Tips - Painting ceramic tiles

Tip

Ceramic tiles are installed to be permanent, but colours and styles do go out of fashion, leaving dated, unsightly tiles in their wake. Discover how to give old tiles a face-lift and revamp a space without overextending your client's budget. 

A room lined with decorative tile can look tired, even tacky, if the tile is old or outdated. When you're working with clients who want to update a room without spending too much money, consider expanding the room's possibilities by working with them to paint the existing ceramic tile. 

Removing existing tiles can be costly. If your customers decide to take on this challenge, they'll be dealing with broken ceramic pieces, the expense of repairing existing or applying new drywall, and a room that will be virtually useless for several days or more. 

Before you o begin a tile-painting project, there are a few things you should know. 

Don't refinish tile in high-traffic or high-moisture areas. Almost all ceramic tile can be painted, as long as it's not frequently subjected to water. For instance, you can paint tiles on the wall, floor and countertop, but avoid painting tile that lines a bathtub or shower. Frequent exposure to moisture could cause the newly applied paint to peel almost immediately. 

Many experts have qualms about painting tile because the results can vary, depending on the type of tile, the products used to refinish them and the process followed. 

We recommend removing grease, grime, dirt and mould before beginning. Start by giving the tiles a quick scuffing/ sanding with a 80- gridd sandpaper, and follow up with Restore Heavy Duty Degreaser to clean the surface. 

Repair chips, cracks and other surface damage before painting. If using caulk or epoxy to repair damage, give it several days to dry before painting. As with any paint job, use tape to protect areas adjacent to the tile and remember to use safety goggles and a dust mask. 

Once the tiles are prepped, begin with Impa Tuff Cote Epoxy Undercoat. Epoxy gives greater durability and can be topped with most any painting product after application. Although our preferred choice remain a epoxy paint like Impa Tuff Cote Epoxy. Refer to the product directions on the product TDS for recommendations.

After applying the paint, allow AT LEAST three days for it to dry. Do not use abrasive cleaners on the paint before curing for a period of 30 days. 

While some contractors and designers are wary of painting tile, others have found satisfying success with the process, when it's done properly. Results can vary depending on products used, geographic location, and the quality and composition of the tiles being altered. Consult a professional contractor or a Impa Technical Advice Centre if you're unsure about the process.

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