7th Dec 2022 -

Paint can be an effective way to cover old or unfashionable tiling but it has some clear limits. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of painting tiles, the types of tile paint available in the UK, and the process for painting tiles.

Should You Paint Your Tiles?

If your house has structurally sound tiles that you are looking to replace, then paint can offer a cost-effective solution to rejuvenate them. In many houses, older tiling can give a dated and unfashionable look, which can be fully covered by paint. Pulling out and replacing tiles can be a costly process that can cause further issues.

However, it’s worth noting that painting tiles is not the most permanent solution, even when primer and specialist tile paints are used. Tile paint will need to be reapplied over time, especially when used in a wet environment like a shower. Once painted, tiles can still be removed, so painting them could offer a shorter-term solution before they are changed or replaced.

Types of Tile Paint

The tiles within a property are likely to be either ceramic or porcelain, which can both be painted in the same way. However, there will be different paint options for interior and exterior tiles, along with floor tiles. Tile paints will range in sheen from gloss to matt.

Waterproof Tile Paint

Tile paints are available for use on the wall tiles of kitchens and bathrooms. Options like the solvent-based Ronseal Once Coat Tile Paint are designed to be waterproof and mould-resistant, coming in a small range of colour options. This will not however be suitable for use within a shower. Painting the tiles within a shower can be completed, but will involve sanding down the surface of the tile to offer a better bond, and will need to be repainted over time.

Epoxy Tile Paint

Epoxy paint is sometimes used on tiles. It is applied in two layers, offering a resistant finish that will perform well within damp environments. Epoxy paint can have a difficult application process, and will be tricky to remove once applied.

Floor Tile Paint

Floor paints will need to offer a higher level of durability than wall or ceiling paints, to withstand regular usage, alongside liquid spillage and the use of cleaning supplies. There are heavy-duty floor tile paints available in the UK, such as Leyland Trade Heavy Duty Floor & Tile Paint.

Outdoor Tile Paint

Weatherproof tile paints will be available for outdoor use. Typically these will be masonry paints which are intended for bonding to difficult surfaces like bricks or concrete outdoors. You’ll find a range of colours available.

Patio Tile Paint

The tiles of an outdoor patio can be painted, though you’ll have to choose a paint that is suited to the material, which is likely either concrete or brick. The paint you choose will also need to be a specific floor paint rather than a general masonry paint, which will not be designed for the regular contact of a floor application.

Concrete Roof Tile Paint

Specialist paints are available for concrete roof tiles, designed to offer a strong water-resistant finish. When painting roof tiles it’s worth keeping in mind that repainting them will be a time-consuming and costly task, compared to repainting the tiles inside a house.

Are Anti-Slip Tile Paints Available?

While anti-slip tile paints are not available, anti-slip coatings can be found, which can come in handy for environments where tiles risk accidents, such as a bathroom or kitchen floor.

How to Paint Tiles

  1. Check and clean: Study the condition of your porcelain or ceramic tiles to make sure they are sturdy and without cracks to make sure that they are suitable for painting. Then check the condition of any grouting between tiles, which will also be painted. If the grouting is loose or worn away you may need to regrout certain sections. Once you’re happy with your tiles you should thoroughly clean both the tiles and the grouting.
  2. Preparation: Getting your tiles properly prepared will help to create a strong bond with your paint. Once your tiles are clean, in most cases you will need to prime them using a specifically labelled tile primer. A primer will adhere to the tile and create a great surface to apply paint. In certain cases like shower tiles, you may need to sand down the tiles to create a better surface for priming.
  3. Painting: Most paints will require two separate coats, though some tile paints will only require one coat, which will be listed in the product description. You can use paint brushes or rollers, ensuring that the grouting is also painted to give consistent colouring across your wall or floor.

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Building Materials Nationwide works across the UK with a range of professionals, saving them time and money on their building supplies. If you open a trade account through our website, we offer a dedicated account manager, who’ll be able to source whatever you need for a building project, from tile paint to insulation or even timber. 

We can deliver these to you across the UK at competitive trade prices. Trade account holders also benefit from express delivery options and can apply for up to 30 days of interest-free credit.

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