as well as superior adhesion in water. On top of all this, this flexible application comes with a short recoat time, as you can confidently apply the second coat in less than 2 hours after laying down the first coat.
How to Paint a Shower:
Step #1 – Remove Old Shower Caulk
The first thing that you will need to do is scrape off any old caulk around the shower and tub. For this step, you can use a standard putty knife, or even a razor blade if you need to. Just be careful not to scratch the shower. Then sand down the surface afterwards to get rid of any leftover remnants.
Step #2 – Clean the Shower
The next thing you will have to do is clean down the entire shower with bleach and water in order to kill the mildew. Be sure to use gloves, and a sponge when you’re scrubbing down the interior of the shower and tub. Make sure to focus on the dark spots where the mildew is growing. Afterwards, wet the shower and scrub down the leftover soap scum with standard bathroom cleaner.
Step #3 – Repair any Chips or Holes with Filler
Next, repair any damage to the tiles by taking a little bit of epoxy putty and applying it to any chips or holes that are present. Simply take a dab of putty and pour it into a mixing tray, stir around for half a minute, and go around covering every hole until its flat. Afterward, you will need to wait about an hour for the epoxy to fully dry before moving on to the next step.
Step #4 – Sand Down the Walls or Tiles
Now you will need to sand down the entire shower, ideally start with 120-grit sandpaper before finishing off with 220-grit. Make sure to hold the sandpaper tightly and rub the shower with a firm, bath-and-forth motion. Repeat this process until the shower and tub surface is smooth enough to paint over.
Step #5 – Tape off the Border of the Shower and Tub
The next step you will need to take some painters tape, and place strips along the border of the shower. Also tape over any fixtures or hardware that you were unable to remove.
Step #6 – Apply Primer
Before you start painting, you will first need to apply primer so that the paint properly adheres to the surface, and moisture doesn’t leak out later on. Make sure to get primer (and paint) that is designed for the material you are painting over.
Step #7 – Paint the Shower
Finally, once the primer has settled, all that’s left to do is paint your shower. Simply pour some paint into a tray, and roll away! Ideally you should try to roll the paint around the shower in a smooth, up-and-down motion until you’ve covered it all.
What’s the Difference Between Shower Paint and Shower Membrane Paint?
Shower membrane paint carries a lower permeability that prevents water leakage completely, and also serves as a vapor retarder. Plus, since its compatible with various surfaces, such as gypsum fiber, concrete, masonry, cement, and others. It is going to be far more durable and capable of withstanding extreme moisture compared to typical shower paint.
Can You Paint a Shower Door Frame?
You absolutely can paint a shower door frame, but you will need to be precise, and aware of the type of material your shower door frame is made of. Depending on whether it is made from metal, plastic, or fiberglass, you will have more success with certain types of paint. For example, if you have a metal door frame (which most do), then you should be using metal acrylic latex paint that includes a rust inhibitor. Also, make sure that your door frame is clean before you start painting it. Paint will not stick to dirt, dust, grease, or soap scum, so you will need to take the time to clear all of this away before you start painting.
Can You Paint Shower Glass?
Absolutely! One of the best ways to beautify your shower is by painting over the glass shower door with a unique design that reflects your individual sense of style. Plus, if there is a window in your bathroom that is situated near or directly in line with your shower door, then the painted glass can be a real solution for light control, privacy, and energy efficiency. Just make sure that you are investing in true glass paint, because it will be different than your standard shower or house paint.
All in all, there’s no denying that painting over leaking shower tiles with waterproof paints is always beneficial and a proactive way to properly maintain and expand your interior space. Plus, there are tons of waterproof paints on the market that are not only inexpensive but also actively help to fight against corrosion, cracks, and damages due to moisture. Now that we’ve gone over some of the best waterproof paints available, as well as a list of considerations to make beforehand, you are more than equipped to effectively waterproof your shower.
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.