A Guide to Painting Ceramic Tiles

Painting ceramic tiles is not too difficult but it takes time and effort. With a little guidance, it is possible to paint ceramic tiles in such a way that they get a totally different look. Moreover, you can also make old ones look like new.

Cleaning before painting

Firstly, you need to ensure that each of the tiles is completely clean and dry before you begin. There shouldn’t be any grease or waxy residue on them. A mild abrasive soap can be used to clean the tiles, in order to remove the build-up. Cleaning the grout might take some time – you can use a scrub brush and an oxygen bleach cleaner solution. Apply it to the grout, let it soak for about 10 minutes, and scrub it till it is clean. Allow the grout to dry for 48 hours before painting.


All repair work to the tiles and grout, like cracks or crumbling grout should be dealt with beforehand or else it can ruin the painted tiles. All the gloss and shine needs to be removed from the ceramic tiles so that the paint will adhere to the surface. This can be done with a hand held orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper. Clean the tile and grout once more so that there is no dirt and dust.

Selecting the Paint and Primer

An acrylic paint primer is needed for the first layer of paint. The paint (it needs to stick) used for ceramic tiles is oil based paint or water based paint with a urethane resin.

Painting the Tiles

Coat the tile with the first layer of primer, let it dry for a few hours, and then apply another coat. The second coat should be left for 24 hours to dry. After that, you should sand areas that are not completely smooth and wipe off the dust. Tiles can be painted by spraying or with a roller. If you choose the latter, it should have low nap, as that it will go on smoother than a high nap roller and will give less bubbles. Tape the grout lines so that the paint doesn’t seep through. The newly painted tiles need 48 hours to dry before the finishing coat can be applied. Water–based urethanes work best on painted ceramic and will not yellow.