Zinsser Perma White Review

As a professional decorator, I’ve been using Zinsser Perma White to solve mould issues for years and have used many iterations of the product including its most recent formula update.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to write an honest Zinsser Perma White review based on my own experience of using the product and have highlighted the pros and cons of using it including its excellent ability to inhibit mould growth as well as its subpar opacity.

Let’s dive deeper into the details…

Colour and Opacity

To kick things off, let’s address the colour. Zinsser Perma White sits comfortably between a stark white and a pure brilliant white.

However, it doesn’t boast the most impressive opacity, especially in white. More than a few times, I’ve observed that the coverage in white can be somewhat disappointing, often requiring between 3 to 5 coats, particularly when placed over colours.

And even then, touching it up under critical light might reveal inconsistencies. With that being said, when the surface is already white, it does an OK job and should cover in 2, depending on the condition of the existing paint finish.

Ideal Uses

The strengths of Zinsser Perma White come into play in moisture-prone environments.

It’s an unrivalled choice for kitchens and bathrooms. The reason? It’s virtually unmatched in preventing mould.

I’ve used this product for years in these damp and steamy spaces, and I’ve never been called back due to mould issues.

Honestly, it’s the only product I’d trust in such conditions, and many decorators I know say the same thing.

It’s also available in both matt and satin finishes, giving you some flexibility based on your preference (FYI – I prefer the matt).

A ceiling painted with Zinsser Perma White.
Here’s an example of what you can expect when painting a bathroom ceiling with Zinsser Perma White. A slight sheen but overall, a beautiful finish.


Although it serves as an excellent barrier against mould, the application can be a bit challenging.

The product is notably watery in consistency, so unless you’re putting it over a white vinyl matt first (which I would thoroughly recommend), you might find yourself needing to apply multiple coats.

And don’t even get me started on trying to cover colours – three coats over a light brown and it still looked like it needed another. On top of that, there’s a risk of it running, especially in corners so you will need to keep a close eye on that during application.

An interesting tip I picked up: give it a proper shake before using it. I’ve made the mistake of merely stirring it before, resulting in the need for additional coats. Once you shake it, there’s a noticeable thickening which makes the application process that much easier.

Durability and Protection

The strength of Zinsser Perma White isn’t just its anti-mould properties. It also showcases remarkable adhesion. From what I’ve experienced, Perma White seems to adhere to almost any surface, even old silk-painted ceilings.

On top of that, even after 6 years in my own shower room that is prone to getting steamy, it still holds up brilliantly. Zinsser guarantee 7 year performance but mine looks like it’s going to last even longer than that.

Comparison with Other Products

When pitted against other products like acrylic eggshell which is a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens, Perma White has a distinct advantage in preventing further fungal mildew growth.

Eggshell might offer better coverage, but it won’t last as long.

Simply put, with Perma White, you’re investing in a product that promises longevity, especially in environments susceptible to mould.

Pros of Zinsser Perma White

  • Anti-Mould Properties: Zinsser Perma White excels in combating mould, making it the go-to choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Long-lasting: This paint has proven to last for years, even in steamy environments, without degradation or loss of anti-mould qualities.
  • Adheres to Various Surfaces: Whether it’s old silk-painted ceilings or flaking bathroom paint, Perma White seems to go over almost anything.
  • Solutions for Problematic Surfaces: My customers who have used it in their bathrooms and kitchens prone to mould have been extremely impressed by its performance.
  • Two Finishes Available: It’s available in both Matt and Satin finishes, offering flexibility.

Cons of Zinsser Permawhite

  • Opacity Issues: The opacity, especially in white, can be poor. It might require 3-5 coats over colours and even then, touch-ups may be noticeable.
  • Watery Consistency: The thin, watery consistency can lead to a more labour-intensive application, including a tendency to run in corners.
  • Shaking Required: You’ll need to give it a good shake to avoid thinness; otherwise, it will take more coats.
  • Potential Sheen: If you’re looking for a flatter finish, the sheen might disappoint in light-critical situations.
  • Subpar Over Colours: Trying to cover coloured surfaces can be a real challenge, often requiring multiple coats.

Concluding Thoughts

Zinsser Perma White, while not perfect, excels in specific situations. Its ability to combat mould and adhere to challenging surfaces is outstanding.

My main gripe comes with its watery consistency and often poor opacity, especially over colours. But with a little patience (and a coat of white vinyl matt), this paint is one of the most reliable paints on the market.

If you’re dealing with a mouldy bathroom ceiling or a steam-prone kitchen, I would highly recommend Zinsser Perma White. It’s a 10/10 for me.