Can You Paint Ceramic Tile?

Southern California is probably the ceramic tile capital of the nation – Los Angeles residents often have it in their entryways, kitchens, bathrooms… even their pools! When faced with the high cost of replacing ceramic tiles when they want an update or change in style, homeowners often wonder if there are any other options, such as painting. It is possible to paint ceramic tile. However, in order to achieve good results, it is essential to do thorough preparation and to use high-quality products that are designed for use on ceramic tile.

When Not To Paint Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile that is located where it will be frequently exposed to water, such as in a bathtub or countertop beside a sink, can not usually be painted. The high amount of moisture will often cause the paint to fail. Also, ceramic tile on the floor in a high traffic area may not be a good choice for painting. For these areas, consider a professional epoxy coating.

How To Paint Ceramic Tile

The basic steps involved in painting ceramic tile:

1. First you will need to repair any tile or grout that is damaged, and wait for it to dry.
2. The next step is to thoroughly clean and de-grease the tiles.
3. The tiles need to be sanded with 1800 grit to remove the old glossy finish. You may need an orbital sander to do this. If you are not able to evenly sand off the old finish, then be sure to use a primer designed for glossy surfaces.
4. You will need to clean again to remove the dust from sanding. Use a vacuum, then a damp cloth to wipe the surface. Allow to dry thoroughly.
5. Now you will be ready to apply primer. For ceramic tile it is best to use a high-adhesion oil-based primer, but environmental regulations can make this hard to find. Speak to the expert at your paint store to find the best product in your area. You may want to apply two coats of this, and slightly sand after the second coat.
6. Finally you are ready to apply the paint. The best results typically come from a slightly-thinned oil-based product, but there are also good alkyd products available for painting ceramic tile. It is best to apply it in thin coats, waiting for it to dry thoroughly between coats.
7. After the last coat of paint, wait 2 – 3 days for the paint to dry completely. Then apply a clear urethane coating. You may want to use several coats of this as well.

If you are not certain of the best paint choice for your ceramic tile, contact ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING. We have extensive experience with all kinds of paint products and procedures, and we can advise you about what is best in your specific case. If you need work that we are not able to do well, we will gladly refer you to another trustworthy contractor.