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Painting Ceramic Tile

By: H. Iacobacci-Miller

So you have ceramic tile in your bathroom, probably pink, and you want to change the look on a budget….. Can you paint the tile? The answer is yes, but preparation is the key.

The consensus seems to be mixed when talking about painting the tile in areas exposed to water. Some sources suggest that you should have a professional resurface ceramic shower or bath tiles. If you have the money, that might be the safest bet. However, other sources suggest using the right products for adhesion. Of course, if you're tile is an eye sore to begin with, what do you have to lose? It's up to you.

Tools & Materials:
· Rubber Gloves
· Sanding pad/paper
· Tile/Grout cleaner or home solution
· Lint free dust cloth
· Mildew remover if needed
· High-quality primer
· High-quality finishing or topcoat
· Paint brushes or rollers
· Drop cloth and edging tape


1. If your tile is shiny, it is a good idea to lightly sand the tile to helpwith the adhesion process.

2. Clean the tile surface! Use a 50/50 solution of household ammonia and water. You can also use a mild acid solution used for tile/grout cleaning. This can be found at home and tile centers.

3. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.

4. Prime your tile with a high-quality adhesion primer. (320-00 Aqua Borne Blockout/Undercoater White or Zinsser's latex based Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer Sealer). (Note: if the tiles will be subjected to water, use BIN or other alcohol based primers.)

5. After the primer is thoroughly dry, apply two coats of a high-quality finish paint. (Note: for areas subjected to water/moisture, use alkyd or oil based finishes.)

6. To keep the tiled effect, use a thin brush and re-create grout lines or if you want to get creative, now is the time to add your faux finishes.

7. Allow your paint to dry for approximately 2 weeks to insure that the paint is scratch/scuff resistant. You don't have to avoid the room, just use caution.

If you have re-painted your ceramic tile - we'd love for you to share your photos or your tips/tricks!