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Community and Q&A

Bathroom paint and primer

pumafeet10 | Posted in General Questions on

I have been trying to search but cant seem to find exactly what I am looking for, but I am remodeling a bathroom and wanted to find what kind of paint and primer to use.
I will be using a dens armor  plus drywall with certainteed membrain underneath, but am completely unsure what kind of primer and paint to use on the fresh wall board, also will have mineral wool insulation, and need something low or no voc for the materials
I live in climate zone 5
Thanks for the help, i feel like i dont know the right questions to ask.

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  1. Debra_Ann | | #1

    Everyone handles various off-gassing chemicals differently. Most "low or no-VOC" commercial paints include SVOC chemicals, which could cause problems for some people. ECOS brand paints are pretty safe for most people, but they are incredibly expensive. I wish I could use them, but they may not fit in our budget.

    I'm going to be testing a variety of more affordable no-VOC paints to see how I react. I had tested a Greenguard certified construction glue, and could not tolerate it. I found a specialty glue that works great for me, but it's also very expensive. :(

    I don't tolerate most types of insulation, but seem to handle Rock Wool brand mineral wool insulation pretty well. You have more options if you are just looking for low VOC products, but don't have any chemical sensitivity issues like I do. Good luck!

  2. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #2

    A lot of people like Zinsser bullseye 123 water based primer. It’s good stuff and has been around a while. Zinsser has a new “bullseye zero” which is a zero-VOC water based primer. I have no experience with the bullseye zero product, but I’d be surprised if Zinsser came out with a crummy primer since they’re known for making good primers.

    Debra is right though, individual people’s sensitivity to the specific solvents used in these products varies. I myself have used Zinsser cover stain (the oil base version) lots of times and have no problem with it, but many people complain about the smell.

    It’s hard to recommend paint since there are so many kinds out there. I like PPG products myself, especially their manor hall interior line. It’s very good paint and a good price. You have to get it in their stores, but their stores can give you info about VOCs and other things if you are sensitive. I’d find a PPG store in your area and ask them if they can recommend a paint that would work for you.

    Note that sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore also have very good reputations, but they’re both more expensive than PPG and I have much less expierience with either.


  3. charlie_sullivan | | #3

    Debra, thanks for your comment. It's good to have the perspective and experience of someone with chemical sensitivity.

    When I was choosing paints, I found that, by the detailed specs, Benjamin Moore Natura paint was closer to true zero VOC than most so-called zero VOC paint, and I found the description of their approach to it more plausibly sincere than most of the other paint companies. Maybe that means that only hire the best greenwashers for their PR department or maybe they are actually trying to do it right. I don't know. But the paint was amazingly low odor and worked well. We did some ourselves and hired painters for some of it and everyone who worked with it was happy and we were pleased with the result.

    Not cheap, but we also got good service from our local dealer so that was worth something.

  4. pumafeet10 | | #4

    Thank you for the replies, I guess I should have been more clear, I am looking for the type of primer and paint, such as do I need a pva primer or is there an eco friendly water blocking primer or paint? Maybe something by afm safecoat?
    I am being overly paranoid about mold and water intrusion and want to do this project once, I’d rather over do it with minimal returns then have an issue later with water vapor or mold growth.

  5. Debra_Ann | | #5

    I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences. I'll check out some of the brands you all mentioned. And yes, there is a lot of greenwashing going on. It's so hard to know what to believe. Sometimes, the government slaps companies hands for misleading advertising:

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #6

      If you go to the manufacturers sites, they all list both a technical data sheet (TDS) and a safety data sheet (SDS). You can avoid the greenwashing and marketing drivel by just comparing the safety data sheets and technical documents. The guys at the actual paint stores are usually better than the people at the box stores too, and I think it’s because they’re used to working with contractors who have a lower tolerance for marketing stuff. Pros need stuff to work so that they don’t get callbacks.


  6. pumafeet10 | | #7

    I guess i will just put multiple coats of the zinser primer and should be good to go, not sure what else code might require

  7. FluxCapacitor | | #8


    I finished my basement bathroom 18 months ago using Benjamin Moore, Aura, Bath and Spa.

    I used two coats, no primer. IMO it’s low odor, excellent coverage, dries fast (almost too fast).

    So far it has survived daily use by kids surprisingly well for a flat paint.

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