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If you love a hot, steamy shower after a long day, it can be easy to get carried away and accidentally turn your bathroom into a sauna.

While that may be fun while you're under the stream of water, what happens once you open the shower curtain and notice that your walls are covered in condensation? 

Bathroom water problems are fairly common, especially in older homes. If your bathroom walls are sweating to beat the band when you shower or run a hot bath, you don't have to live with it. Once you understand what's causing your walls to sweat, you can take steps to reduce the symptoms.


bathroom remodeling ideadsWhat Causes Bathroom Walls to Sweat?

Though it may look like your walls are producing water, perhaps sweating or crying in some supernatural fashion, all that moisture actually comes right from your bathtub. Hot water from your shower fills your bathroom with very moist air, but when it hits the cold surface of your walls, that vapor condenses and forms droplets. Poor ventilation keeps steam trapped in your bathroom, and in severe cases, you may even notice that the droplets form rivulets that drip down the walls. 


The Problem With Bathroom Condensation

While some condensation is normal, excess water on your walls can eventually become a problem. Persistent moisture can lead to the growth of unsightly mildew and even dangerous mold, which can cause breathing problems and other illnesses. In some cases, excess condensation can lead to staining of your walls, as those tiny droplets contain chemicals and minerals from your water than can leave a mark over time. These particulates can also alter the finish of your paint, making it appear dull and lifeless.


remodeling ideas for small bathroomsTips for Fighting Bathroom Condensation

If you're tired of your walls weeping every time you need to get clean, try these tips to minimize the problem. Start with one at a time and move up until you get the results you're looking for:

  • Cut Your Shower Time: If you're in the habit of enjoying 20-minute showers, you're going to have a steamy bathroom. Cutting your shower time back to eight or ten minutes is often enough to do the trick — and you'll save thousands of gallons of water per year while you're at it. 
  • Improve Ventilation: Showering with the bathroom window cracked will suck a lot of excess moisture right outside. If you live where winters are cold, add the biggest exhaust fan you can and make sure it's vented to the outside of your house. Pro Tip: Open the door and keep the fan running for 15 to 20 minutes after your shower to clear out all the steam.
  • Add Insulation: If the walls of your older home aren't insulated, they're providing a very cold surface for all that water vapor to gather on. Just as a glass of lemonade sweats on a hot summer day, uninsulated walls will exacerbate your condensation problems. Consider having insulation blown into the wall cavities of your house. It will help with condensation issues and lower your winter heating bills enough to pay for the project in a few months.  

Fixing excess condensation in your bathroom now will prevent mold and water damage issues in the future, so it's a worthwhile investment. 


Elizabeth T. is a professional writer with experience writing online catalog copy, trade magazine articles, landing pages for home decor and construction company websites, and how-to articles on dozens of fresh DIY topics. Elizabeth has renovated two homes and has extensive experience in DIY carpentry, soft goods and home decor projects. She has also worked as a designer and organizational consultant for individuals and schools.