What Paint and Primer Is Best for High-Humidity Areas?

The unique challenges posed by moisture-laden environments demand paints specifically designed to resist moisture, prevent mold and mildew growth, and maintain their vibrant finish over time. So what paint and primers are best?

Water-based paint with moisture-resistance or mildew-resistance features is ideal for high-humidity areas. It’s also important to use a glossy finish that will help repel moisture. A primer with a sealing property helps protect against moisture damage and ensures proper paint adhesion.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for high-humidity areas
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for high-humidity areas

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for High-Humidity Areas

1. Moisture Resistant

When choosing paint for high-humidity areas, the first factor to consider is its moisture-resistant properties. Moisture-resistant paints are designed to combat the effects of high humidity and moisture exposure.

They contain unique additives that prevent moisture penetration, resulting in increased resistance to peeling, cracking, and fading. Choose a paint labeled as moisture-resistant or designed for high-humidity areas.

2. Type of Paint

Not every paint is suitable for high-humidity areas. Some paints are susceptible to moisture, while others are more resistant. Generally, acrylic and latex paints are the preferred options for humid areas because they are breathable and flexible.

They allow moisture to escape from the surface without damaging the paint or causing it to blister. On the other hand, oil-based paints are not recommended for high-humidity areas because they trap moisture within the surface, which may cause it to peel or crack.

3. Gloss Level

The amount of sheen in your paint can also affect its durability and resistance to moisture. Glossy paints are more resistant to water and moisture, whereas flat paints absorb more moisture.

4. Quality

Your paint quality is also essential in determining how it will stand up to high humidity. High-quality paint has more resins, pigments, and other additives, which makes it more durable and resistant to mold and mildew. When shopping for paint, choose high-quality brands that come with a warranty.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Latex Paint

Latex paint, or water-based paint, is a popular choice for painting interior and exterior surfaces. It is made of a water-soluble base and pigment, which makes it easy to clean up with soap and water.


  • Moisture Resistance: It is resistant to moisture, which is crucial for high-humidity areas.
  • Mildew Resistance: Many latex paints are formulated to resist mildew, a common problem in high-humidity environments.
  • Quick Drying: It dries relatively quickly, reducing the time exposed to humid conditions that can affect the drying process.
  • Easy Clean-up: As water-based paint, latex paint can be cleaned up easily with soap and water.


  • Surface Preparation: Requires thorough surface preparation, including cleaning, priming, and sealing, particularly in high-humidity areas.
  • Multiple Coats: May require multiple coats to achieve the desired coverage and finish.
  • Durability: While latex paint is fairly durable, it may not hold up as well as oil-based paints or specialized paints in harsh or constantly wet conditions.
  • Less Adhesion: Compared to oil-based paints, latex paint might have less adhesion, especially on glossier surfaces or where there’s a lot of moisture.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. It’s water-soluble but becomes water-resistant when dry.


  • Moisture Resistance: Acrylic paint is moisture-resistant, making it a good choice for high-humidity areas.
  • Versatility: It adheres well to a variety of surfaces.
  • Quick Drying: It dries quickly, reducing the time exposed to humid conditions that can affect the drying process.
  • Longevity: It’s known for maintaining color and resisting fading, even in high humidity.


  • Application Difficulty: High humidity can slow the drying process of acrylic paint, making it more difficult to work with.
  • Limited Time: It dries quickly, which can be a disadvantage when working on large projects, as it may start to dry before you’re finished painting.
  • Thinning Required: In high humidity, acrylic paint may need to be thinned out for smoother application, which could impact color intensity.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

When it comes to painting high-humidity areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchens, the choice of paint finish is crucial. Gloss or semi-gloss paint finishes are the best choices, as they offer the highest moisture-resistance properties.

Gloss paints have a shiny finish, and their hard, smooth surface makes them highly resistant to water and stains. They are easy to clean and maintain and are ideal for high-humidity areas with a lot of moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens.

Furthermore, gloss paints are also highly reflective and can enhance the visual appeal of any room by reflecting more light.

Semi-gloss paint finishes have less shine than high-gloss paint but still offer excellent moisture-resistance properties. They have a satin-like finish that can hide minor surface imperfections better than high-gloss finishes.

Semi-gloss paint finishes are great for high-traffic areas like laundry rooms, mudrooms, and entryways, as they’re easy to clean and more durable than flat paint.

The Best Paint and Primer for High-Humidity Areas

Best Paint

Zinsser Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Interior Paint is an excellent choice for those looking to enhance and protect moisture-prone areas in their home or business.

Its high-level protection against mold and mildew has earned it a reputation as a go-to for bathrooms, basements, and high-humidity areas. 

The paint film is guaranteed for five years, making it an investment that will last, and the washable, scrubbable, stain and moisture-resistant finish ensures protection against even the harshest conditions. 

The paint also boasts a self-priming function that allows it to stick to a surface without sanding. This feature saves time and effort, making it an ideal solution for those looking to complete a project fast.

Zinsser Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Interior Paint is water-based and has low odor, making it easy to use with minimal disruption to normal activities during application.

Additionally, it can be tinted to off-white, pastel, and medium colors, providing a wide range of options for creative customization.

Best Primer

Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Primer is a top-performing wall primer and sealer highly recommended for priming high-humidity areas indoors and outdoors.

Its flexible acrylic formula is specially designed to provide outstanding performance in highly humid environments.

One of its standout features is its ability to stick to all surfaces without sanding. This makes it an ideal choice for painting high-humidity areas where the surfaces might be damp or moisture-prone.

Additionally, the primer provides a mold and mildew-resistant barrier that helps prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms that thrive in humid environments.

This water-based primer dries in just one hour, making it a time-efficient choice for high-humidity areas where time is of the essence.

Furthermore, it can be applied in temperatures as low as (35°F) (2°C), providing flexibility and convenience for use in any climate.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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