Can you paint tile? Tile is one of the most beautiful and highest-end floorings you can find. It is recommended for bathrooms and kitchens due to its water resistance and durability, with sudden impact damage being its only weakness.
But what happens when your tile is outdated and you need an easy fix to transform it? You paint it! A lot of people don’t know that you can paint tile but doing it isn’t as difficult or expensive as you may think.
Can You Paint Tile?
The short answer here is that “yes, you can paint tile.” However, painting tile isn’t as simple as buying clearance paint and rolling it on like in the way you may paint drywall. Painting ceramic tile takes time and effort.
If you ask “can tile be painted?” you may feel silly, but you’re not alone. No one really knows if tile can be painted until educating themselves on the facts. That’s what we’re here to do as we take you through the process.
We will go over why you should paint tile, the steps you can take to paint the tile, and everything you need to know about the basics of the different types of paints that you may need. So let’s get started!
Why Paint Tile?
There are many reasons to paint tile. The main reason to paint tile is that you want to replace it but can’t afford to. Painting tile is much cheaper than painting it yet still gives a nice refresh to the floors.
But that’s not the only reason. Painting tile can extend the life of the tile, especially when you use a protective coat on top afterward. This step is necessary anyway so painting tile does prolong its life.
It also allows you to keep the tile because even if you can afford new tile, removing it is a pain, even for a professional. While you’re painting you can also fix minor cracks and cover them up with new paint.
So yes, there are a lot of reasons to paint new tile. The only reason not to is if the tile is severely damaged or you’re in love with the grout lines because grout lines are not easy to preserve nor paint over properly.
How to Paint Tile
Painting tile isn’t an easy process but if you take your time then you can have it done just like a professional. It can be scary at first to take on a project like this, but it doesn’t have to be. Just take it slow and you will be fine.
Although painting tile is similar to painting anything else, there are a few things you need to do to prepare. Here are the simple steps you can take to completely paint your tile and protect it for years to come.
Step 1: Clean The Tile
Cleaning the tile is a crucial step that a lot of people tend to miss. It’s very important that the tile is scrubbed very well. For floors, you can mop them and for walls, you can use bathroom cleaner for the first scrub down.
Then rinse it well enough that you can’t smell the chemicals. After that, wait until the tile is dry to begin any type of painting. It’s a good idea to get a tile cleaner for this cleaning ven if you’ve never used it before.
Step 2: Repair The Tile
If you have any cracks or repairs that need to be fixed in the tile, now’s the time. Doing it after cleaning is a good idea because you have a fresh base to start with. Repairs are necessary for a clean finish.
You can use an epoxy filler for easy crack repair in tile. You can match the tile or leave it so you can paint over the entire thing. Although epoxy fillers can be mixed to match any color so it is an option.
Step 3: Sand The Tile
This is where you give the tile a good sanding. While it may seem silly to sand tile as it is a smooth surface, this sanding is for whatever may be left of the tile. Tiny particles that may not be mopped or dusted.
You can use a hand sander unless there is a lot of gunk built up. Then you can rent a grinder. Just be careful not to crack the tile by applying too much pressure. If you’re afraid this might happen, use hand sanders.
Note: this is when you will also add paint to the edges of the tile where you don’t want the paint to touch. You can use standard painter’s tape, just remember to not let it overlap on the tile or you’ll have “bald spots” to deal with.
Step 4: Prime The Tile
After you clean the surface again by dusting the sanded tile with a damp cloth and letting it dry, you can begin priming. Using a small roller, roll the primer onto the tile piece by piece until the entire floor is covered.
As with most primers, you only need one coat. Primers are usually white and thicker than primary paints. So one coat is enough to give you a base to start with. Some people recommend skipping the primer but using it is always the better option.
Step 5: Paint The Tile
After the primer dries, you can start painting. Paint just like you would anything else going in straight lines, painting like a wall rather than tile by tile. It is an option to tape the grout at this point but that is very difficult to do.
Another option is to paint the grout once you finish painting the tile and it dries. But this takes a steady hand that has held a paintbrush a lot. This is why people usually paint the grout and tile in all one color.
Step 6: Seal The Tile
After the paint dries and you are satisfied with it, you can then begin sealing the tile. This works just like painting. The sealant is usually thick and clear. It will protect the tile and keep it shiny. It also will ensure the tile lives a long life.
Sealing is the last step in the process so after you finish sealing the tile, you can let it dry and remove the tape. Your project is done! If you’re not happy with it, you can sand it off and try again, though this is difficult to do.
What Kind Of Paint Is Ceramic Tile Paint?
You’ll actually need three different products if you want to paint the tile properly. You need a primer to start with, followed by the paint the color that you prefer, and then finally a protective coating to add shine.
Primer is the first step you can take. You should probably get a primer that is made specifically for tile. Insl-X Stix Bonding Primer is a popular choice that was designed to be used on the ceramic tile so it’s a safe choice.
You can also use concrete primers as they will work just about the same. But if you’re new to this sort of thing, getting a tile primer is your best option as there’s no way you can get the wrong one as long as it says “tile.”
There are a lot of options for paints as it won’t be the top layer or the bottom layer. This gives you a lot more options. People have found success with Rust-Oleum Matte paints and general ceramic tile paint.
If you are against adding a topcoat, then it’s important to use enamel paint at this point. Oil-based paints are crucial for top layers to keep the paint from being scratched and enamel paint is the strongest you can get.
If you decide to add a top coat, which is highly recommended, there are many options. Rust-Oleum Rock Solid has great topcoats that work for tile. Again, getting good enamel paint for sealing purposes is ideal.
Wet look sealants are quite popular with tile, especially if you use matte paint. So searching for wet-look enamel sealers is a great way to find that perfect shimmery sealer. Just keep in mind that this product may be more expensive than the paint.
Tile Paint FAQS
Now it’s time to get to the details on some of the most frequently asked questions about painting tile.
Can You Paint A Tile Backsplash?
Yes, you can. If you do, it’s a good idea to add a top coat that will protect the tile from getting wet and from any heat if it is near an oven. Other than that, painting it is just like painting any other type of tile.
Can You Paint Non-Ceramic Tile?
Most of the time, you will find yourself painting ceramic tile. But tiles like porcelain tile and clay tile follow different rules. As long as you use the correct primer, then any tile can be painted, it will simply take longer.
Can You Paint Tile Around A Fireplace?
Yes, you can paint a fireplace surround even if it is made of tile. The problem with this is that you need to ensure that it is cleaned well. Any ash or soot will simply make the process much more difficult.
Can You Remove Paint From Tile?
Removing from tile is extremely difficult. If the paint is wet, removing it is simple. But if it has dried, then you will need to soak the tile and then scrape it off. Even this may not work and painting over it is a better option.
Can You Paint Tile Grout?
Yes, you can paint tile grout. Doing so may require multiple coats as the grout will soak up much of the paint. Using a primer should eliminate many problems so it is highly recommended to do so.
Should I Paint My Tile?
This is a tough question. If you like the look of your old tile but want to update it, then a simple sealer can do the trick. If you want something new but don’t want to take out your old tile, then painting is better.
There are other options, such as installing a new floor over the tile, but this is also difficult. That’s why painting tile is recommended because it’s easy, relatively cheap, and can completely transform a room.
Don’t forget that you can add stencils as well to make your room look even nicer. Just do the base paint and let it dry. Then, add the stencils with a different color. Let that dry, remove the tape, and add a top coat to the whole thing.