Are you tired of the colour of your bathroom or kitchen tiles? Is their pattern or colour design totally out of date? Painting tiles, whether in the bathroom, kitchen, or elsewhere, is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get them to look like new again without having to endure tiresome and costly building works. Follow our painting tiles step by step guide to get them to look absolutely perfect.
Changing the kitchen or bathroom tiles can be both irksome and expensive. The building works can last several days, which is inconvenient enough. And if you only have one bathroom in the house, then it’s even worse. Not only that, tiling a whole bathroom or kitchen can cost you between £750 and £1,500, depending on the materials used and the room’s square metres.
For this reason, if your aim is to radically change the look of your tiles in record time and with a small budget, the best solution, without a doubt, is to paint them. This tutorial will show you everything that you need to know for painting tiles, and how to achieve a perfect finish.
Painting tiles: tools and materials
- Tile paint, epoxy paint or emulsion paint and primer for walls
- White spirit
- Short pile roller (various sizes)
- Round or angled paint brush
- Masking tape
- Dust sheet
Cost, time and difficulty
The cost of painting tiles will mostly depend on the type of paint you choose and the total square meters of the area you want to paint. Usually, paint manufacturers indicate on the container how much paint you will need per square meter. However, be mindful of the fact that the first coat will require more amount of paint than the second.
Don’t forget that painting tools such as buckets, rollers, brushes, etc are pretty inexpensive and easy to find.
And last but not least, the level of difficulty of painting tiles is low, and it will only take you one or two days. Most of the time will be taken up by waiting the appropriate amount of time for each of the paint coats to dry.
Tips and things to consider before you start painting tiles
There are different types of paint that can be used to paint tiles. The most common options available in your DIY shop are:
- Tile paint: It is applied directly on the tiles and doesn’t require a primer. You can find different shades in a gloss or satin finish.
- Epoxy paint: Epoxy paint consists of two components: a high durability and strength epoxy resin and a high performance epoxy enamel. Its use is especially suitable for areas that require a resistant paint, and it is ideal for damp areas such as the shower wall.
- Primer and emulsion paint: Another option is to apply a primer and then a top coat of emulsion paint. The main advantage of this option is that you can choose from a wide variety of paint types and shades.
When choosing what type of paint you want to use for your tiles, you should consider the following:
- Tile paint is especially suitable for this, as it is both washable and resistant to moisture.
- Epoxy paint is more resistant, but its application is more laborious. It requires that both components be combined in the specific amounts indicated by the manufacturer, as well as thoroughly mixed and blended for the catalysis process to take place correctly. Not only that, it restricts you to a working time of just one or two hours, which is when it begins to harden and stops being functional.
- Applying a primer and a top coat of paint is especially suitable when there are damp or mould issues, since you can use an anti-condensation or an anti-mould paint for the finishing top coat.
In terms of the roller, we recommend that you choose a short pile roller, in order to avoid dripping and leaving marks on the surface. For hard-to-reach areas or smaller walls, you can use mini-rollers and a round or angled paint brush for cutting in the corners between walls and ceiling.
Painting tiles step by step
Don’t hesitate any longer! Painting your tiles will greatly improve the look of your bathroom or kitchen. For this tutorial, we have painted the tiles in a small bathroom. Although the style of the tiles was quite modern, their colour and size made the bathroom look small.
Step 1 – Prepare the surface
The first thing you will need to do is check what condition the tiles are in, and repair or replace the ones that are broken or damaged. You will also need to go over the joints and fill them with putty if necessary, as well as remove any adhesive residue (from accessories such as hooks, hangers…) with a scraper.
Next, clean the tiles with either alcohol, soap and water or a degreaser, to make sure that the surface is free of dust and dirt. Otherwise, the paint’s adherence might be compromised.
You then need to protect those areas that you do not want to paint over, using masking tape, paper and dust sheets. This is a very important step, given that the type of paints that we are going to use are quite difficult to remove once they are dry.
Step 2 – Paint the tiles
Regardless of the type of paint that you choose for your tiles, the steps to correctly apply the paint will be as follows:
- Pour the paint into a tray or a roller bucket with a grid pattern.
- Load the roller by partially dipping it into the bucket and rolling it on the grid pattern.
- Place it on the surface that you are going to paint and move it vertically (from top to bottom) at first, and then horizontally (from side to side).
- For the areas near the ceiling you can use an extension pole or a ladder.
Remember that you will need to apply a minimum of two coats, regardless of the type of paint that you choose. For this tutorial we have applied two coats of primer, and another two coats of anti-condensation paint, given that the latter is insulating and can reduce the effects of damp caused by condensation, a common problem in small bathrooms.
Step 3 – Remove the protective tape and paper
After applying the last coat of paint and while it is still wet, remove the masking tape and paper. If in some areas the paint is already dry, you will need to go over the edges with a snap-off knife or cutter to avoid lifting the paint when removing the tape or paper.
Now you can see the final result and how much the look of this small bathroom has improved after painting the tiles: it is instantly much brighter and more spacious.
The shower area has been left unpainted to add colour to the room. Once the transparent glass shower screen is installed, this area will be completely closed off.