How to Paint the Ceramic Tile Around My Fireplace

If you're unhappy with the appearance of the ceramic tile around your fireplace, you may consider having the tile replaced. While that will definitely update your room, the cost and inconvenience of ripping up the old tile and installing new tile might not fit into your budget or schedule. Instead of going through all of that trouble, you can paint the ceramic tile yourself in as little as one weekend.

Update your fireplace by painting old ceramic tile.

Step 1

Clean the ceramic tile thoroughly with scouring powder and a nylon scrub brush. Don't worry about scratching the tile with the scouring powder, because you will sand the tile prior to painting anyway.

Step 2

Rinse the ceramic tile with clean water and dry it with a towel.

Step 3

Sand the ceramic tile with 80- to 100-grit sandpaper just to roughen the surface of the tiles. You can use an electric sander to make this task easier.

Step 4

Wipe down the ceramic tile with a tack cloth. Tack cloths are sticky, so any dust on the tile will stick to the cloth.

Step 5

Mask off borders of the ceramic tile with painter's tape to ensure you don't get paint or primer where you don't want it to go. Apply one coat of alcohol-based primer to the ceramic tile and grout with a paint roller. Wait for the primer to dry before you continue. See the primer packaging instructions to know how long to expect drying to take.

Step 6

Paint a coat of interior latex paint onto the ceramic tile with a paint roller. Usually latex paint will not bond to ceramic tile, but in this case the paint needs to bond only to the primer that you applied earlier.

Step 7

Apply a second coat of latex paint to the ceramic tile when the first coat is dry.

Step 8

Cover the dried painted tile with two to three coats of clear water-based polyurethane. Apply each layer of polyurethane with a paint roller and allow each coat to dry for at least one hour before you begin to apply the next.

Step 9

Sand the dry polyurethane with a wet extra-fine-grit sanding sponge until the painted tile surface feels smooth to the touch.