Best Waterproof Paint for Interior Walls

Updated May 17, 2024 | Posted Mar 24, 2024 | Product Advice, Professional insight | 0 comments

Choosing the best waterproof paint for interior walls isn’t as challenging as it sounds. First, you need to understand what the paint needs to do; Some waterproof paints are designed to stop water from coming into a property. Others protect against condensation and steam from inside your home.

Once you know what the paint needs to do, you can then think about the finish you’d like to achieve (matt, eggshell, etc). Then whether your paint needs any additional qualities such as antimould or antibacterial.

I’ve been a Professional Decorator for over 20 years, and in this blog, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about waterproof paints.


The Different Types of Waterproof Emulsion Paint


As you probably already know, emulsion is a water-based paint used on interior walls and ceilings. If you’re looking for a waterproof emulsion, then it’s normally for use in a bathroom, kitchen, or another room with a lot of condensation.


These waterproof paints can be split into different categories:

Durable Matt Emulsion

This is very much like a normal matt emulsion, except they use an acrylic polymer instead of vinyl, which makes it waterproof. (It can get a little more complicated than that. Manufacturers use copolymers nowadays, but it gives you the general idea).


Acrylic Eggshell

This contains more acrylic than durable matt does, meaning the paint is even more waterproof. It also has a higher sheen level, making it slightly less desirable.


Soft Sheen

This is another step up in acrylic, sheen level, and waterproof capabilities. However, this paint can look cheap.


Silk Emulsion

This is also waterproof, but you should avoid silk at all costs.

The Best Waterproof Matt Emulsion


Matt is the most desirable choice when it comes to a paint finish. However, it doesn’t matter how waterproof your durable matt paint is, if the room you use it in suffers from heavy condensation, the walls will eventually mark.

This is because matt has a pitted surface, so it can hold onto contaminants in the water. That said, a good durable matt emulsion is as waterproof as anything else, and providing you don’t use it in a sauna, you will be fine.

The best waterproof matt emulsion for me is Crown Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt. This paint is awesome and it’s very waterproof. You can buy it in basically any colour, it’s easy to use, and it’ll leave you with a fantastic finish. What’s not to love?

Crown Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt also comes as an antimould and antibacterial paint.

Crown Clean Extreme Scrubbable matt emulsion

Best Waterproof Acrylic Eggshell


As acrylic eggshell has a higher sheen level, it doesn’t look as good as matt. However, it is durable, and water will run off the surface of it without leaving a mark. This is a favourite waterproof paint for bathrooms and shower rooms.

There are loads of good trade quality waterproof eggshell paints available. Crown Clean Extreme make a brilliant one that also comes as an anti-mould. Click here to see online prices.

Armstead Eggshell is the one I’m going to recommend here though. It is slightly cheaper and fantastic quality. You’ll find the opacity great in colours (white sometimes takes an extra coat).

The flow is good, you won’t see any defects, and the overall appearance is bob on. It’s just a lovely paint, and one I use all the time, especially in bathrooms.

Armstead Eggshell is a good paint finish for bathrooms

The Best Waterproof Soft Sheen for walls


Soft sheen (often called mid sheen) is even more waterproof. It’s a paint I use in the rooms of commercial properties like school kitchens and communal areas. It isn’t something I’d generally use in someone’s home because it can look quite tacky.

There are loads of good soft sheen paints out there, all of which do the same job. Just go for a trade product and you can’t go wrong. Click here to see online prices.


The Best Waterproof Paint to Block Water Coming into a Room


If you have water coming into your home from the outside, then you should fix the problem rather than trying to solve it with paint. Otherwise, the water will still need to go somewhere and is likely to cause other problems.

However, if we’re talking about a basement or cellar, and the only issue is that the room is under the ground, then you can use a waterproof paint to essentially tank the walls. The only paint I know powerful enough to do this is Zinsser Watertite.

Ideally, Zinsser Watertite should be applied to bare brick, render or plaster. If you do that, then it will hold back up to 34psi of water pressure (which is about the tire pressure in my work van). You can even apply it to damp walls!

This is about the most waterproof a paint can be. It’s slow to apply, oil-based, and doesn’t go very far, so make sure you order plenty. The colour is an off-white, but you can paint over it with another paint if you don’t like the way it looks. You can get it tinted from some places, but white is the most used colour.

Zinsser Watertite Waterproof Paint in a basement



What paint is waterproof for interior walls?

Any paint with high levels of acrylic is waterproof. This includes durable matt, eggshell, soft sheen and silk.


Does interior waterproofing paint work?

It depends on the room and the situation. If water is coming into your home because of a broken gutter and you seal your walls with a waterproof paint without fixing the problem, that water will carry on coming in. If it can’t penetrate the paint on your walls, then maybe it carries on seeping in, and the problem manifests itself downstairs instead (just one example).

However, waterproof paint like Zinser Watertite works very well in a basement or cellar.


How do I protect my interior walls from damp?

You need to find the cause of the damp. Is it condensation from the inside? Is the water penetrating from the outside? Gutters? Window seals? Chimney? Work out what the problem is and then fix it.


What can I put over paint to make it waterproof?

There is a product you can use over paint on interior walls to make it waterproof. Polyvine Decorators Varnish is well worth checking out. You will need to apply one coat of satin, followed by two coats of “Dead Flat”.


Final Thoughts


I hoped this blog has helped you choose the best waterproof paint for your interior walls. There are other products on the market, and other Decorators might have different ideas to me. However, I have been honest in my recommendations.

Water can be a nightmare. It’s like in the first Jurassic Park film; all the dinosaurs were bread to be female, but when things went wrong, “nature found a way”. Well, water is just as stubborn as the dinosaurs were. Water always seems to find a way to ruin your home décor, but get it right, and your choice of paint will help.

Updated May 17, 2024 | Posted Mar 24, 2024 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.
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