Painting Ceramic Tile and Decorative Painting Ceramic Tile

How to Decorate and Paint Ceramic Tile

By Mark J. Donovan

If you have old and outdated ceramic tile that is in otherwise good condition, but simply lacks flair and style, you may want to consider painting it. Painting ceramic tile, or decoratively painting ceramic tile, is an inexpensive and easy to do project that can revitalize your old tile. Painting ceramic tile, however, is not meant for all situations. For example, painting ceramic tile in a full bathroom or floor is not a good choice. The moisture in a full bathroom can cause the painted tile surface to peel away.

Likewise the constant walking over painted floor tile will cause the paint to slowly chip away over time. Kitchen backsplashes and tiled powder rooms, where there is not a shower or tub, however, are perfect for decoratively painting or wholesale painting of ceramic tiles.

Prior to applying paint to ceramic tile it is important to first clean and prime the ceramic tile to remove any dirt or grease from its surface. The tile needs to be spotlessly clean so that the primer adheres well to the entire tiled surface. Use a quality water based product and a sponge to thoroughly clean the ceramic tile and then let it fully dry. Many off-the-shelf bathroom cleaning solutions will work just fine for cleaning the tile. Also, if there are any chips or cracks in the tile apply an epoxy to repair them.

For a primer use an oil based primer that will resist gouging or scraping. Most oil based primers have strong odors so make sure you have proper ventilation when applying the primer. Seal both the tile and grout with the primer.

After the primer has fully dried, you can then apply either latex or oil based paint to the ceramic tile. From my personal experience oil based paint typically holds up better. I’d also highly recommend using a high gloss or semi gloss type paint, and if you’re going for a smooth finish use a paint sprayer. A paint brush and/or roller can also be used.

If you want to do some decorative ceramic tile painting after applying the base paint, use an artist’s brush to apply your own custom decorative paint touches.

You may also want to consider applying a stencil pattern to the freshly painted ceramic tile.

After the freshly painted ceramic tile has had time to cure for a few days go back and apply two coats of a water based urethane to seal the tiles. Don’t use an oil based urethane as they typically turn a slight yellow over time.

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