How to Paint Over Tiles

Whether you have a dated bathroom suite or in search of a weekend kitchen or bathroom project, painting tiles may be your solution.
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Whether you have a dated bathroom suite or in search of a weekend kitchen or bathroom project, painting tiles may be your solution. There are many tile-friendly paints like Dulux Tile Paint and Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint which are waterproof and self-undercoating, making this method much quicker and cheaper than re-tiling. You can paint over tiles yourself whether they are porcelain, ceramic or glass.

Tips on how to paint bathroom tiles

  • Avoid using cleaning products on the area just painted as this will remove paint.
  • Remove any sealant from around shows, sinks and baths before painting and re-seal when painting is complete. If you can’t remove the sealant properly, mask it off as paint will never adhere to it.
  • Do not re-grout after painting your tiles as anything abrasive will remove the paint.

Tips on how to paint kitchen tiles

  • Clean the tiles thoroughly to make sure grease or food stains are completely removed.
  • Before you start painting tiles, use dust sheets and masking tape to protect any worktops.
  • To remove any grease or food between tiles, use grout cleaner and a microfibre cloth.

What equipment do I need?

  • Sugar soap or similar detergent
  • Scourer
  • Fungicidal spray
  • Filler
  • Fine-grade sand paper
  • Gloves
  • Paint brush
  • Primer (depending on tile paint used)
  • Tile paint

1. Clean tiles thoroughly

Dirt, dust and grease can stop the tile paint from adhering properly so use sugar soap or detergent solution and a scourer.

If there are any mould stains on the grouting or sealant, use a fungicidal spray to kill it off before applying paint. If you are painting kitchen tiles, be very thorough with cleaning as they may be greasy or have food residue on them.

Once your tiles are scrubbed clean and dried thoroughly, you’re ready to start.

2. Sand the tiles

Lightly sand the area with fine-medium grit sandpaper depending on your paint to make sure the paint has something to adhere to but make sure you clean off any dust before painting. For oil-based paint, we recommend a medium-grit sandpaper (100-150 grit).

Sanding also helps you achieve a nice smooth finish by removing imperfections (known as pimples).

3. Shop for the right tile paint

Successful results come from the best quality paint. We recommend Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint and Dulux Tile Paint for the best results.

Although these specialist paints come in a range of colours, if you are looking for a particular shade which is unavailable we recommend priming tiles with a solvent-based primer like Dulux Professional White Undercoat and then using high-gloss tile paint on top.

4. If necessary, prime tiles

If you are using a primer, we recommend using a smaller brush instead of a roller as it is easier to get into the grouting. With your primer, keep your coats thin and let the primer dry completely before lightly sanding on top. Remove any dust from sanding before you stand your top coat.

5. Begin painting tiles

Once your primer has completely dried, use a small brush or small roller to start painting your top coat of colour. If you are using a stencil, take your time to ensure it is in the right position.

A general rule for painting is to paint from the top and work your way down. This helps to ensure that no drips get on your newly painted areas.

We recommend applying thin coats to avoid brush marks and ensure the paint doesn’t peel after a few weeks. For Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint, just one coat is required unless painting over a dark coloured tile or patterned tile.

Acrylic-latex interior or exterior paints should not be used when painting tiles. For maximum durability and results, always use paint designated as tile paint.

Allow the paint to dry thoroughly between each layer.

6. Allow time for the paint to dry

Always follow your chosen paints manufacturers instructions on dry time or allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

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