Can I Paint Bathroom Tile?
LESLIE: Chris in Arkansas is on the line with a painting question. How can we help you today?
CHRIS: Well, I bought a house and it has two bathrooms. And the tile – sink and tubs are baby pink and baby blue.
TOM: What’s wrong with that?
CHRIS: Well, it’s not exactly what I had in mind. But I was wondering if you can successfully – until I get to redo the bathrooms, if you can successively paint over them without it looking terrible.
LESLIE: Yes and no. I mean you can. There’s quite an extensive process to it to make sure that you get proper adhesion and it sticks very well. However, whenever you’re dealing with a painted surface and water is involved and areas that you have to clean, as well, you’re going to get some wear and tear. So I don’t think it’s the best idea.
There are bathroom tile paint kits that you can buy online. Basically, if you want to do it without a kit – and of course, then you don’t want to paint the grout. But a lot of people do paint the grout and then that looks weird, also. So you’ve got to think about all of these things. But you’re going to want to use a very, very durable oil-based primer. And of course, you’ve got to clean those tiles very, very well before you even think about putting a drop of primer on them.
TOM: And I think Sherwin-Williams actually makes a primer that is super, super adhesive. And the reason I know about this is because the way they demo’d it was by painting it on tile and then putting a second layer of paint on it. And even though it’s a really adhesive paint, I agree with you completely that eventually, in a very short period of time – especially if you’re cleaning the surface – you’re going to start wearing through it.
CHRIS: OK. And like I said, not knowing if I could or not, I just was thinking if I could buy myself some time and just paint it until I can redo – or maybe it’s sounding like I should just wait until I can redo.
TOM: Well, you know, the bad news about those old tile bathrooms is that they have these very traditional, 1960s-like colors. The good news is that the tile quality is usually really good and the way it’s installed is really solid. And that’s why, if at all possible, maybe you could think about decorating around this tile.
So you said that you had – is it pink and blue?
LESLIE: With the pink, I think we’re seeing such a big trend in pink really making a comeback in bathroom spaces. You could go overload on the pink, you can add in florals, you can add in different tones of pink. You can sort of tone in down with neutral beiges and grays and hints of gold and sort of make it glamorous and more girly. There are ways you can do that.
Blue tile, I feel like, is just a poor choice. Blue tile is blue tile.
CHRIS: I totally agree with you.
LESLIE: Maybe everything else goes super clean. But I just feel like if you attempt to paint the tile, you’re going to be sad in the long run. And it’s going to – it will perhaps motivate you to do the permanent work more quickly.
CHRIS: OK. Well, exactly that and that’s why I called. I just wasn’t sure if there was some miracle cure that I – “Hey, this works great” or not. And I am trying my best at decorating around but the pink, yes, has worked better than the blue.
TOM: At least we solved half the problem, Christine.
CHRIS: I appreciate it. I appreciate it so much.