DIY Projects

Why and How to Paint Tile

Why Paint Tile?

Painting tiles can save you a lot of money! At the same time, it will give your room a new, updated look. It’s a creative way to refresh a room without the expense and mess of removing old tiles and installing new ones. You can paint any size and style of tiles on your walls or floors and any type of tile – porcelain, ceramic or natural stone.

You’ll get the best long-term success on tile not exposed to high levels of moisture or water. Kitchen backsplashes and laundry room tiles are usually good candidates for paint. If you want to do the tile in the shower or bathroom, prepare the tiles properly and select a moisture-proof paint.

Drop by Tri State Building Center today to learn more about getting great results when painting your tiles. Our team is ready to help you with product and application suggestions.

Benefits of Painting Tile

  • Budget-friendly compared with installing new tile
  • Easier to DIY than trying to install the tile yourself
  • Less mess – avoid the big job of removing old tile
  • A new look without the cost
  • Saves time – it takes longer to remove and replace tiles
  • Sustainable – extend the life of your tiles and keep them out of the landfill

Important to Know

  • Painting is a temporary solution – it will brighten the tiles and room until you are ready to replace them
  • Paint won’t last as long on floor tiles in high-traffic areas
  • Paint may peel sooner on tiles in the shower
  • Painted tiles on a countertop or tabletop will not stand up to hot pots
  • Do not use water-based paint on tiles
  • Grout lines will no longer show if you paint your tiles
  • Repair and clean tile before applying paint for best results
  • Allow enough time for the paint to dry – you won’t be able to use the area for a few days
  • Use only mild detergent to clean painted tiles

How to Paint Tile

Work in a well-ventilated room. Open the windows, and wear gloves, mask, and safety glasses to prevent injury. Use a drop cloth to protect other surfaces.

  1. Use dish detergent and water to remove grease, limescale, and mold from the tiles.
  2. Rinse the tiles with clear water.
  3. Give the tiles plenty of time to thoroughly dry before the next step.
  4. Sand the tiles by hand with 100 grit sandpaper or use a sanding machine so the paint will adhere to the tile.
  5. Vacuum to remove all dust caused by sanding the tiles, and clean with a damp cloth.
  6. Repair any cracked or chipped tiles before you paint them.
  7. Repair and fill missing or moldy grout before painting. Allow to dry thoroughly.
  8. Tape plastic around surfaces you need to protect.
  9. Remove fixtures, light switch plates, etc.
  10. Primer will ensure that the paint stays on the tiles and will be less likely to peel off or chip.
  11. You may need to use two coats of high-hide primer, which will keep patterns and darker colors from showing through.
  12. Apply primer with a roller or brush, allowing the first coat to dry completely before adding the second coat.
  13. Paint tiles once the primer is completely dry.
  14. Let the first coat of paint dry before adding the second coat.
  15. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours or follow the manufacturer’s recommended drying time.
  16. You may want to apply a protective coat of sealant if the tiles are in a moisture-prone location.

How to Choose the Right Paint for Tile

You will need durable, washable paint that will stay on the tiles, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. Choose one designed to protect tiles from mold and water damage. You’ll find a variety of paints for tiles, including acrylic, epoxy, alkyd urethane, enamel, or silicone-based paints.

Stencils

Add a personal touch and character to tile in any room, on the walls or the floor, by creating a pattern with stencils.

  • Plan your design
  • Keep the stencil firmly in place on each tile with painter’s tape
  • Apply the paint sparingly on the tile and stencil with a brush or sponge
  • Avoid using too much – you can always add more later
  • Let the paint dry thoroughly
  • Take extra care not to smudge the pattern when you remove the stencil

Tools and Supplies

  • Putty knife
  • Putty
  • Caulk
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller or HVLP paint sprayer
  • Stencils (if you want to paint a pattern)
  • Bonding primer for glossy surfaces
  • Paint suitable for tiles
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Mask
  • Drop cloth

Painting tiles is a fun and easy way to give your room a whole new look at a fraction of the cost of installing new tiles. We hope these tips and instructions help you enjoy your tile-painting project. If you have any questions, come in to speak with a team member at Tri State Building Center. We’re happy to help you find the best solutions for your DIY projects.

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