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Can You Paint Over Ceramic Tiles? What To Use?

Ceramic tiles offer durability, functionality, and easy clean-up, but sometimes, this material does not always come as the most visually appealing option. If you are looking to change the look of your ceramic tiles, can you, and should you, paint over their surface?

You can paint over ceramic tiles but should avoid painting over tile that is in areas which are more prone to water exposure or receive a heavy amount of wear or traffic. Ceramic tile in other such areas can be painted but should be avoided, as the bubbling and chipping of paint can occur.

Painting ceramic floor

Ceramic tiles can be a blessing and a curse – they hold up for decades if taken care of well, but for many older homes, they come in colors that leave homeowners feeling desperate for a makeover of the area. Home improvements are great, but when a full area remodel isn’t in the budget, alternatives are needed. Take a look below to find out if you can paint over ceramic tiles, if you should paint over them, how to do it, and the tools and prep you’ll need to do it.

Can You Paint Over Ceramic Tiles?

Installing ceramic tile

When thinking of ceramic tiles, some people are going to instantly remember a beautiful design in the bathroom of a retro 60’s lounge that screamed class and fun all at once. However, some are going to be taken back to a horrific 80’s bathroom with pink tiles, pink towels, and a pink tub to match. If you are someone stuck with this latter image and want to keep within a modest budget, you may be wondering if you can paint over ceramic tiles.

You can paint over ceramic tiles as long as the tile is not significantly damaged and is not located in an area that experiences water exposure or heavy traffic. If neither of these issues exists, you should be able to paint ceramic tiles with ease.

The ceramic tiles that you have in your renovation area may be a style that does not go well with your own individual taste or could be in desperate need of an update as compared to the rest of the space you are working with. Either way, there is a way to paint over the tiles so that you are not only able to improve the overall look of the material, but instantly have a feature that adds to the aesthetic as well. What kind of tile is best for this type of project?

If you have ceramic tile that is in good or great condition, this is the most important factor to being able to paint over the surface. Look around the area and be sure that there are no major cracks in the tile that could contribute to structural damage as well as any tiles that are coming up from the floor. You also want to be sure that all of the grout around the tiles is in good condition as well, as this works as the support for the flooring.

Once you have checked for the structural integrity of the tile, take another thorough look to be sure that no water damage has occurred in any part of the area. If there is water damage, it will need to be repaired, but this could also mean that the area is prone to water accumulation, which is a quick sign that you should likely avoid painting the area. If you see no water damage present, then you can move forward with your plans to paint the ceramic tile surface.

One last component that should tell you that you can paint over ceramic tiles is if the area is located in a space that does not receive a prolific amount of use or encounters heavy traffic. If the ceramic tiles you are looking to paint over are located on a wall or in a space that is not often exposed to contact with water or heavy foot traffic, then you have a more ideal space for painting, as the paint is not as prone to chip or bubble over time.

Should You Paint Over Ceramic Tiles?

Holding paint materials

You now know that if there is no major damage to the tile floor, you can paint the surface and have a much less expensive and time-saving solution to changing the look of your space. However, there are a few different situations that do not warrant the ability to paint over tiles. Take a look below to find out when you should avoid painting over ceramic tiles so that you can avoid any extra work down the road repairing what you have already done.

If the ceramic tiles you are looking to paint over are in an area that is exposed to water or heavy use, you should not paint over them. It is possible to paint over these areas, but it is advised against, as these obstacles often cause issues later on as the paint often bubbles or chips.

An extremely common area for ceramic tiles to be placed is on a bathroom floor or around a bathroom sink. These areas both receive high amounts of use and are constantly in contact with water. Although there are ways to paint over the ceramic tile in both of these areas, it is usually advised against, as no matter how careful people may be, these spaces often succumb to the environment and the paint begins to chip, bubble, and will eventually need to be redone again.

Water is an erosive element, which makes it a major problem when it comes to paint, as paint is not designed to be able to withstand constant contact with this, when painted ceramic tiles are met with regular water contact, over time, the paint begins to damage and will typically bubble and chip. Once this occurs, the area will have to be prepped again and repainted, making more work for you in the long run, even though a temporary aesthetic solution was found.

Another component that warrants avoiding painting ceramic tiles is painting in areas where there is heavy use or high traffic. For this, think of areas such as a bathroom or kitchen floor as well as any countertops. These places see daily use and typically, that use occurs multiple times a day. With heavy use comes the same problem that water causes to painted ceramic tiles, which is the deterioration of the paint and a redo of that are at another date as well.

How To Paint Ceramic Tiles

Man confused holding paint brushes

If you have reached the point where you know the structure of your tiles is safe, the grout around them is in good condition, and the tiles are not in an area that is exposed to regular water contact, heavy use, or constant traffic, you can move forward with the process of painting the surface of the tiles. This can seem like a rather daunting task to some, but read below to find the steps you need to get your tiles painted and your space looking beautiful.

To paint ceramic tiles you will have to clean the tile, repair any small cracks, fix any damaged grout, sand the glaze off the tile, prime the area, paint the tile, then apply a polyurethane sealer to protect the paint underneath to avoid any bubbling or chipping over time.

You’ll first start by cleaning the tiles with warm water and trisodium phosphate or TSP. Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned you’ll then move forward with repairing the tile and the grout. For tile, find any small chips or cracks and repair them with caulk, wiping away any excess, but use an exterior-grade waterproof spackle for larger defects in the tile. For grout, small repairs can be made with tile ground, while large grout defects should be completely replaced.

Once all repairs have been made, you can then move on to sanding the glaze from the tile. Use a sandpaper grit that can remove the glaze without leaving any grooves in the tile (between #100 and #150 grit) and sand the tile enough to where you interrupt the glaze without sanding down to the tile itself. Once the entire area has been sanded evenly, clean the tile from any leftover debris with a tack cloth using very light pressure to avoid wax embedment.

When you have finished sanding, you can then prime the tile with a paint roller, while being sure to have just enough to cover each area without having too much excess. Gently roll the primer over the surface and apply only a thin coat before letting it dry and applying a second coat after. Once dry, You can then begin painting the floor with epoxy paint by using the same method – apply only a thin layer of paint, allow it to dry, then apply subsequent coats as needed.

After the paint is thick enough to cover the existing tile and grout and has completely dried, you will then need to seal the area to protect the paint. To do this, you will add two coats of polyurethane sealer to the area. Again, it is best to allow the sealer to dry on the first coat with no pooling or significant excess in any area and once this has dried, you can then apply the second coat as you wait for this to dry before your finished ceramic tiles are revealed.

Tools Needed

Ceramic tiles and tools

The process of painting ceramic tiles is rather cut and dry, and after reading the previous steps, may seem like something that is relatively easy to tackle – and it is! However, for this process to go as smoothly as it sounds, there are quite a few tools and prep/application items you are going to need to get the job done quickly, but thoroughly as well. For those of you looking to paint ceramic tiles, read below to find out all the tools you will need to get the job done right.

The tools you will need to paint ceramic tiles include an orbital sander or sandpaper for smaller areas, a putty knife, a tack cloth, a paint roller, a paint tray, a scouring pad sponge, and a bucket for mixing the cleaning agent of warm water and TSP.

These tools, along with the safety gear you use during the process, are going to be what make or break how easy this process goes for you. Be sure to have every item before starting the process of painting ceramic tiles and lay them out in a way that they are organized and easily accessible so that you have each item ready to go at the exact moment you need it. Outside of tools though, there are other materials you will need from start to finish as well.

The other materials you will need before painting a tile floor include epoxy tile paint, epoxy bonding primer, grout, exterior-grade waterproofing spackling, TSP, a clear coat polyurethane, and any other materials that will work to cover areas around the space you are painting that do not need to be painted. Have these items on hand and organized as well before you start to ensure that you have every material you need so the process is not unexpectedly interrupted.

What Paint To Use On Ceramic Tiles?

There are times when you want to make a change around the home and if you have ceramic tile, one of those changes is to make it a new color. Painting the tile would seem the easiest way to do so, but what paint can be used on ceramic tiles?

You can paint ceramic tiles with almost any type of acrylic latex or enamel paint. As long as you are preparing the surface properly ahead of time, the paint will adhere to ceramic tile and last for a very long time.

As you will hear throughout this article as we discuss different types of paint, one of the most important factors for getting it to stick to ceramic tile is the proper preparation. This involves more than simply cleaning the tile, it involves a multiple-step process.

First of all, the ceramic tile may have been down for a long time so it is necessary to ensure that it is both clean and degreased. If there is any dirt or grease on the surface, it will limit the ability of the paint to stick.

Cleaning the ceramic tile with soap and water is a good place to start. You might also want to use a degreaser or perhaps some denatured alcohol to help clean up the area thoroughly. Just make sure you aren’t leaving any residue behind as that could keep the paint from sticking.

The next step in the preparation process is to deglaze the ceramic tile. Ceramic has a glaze over it that will make it very difficult for the paint to stick for the long term.

There are a number of different options for deglazing the ceramic tile. One of the options is to sand the tile with 100 grit sandpaper. If you do this, you need to make sure you are protecting yourself from the airborne dust.

At a bare minimum, you should be wearing an N95 respirator as that will remove much of the dust that is in the air. You can also wear a half-mask respirator if you have one available, as they will filter out even more of the dust particles.

Protect your eyes with safety glasses and wear gloves during the process. Don’t skip these important safety matters because they can really make a difference in your life and health. Even a small project of sanding ceramic tile can harm you in the long term.

After you sand down the tile, you will have to remove all of the dust that has settled back to the ground. This can be done with a shop vac and mopping the floor. You can also use a tack cloth to remove the remainder of the dust and leave the area dust free.

For some applications, you can also use liquid sandpaper, which is commonly referred to as a deglosser. This can substitute for sanding in some cases because it adheres well to the surface and makes it appropriate for the application of paint.

Finally, even if you sand the surface or use liquid sandpaper, you should still use a high-quality primer. The primer works as a bridge between the ceramic tile and the paint that is being used. It will ensure that the paint sticks properly when all is said and done.

There are also some ceramic tiles that are easier to paint than others. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with the type of tile, it has more to do with the location where the tile is being painted.

If you are painting ceramic tiles on the wall, you will have a much better chance of having the paint stick permanently than if you paint in a high-traffic area, such as on the floor.

Any area of the home that is constantly bombarded with water or if it is in a high moisture area will be more difficult to paint than tiles in a dry area. The same is also true with any area that receives heavy wear and tear, such as a countertop or floor.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on October 10, 2022.

If you do paint a countertop or floor, you may need to take the extra step of putting a sealer over it to help protect the paint.

We will now take a look at some of the specific types of paint and determine if they are suitable for covering ceramic tile.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Ceramic Tiles?

Many people use acrylic paint for craft purposes, but it can also be used for larger areas, such as countertops and walls. Is it the proper paint for covering ceramic tile?

Acrylic paint is not the best choice for painting ceramic tile if it has a heavy glaze. You can use it, but you will have to take extra time to properly prepare the tile so that the paint will adhere for the long term. Otherwise, you can choose another type of paint that provides the same general outcome without the difficulty associated with acrylic paint.

People love acrylic paint for a number of different reasons. It dries quickly and can be applied in a thicker layer, allowing it to cover the area much faster than other paint, which may need to be applied in thin coats.

Acrylic also makes an excellent choice for areas where you have to clean up frequently. It is often considered for use on countertops for that very purpose. Acrylic paint handles water well.

If you are painting a small craft project, you can use acrylic but it is not generally recommended for larger coverage on ceramic tile.

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Ceramic Tiles?

Chalk paint has become more and more popular in recent years. It is versatile and easy to use but is it good for covering ceramic tile?

With the proper preparation, you can apply chalk paint to ceramic tile quickly and easily. It’s a good choice for changing the color but additional work may be necessary to ensure that it lasts, especially if it is being used in a high-traffic area.

Many people will tell you that chalk paint can be applied without the use of primer or any preparation. Although it may adhere for a time, it is always best to deglaze the ceramic tile before any paint is applied. Primer is also recommended.

Since chalk paint can wear quickly, it is also recommended that you cover the paint with some type of protective layer. This adds an extra step to the process, but it’s one that can work well.

Can You Use Epoxy Paint On Ceramic Tiles?

Epoxy is known for its durability and strength, but should you use it on ceramic tiles?

It is not typically recommended to use epoxy paint on ceramic tiles as it will not adhere as well as other types of paint. This is not necessarily true of the ceramic itself, as it can be prepared, but epoxy may not adhere to the grout.

Many people want to use epoxy because it is very durable. If applied to a floor, it may be able to stand up under heavy use but when ceramic tile is the base, it is not going to be the best choice.

That being said, most types of acrylic paint have some form of epoxy in it, and they may work well for use on ceramic tile. A true epoxy paint, however, is not the best choice.

Can You Use Spray Paint On Ceramic Tiles?

Spray painting is one of the most convenient ways to cover either a large or small area. If you need to cover some ceramic tile, is spray-painting an appropriate choice?

When you use high-quality enamel spray paint and prepare the floor properly, you can cover ceramic tile easily. Since spray paint tends to dry quickly, you can cover a large area and be finished with the project within a short amount of time.

One of the reasons why many people choose enamel spray paint is because it dries to a hard finish. It is durable enough to last in many applications, such as on bathroom walls or other walls throughout the home.

If you are spray painting the floor, however, you need to pay extra attention to the preparation and you may need to use a protective surface to ensure that it lasts a long time.

Can You Use Enamel Paint On Ceramic Tiles?

Enamel paint is one of the more popular options for painting around the home. It is a broad range of types of paint, all of which tend to dry well with a gloss shell. How does it work on ceramic tile?

You can easily cover ceramic tile with enamel paint and expect it to adhere very well to the surface. You will have to prepare the surface in advance by sanding or using liquid sandpaper and then apply a primer but enamel paint is a good choice for ceramic.

One of the key factors in applying enamel over ceramic paint is to cover it in several thin layers. Don’t try to cover with a heavy coat all at one time, because two or three thinner coats are going to provide the best outcome.

Can You Use Latex Paint On Ceramic Tiles?

Latex paint is probably one that people use more than any other. Is it also good for use when you are covering ceramic tile?

You can use latex to cover ceramic tile quickly and easily. It provides a good surface, but you do have to prepare the tile in advance so that it adheres. In addition, if you are using latex to cover ceramic tile in a high-traffic area, you will have to apply a protective coat on top.

Since latex paint is easily obtainable and versatile, it is a very popular type of paint. You will have to sand the tile to deglaze it or use liquid sandpaper and then apply some primer before using latex paint. When done properly, it will last for a long time.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on October 10, 2022.

You can use latex or enamel paint to cover ceramic tile but you have to prepare the surface by deglazing the ceramic ahead of time. If you are applying paint in a high-traffic area or an area with a lot of moisture, a protective coating is also recommended.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on October 10, 2022.

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