The best paint for bathroom ceilings has a semi-gloss finish. This finish holds up to wear over time, is washable and resists mildew. Ceilings in any room tend to gather mildew as the heat and moisture rise, but the bathroom contains more steam and humidity than many other areas.
Semi-gloss paint is also the best choice for cabinets and walls in a bathroom, as moisture is present throughout the room on a regular basis, as a result of shaving, showering and bathing. Acrylic paints dry faster than paints with an oil base. Some paints are labeled for use in the bathroom and have chemicals that fight mildew in them.
The only drawback to using a semi-gloss paint is its tendency to reflect light and reveal imperfections on the surface. Also, semi-gloss paint tends to develop a dull finish after a thorough cleaning. A satin finish has even less shine than semi-gloss and conceals flaws. If the ceiling contains sheetrock seams or cracks with patches, a satin finish might be preferable.
Before painting the ceiling, the homeowner should soak a sponge in a solution of three parts water and one part bleach, and wash the ceiling thoroughly. Then he should rinse the ceiling surface clean and allow it to dry thoroughly before painting the ceiling.