bathroom humidity drip marks?

marciagFebruary 11, 2010

I recently repainted hallway bathroom with SherwinWilliams Bathroom paint --blue. The inner room of the BR, where toilet & bathtub are located, has a skylight. I am now seeing drip marks on the lower portion of the painted skylight 'walls' [not near the skylight itself--no leaks there] and some amber-yellow spots down on the edge of the BR ceiling (where the skylight wall connects to the regular bathroom ceiling). I'm confused that the spots are amber when the paint is blue but it looks related to the drip marks.

The rest of the BR has nothing like this. I am wondering if humidity is condensing up there where it is colder and dripping down? The BR vent fan is builder's grade and is kind of old. I am going to replace the fan with a new one with higher cfm, but is there anything else? Any way to 'seal' the skylight walls so if condensation drips, nothing damages the paint? Ideas welcome.

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Are you sure it is damaging the paint? It should just wipe right off if it is your every day surfactant leaching. It could be something from the skylight, but I doubt it...amber drips usually means surfactant leaching. You probably just need to let the paint completely cure and anytime you subject the uncured paint to mass amounts of moisture, this just makes the curing process take longer. You can upgrade the fan to help. You can also not use the shower for a while and/or leave the door open when showering to help.

Here is a link that might be useful: surfactant leaching

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:33PM
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Thanks paintguy. . I'll wipe it down and wait to see if things clear up. The paint isn't damaged. 2 kids who like long showers are using the bathroom so that probably explains a lot of it. Your suggestions are great.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 3:11PM
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marciag, so glad to see your post, as we are experiencing similar problems. We have been in our home a little over two years and noticed water stains in our master bath. We are both guilty of taking hot showers, and also guilty of not using the exhaust fan as often as we should have (we are NOW!) because never have had a problem before.

I had the plumbers come out and go through the entire house and attic, and no leaks were found. They seemed to think it was from the steam. Our bathrooms are all painted in Sherwin Williams Mannered Gold flat paint.

To my dismay (it's just the two of us who live here) I just noticed in the two other guest baths the same problem. One shower has probably been used at the most 7 times and the other not much more, yet both have the water marks. I know I should be relieved that we have no leaks, but I am bummed at the fact that we have to paint so soon.

In repainting, I'm assuming that we should go with a Kitchen and Bath type paint this time around. If so, is there any particular brand better than another?

Thanks, in advance, for your suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Your bathrooms are painted in a FLAT?!?!?!?!

A "Flat" sheen is the most porous surface for moisture penetration.
If it were up to ME, Semi-gloss would be the law-of-the-land in hot-shower bathrooms! SATIN...bare minimum.

Their binder-resin and surface is smoother & tighter. MUCH LESS moisture penetration into a film like this.

* Wash and rinse those walls. Let dry a day or 2.
* Prime with a top-notch Latex stain-blocking primer.
* TWO COATS of a top-notch Satin or S/G paint.
* ...and...KEEP THE FAN RUNNING!!! Even for 5-10 min AFTER the shower.
* Full cure-out time can be a MONTH for full washability.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 12:53AM
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Benjamin Moore's Aura paint eliminates this problem, you can use any sheen, anywhere and avoid running. Something to keep in mind for the future... Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:32AM
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Thanks so much, Faron and Jesst, for your suggestions. I will definitely share with the painter (when he shows up to give me an estimate) and we'll go from there.

Live and learn, I guess. Seems like our builder would have suggested not using flat paint in the bathrooms, but shame on us for not knowing.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:58AM
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Actually the Aura Bath and Spa is the choice here as the other finishes are also subject to leaching as well. It is a matte finish that disproves the rule mentioned in this post that you have to have shiny walls in a moist environment.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 1:02PM
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I hope I am able to find Aura Bath and Spa here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We're so behind everyone else, especially after Katrina, it seems. It might be we can find it in New Orleans or Mobile, perhaps. We're going to check around this weekend.

Interesting update. I had our electrician out yesterday. I have a list of odds and ends for him to do. He did the electricity needs when the house was built. I had him check our exhaust fans, which he said are top of the line, and when he saw the paint, his opinion was that it was a faulty paint job, or inferior paint. We did use a darker color in the bathrooms (SW's Mannered Gold) than the rest of the house (SW's Blonde) and the rest of the house looks fine. He even asked if our homebuilder had seen it, so I've let a message for him to come out to see it, too. So, stay tuned. ha.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 7:16AM
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The paint is not's just flat. Flat paint doesn't repel moisture, so it's just a bad choice for bathrooms. Most builders do a poor job of educating their customers on what they need, probably because most builders don't know anything about paint. I doubt your builder will accept blame for the problems in a bathroom painted with flat paint. Washable paint is an upgrade, so the painter would have had to charge more to paint it with a washable.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 8:43AM
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Thanks, paintguy, again, for your advice. I don't expect the homebuilder to do anything, but wouldn't mind showing it to him. I really feel stupid that we weren't more paint-savvy. We were still in a whirlwind after Katrina, and thought we were covering every base during the new build, but heck. Like I said before, live and learn. Thanks to you experts, I am learning, even if it's the hard way.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:10AM
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Dont' feel bad Wodka!

LIFE is all about learning, and paint is WAAAAAAYYYYY down on the priority list!

If your builder is open-minded enough, HOPEFULLY they too will learn a little something if they visit/see your "Flat-paint-in-a-bathroom" issues.

Take care,

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 12:05PM
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Faron, thanks! I totally agree that paint is way down on the priority list. This paint problem, although an expensive project that I wasn't thinking we'd have to face so soon, is definitely a "fixable" issue.

Thank you again for your expertise. If I may ask one more question? Should I try to match the original color "SW's Mannered Gold" or go with a lighter color? In other words, do darker colors show more imperfections/drips/etc. or with this Aura Bath and Spa's durability, does it matter?


    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 4:34PM
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Benjamin Moore just started delivering paint to your door, in case you can't find it in your area. Check their website... Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 6:10PM
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We moved into a house on December 24, 2010 and the bathrooms are painted with flat paint and have developed water marks. Should the builder rectify this? Should he have painted the bathroom with flat paint in the first place?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:37PM
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It's not the builders fault. It is standard for many builders, including all the builders I have ever worked for, to paint the entire house with flat paint. This is just how the industry is. I still actually see some people leave their bathrooms painted with flat forever. It depends on the bathroom. If you have 3 kids taking 40 minute steamy hot showers every day, that is a whole lot different than one or two people that take fast showers. If the bathroom ceiling is low and water actually bounces off your head and lands on the walls, then flat paint is just not going to last but if you have some tile that runs a few feet above the shower head, then flat paint may survive. There are just a lot of factors. The best and safest thing of course would be to use a washable paint, but that is an upgrade and usually when building a home if you want that you would have to ask for it.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 9:15PM
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I painted my master bath with Aura eggshell. We did not shower in that bath for 18 months and used our hall bath for showers. I just didn't want to have those drip marks. Well, we decided to do some sprucing up of the hall a
bath and began to shower in the MB. Sure enough the drip marks and leaching are horrible.

We used the Aura Bath and Spa in the hall bath. It was not avaiable when we did the MB.. So far there are not drip marks. It also looks much like a flat paint.

I don't think a darker color shows more drip marks. We had an off white and the drip marks showed there. I might also add that the MB does not have a fan b/c it has a window.(that's what they told us when we asked why no fan).

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 9:05AM
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I wish I could repaint all you "Guys'" baths!!

I would put on ONE FULL coat of FPE Eurolux Matte (looks like an Eggshell though), on a washed, dried, primed wall.

It's in my downstairs bath, where I shower occasionally.
After only 2 days of curing, I purposely rubbed water onto the wall...threw handfulls on the walls over the shower area!
Waited half a day, and wiped off with a lighly damp towel.

At work, I rubbed some pop/water onto a Matte Burgundy FPE.
Let the mess dry the whole day. Lightly wiped it off with damp cloth. No trace of anything left.
Again...this was 2 thin coats of Eurolux Matte "Wine Red".
Had dried ONE day....

NOTHING (normal) affects this stuff.

Does it cost more? Hell yeah.
Is it worth it? Also....Hell yeah.
Any problems....just guess....


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 12:53AM
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Can someone please tell me what the drip marks look like. today i came home from the airport and my wife says that i need to see something in the bathroom. when i got in there and looked at the ceiling there are small drips of what looks like yellow glue or pee... so i thought about it and came to the conclusion that my boys didn't pee on the ceiling and it must be something else. is this what the
moister drips look like. i am checking to see what was used to paint in there right now. any help would be great. thanks

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 2:17PM
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Yup, Nomadduke, That is exactly what it looks like... It is sticky like amber glue and I guess it DOES kind of look like pee... :-) So don't blame the boys... The info above will solve your problems..
Thanks PaintGuy and all... was having this problem with my newly painted bath. Think you solved it for me! I love these sites!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 1:40PM
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I know this thread is old. But I have this amber/yellow sticky stuff drip marks all over my hallways that apparently is surfactant leaching out from the paint. I was relieved it wasn't a leak or slimer ghost :D But just a word of caution, some people were recommending AURA from Benjamin Moore and wanted to relay that is the paint I used for the interior of my whole house. It didn't happen right away. I noticed it three years after painting.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

But I have this amber/yellow sticky stuff drip marks all over my hallways that apparently is surfactant leaching out from the paint.

Doubtful that is what is happening in a hallway

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 5:54PM
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I'm currently painting my parents' upstairs bath remodel - 2 coats of Kilz Original primer, Behr flat white ceiling paint and (hopefully 2 coats, have to see if enough) SW matte latex wall paint (looks eggshell in downstairs hall). It's a very small room with only 7'3" ceiling at the shower end, tapering down to 5ft over vanity/toilet.

I am putting 2nd (and maybe 3rd) coat of Kilz over the new greenboard walls today, and painting the ceiling - walls might end up being put off until tomorrow if not enough time/daylight. Contractor is installing floor, vanity, mirror, and hopefully sconces on Tuesday, plumber putting in toilet and shower head on Wed. Bathroom will be used Dec 23 or 24th when my sister comes for a week. Not a great vent fan (40+ yrs old and dusty though I tried to vacuum it out). Since it's off the bedroom and not hallway, best to just tell her to leave the door open when showering? There is a window in the bedroom right outside the bathroom (tucked into corner) - not sure if she should open that though if cold outside, would make condensation on that wall (where shower is too) worse - plus be cold on person stepping out of shower!

My dad apparently has never used the vent fan in the 15 yrs that he has been sleeping up there, but he gets wet, shuts off the water, soaps up, and rinses off so water runs about 2 minutes when he takes a shower. I would expect that with a nice acrylic 42" shower in place of dark mildewed tiled 36" shower my sister and BIL will be taking longer showers!

This post was edited by ajsmama on Sun, Dec 14, 14 at 7:58

    Bookmark   December 14, 2014 at 7:09AM
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