How To Paint Over Tile

If you want o to paint over tile, whether it is ceramic tile or porcelain tile, you will need to prep it thoroughly.
You have to be very diligent about cleaning the tiles with a wax and grease remover before lightly sanding them with 100-150 grit sandpaper to promote a mechanical bond between your primer and ceramic tile. After wiping your surface clean and removing any sanding residue, use a bonding primer that is made for hard-to-bond surfaces. You will have to the primer dry for 16 hours at room temperature before applying a topcoat.

What primer to use on ceramic tiles?

There are multiple options, but at 518 Painters, we like to use an Epoxy seal by Seal Krete or
Insl-X Stix.

It is a specially formulated bonding primer.

Therefore, it will stick to any surface almost.

After applying a coat of primer, you will have to let it dry for about 16 hours at the suggested temperature.

And once it has dried, you can apply your topcoat.

I would always suggest you try a small section first before committing to the entire project.

how to paint tiles

Pick an unnoticeable spot like behind your fridge or toilet, wherever you are painting, and test it first.

After 16 hours try scratching over the test area with your fingernail and see if it peels off.

If it does not, then you are good to go!

How To Prep Tiles For Painting

If you’re painting a glossy tile, lightly sand all of the tile surfaces to give your paint something to stick to. Just be sure to sweep up any dust that might have been created when you sanded, as this could cause problems with your paint job later on.

Tiles are very porous and so need to be primed to avoid peeling paint in the future.

However, it’s not just about priming the tile. You also need to prep the grout lines, as well as clean your tiles properly to ensure that your project goes smoothly.

You can use a steam cleaner to thoroughly clean your grout.

steam cleaner for tile grout

Or you can use this awesome drill brush set that is my personal favorite.

Combined with a good cleaner, these drills brush attachments to make cleaning your tiles and grout super fast and easy!

What kind of paint to use for tiles?

Once your primer is dried, you can paint over the tile with pretty much any paint.

I would, however, suggest you use the special paint that is water-resistant if you are painting bathroom tile. 

A good option would be epoxy-based paint.

You can buy a kit that includes 2 parts (paint &hardener) or an aerosol spray can.

You can use a foam roller with this kit, but if you want a factory-like finish, I would suggest using an HVLP sprayer.

Aerosol Tile and Tub Epoxy

If you don’t want to use an HVLP sprayer but still want a spray-like finish, then I would suggest an aerosol spray epoxy like this one from Rustoleum.

Pro Tip:

This spray can attachment will make it much easier because they turn your can into a spray gun.

It will feel much more comfortable and help you get an even finish.

Epoxy paints are designed to withstand high humidity, like in bathrooms and kitchens.

They are more water-repellent and can prevent water from causing damage.

Can I Use A Regular Paint For the Tiles?

The short answer is no. There aren’t many paints durable enough for tile.

Next to Epoxy, an oil-based paint would be a durable option, but it can be difficult to work with.

For painting floor tiles with a water-based product, a good option is PPG Breakthrough.

However, I would not suggest painting stoneware floors because the granulation might cause the paint to flake.

ppg breakthrough kitchen cabinet paint

In conclusion

When painting over tile, you want to clean them thoroughly, scuff sand them apply your primer to promote a bond between your paint and your tile. Your best option will be an Epoxy or an oil-based paint because they are durable and moisture-blocking.

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