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How to paint tiles — from floor to ceiling and kitchen to bathroom

Learn how to paint tiles in kitchen and bathroom areas to add style to your tiles and bring dull old walls back to life!

Updated

Can you paint over tiles? Tiled kitchen wall

Key steps

Here’s how to paint tile in five easy steps:

  1. Clean tile surfaces.
  2. Clean grouting lines.
  3. Cover and tape areas you don’t want to paint.
  4. Apply the paint evenly, adding a second coat if necessary.
  5. Freshen up the grout with a grouting pen.

Just because your old tiles are looking a little past their best it doesn’t mean they’re done for. Before you think about ripping those old tiles off the wall, learn how to paint tile and save yourself a lot of money. We’ll show you how to paint tiles in kitchen and bathroom areas, so you can turn your tired old tiles into a stylish and sparkling new surface.

If you want to know how to paint bathroom tile surfaces, getting the correct paint is key. Bathrooms are steamy places, so a product with anti-mould properties may give you the best results long term.

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Can you paint over tile?

If you don’t want to remove tiles, can you paint over tile instead? The simple answer is yes, you can — in most situations. As long as the tile surface isn’t too tainted or damaged, and you use the right method, it’s actually fairly straightforward.

  • Choosing the right paint is key. Once you know what kind of paint to use on ceramic tiles, you’ll be able to get great results. 
  • Ceramic tiles look best when an oil-based paint is used as latex products will be prone to peeling due to extra heat and moisture in the air.
  • Our method for painting tiles will focus on ceramic tiles only as they're the most common variety.
  • If you have other tiles then make sure you check which paint is best and follow the method suggested by the manufacturer.

Now, let’s move on to how to paint tiles in kitchen and bathroom areas.

How to paint tile

Whether you want to know how to paint bathroom tile or tiles in the kitchen, the same method can be used – as long as the tile material is the same, of course. Follow this guide and you should be able to make even the dullest of old tiles look new:

  1. Clean the tile surface. This is really important, as not only will the tiles look better in the long run, but the paint will adhere to the surface a lot better. You can use a regular bathroom spray or white vinegar — just be sure to open doors and windows for ventilation while you’re working. A light sanding may be necessary to help the paint adhere. If that’s the case, give the tiles a final wipe down afterwards.
  2. Clean the grout. The last thing you want is beautifully sparkly tiles with dirty grout in between. Using an old toothbrush, you can work into the gaps and clear off as much of the grime as you can.
  3. Cover areas you don’t want to paint. Whether you’re updating kitchen or bathroom tiles, move everything away and cover fixtures and surfaces, and tape edges where you don’t want paint getting splashed.
  4. Paint your tiles. Once everything is fully cleaned, dried, and prepped, you can start painting. Mix the paint and then apply it to individual tiles one at a time, working up to the grout line. Use even strokes to get consistent coverage, and try not to go over painted areas more than once. Let the tiles dry overnight and, if need be, add a second coat.
  5. Finish the grout. Once the paint has dried, and you’re happy with the results, you can use a grouting pen to freshen up the lines.

There you have it, a simple guide to repainting your old tiles. Now you know what kind of paint to use on ceramic tiles, and what to do to prep and paint tiles in your bathroom or kitchen, you can turn your tired old walls into something new, funky and fresh!

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Originally published