How to Paint Bathroom Tiles

If you just can’t bear to spend another day looking at the ugly tiles in your bathroom, but you don’t have the budget for a full re-tiling job, then this is for you. Learning how to paint bathroom tiles is easy, plus, it’s certainly cheaper and not as messyas replacing them.

bathroom tiles and tap - how to paint bathroom tiles

Before you start learning how to paint bathroom tiles, you should be aware that this is not just a simple paint job. The smooth surface of ceramic tiles makes it difficult for conventional paint to stick, so for this project, it’s all about the preparation and the materials.

Tip! The ideal time to tackle this DIY project is during the spring or early summer when there is less chance of rain, and you can ventilate the room more easily. This will speed up the curing process.

Equipment and Materials

  • Dust sheet
  • Polyfilla
  • Wet/dry 180-220 grit sandpaper
  • Cleaning products
  • Masking tape
  • Paint (and primer)
  • Small paintbrush for cutting in
  • Sponge roller
  • Grout pen

How to Paint Bathroom Tiles: 5 Steps

cleaning bathroom tiles bathroom tiles - how to paint bathroom tiles

The preparation for this project is key. Any step skipped could result in a bad finish that will not only look bad but won’t stand a chance of surviving the rigours of bathroom life.

  1. Clean the tiles thoroughly to get rid of any grease, dirt, mildew or soap scum. Use an abrasive cleaner for this and then banish it from your bathroom forever, as it is no friend of the painted ceramic tile. Rinse and then dry the tiles.
  2. Sand the tiles lightly (use 180-220 grit) in order to give a rougher surface for the paint to adhere to. The aim is to take the entire surface from glossy to matte. This is a laborious job, but the key to success, so don’t skimp and if you can get your hands on an orbital sander you’ll be saving on time and elbow grease.
  3. Get rid of any silicon sealant around bath, shower and sink. Paint will not adhere to the sealant and you can re-apply it afterwards. Look at the grouting and fill in any cracks with poly filler or new grout.
  4. Rinse to get rid of any dust and dry thoroughly.
  5. Put down your dust sheets and mask-off bath, shower and sink as well as any other fixtures and light fittings that you don’t want to get covered in paint.

Which Paint?

paint brushes and pots - how to paint bathroom tiles

Epoxy Paint
Although the colour choices are limited, you can use a two-part epoxy paint specifically designed for painting tiles and similar surfaces. Apply at least two coats, the first will act purely for adhesion, and follow the directions to the letter, allowing the recommended drying time between coats.
Latex Paint
The other option is to use a bonding primer before painting. Apply one or two coats of a bonding primer followed by two coats of acrylic latex wall paint. Be sure to follow directions for both products regarding drying times.

Application

Before you start any paint job, please ensure that the area where you are working is adequately ventilated. You may also want to use a dust mask or respirator as the paint fumes can be unpleasant.

Use your smaller paint brush to cut in the corners and edges and use the roller for the larger areas. Let the paint cure and harden for a week, during which time keep it dry and don’t do any harsh cleaning.

Finishing Touch

For a near perfect finish use a white grout pen to redefine your grout lines.

Aftercare

The result will be entirely dependant on how well you prepped for the job, and aftercare will determine how long the finish will last. If you take good care, it will last up to three years before you have to re-do, and you can, of course, touch-up the area in spots when needed. Be sure not to use any abrasive cleaning products on your painted tiles as it will remove the paint and make a waste of all your time and effort.

TIP! How do you calculate the amount of paint that you will need for one coat?

Measure the length and height of your walls to get your square meterage, then divide that figure by 12 and you have your literage.

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