Why Is My Ceiling Paint Peeling In The Bathroom?

Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
bathroom ceiling paint peeling
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Paint that’s peeling upon your bathroom ceiling will gradually become worse and it’s worthwhile treating it earlier rather than later. Unlike other rooms in your house, your bathroom requires slightly different treatment due to condensation and failing to do so can cause the dreaded paint peel to occur. To give you an idea on what caused the paint to peel as well as how to remove and prevent it occurring again, the below guide walks you through everything you need to know.

What Causes It?

1. Incorrect Paint Was Used

The most common reason for paint peeling upon a bathroom ceiling is because the wrong paint was used. For example, many people tend to use emulsion paint in their bathroom but this isn’t the best suited paint for the room.

Therefore, using a dedicated bathroom paint that’s moisture and steam resistant is highly recommended. Alternatively, most mould resistant paints have the same qualities, which makes it perfect for the bathroom.

2. Lack of Ventilation

Another common reason why paint peels upon your bathroom ceiling is due to the lack of ventilation. For example, if there is no extractor fan or the window isn’t opened to let the moisture out, damp air will settle on the walls and ceiling.

3. Fresh Plaster

If the bathroom has recently been plastered but no mist coat was applied, this may be the reason why its peeling. This will happen regardless to whether you used the correct water resistant paint or not.

Therefore, it’s crucial that a mist coat is applied to fresh plaster before you apply your bathroom paint. If you have never applied a mist coat before, we’ve created a tutorial on how to paint new plaster.

4. Poor Application

Sometimes poor application of the paint can lead to peeling as well as cracking. For example, poor application can include the ceiling or walls not being cleaned before painting or not enough drying time being given between coats.

peeling paint bathroom ceiling
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

How To Remove Peeling Paint

If you have decided that enough is enough and you want to remove the peeling paint, follow the below steps:

  • Use a wallpaper/paint scraper to remove loose paint from the surface
  • Sand back any rough edges with a fine grain sandpaper (you can also use a palm sander)
  • Use a filler on any cracks
  • If there is any mould nearby, remove it with a suitable mould remover
  • Ensure the surface is smooth and level (if not apply a finishing skim)
  • Apply a primer to help prevent it peeling again
  • Start to repaint using a suitable paint (begin cutting in at the edges and then use a paint roller for the rest)

Depending upon the size of the ceiling (or wall) will determine how long the above steps will take. However, after removing and repainting the area correctly, you shouldn’t have to deal with it again in the future.

How To Prevent Peeling Ceiling Paint

1. Use A Water Resistant Paint & Apply It Correctly

Using either a bathroom or anti-mould paint that’s water resistant will certainly help to prevent paint peeling upon your bathroom ceiling. However, how you apply the paint is just as important as the paint itself. Therefore, ensure that the surface is clean and enough drying time has been provided between coats to avoid any issues arising later on.

2. Improve Ventilation In The Room

Improving ventilation by installing a bathroom extractor fan is another great way to stop paint peeling. Not only will it help to prevent peeling but it also helps to prevent mould because any damp air will be extracted from the room. If you currently have mould in your bathroom, we wrote a guide that covers multiple ways to get rid of mould with ease.


Peeling paint upon the ceiling can ruin the appearance of the room and its something you’ll want to sort out sooner rather than later. Hopefully our guide to paint peeling upon bathroom ceilings has answered all of your questions. However, if you require further information, feel free to get in touch and we will try to help out where possible.

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