Can Bathroom Tiles Be Painted

Can Bathroom Tiles be Painted? Pros, Cons and How to Paint

If you don’t like the look of your bathroom tiles, you have several options at your disposal.

Two of the most likely options are replacing the tiles, or painting them. Of the two methods, painting is the cheaper and easier option.

But, can you paint the tiles in your bathroom? How do you that?

Indeed, you can paint your bathroom tiles to the color and design you want. However, you need to find the right kind of paint and follow the right procedure to get the best results.

Otherwise, you’ll do a poor job and the paint will easily come off when it comes into contact with water.

You can paint all types of tiles be they wall or floor tiles. It’s a task which needs to be done properly to avoid losing the paint to the water or the foot traffic in the bathroom.

Why Paint Your Bathroom Tiles?

before and after painting

There are many reasons as to why you would want to repaint your bathroom tiles. These include the following:

  • You may not like the current color and look of the tiles.
  • You may want to add a personal touch to the tiles to match with the rest of the house/bathroom.
  • The tiles may have some growths such as molds that makes them look ugly.

If you have any of these reasons (or one of your own), continue reading on how to do a painting or repainting job for your bathroom tiles.

The Advantages of Painting Your Bathroom Tiles

Painting your tiles has various benefits among them the following:

  • You can renew the look and feel of your old tiles.
  • You will spend less time and money on painting as compared to retiling the floor afresh.
  • When done right, painted tiles are as good as new in terms of durability.
  • You can change the look of your bathroom with a new look on the tiles.

Besides these benefits, you also get to clean them properly and even eliminate accumulated germs and dirt as a stage in the repainting process.

Disadvantages of Painting Your Bathroom Tiles

how to paint old bathroom tiles

The disadvantages when it comes to this task include the following aspects:

  • You need to be very careful as your work may not last long if not done right.
  • It could take a while to complete as most of these projects take about a week to complete. You’ll thus need to get a new place to take your baths from.
  • It needs a lot of planning, patience and meticulous work which some people may not manage.
  • If you’re to call in an expert, you’ll have better results but will spend much more.
  • Tile are either impervious or vitreous which means that they absorb little water. As such, poor preparation of the surface before painting may lead to easy disintegration of the paint.

If you can overcome these challenges and have decided to paint the tiles, the next consideration is whether to try it yourself or call someone else to do it for you.

Do You Paint Yourself or Hire an Expert?

When deciding between painting the tiles yourself or enlisting the services of an expert, you need to consider the following aspects:

1. Your Level of Skill and Complexity of the Project

This aspect will depend on the size of the bathroom, the type of tiles you have, and the other activities to be carried out besides the painting.

If the project entails other activities such as refinishing the tiles, regrouting, plumbing and fixing power connections, you’re better off calling in an expert as they’ll do a better job in general.

If, however, it’s a simple task of cleaning and painting the tiles, you can do a DIY project and have great results all the same.

2. Time Available

yellow paint for bathroom tiles

For a complex and large project, hiring an expert may seem costly but it’ll save you long term costs. Even for a simple project that’s large, expert hands can do the job faster and better than you will on your own.

While the average time taken between starting the process and getting to use the bathroom again may be about a week, an expert can shave a day or two off this period.

If you’re not in a hurry, however, you can do the job yourself and wait for the average time. You just need to know exactly what you’re doing.

3. Amount of Money Available for the Project

Using the services of a professional to paint your bathroom will obviously increase the total costs of the task at hand. Besides buying the paint and any other items for the task, you’ll part with a significant amount of money paying the professional.

If you can do the task(s) with a high level of professionalism, you won’t need to hire someone else to do it for you.

If you’re convinced that you can do the painting yourself, head over to the sections below for a step-by-step guide on carrying out the task.

How to Paint Bathroom Tiles

woman painting bathroom tiles in gray

To get the look you want with your bathroom tiles, follow these steps:

1. Gather the Needed Materials

Among the materials you’ll need include:

  • Tile paint primer
  • Paint rollers and brushes
  • Stencils
  • Painter’s tape
  • Tile paint (non-water based)
  • Sealant

You can replace the sealant with polyurethane if the need arises. Only use stencils when you need them. Otherwise, you can knock them off the list.

The tile paint needs to be of a type that doesn’t dissolve in water to avoid its eventual breakdown by coming into contact with bathroom water.

Often, epoxy paint ($20-35 a gallon) is better than latex paint ($10-30 a gallon) for most types of surfaces in the bathroom due to higher durability. You can also go for mildew-resultant paint to keep your bathtub free of mildew.

2. Clean the Tiles

prepare the tiles surface

The tiles need to be thoroughly cleaned before being painted. You can do so through mopping, scrubbing, washing off any loose materials from the grout areas and other areas.

After cleaning, ensure that the room is well-ventilated so that it gets dry quickly. You don’t want to start painting on a wet surface be it tiles or other type of surface.

3. Repair Any Missing Parts on the Floor

If the grout on the floor, the tile(s) or other part of the floor isn’t in place, you need to replace it, wait for it to dry up and clean the area again before the next step.

4. Prepare the Tiles

sanding paper for tiles

Start by lightly sanding the tiles for the paint to adhere to the rougher surface. It’s hard for normal paint to stick to the smooth and glossy tile surface.

Use the painter’s tape to mask the edges of the surfaces you’ll be painting to prevent soiling them with paint. Ensure you’ve mixed the paint with the appropriate solvent before heading over to the next steps.

5. Apply the Paint Primer

Apply a reasonable amount of paint primer uniformly on the tiles and the grout then let it completely dry up before the next step.

6. Apply the First Coat of Paint

applying first coat

Whether you use a brush or spray gun, you need to apply a single coat of the paint then wait for a few days (about 2 or 3 depending on the conditions) for it to dry up.

7. Apply the Second and Subsequent Coats of Paint

After the first coat of paint is dry, add a second coat and wait for 2 to 3 days before applying a second coat. After another 2 or 3 days, add the third coat of paint.

Most tiles need three coats to have the perfect look. However, if you feel your paint isn’t good enough, add another coat giving the 2/3-day break in between the coats.

8. Seal the Tiles

To improve on the durability of the paint, a sealant such as polyurethane is applied after the floor is dry enough. You may, however, choose not to seal the floor

After you’ve done your last coat and sealed the floor/wall, give it 3 days the check if the paint has dried up enough. You can do this by pressing a finger on the surface.

If you feel any level of stickiness, it’ll not be dry enough for use. If it feels natural and dry, you’re good to use it.

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