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Flooring & Tiles

Can I Paint Ceramic Tiles?

By on May 7, 2014
Can I Paint Ceramic Tiles?

Painting ceramic tile depends on its location and the preparation that goes into the area before you start painting. For example, shower and bathtub tiles should not be painted because the exposure to moisture will just cause the paint to peel off over time. The same goes for ceramic tile on a kitchen counter where hot pans will be. Often times someone will lay down a hot pan on the tile, which will cause the finish to bubble and peel.

There are many colors and patterns that you can draw on ceramic tile, so the limit lies within your imagination and your budget. If you want to stick with one color, then it will cost you less and take less time. If you want to do designs, it will cost you more in paint and time. You will also need primer for the area beforehand and want to match the color to the rest of the home. Be sure to use a small brush to paint the narrow lines around the grout after the final coat has dried. You can use a straight edge like a ruler to follow the lines and make it look more complete and well-designed.

To prepare the ceramic tile, make sure to clean the tile with commercial tile cleaner and use a mild abrasive. You want to get off all of the building and break down the shiny surfacing. Grout, mildew, stains and cracked tiles should also be taken care of before you start painting. Then, you need to get rid of the rest of the shine. Using sandpaper, push hard against the tiles to remove the gloss. Don't forget the corners!

Apply the primer first. Use a brush to get the corners and then a short roller to get the flat surface. Don't rush, and then make sure not to leave any lines. These could show later. Apply a second layer of primer after the first has dried. Then you'll lay sandpaper and pass it over the primer to make sure it’s flat and smooth for the paint. You'll lay several coasts and can use latex or oil for the base coat, followed by semi- or high gloss alkyd for the top coats. Do several thin coats rather than a thick one on.

If you decide to do patterns or designs on the tile, make sure to go over them more than once. They won’t show up as one with one coat of gloss. Also be sure to have rags and paint thinner on hand in case something goes wrong. It will take two weeks for the tile to dry completely, so don't try to do any crazy work or events around the tile, or else the paint job might have to be done all over again.

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