Learn How To Paint Kitchen Tiles Like A Professional

Have you got mosaic or ceramic tiles with a dated colour or design beside your worktop? Do you want to give your tired looking kitchen space a new look? Painting your kitchen tiles is the solution for you! It will be not only effective but also simple and affordable. The steps for painting bathroom tiles, floor tiles, the ones on a fireplace, or the kitchen are basically the same.

kitchen with tiles on the wall, plants and kitchen materials on counter top

You may paint tiles used on the walls, floor, splashback, or even on a worktop. You can always hire a professional, but also make it a DIY project; you’ll see it’s pretty easy! Follow our handy guide and learn how to prep for painting tiles and how to use paint in your kitchen. Are you ready?

What to consider before painting

Painting your tiles can become an easy project when you do the planning right! Consider the right paint, colour, design and materials needed before you move on to grab the brush!

Choose the right paint

  • You can purchase ceramic, enamel, epoxy, or latex paint. 
  • Water-based paint like watercolours, acrylic, or spray paint will not work at all on your tiles. You can use ceramic paint, commercial tile or oil-based paint, enamel, coloured epoxy, or latex paint.
  • Epoxy is generally the most appropriate and durable for ceramic tiles around your kitchen sink or floor.
  • Go for a paint that will prevent rust from appearing, such as Rust-Oleum. Waterproof paint is also necessary, so choose one like Dulux.

Decide on your colours or design

  • The colours you are going to use should complement the rest of your design scheme.
  • Too bright or dark colours can overwhelm a room, so it is usually best to choose light colours when painting your tile.
  • If you’re painting a design, choose one that will look good in your home and be easy for you to make.
  • If you want to paint a design, try geometric shapes or search for inspiration in Portuguese or Chinese tile paintings.

Choose the right brushes for your project

  • You can always use a brush or roller for large areas.
  • If you are painting a design or an intricate scene on your tile, you’ll most likely need several different sizes of brushes.

Tile and area preparation before painting

Before you start painting, it is essential to clean and prepare the work area and your tiles. Here is a step-by-step guide so that you won’t miss a thing.

What you’ll need

  • Old sheet or drop cloth
  • Tile-cleaning product, or sugar soap
  • Scouring cloth
  • Oxygen bleach powder
  • Fungicidal spray
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Top-quality epoxy primer
  • Sealant

Step 1: Prepare the work area

We are sure you don’t want to get paint splashed on your floors, benchtops or walls. 

  • To protect your electrical appliances, remove any toast maker or kettle.
  • Use a cover film, old sheet or drop cloth to cover the sink, countertop, kitchen cabinets and everything else you won’t paint.
  • To prevent paint from dripping on the floor, lay down a tarp, especially if it’s laminate.
  • Open the windows for ventilation.
  • Move any food to another area to prevent contamination.

Step 2: Repair damaged tiles

  • If any of your old tiles have damages, you should repair these first.
  • Use the best sealant and filler to cure cracks.
  • Replace any tiles that are in rough space.

Step 3: Clean the existing tiles

If you want your primer and new paint to adhere properly, you should remove any cooking splatters or grime on the tiles. 

  • Use tile-cleaning product or sugar soap and a scouring cloth to clean the tiled area.
  • You can make a paste from an oxygen bleach powder, dip a scrub brush in the paste and scrub the tiles’ surface. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse with water.
  • Apply fungicidal spray on any mould.
  • If you want the best finish, scrap out and replace any grout that is in poor condition before you start.

Step 4: Sand the tiles

  • Use fine-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the tiles to score their surface. 
  • If you have a large area to work with, it will be easier to use an electric sander.
  • After sanding, wipe away any grit or remaining dust with a damp cloth.
  • To make sure that the paint will stick, let it dry for 24 hours.

Step 5: Mask the edges of your work area

  • Mark out your specific area using painter’s tape. Use long runs of tape to create a straighter edge and press down firmly.
  • After masking the edges, use a damp cloth to give the tiles a final quick wipe and remove all the dust.
  • Leave the area for an hour to ensure it is dry.

Step 6: Prime the tiles

  • Use the proper primer undercoat for your specific tiles to ensure you get the best result.
  • Apply your high-quality epoxy primer evenly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check the instructions on your specific priming material and let it dry completely.

Step 7: Sand and clean the tiles one more time

  • Make sure the primer is cured.
  • Sand lightly the tiles’ surface again and wipe away any dust with a cloth.
  • The cleaner the surface area, the better the paint will adhere
  • You’re now ready for painting.

Step-by-step guide to paint kitchen tiles

Now that you are done cleaning and preparing your tiles make sure the primer is completely dry and collect all you need to paint. Let’s make these tiles look brand new again!

What you’ll need

  • Paint roller and cover
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint tray and liner
  • Tack cloth
  • Clean bucket
  • Latex or latex-substitute gloves
  • Eye, hearing, and breathing protection
  • Tile paint
  • Paintable caulk
  • Exterior-grade waterproof spackling paste
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sheet plastic

Step 1: Get the paint ready

  • Stir a top-quality latex, oil, or epoxy paint.
  • Pour it into a clean working pot.

Step 2: Paint the edges and hard-to-reach areas

  • Use a small, angled paintbrush to paint the edges and hard-to-reach areas, like corners.
  • Use a roller to cover the tiles on a large surface more quickly.
  • Start in one corner and work your roller or brush strokes down the tiles, then across the area or wall to avoid any overlapping brush strokes.
  • Apply the paint with a brush into the grout; a roller won’t get into this.

Step 3: Apply several thin coats of paint

  • Rather than applying a thick topcoat, it’s better to apply several thin coats.
  • Allow each coat to dry completely before adding the next.
  • Quick-dry paints will allow you to apply a second coat after about two hours.
  • Remove the painter’s tape or caulk carefully.
  • Allow the final coat to cure properly.

Step 4: Apply a sealer

  • When the paint has completely cured, apply two coats of polyurethane sealer to protect the colour coats.
  • Allow for two to three days before you use the area.

Extra tips for painting like an expert

Do you need some extra tips to make your paint last long? Here is what to do and what to avoid while painting your tiles!

  • If you want to create a painted design, first draw it on the tile with a pencil. Then start painting with the lightest colour to avoid streaks. Let each colour dry before starting a new one and apply the paint in multiple thin layers. Finally, let it dry for at least 24 hours. Coat it with clear urethane to seal in colour, and your painted tile is ready!
  • Wear disposable gloves to avoid getting any paint stains on your hands.
  • To avoid the paint peeling quickly, choose the suitable tiles for your makeover and opt for non-high-traffic areas.
  • Patience and slow and steady moves while painting are the key factors for making your old tiles look brand new.
  • Before any new coat of paint, be sure that the previous one has completely dried.
  • The proper tile preparation is crucial for the paint to adhere.

How to maintain your kitchen tiles

You want your new tiles and the ones painted to keep their looks as long as possible. Here are the best ways to clean and care for them to protect their longevity.

Care for your floor tiles

  • Use a high-quality sealant to protect your tile floor from mould, grime and moisture, as well as scratches and scuff marks from foot traffic.
  • Sweep, vacuum, and damp-mop debris from the floor to help retain their sheen and keep the floor pattern looking sharp and distinct.
  • Set mats in high-traffic areas and floor pads directly below furnishings on the tile for an extra barrier of protection from everyday wear-and-tear.
  • Don’t let water and cleaners settle for too long on painted tiles. Excess moisture can make the paint more prone to peeling.

Clean your ceramic and porcelain tiles

  • Clean using white vinegar: White vinegar will disinfect the walls, clean grease from the tiles, and ensure that they don’t produce any odour. It can also be used as an agent for fighting smoke stains when used directly on the walls.
  • Clean with baking soda: Wipe the greasy kitchen wall tiles down using a certain amount of baking soda on a gentle scrubber, like a sponge. Rub the surface gently, and then use a clean, dry piece of cloth to wipe it down.
  • Clean with vegetable oil: This is another natural and effective way to remove grease and oil stains from your tiles. Pour some vegetable oil on a paper towel, and then scrub the greasy walls. 
  • Use salt to clean: Salt is a product you can find on all kitchen countertops. Sprinkle it over grease and oil stains to soak them, and then spray the area with vinegar. Wipe down with a sponge or cloth, and you’re clean to go.

Quick and easy everyday ways to maintain your tiles

  • Clean and wipe your tiles regularly, as you would clean your bathroom tiles, so no dirt, grease or food gets stuck to the tiles for an extended period.
  • Replace any broken tiles as soon as you notice them.
  • Always consider the type of tile you have before cleaning. For ceramic tiles, a standard scoring pad should be okay. Avoid using this on printed or patterned tiles. Instead, use a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth.
  • To ensure stains don’t appear, clean up any spillages as soon as they happen.

Painting kitchen tiles is a DIY project you can easily do yourself. After following our tutorial, you won’t have to think about retiling and renovating your tired looking kitchen any time soon. Make your kitchen backsplash, walls and floor look brand new, with a luxurious look! Let’s paint some tile, shall we?!

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