I recently received an email from a customer of mine asking if it was possible to paint ceramic tiles. In actuality, most
ceramic tiles can be painted and the results can be beautiful. In this blog, I will address when ceramic tiles can be
painted and how to paint ceramic tiles.
When to Paint
When deciding if your ceramic tiles can be painted, there are some factors to consider. You should not paint ceramic
tiles that are prone to frequent wetting. For example, ceramic tiles in bathtubs, showers, or on a bathroom floors that
receive a lot of water are not prime candidates for painting. Areas where ceramic tiles are not as prone to moisture, such
as living rooms and most kitchens, work well when painted.
How to Paint
One of the most important things to remember when painting ceramic tiles is that the tiles must be clean (free of dirt,
wax, and grease) and completely dry. When cleaning ceramic tiles before painting, I recommend that you use a scrub brush and
an approved ceramic tile cleaner to thoroughly remove dirt and other contaminates. This is necessary for the paint to
properly stick to the ceramic tile.
When choosing paint, there are a few options that work well for painting ceramic. Oil–based paints were popular for
years and work very well, though laws on VOCs are making oil–based paints hard to come across. You also have to
consider difficult cleanup as brushes and rollers must be cleaned with paint thinner or mineral spirits after using
Water–based paints with a urethane resin also work well when painting ceramic tiles. This is because urethane
creates a sticky paint that adheres very well to surfaces.
You can choose to paint the tile and the grout or just the tile, though this requires much more skill and precision to
protect the grout from paint and to create clean paint lines. You can either use a paint brush or a roller with a low nap to
paint your ceramic tiles.
Once painted, the paint should be allowed to fully cure, which normally takes two days. Once cured, the ceramic tile paint
needs to be protected with several layers of a clear floor finish. Water–based urethanes work great for this.
Painting ceramic tiles is an easy and inexpensive way to refresh your floor covering. If you plan to paint your ceramic
tiles and need more help, be sure to visit our FindAnyFloor Forums, where tile experts are ready and willing to help.