The colors and patterns on ceramic tile can significantly date a home, and outdated ceramic tile can bring down the entire look of a room. This leads many people to wonder if ceramic tile can be painted, and the answer depends upon where the ceramic tile is located. If you are wondering if ceramic tile can be painted, consider the following information. Ceramic tiles in some locations can be successfully painted using the right products, and when properly covered and sealed the painted tiles can look outstanding.
Areas Where Ceramic Tile Can and Cannot be Painted
If outdated ceramic tile lines a shower, a bath, or any other area that regularly comes in contact with water, it should not be painted. The water will cause the painted ceramic tiles to peel. In this case it is best to remove the old ceramic tiles and start over. However, this is a messy and time-consuming expenditure that many people do not want to tackle without professional help.
Since painted tiles in a regularly wet location will peel, and because removal and replacement is a messy and lengthy ordeal, an easier and much less time-consuming option is to cover existing outdated shower wall tiles with a new tub surround. These days professionals offer hundreds of tub surround styles, and many look like real grouted tiles, but the surface is far easier to care for and maintain than the traditional grouted tiles of decades past or painted varieties. If the tiles are outdated, chances are the bathtub/shower are also outdated and worn, and this is an excellent option for those wanting to update a bathroom without the mess and expense of tile removal.
Painted Ceramic Tile Tips and Suggestions
When ceramic tiles are located in areas that can be painted, begin by thoroughly cleaning the surface to remove any traces of dirt, cooking grease, or any other substances that could interfere with paint adhesion or a smooth finished look. Make a thin paste with scouring powder and water, and gently scrub away any grime, dirt, or debris. Be sure to rinse it away thoroughly, and make certain the surface is completely dry before it is painted.
Next, protect surrounding areas with tarps and painter’s tape. Apply the tape to countertop edges, woodwork, and all other adjoining surfaces. The tape will not only protect bordering areas, but it will also help to create clean straight lines for a professional looking finished appearance.
Do not use water-based paint to cover ceramic tiles. It will not adhere well to the smooth shiny glaze. Instead, use oil-based paint in a color of your choice. It can be thinned with paint thinner if necessary according to product label directions.
Lastly, after the oil-based paint has dried completely, coat the painted tiles with water-based polyurethane. Although the paint is oil-based, an oil-based sealer is not recommended to coat painted tiles because in time it can develop a yellowish hue. Water-based sealer will adhere well to the painted ceramic tiles, and it will remain clear and beautiful for many years to come.