Can You Paint Bathroom Tile?

By: Ezra Plank

The short answer to the question is "yes". Painting bathroom tile is certainly possible. But I know more information would be helpful, so let's continue. Another question you might have is "Why would you want to paint bathroom tile?" This question is easily answered in one sentence: It's a quick and easy way to redecorate your present tiles without the big mess and expense of removing the old tiles and retiling.

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So now let's go over what you need to know in order to paint tile.

First make sure that you replace any cracked tiles or crumbling grout before you go any farther.

You will need to start your paint job with a thoroughly clean surface. In a bathroom, there are many different unwanted materials that may be coating your old tiles. Each of these must be removed.

Preparing the surface:

frame from Painting the grout between the tiles.
  • Dirt and soap scum. Clean this off using whatever household cleaner you usually use to clean your bathroom.

  • Lime deposits. If you live in an area that has hard water, lime ( calcium oxide ) can easily build up. Many products are available in your grocery store that will easily remove this.

  • Mold. This common fungus can be removed with a solution of 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water.

TSP ( trisodium phosphate ) is a very good all-purpose cleaner that may take care of all the above contaminants. Also, before painting bathroom tile, you need to first remove the gloss from the tile's surface, and TSP does that easily.

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Priming the surface:

In order to paint over tile, you need to sand its surface to make it easier for the paint to adhere. Use a fine-grit paper, so as to get a smooth, unscratched surface. Then carefully clean off any dust with a lint-free cloth.

For priming, use a primer/bonder that is made for adhering to difficult surfaces. You can apply the undercoat evenly, using a brush with synthetic bristles, and let it dry. Don't overfill the brush, and be careful to avoid dripping. Sand again, and again remove the dust.


frame from A different color for the small squares.

Use an oil-based glossy enamel, which will give you a surface that is hard, durable, and washable. It should also help prevent mold and peeling.

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Use a natural-bristle brush, and apply the paint the same way you did the primer. A second coat will give you a longer-lasting finish. Be sure to sand and wipe off the dust between each coat. The grout may be painted a different color with a tiny brush, if you want.

As a final touch, several days after applying the last coat of paint, you can seal it with a thin layer of urethane.

Once done, you should have an attractive new-looking finish. And an added advantage - by painting over the tile, you get a few more years of wear.

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by Ezra Plank, an Ezine Articles Platinum Expert Author

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