Why Is My Bathroom Ceiling Paint Peeling?

Get to the bottom of why your bathroom ceiling paint is peeling and discover our solutions in this guide.
Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
bathroom ceiling paint peeling
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Paint peeling on your bathroom ceiling will gradually worsen, and treating it earlier rather than later is worthwhile. 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 of what caused the paint to peel and how to remove and prevent it from occurring again, the guide below walks you through everything you need to know.

What Causes Your Ceiling Paint To Peel?

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 them perfect for the bathroom.

2. Lack of Ventilation

Another common reason why paint peels upon your bathroom ceiling is 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 it’s peeling. This will happen regardless of 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 and cracking. For example, poor application can include the ceiling or walls not being cleaned before painting or insufficient drying time 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 from 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 help prevent paint from peeling upon your bathroom ceiling. However, applying 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 from peeling. Not only will it help prevent peeling, but it will also help 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 on the ceiling can ruin the room’s appearance, and it’s 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 contact us, and we will try to help out where possible.

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