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How To Paint Ceramic Tile
Posted on: Mar.15.2012

Ceramic tiles are the most popular tile on the market today. They are very durable and available in many colors, sizes, shapes, and qualities; making it a perfect tile for you to use in your home regardless of your interior decorating style. Overtime styles and designs change in popularity, as do the color of your tile. With ceramic tile being so durable it could last long enough to go out of style leaving you with an old looking countertop, floor, or wall. You can revamp your ceramic tile without having to rip out the old tile and install new ones. By painting your ceramic tile you can add a whole new look and appearance in your home at a fraction of the cost of remodeling your bathroom or kitchen. If you want to paint your ceramic tile you can follow our guide below.

Pros and Cons of Painting Ceramic Tile

With every tile installation and home remodeling project there are advantages and disadvantages. You need to weigh the benefits and the downsides to determine what is beneficial to you. Below we compare the pros and cons to help you decide if painting your ceramic tile is right for you.


- Saves you money by not having to completely remodel.
- You can paint your tile any color you want instead of having to choose from the available selection of new ceramic tile.
- Protects and gives your tile added life.
- Painting your tile allows you to cover up and hire any cracks and chips.
- You can create many patterns and colored designs.
- You can get a completely new and modern style in your home.


- Painting ceramic tile requires deep cleaning and prep work.
- It will begin to peel over time and is not a permanent solution. However, adding a sealant will prolong its life.
- You may have to paint your grout as well.
- If you plan to sell your home the potential buyers may not like the idea of having painted tiles.
- The tiled area cannot be used during painting and drying process.

Step 1 – Deep Cleaning

Step 1 and step 2 of painting your tile is very important because a poorly cleaned and prepped surface can lead to your paint peeling within months. Properly cleaning and prepping the tile allows the paint to get a full bond and gives it a longer lifespan.

Begin by vacuuming the tile to remove all loose dirt and dust. Then use a wet cloth, towel, or mop to clean the surface of the tile to remove all remaining dirt, spills, or removable stains. Let the tile dry and use a good tile cleaner or a 50:50 solution of water and household ammonia. Clean the floor with this cleaner using a mop and following the instructions on the packing. Rinse the floor to free it of any soap residue and allow it to dry.

If your grout is dirty you should use a grout cleaner and be sure you get rid of all mildew, mold and fungus.

Step 2 – Prepping and Preparing The Tile

After you have properly cleaned your tile you need to sand the surface to create a good bonding area for the primer. You can use a hand-held orbital sander or sand it by hand, but you should use 400 grit sand paper for this step. You can use a higher grit sandpaper if you prefer.  The purpose of this step is not to remove all the paint from the tile. You want to sand the tile enough to remove all stains, mold, mildew, fungus and lightly scratch the surface of the tile. The surface of the tile should be roughed up enough to allow the primer to get a solid bond.

Step 3 – Rinse Tile

After you sand the tile you should vacuum the tile to remove all dust from the sanding. Using a damp cloth or mop you need to rinse the tile again to remove all excess dust and dirt from the sanding. Allow the floor to completely dry before moving on to priming.

Step 4 – Priming Tile

Before you prime the tile you need to use masking tape or painters tape and sheet paper to protect any areas you do not want painted. After you have set up the sheet paper and tape you can apply the first coat of primer. It is recommended that you use an oil based high adhesion primer.  An oil based primer gives you better color and a stronger bond when compared to water based primers.

We recommend applying two coats, but you could get away with just one coat. If you apply two coats you should sand the primer after the second coat has dried. Use 1800 grit sand paper and give it a light sanding to remove and bumps, paint rises, and drips. After sanding is complete wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove all dust.

Step 5 – Paint Tile

There are several types of tile paint you can use; oil based or latex based paints. Latex based paint dries faster but is prone to peeling if scratched. The coloring of this paint offers a latex or rubbery appearance and texture. The oil based paints offer a glossy finish, better coloring and get a better bond to the tile. Oil based paints are the better choice in high traffic areas.

Apply a cost of the semi or high gloss paint, following the instructions on the packaging. It is better to apply the paint slow and steady. Rushing through the painting process can lead to paint rises, drips, and blotching. Allow your first coat to completely dry (could be 24 hours). Apply a second coat once the first coat has completely dried. If you want to paint the grout you can use a thin paint brush and alkyd paint.

Step 6 – Apply Clear Coat

Allow 2-3 days for your paint to dry and then apply several coats of clear urethane over the tile, following the instructions on the packaging. Allow it to dry and enjoy your newly painted tile in your home.