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Tile Paint

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The most vibrant and durable tile colors and designs are those that are baked in. After all, that's the great thing about tile: a top surface nearly as hard as the base material itself.

It is possible to paint on tile that has previously been fired. High-traffic tile or tile subjected to lots of moisture is not meant to be painted. It's not standard practice to take a roller to your kitchen or bathroom floor; paint on these surfaces will soon wear off. Tile paint works best on vertical surfaces that don't get a heavy beating: backsplashes that don't get much splash, wall tile, wainscot tile, etc.

More importantly, look at painting tile as a treatment that may eventually come to ruin. Whether six months or six years from now, it will begin to flake and chip. Tile replacement is always the best option for long-term durability.

Valspar® Terracotta Touch

Valspar Terracotta Touch
© Valspar
Yes, it's spray paint. But for a texturizing, you greatly increase your chance of achieving a consistent surface by spraying on, rather than brushing or rolling. The downside is that you'll be spray-painting indoors; spray mist is hard to confine, even when you take precautions.

Valspar Terracotta Touch is made specifically for tile and glass (as well a wood, metal, and plastic).

Tile DOC® Aerosol

XIM Tile Doc Aerosol
© XIM
Tile DOC has an aerosol version that is easier to work with than their Two-Part Kit. It sprays on with little effort and dries to use within 3 days. This epoxy modified acrylic paint requires xylene for clean up, and comes in only one color at this time: white.

Valspar® Premium Enamel Spray Paint

Valspar Premium Enamel Spray Paint
© Valspar
If you're looking for a solid color that's very tough, try a spray enamel. Valspar's Premium Enamel Spray Paint dries to the touch within one hour and comes in 47 solid colors, in flat, satin, or gloss finishes.

XIM Tile DOC® Kit

XIM Tile Doc Kit
© XIM
XIM Tile Doc is a more serious product--it's more work than shaking up a can, but far more durable in the end. It's epoxy-based kit that requires you to mix two parts, then spray on with a HVLP (high volume, low pressure) sprayer or brush on.

The main advantage to this kit is that it can be tinted in a wide range of pastel colors.

Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations™

Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations
© Rust-Oleum
Rust-Oleum is a leader in the niche field of what I call "painting things that normally don't get painted." They've got Countertop Transformations for laminate. They've got Cabinet Transformations for wood and melamine cabinets. Why not transform tile, too?

Notes that all Tile Transformations produce a lightly textured stone-like surface; if you're looking for slick gloss, this one isn't for you. Also you are limited 12 colors in the pastel-gray-blue spectrum. This is a two-part kit that starts with a bonding coat and finishes with a top coat that is ready to use within 24 hours.

Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit

Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit
© Rust-Oleum
Rust-Oleum also has an epoxy acrylic tile paint product that isn't as widely advertised. It's less expensive than Tile Transformations, but only comes in three colors: white, almond, and biscuit. As a two-part paint kit, you mix two substances together and then apply as one (as opposed to a two-step bonding agent + top coat mixture like Tile Transformations).

Notes About Painting Tile

Reduce the possibility of error and lengthen potential lifespan for your painted tile with two crucial steps: degloss and clean your tile properly.
  1. Fine-grit (400 grit or higher) sandpaper is sufficient for deglossing the tile. Your aim is not to completely remove the gloss to the base material, but to degloss it so that it is no longer shiny.
  2. Because tile tends to be installed in areas that receive a lot of soap scum, food splatter, and other kitchen/bath effluvia, you have to thoroughly clean the tile. If the tile is very dirty, you may need to clean before sanding, and then clean once more after sanding.
You can paint over tile grout. However, you never want to paint over any flexible areas such as caulking or silicone seams.

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