How to Paint Tile

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Painting tiles can help quickly redesign your home.
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Hoping to create a new look for your old, dated tiles? Since removing and installing new tiles may become cost-prohibitive, consider redesigning your room by painting your tiles instead. But before you begin, a few words of caution: don't paint tile in high traffic areas or places with a lot of moisture, such as the floors in the kitchen or bathroom, because the paint will chip too quickly. Instead, focus on places like the laundry room walls or painting tile around the fireplace. Also, make sure to ventilate the room properly and wear protective gear while painting, as you will be using harmful chemicals.


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Prepare Your Tiles for Painting

Before you start painting, make sure to remove all grease, dirt and mold by cleaning your tiles well with a good detergent. If you notice a lot of mold, purchase a cleaner specifically designed to kill the mold, or create your own mixture at home by mixing a cup of bleach with a gallon of warm water. Once the tiles are completely dry, use sandpaper to scuff them up and dull the shiny surface, then clean any dust with a damp cloth.

If you notice any chips or cracks, make sure to repair them properly with caulk or epoxy. Clean excess product from your tiles. Once they are ready to paint, place painter's tape around the tiles to protect adjacent areas, and cover your floor with a drop cloth or plastic sheet.


Prime Your Tiles for Painting

It's very important to prime your tiles before you begin to paint, as primer will ensure your paint sticks and lasts a long time. Select a primer that will work best for your tiles, and then test it in a discrete area before priming all of your tiles. Depending on the size of the area you are painting, use either a brush or a roller for the primer. Make sure the primer is completely dry before you begin painting your tiles.

Painting and Sealing Your Tiles

The best paints for tiles are high-gloss or semi-gloss latex paint. Use a brush or roller to paint your tiles, and if you notice that the paint isn't spreading well, add a small amount of paint thinner to your paint. Wait for your paint to dry completely before you begin to seal your tiles. Be aware that drying could take a few days.


Sealing your tiles will protect them from scratches and moisture. A clear, water-based urethane sealer is preferred. To seal your tiles well, apply two or three thin coats, letting each one dry before you apply the next. Don't use this newly painted area until your final coat is fully dry.

Painting Tile Around a Fireplace

If you plan on painting fireplace hearth tiles or around a fireplace, it's important to consider which type of fireplace you have. A gas fireplace won't heat the surrounding tile, but a wood-burning fireplace will. In that case, you must use a heat-resistant ceramic tile paint that is safe for heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This will guarantee that your paint will not peel or blister when using your fireplace.


Also, consider the toxicity of your paint. When using your fireplace, the heat may cause the paint to emit fumes, and this can be harmful to people and pets. Make sure to select a paint that will be healthy for everyone in your home.