Can I Change the Color of Ceramic Tile?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to have a tiling issue with Carol from South Carolina.
Carol, what are you working on?
LESLIE: Hi there. Tell us about this tile. What’s going on?
CAROL: Well, we have a house that was built in 1984 and we have some ceramic tile that’s blue and we’d like to change the color of it. It’s in really good shape. And we also have cultured marble in another bathroom, a vanity top, a shower surround, and a garden tub. And just wondering if it’s possible to change the color of those surfaces.
TOM: Hmm. You know, changing the color of a wall is pretty easy but changing the color of tile is pretty hard.
Leslie, what do you think?
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s – when tile is created, it’s baked with the colorant on it, so it’s pretty much baked into the tile and then glazed over so that that coloration is really protected. So there’s really no way to sort of remove that upper layer and then retint the stone itself because, to do that, you’d probably just destroy the tile and break it apart in the process.
TOM: The only change that I’ve ever heard that is possible to do is you can darken lighter grouts.
TOM: If you have white grout and you want to make it a brown grout, it can be dyed. But there’s nothing that you can really do to change the color of the tile itself, Carol.
LESLIE: But that would be a wonderful dream.
TOM: That would.
CAROL: What about the cultured marble surfaces? Is that also something that can’t be done?
LESLIE: Is it sealed? Does it have a coating on it or is it still pretty raw feeling?
CAROL: I think it must be sealed because …
TOM: I’m thinking it probably is and I think the answer is the same, Carol. It’s not really something that’s easy to change in and of itself without replacing the top and the replacing the surfaces.
LESLIE: I imagine if you have something that’s not sealed, like a travertine, you could probably do like a tinted stain on top of something like that. But again, you would want to be really cautious because something that’s not sealed is going to be so porous it’s just going to suck it in so fast.
LESLIE: So I would be really careful with trying to change something like a ceramic tile or marble.
TOM: The other option, Carol, is when you have something that’s difficult or expensive to change, is to try to leave that alone and decorate around it. I know that, for example, when we moved into our house, the kitchen in our particular house was just really, really dark. Now it had some beautiful cherry cabinets, very expensive cherry cabinets, but it had dark carpet in the kitchen; it had dark wainscoted walls; it had dark paint; it had dark beams. And what we did is redecorated around those cabinets because the cabinets were the most expensive part to change. So we were able to redecorate around that and make everything light and bright and cheery and it dramatically made a difference in the look of the overall room without costing a pile of money.
CAROL: OK. Well, that’s certainly an option.
TOM: “In other words, Tom, that wasn’t really the option I was hoping for (Leslie chuckles) but we could give it a shot.” (Tom laughs)
CAROL: (chuckles) We might try that.
TOM: Alright, Carol. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.