6 Best Drywall Primer for Bathroom Walls & Ceiling [2023 Reviews]

Drywall is a commonly used home interior partition in bathroom walls and ceilings. The bathroom is moisture-prone, resulting in mold, mildew, and fungus. Controlling mold and mildew is necessary because they damage the drywall, giving your restroom a dull look. So, how to save bathroom drywall from mold?

Using the best drywall primer for the bathroom will help you get rid of mold and mildew. Primer performs as a base color of the paint. Once bathroom drywall is primed, applying paint becomes easy. Moreover, the paint remains smooth and fresh since mold can’t damage them.

Keep reading to find out the best primer for the bathroom.

Best Drywall Primer Bathroom

Types of Primer to Use on Bathroom Drywall to Prevent Mold & Mildew:

Primer and paint are not the same things. The responsibility of a primer is to coat a wall and fill imperfections so that the paint can be applied smoothly.

Drywall variants are also more dependent on the formula, thickness, etc. Cement board, green board, blue board, whiteboard, paperless, purple drywall, soundproof, soundboard, Enviroboard, etc., are some of the most commonly found drywall in the market.

While bathroom walls and ceiling primers are available in several options. So, learning about the types is the first step before buying a moisture-resistant primer for the bathroom.

a) Oil-based Primers:

These primers are great for wooden drywalls like frames, doors, windows, wall paneling, etc. Maximum sealing power is the main characteristic of oil-based primers. They can seal the porous surface of wood quite effectively. Alkyd primers is the other name of oil primers, resisting mold and mildew efficiently. They can be used for preparing metal surfaces as well.

Best for: Most exterior and the interior surface made of wood

Don’t Use: Masonry; if you want easy cleaning and quick-drying primer

Pairs Best with: Oil-based paint

b) Water-based Primers:

For its water-based formula, this type is the easiest one to clean. Fewer chemicals are used in water-based primers. Moreover, they are best for least VOC, less chemical, quick-drying, low fumes, and indoor projects.

Best for: Drywall, indoor surfaces

Don’t Use: Cedar wood

Pairs Best with: Acrylic or latex paint

c) Latex Primers:

These primers use water-based formulas, and surprisingly they don’t contain latex. The drywall becomes much more durable after applying latex primer. Cracks, peels, or chips will never appear on drywall once latex primer is applied. Cleaning is effortless and drying timeless too. They are VOC-free.

Best for: Drywall, masonry, exterior or interior, galvanized metal, softwood.

Don’t Use: Metal, hardwood, dark stains, or imperfections

Pairs Best with: acrylic or latex paint

d) PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) Drywall Primer:

The main ingredient of PVA latex primer is latex, and many professionals prefer it to use over drywall. It is pretty inexpensive and works best on the porous surface. Moreover, you can tint primer before using it to match the paint you want to use on it perfectly.

Best for: budget-friendly consumers, interior, sheetrock, fresh drywall

Don’t Use: heavy stains, wood

Pairs Best with: low and flat sheen paint

e) Shellac Primer:

If you need to cover heavy stains, deep imperfections, watermarks from bathroom drywall, use shellac primer without hesitation. These primers offer the best result when used on heavy-duty projects. After applying, you don’t need to wait for long hours to dry. Sadly, they contain VOC. So, proper ventilation and wearing safety gear are mandatory when working with them.

Best for: drywall, plastic, interior drywall, wood, metal, plaster

Don’t Use: outdoor drywall

Pairs Best with: latex or oil paint

f) Sealer Primer:

Use sealer primer along with your regular primer for the best outcome. These primers are sandwiched between the topcoat and primer. For example, if a dark color is under the drywall you are painting, the sealer primer seals the surface and blocks the color from seeping through. However, many premium quality sealers contain sealing ingredients, making it unnecessary to apply sealer primer separately.

Best for: Dark painted walls or ceilings

Don’t Use: If you don’t want to add an additional step in the sealing process

Pairs Best with: Any paint

6 Best Drywall Primer for Bathroom Walls & Ceiling [Reviews of 2023]:

Here is the review of the best 6 drywall primer for bathroom.

1# Best Overall: KILZ L204511 Bath Interior Latex Primer:

KILZ L204511 Bath Interior Latex Primer


Paint type: Watercolor

Surface Recommendation: Wood, Drywall, masonry

Color: White

Usage: Interior

Finish Type: Matte

Special Feature: Stain-resistant, Mildew-and-mold-resistant

Eliminate mold and mildew permanently from your bathroom using the KILZ L204511 Latex Primer. It offers an outstanding adhesion on any interior surfaces and lets you apply paint over it without hassle. This primer is specially formulated in rooms where moisture and humidity level is high.

Mold and mildew gets trapped between the paint and primer. The good news is; enhanced mildew-resistant film is used in its formula which prevents mold buildup. After applying this primer, your paint application process will be much easier than before. More importantly, it helps get an even, well-leveled and smooth finish.

KILZ L204511 delivers high block for color changes. In terms of hiding light to medium stains, it is a CHAMPION! Moreover, it is efficient in sealing porous surfaces. So, you will get the best result when applied to a wide range of surfaces like fabric, untreated wood, fabric and sponge. When applying, all you need to do is, make sure the surface is well-prepared.

Application process of this primer is so simple with roller. Brush or paint sprayer will also let you apply it easily. When using a paint sprayer, the manufacturer recommends using a 60 mesh filter, 2,500 – 3,200 fluid pressure, and tip of .015″ – .021″ 1 gallon covers minimum of 300 – 400 sq. ft. However, its coverage depends on the application process, surface porosity and texture.

It features a low VOC formula which means wearing safety gears becomes pointless while using. In addition, cleaning is hassle-free with soapy water. The primer dries quickly and allows you to paint after 1 hours.


  • Contains high mildewcide components for blocking mold and mildew
  • Specifically formulated for kitchen and bathroom drywall
  • It can be used with air sprayer, roller, and paint brush
  • Effectively blocks light to medium stains
  • It comes with decent coverage 300 – 400 sq. ft. per gallon


  • A little bit thinner that you may need to apply 2 coats on a few surfaces

2# Best for Interior and Exterior: KILZ High-Hide Stain Blocking Latex Primer Sealer:

KILZ High Hide Stain Blocking Latex Primer


Paint Type: Watercolor

Surface Recommendation: Drywall, Wall

Color: White

Unit: 128 Fl Oz.

Usage: Interior. Exterior

Finish Type: Gloss

Finding the best primer for exterior and interior drywall is challenging. You will love to know that the KILZ High-Hide Latex Primer delivers the same result when applied on interior or exterior walls. More importantly, it is applicable for a variety of surfaces like plaster, masonry, brick, etc.

This powerful primer uses water-based formula, helping you achieve a uniform paint. Covering deep stains or imperfection is not a difficult one with this unit. It even offers fixing on different surfaces. With right consistency, it seals porous surfaces. At the same time, it provides protection to your bathroom drywall from mold and mildew.

Before applying, it is mandatory to prepare the surfaces thoroughly. Otherwise, you will not get the expected result. Apply it using a roller, brush or paint sprayer. However, the best result can be achieved with the roller. For severely damaged wood, 2 coats of primer are required. It is really thick and easy to apply. Coverage is also similar to standard primer which is 300 – 400 sq. ft.

Generally, with other primers, well-ventilated space is a must. But with this primer, you don’t need to take much precautions like wearing hand gloves, face mask, etc. This is because of its low VOC formula and it doesn’t create fumes. So, you can use it in an occupied home or office. Clean the surrounding area once you finish applying.

Whether you have to cover peeling paint, chalk, grease, dust, rust, or mold, it is good enough in hiding everything. Moreover, the primer pairs perfectly with oil based paint. Overall, this primer sticks well, hides medium imperfections, dries fast and gives expected results.


  • Excellent adhesion and exterior durability
  • Thick and creamy formula
  • Extremely low VOC
  • Heavy-duty high hide primer seals grease, rust, peeling paint
  • It can be mixed with oil based paint


  • Not a good performer in hiding oil spots

3# Best Water-based Primer: INSL-X SXA11009A Waterborne Bonding Primer:

INSL X SXA11009A Waterborne Bonding Primer


Paint Type: Acrylic

Surface Recommendation: Walls, Wood, Ceramic, Vinyl, Tile, Doors, Ceiling, Tiles, Glass, Plastic

Color: White

Unit Count: 32 Fl Oz.

Usage: Interior, Exterior

Finish Type: Matte

Get nice and smooth finished paint after applying the INSL-X SXA11009A on your bathroom drywall. It is a premium-quality sealer that works well on the most challenging surfaces such as plastic, PVC, glass, tile, pre-coated siding, galvanized metals, etc.

Many professionals prefer it over other primers for its consistency. It bonds “tough-to-coat” surfaces, and top coating is also possible with almost any product. Additionally, it can be applied at a temperature as low as 35° F. It consists of powerful stain removing properties. It is thicker to cover roughly 70 – 80 sq. ft. for exterior and interior use.

You won’t have to sweat while applying because of the straightforward application process. This versatile primer will protect your bathroom and kitchen drywall from mold and mildew. You will always get a durable and long-lasting finish. Make sure to thoroughly clean and lightly sand the surface before priming.

Compared to other primers, recoating time is also not much longer. The quick-drying feature lets you apply topcoats just after 1 hour from the finish time. It is a water-based primer so that you can be assured of its safe use. Plus, a warm water and soap mixture makes the surrounding area cleaning process effortless.

If you are thinking of buying a primer for a previously coated drywall, you should give it a try. Low VOC formulation ensures you will never experience an allergic reaction. Simultaneously, it makes it better than more traditional primers.


  • It is more than a primer because it seals and blocks
  • Suitable for porous surfaces
  • Dries quickly for your convenience
  • It features mold and mildew resistant formula
  • Low odor and toxicity level


  • It may leave a brush mark

4# Best for Durable Result: Rust-Oleum 276087 Mold Killing Primer:

Rust Oleum 276087 Mold Killing Primer


Paint Type: Watercolor

Surface Recommendation: Metal

Color: White

Unit Count: 32 Fl oz.

Usage: Interior, Exterior

Special Feature: Mold-killing

Are you looking for a solution for common light to a medium mold issue in your bathroom drywall? Don’t look further; buy the Rust-Oleum 276087 Mold Killing Primer and say “bye-bye” to a mold problem. It comes with an effective mold-killing formula, making it eligible for commercial-grade mildew issues as well.

Provide a quality base coat to your bathroom drywall and get highly durable and long-lasting paint. Even if your bathroom partition is made of wood, metal, concrete, plaster, glass, glass enamels, etc., apply this primer without thinking twice. It has a powerful formula, making it ideal for non-porous exterior and interior surfaces.

Its coverage is relatively higher than other water-based primers. You will be able to prime 160 sq. ft. area by applying a gallon of it. Within 30 minutes, you will get a dry texture. After 1 hour, the primer can be recoated with paint. This way, you can finish a project on time. Once completed, clean the surface with warm water and soap.

Many people think that mold and mildew can grow again after priming. This conception is true when you use a cheap or poor-quality primer. It is a premium-quality primer that uses EPA registered antimicrobials. This feature prevents the future growth of different fungal organisms, mold, mildew, bacteria, and many more.

You can use it to hide or cover both bright and dark colors. It matches perfectly with the topcoat and leaves true color. The more important thing is the topcoat always gets an even and smooth finish. The primer covers different surface imperfections such as watermarks, fading, flaking, etc., so repairing these problems before priming doesn’t required.


  • Kills existing mold, mildew, and odor-causing bacteria
  • Bonds tough-to-paint surfaces effectively
  • It can be painted directly over imperfections without repair
  • You don’t need to apply several coats to get the required color
  • Kills and eliminates mold, mildew, watermarks permanently from bathroom drywall


  • This is pretty thin in coverage

5# Best Paint for Interior: Rust-Oleum 02761 Mold & Mildew Proof Interior Paint:

zinsser Mold Mildew Proof Interior Paint


Paint Type: Interior

Surface Recommendation: Shower

Unit Count: 126 Fl Oz.

Usage: Interior

Finish Type: Semi-gloss

Item Foam: Liquid

Most mold-resistant interior paint is available only in white or off-white colors. The Rust-Oleum 02761 is tintable to different colors, including pastel, off-white, or other medium paints. It means you can add your preferred color with it to give a better look to your bathroom drywall.

One of the best features of this paint is its fade-resistant characteristics. You will rarely find this feature in other primers in its price range. As a result, you will get much better durability than expected. Along with this characteristic, it is moisture-resistant and eliminates dirt and dust effectively. Thus, it becomes easy to clean paint. This is a helpful feature for the long-term.

Self-priming quality is another feature of this paint. This will let you save a considerable amount of time while painting, as sanding is unnecessary. It is a water-based paint that comes with a coverage capacity of 400 sq. ft. In order to get the best result, you will require 2 coats.

Too much thinning of this paint is not required while painting. Moreover, it doesn’t leave brush marks, roller marks, and dripping due to its decent enough thickness. After applying it, you can enjoy an extremely hot shower. Mold and mildew buildup due to moisture will be prevented forever when this paint is used on bathroom drywall.


  • Moisture, mold, and mildew resistant
  • Wide coverage of 400 sq. ft. per gallon
  • Water-based formula doesn’t have odor or smell
  • Allows you to save time and effort with its self-priming ability
  • Color doesn’t fade for several years


  • The self-priming feature is not much effective than its competitors

6# Best Oil-based Primer: Rust-Oleum 5001 Mold/Mildew Waterproof Paint:

Mold Mildew proof waterproofing Paint


Paint Type: Oil

Surface Recommendation: Wall

Color: White

Unit Count: 128 Fl. Oz.

Usage: Interior and Exterior

Size: 1 Gallon

Mold and mildew can damage your bathroom drywall like nothing. Save your bathroom, kitchen, basement drywall by applying the Rust-Oleum 5001 Mold/Mildew Paint. It helps prevent fungus, watermarks, and other stains and gives you peace of mind for at least 5 years.

What makes it exceptional from other mold and mildew paints? This product has intense chemistry, making it ideal to use on drywall where the moisture level is high. Moreover, it is usable in both the interior and exterior. Furthermore, it can be applied on dry and wet drywall. It stops problems like Dry Lock as it is an oil-based primer. This is much more effective at keeping water out.

Many customers expressed their satisfaction with this product’s performance. After using different primers, they could not solve the mold problem in their bathroom. Then they applied this primer and received impressive results. Mold and mildew are gone from their drywall. Even Rust-Oleum 5001 eliminates musty odor from the wall quite efficiently.

Additionally, it uses EPA-approved antibacterial agents and is free from harmful elements. So, this paint is 100% safe to use. Its guaranteed water-resistant formula is 2X times more powerful than other paints. This paint leaves a smooth and consistent finish. It is thick enough and easy to apply. Drying time is exclusively less, which is 1-hour maximum, assisting you to finish a project within schedule.

Although you will never sweat during the application process, you need to be tricky before applying. Ensure that the source of mold and mildew is eliminated and then used. It is low VOC odor-free. So, you can concentrate on your work as the breathing problem will not be there.


  • Apply to wet or drywalls
  • Mold and mildew proof waterproofing paint
  • 2X times stronger than other primers
  • Oil-based and odor-free formula
  • Provides superior protection


  • Don’t apply on the plastic surface; it contains lead

Buying Guide – How to Buy the Best Primer for Bathroom?

The success of a bathroom painting project relies a lot on the primer. Mold and mildew can affect your bathroom drywall easily if you don’t use the best drywall primer for the bathroom. Otherwise, you will need to renovate your bathroom frequently.

Here are a few factors required to consider when buying primer for peeling bathroom ceilings.

a) Project Environment & Formula:

You might have already understood that all primers are formulated based on surfaces and environments. So, the project environment and formula are something that you need to consider without fail. Generally, drywall primers are available in 3 formulas: indoor, outdoor, and indoor/outdoor.

While indoor primers are best for interior drywall, outdoor is for exterior walls, and indoor/exterior is ideal for both environments.

Outdoor and Indoor/outdoor primers will allow you to complete a wide range of jobs around your home, along with a bathroom drywall project. They contain additives, resisting UV rays and keeping your outdoor drywall fade-free, crack-poof and temperature-proof.

On the other hand, indoor primers don’t contain additives, and they are solely manufactured for interior use.

Moreover, all these types feature mold and mildew-killing formulas to keep your drywall damage-free.

So, the best drywall primer for the bathroom needs to be chosen wisely, depending on your project environment and formula.

b) Durability:

Nobody wants to invest in a primer that starts providing poor results after a few days. Choose a durable primer that is intended to provide many years of service. Investing in bathroom painting projects quite often is impractical at all.

So, how do you know about a primer’s durability?

In this case, read customer reviews carefully. Also, latex primer is well-known for its durability. However, whatever primer type you buy entirely depends on your personal preference.

c) Water-Resistant:

The bathroom environment always remains humid. Moisture level also stays high in the bathroom. So, it would be best to choose a primer that can effectively deal with moisture and water.

A water-proof primer lets you prepare the bathroom drywall surface for paint. These primers will significantly reduce the chance of mold/mildew buildup.

d) Drying Time:

This factor is something that you can’t overlook. If you have a large family or painting required in the busy bathroom, the quick-drying time comes in handy.

Typically, most primers dry within 30 – 60 minutes. Occasionally, you will find a primer that takes a minimum of 24 hours to dry. This could be a problem based on your household.

If the drying time affects your bathroom use later, it is significantly essential to make a wise decision.

e) Application Process:

Your selected bathroom drywall primer should come with an easy to apply feature. Otherwise, working will be difficult, and nobody wants to work with a difficult-to-handle primer.

How Prime Bathroom Drywall in 4 Effortless Steps:

Prime Bathroom Walls Ceiling

Applying a bathroom drywall primer is effortless. Follow the below steps carefully.

Step 01: Wall Inspecting and Fixing Damages:

Preparation is significantly important when you decide to prime your drywall. Check the whole wall thoroughly for damages, cracks, mold, mildew, watermarks, etc. Re-sand or apply drywall compound according to the damage type.

Step 02: Surface Cleaning:

Once damage repair is done, grab a dry brush and remove all the dust off the walls.

Step 03: Drywall Priming:

Select a primer as per your project requirement. Start applying it on the drywall using an applicator like brush, roller, or paint sprayer. Evenly apply the primer for the best possible result.

Step 04: Let the Primer Dry:

All drywall primers come with a fast-drying feature. Drying time depends on the ventilation and humidity as well.

One coat is enough to hide any drywall imperfections. Also, a single coat works as a good base of paint. After drying the primer, don’t wait for too long before painting or next coat.

Which primer is better, Kilz or Zinsser?

Answer: Kilz and Zinsser both are good quality primers. But they have advantages and disadvantages.

Feature Kilz Zinsser
Odor Distinctive odor Less unpleasant smell
Consistency & Bleed Through Amazing coverage Amazing Coverage
Mold-resistance Highly resistant Highly resistant
Adhesion Great adhesion More powerful adhesion than Kilz
Price Budget-friendly Little bit more than Kilz
Rust-inhibition Less than Zinsser Highly rust resistant
Variety Different types are available Wide range of types are available
Consistency Thinner and easy to stir Thicker


Question: Do you have to use a special primer for a bathroom?

Answer: Yes, a special primer is mandatory for bathroom drywall. Find a primer formulated to seal and stick a drywall surface more effectively. At the same time, the primer should match the existing color and hide stains.

Question: Do I need to prime my bathroom walls before painting?

Answer: The bathroom is highly moisturized; hence priming bathroom drywall is required before painting. If you don’t prime bathroom walls or ceiling, the paint can peel, crack, damage, or get affected by mold and mildew. So, to avoid these problems, apply primer on your bathroom drywall before painting.

Closing Remarks:

Don’t waste your time and effort buying a poor-quality drywall primer for your bathroom. This is because the bathroom environment is hot and humid, increasing the chance of mold and mildew in drywall. With the best drywall primer for the bathroom, your bathroom drywall’s will remain damage-free, out of mold and mildew.

Simultaneously, the paint finish will be smooth and even. Choose the best formula as per your bathroom surface.

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Rogers Weber

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