4 Tips for Painting Ceramic Tile

Did you know that it is possible to paint ceramic tile? With a little preparation and painting know-how, you can change the color of ceramic tiles or you can make old ceramic tiles look like new. This page will take you through the how-to for painting ceramic tile and give you some valuable tips.

1. Preparation

The most important thing when painting ceramic tile is to make sure that each tile is perfectly clean, has no grease or waxy residue, and that it is dry before you start. To clean the tile, you can use any kind of mild abrasive soap that will remove the build-up. Cleaning the grout may be a little more difficult. Use a scrub brush and an oxygen bleach cleaner solution or Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) that is mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You will apply the cleaner directly to the grout; let it soak for approximately 10 minutes, then scrub until it is completely clean. Allow the grout to dry for 48 hours before painting.

Do any repair work to the tiles and grout, such as fixing cracked tiles and crumbling grout, before you paint, as the grouting process will ruin your painted tiles.

The final preparation step is to make sure that all the shine and gloss has been removed from the ceramic tiles so that the paint will adhere to the surface. You will use a hand held orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper. This will remove the shine but will not leave any marks. Once the shine is gone, you will clean the tile and grout again to remove all the dust and dirt.

2. Choosing the Paint and Primer

You will need to buy an acrylic paint primer for the first layer of paint for the tiles. The paint that is most suitable for painting ceramic tile is oil based paint or water based paint with a urethane resin. A sticky type of paint is required so that it will stick to the ceramic tile.

3. Painting the Ceramic Tile

The first layer of paint to be applied will be the acrylic primer. You will need to apply one coat, making sure to keep the surface smooth. Let the primer dry for a few hours, then apply a second coat. Give the second coat at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly. When it is dry, you can lightly sand any areas that are not completely smooth, making sure to wipe off all the dust when you are finished.

There are two ways that you can paint ceramic tile: you can use a roller or you can spray the paint on. If you use a roller, choose one that has a low nap, as that will go on smoother than a high nap roller and will give less bubbles.

It is not necessary to paint the grout. If you choose not to paint the grout, you will need to tape the grout lines with a brand of tape that will not let the paint seep through and will not stick to the fresh paint.

4. The Final Step

The newly painted ceramic tile will need to dry for 48 hours before you can apply the finishing coat. Water–based urethanes work best on painted ceramic and will not yellow. Before applying the urethane, make sure that the painted tile is clean and dust-free. You will need to apply a few coats in order to protect the painted surface.