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Painting Hideous Ceramic Tile May End Ugly

Painting Ceramic Tile by author Meghan Carter

  • Why painting ceramic tile is not always a good idea.
  • What you need to paint ceramic tile.
  • Step-by-step instructions for painting ceramic tile with success.
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    Painting ceramic tile is a last-ditch effort to make hideous tile look more presentable. The plus side of painting ceramic tile is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to your other option, which is ripping out the ceramic tile and starting over. The negative side, well, let's just say that painting ceramic tile doesn't give a very durable finish.
    You see, paint is simply colored glue. Unlike walls and wood, ceramic tile isn't an easy surface for the paint to adhere to. As a result, the paint will easily scratch off of the ceramic tile. There is a way to avoid that. After painting your ceramic tile, paint urethane over the tiles. The urethane will protect the ceramic tile from being scratched, but it's not the perfect solution. You will still have to be very careful when cleaning the ceramic tile.
    In addition to being easily scratched, painted ceramic tile is a bad option for areas around water that are prone to mold or mildew. That's because certain types of mold and mildew eat paint, which means your new paint finish could get eaten away if any mold or mildew forms. To keep from having to constantly wipe up every drop of water, I recommend avoiding painting ceramic tile around bathtubs, showers and toilets.
    Now if you're still determined to paint ceramic tile, you can watch my video to see how to paint ceramic tile. In the video, you will see what you need and the steps you should follow when painting ceramic tile. If you will be painting ceramic tile in your home, plan on having the ceramic tile out of commission for at least a week or two. It will take at least that long for the paint finishes and urethane to completely dry and cure.

What You Will Need When Painting Ceramic Tile

  • Oil based primer
  • Oil based paint
  • Clean paintbrush
  • A bucket, sponge and soap
  • Urethane
  • Painter's tape


How to Paint Ceramic Tile


  1. Clean the tile thoroughly, and I mean really clean. You can't have any mold or mildew underneath your paint. Mildew and mold will eat right through the paint. After cleaning the tile, dry it thoroughly.
  2. To get crisp lines, put painter's tape around the ceramic tile. The painter's tape will make it easier to paint hard to reach areas without worrying about getting paint on your walls or cabinets.
  3. Once the painter's tape is on, it's time to prime. You should use an oil-based primer because it is much more durable than a water based primer. To apply the primer, all you need is a clean paintbrush. When painting the primer on the tile, use straight, even strokes that all go in the same direction. For a flawless finish, you must blend your strokes. To do that, start your stroke moving back in the direction of the area you last painted and gently lift your brush up as you move through your stroke. If you have trouble painting the ceramic tile grooves, take the edge of your brush and run it in between the grooves before painting the face of the tile. Then gently blend your strokes over the grooves.
  4. When your finish applying the primer, let it dry. Read the instructions on the primer to see how long you should wait.
  5. Once the primer is dry, it's time t paint. You should use an oil based paint because it will have a much more durable finish than a latex paint. Apply the paint the same way as you did with the primer. Let the paint dry, and apply a second coat if needed.
  6. Let the paint cure on the ceramic tile for a few days. Read the label on your paint to see how long it should cure. Then apply urethane over the paint. Apply as many coats of urethane as the urethane label recommends. Then let the urethane completely dry and cure before putting anything on the ceramic tile. If you don't let the urethane and paint completely cure, the pant will easily scratch off the ceramic tile.
  7. Don't be afraid to be decorative when painting ceramic tile. If you're going to go to all of that work, you might as well take the time to make the tile look interesting. When painting ceramic tile, try using stencils and different colored paint to give your ceramic tile the "wow factor" you're looking for.





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