How to Refinish Bathroom Ceramic Tile

What You'll Need
Tile cleanser or cleaner (preferably trisodium phosphate)
180-grit sandpaper
Coarse sponge
Acrylic latex primer
Latex paint
Roller brush
Latex paint brush
Cotton rags

Refinishing bathroom ceramic tile is not as hard as it looks, but careful consideration should be given, to ensure that the process is done correctly. Understand the fact that bathroom ceramic tiles are not suited for painting applications, and need to be sanded prior to refinishing. This will ensure that the paint will adhere to the surface, and prevent the occurrence of shedding, peeling or cracking paint. You also need to pre-treat the surface with acrylic latex primer, to guarantee a beautiful finish.

Step 1 – Clean the Ceramic Tiles Thoroughly

Wash the ceramic tiles with trisodium phosphate cleanser, or any type of commercially available cleaner that is suited for bathroom ceramic tiles. This will help remove any traces of soap, dirt and grease from the tile surface. Rinse the tiles after treating with the cleanser. Wet rags can be used in the rinsing process. Let dry for at least 3 hours.

Step 2 – Scour the Ceramic Tiles                                      

Use 180-grit sandpaper to chafe the surface of the ceramic tile. This will help the primer adhere firmly to the surface of the tile. Sand the surface, until coarse or slightly rough to the touch. Take time to carefully sand the surface, as this will be detrimental to the success of the project. Never apply primer to bathroom ceramic tile surfaces until the whole area has been sanded. This will help prevent peeling and flaking.

Step 3 – Protect the Surrounding Area

Use newspaper, painter’s tape or pieces of drop cloth to protect nearby areas, prior to applying primer and paint. This will better facilitate the cleaning process after the project, and will protect other bathroom furnishings and fixtures from paint and primer stains.

Step 4 – Apply Acrylic Latex Primer

Use a roller brush to apply an even coat of acrylic latex primer to the tiles. Use a latex paint brush to get rid of roller marks on the tile surface. Use soft strokes, until the latex primer creates a smooth, even surface. Wait at least 2 to 4 hours for the primer to dry.

Step 5 – Apply Latex Paint

Use a separate roller brush to apply a coat of latex paint over the entire tiled surface. Similar to the process of applying primer, use a paint brush to smooth the coat of paint over the tiles. Let the paint dry for 2 to 3 hours before applying a second coat. It would be best to apply 2 to 3 thin coats, to ensure maximum coverage. Let the paint dry completely.

You can choose from a wide variety of colors of paint that will match the overall theme and design of your bathroom. Remember to consider using epoxy paint when refinishing ceramic tiles in the shower, to create a permanent waterproof finish. Using acrylic floor paint is highly recommended when refinishing ceramic tile floors, as floor paint is more durable and resistant to skid marks caused by heavy foot traffic.