Bathroom Tiles: Paint Them The Right Way

Does the condition and colour of your bathroom tiles give you a headache? A bathroom makeover becomes necessary, and you don’t want to turn your bathroom into a dusty building site for several weeks. The tile paint provides a quick and precise result. It should not be confused with tile coating which is another covering solution. We’re talking about fixing your bathroom’s wear and tear.

bathroom with shower and open window

If you opt for painting, be aware that painting a bathroom tile requires method and rigour of execution. It is better to avoid the main mistakes beginners make. A successful tile painting project begins with three questions: Why? What? Where?

Why paint the ceramic tiles instead of replacing them?

You choose to repaint your tiles for a variety of reasons: to refresh the style of your bathroom at a lower cost, to enhance the room before the visit of a potential buyer, or perhaps to transform an uninteresting tiled wall into a colourful attraction. 

What are your expectations?

A tile painting project is usually an economical alternative to replacing them. It is where you can set your expectations. Upgrade your bathroom’s style and make it a more welcoming place both for you and your visitors.

Where are ceramic tiles?

If they are in the bathroom, the best solution will be to repaint the tiles of the walls, and other vertical surfaces affected less frequently and without direct contact with the water.

ceramic tiles closeup

Always keep in mind

A tile painting project is not necessarily a long-term solution. When it comes to sustainable performance, there is nothing like the installation of new tiles

What about contrasting seal lines? Applying a new coat of paint to ceramic tiles will result in the concealment of the seal lines, making each tile less defined. If the seal lines are no longer visible, painting is not necessarily a good solution. 

What are the challenges and preparations? Glossy tiles are the most difficult substrates to prepare before applying a finishing layer. If cracked or chipped, they will also need to be repaired, further delaying painting work.

Things you need to know for painting a tiled bathroom floor

As you can imagine, you can’t just grab a brush and start painting. There are things you need to take into consideration before starting your painting project. Here are some of the most important aspects:

  • Expertise: applying paint is something that everyone can do. Knowing how to use a roller, lay protections, and clean tools don’t require special skills. But you should always follow simple steps to avoid any incidents. 
  • Construction time: most people need about two days. The duration is relative to the surface of the bathroom and the drying time of the paint.
  • The number of people advised: one person can do the job without a problem.
  • Tools and consumables
  • Personal protective equipment

Ready to start? Choose the primer and paint that will work perfectly for your project!

man holding paint roller

What type of paint to choose for each tile?

Before you choose a painting for the tile, first ask yourself “where is this surface?”. Floor tiles will require polyurethane paint. It is resistant to shocks, scratches, and stains. You can use it in all house rooms, especially in damp rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom. Why? Because polyurethane paint is waterproof.

To paint a wall tile, most would prefer a V33 paint available in a wide range of colours. These paints are known for being used in high-humidity conditions. Plus, they are leachable.

Finally, the colourful epoxy paint is very covering. Known for its aesthetic and very resistant outcome, it can be used to paint all wall tiles and without an underlayer.

Tile painting: DIY VS hiring a pro

DIY project home renovation is not for everyone, despite its many benefits. Even for experienced do-it-yourselfers, a bathroom makeover is a challenging task. You’re better off enlisting the assistance of experts for more detailed occupations that require training, equipment, and expertise, such as plumbing and electrical work. You can’t beat the pace and effectiveness of a skilled trades crew if you’re in a hurry. However, when it comes to tile painting, doing it yourself is still a viable option.

professional painter in uniform

Use the right equipment to repaint tiles

Many people, disappointed, find themselves facing a result below their expectations. Even if there are no miracle solutions, good tools and quality paint allow us to get close to the desired rendering. To repaint the bathroom tiles situated to the walls, you got three solutions that can be considered:

  1. Paint the existing tiles directly 
  2. Use a coloured resin. Note that the colour range is less critical for this type of product.
  3. Place a specific priming layer that will allow a better grip. It is preferable in terms of aesthetics and will let you choose the paint colour you want.

To repaint tiles on the floor, it’s a little more complicated. There are two options:

  1. Products to apply directly to the ground. The joints remain visible.
  2. Waxed concrete can be used in a reasonably thick layer. All your tiles are then hidden.

Before you start your work to repaint tiles, take the time to think carefully about the rendering you want to achieve.

A detailed guide to painting ceramic tiles

Now it’s the time to take it step-by-step and see how you can do it yourself. Forget about this old-looking bathroom once and for all. You have the opportunity to give life to the old bathtub and sink and find yourself feeling proud of your creation.

The materials that you’re going to need:

  • Stencil
  • 4mm nap 100mm wide microfibre roller and tray
  • Paint stirrer
  • 38-50mm high quality angled sash cutter brush
  • Primer
  • Bucket
  • Rust-oleum epoxy paint
  • Renovation tile paint
  • Rubber gloves
  • Drop sheet
  • Grit sandpaper 
  • Masking tape
  • Sanding block
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Safety glasses
  • Mould and mildew killer
  • Scrubbing brush and toothbrush
  • Paintbrush
  • Sugar soap
  • Paint sprayer ( optional )

paintbrush close up

While each tile painting project is unique, here are some key general principles to follow:

  1. Repair small cracks or blemishes by making sure the repaired surface is level with the current tiles. Significant cracks can be fixed by plugging them with a small amount of light epoxy with a narrow brush or toothpick. If grout is missing in the seal lines, remove the non-stick pieces and apply a new layer of grout.
  2. Remove the old sealant with a scraper.
  3. Clean the tiles and grout lines with bleach and lukewarm water to remove mould, then rinse the surface with clean water. Remove grease or dirt build-up on the surface 
  4. Sand the surface to remove its lustre and semi-gloss surface with grit sandpaper, then dust, rinse and let the tiles dry.
  5. Apply a highly adherent primer and a topcoat.
  6. Brush, roller, or spray two parts of acrylic paint. Start with the first coat, let it dry and then move one to the second one

hand wearing pink glove painting with paint roller

What about maintenance?

Tile paint has a variety of advantages. It gives you access to a quick and economical way to redesign your interior space. Also, paint products can be applied to almost any surface and in all rooms of the house. That’s why painting the tiles is a practical and functional option for those who would like to restore the long gone radiance. If you’ve decided to experiment with such a project, here are some tips and tricks that will help you.

  • Preparation plays an important role in any makeover project from within. Take the time to clean and degrease the surface you want to paint. It will make it easier to apply the product and extend its lifespan.
  • Tile paint products vary depending on the type of surface and interior spaces. Find out the one that works best for your project. Learn in particular about its adhesion properties and its moisture resistance.
  • Finally, to obtain pro results, it is essential to follow the instructions for using the purchased equipment. So follow directions on the paint pot and, above all, avoid improvising between steps.

Regular sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping the sealed, painted tile with a store-bought or homemade tile cleaner tailored to your tile is all that’s needed to keep the colour and keep abrasive dirt at bay. Scuff marks and impressions on the paint job can be avoided using mats in high-traffic areas and floor pads beneath furniture on a tile. If any blemishes appear in the painting tutorial, touch up with an artist’s paintbrush and leftover paint. Then let them dry completely before the sealer shall be used in that section. 

cleaning bathroom floor

All existing tiles, without exception, can be repainted. With the brushes and paints that we have today, it is effortless to cover shower tiles. Thanks to the matte paints, even the dark tile no longer resists. It usually takes a second coat, but the result is brilliant. However, the most important thing is to adapt your equipment to the painting tiles you are trying to cover. So, what do you think? Time to redo your old bathroom tiles and give them a wonderful look. Either you go for a glossy or a matte finish, make sure that you follow all the steps and choose the colour that will upgrade it even more. DIY projects become easier and easier each day now that everyone can go and get the right equipment. Make your plan and follow the steps! You can’t go wrong!

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