LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mike in Oregon who is just simply sick of the tile flooring that he’s got at his money pit. What can we do for you?
MIKE: I have a modern wood stove at the edge of my living room and it’s sitting on a tile pad to protect the rug. It’s four feet wide and about, oh, seven feet long.
MIKE: And we changed the color of the carpet. Used to be blue and the tile is blue and now the carpet is beige/tan and the blue tile doesn’t go with it.
TOM: OK. But it’s only a four-foot by seven-foot section, Mike?
MIKE: Right, right.
MIKE: And it’s modern, ceramic tile. It’s not quite as glossy as some of it.
MIKE: And I’m looking for a paint. I think initially I could tear it out and move the stove and go to a lot of work replacing the tile but I think, for the time being, I’d like to paint the tile.
TOM: Well, I don’t think you’re going to find a paint that’s designed to go on top of tile. If you used a good-quality enamel you could probably do it but it’s not going to look so hot. Have you thought about not removing the tile but putting another layer on top of it? That’s a very common way that people retile bathrooms, especially in the newer construction where the tile was just kind of crappy and didn’t last that long or look that great. People would just leave the tile in place and put another layer right on top of it. You can use a quickset adhesive and then glue the new tile right on top of the old one and then that wouldn’t be as hard because you’d probably only have to lift the wood stove, you know, the ¼-inch or so to get the new tile under it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, you know Mike, if you do want to try painting – I mean generally if somebody said, “I want to paint a ceramic tile floor,” we’d always be like, “No way,” just because of the traffic on the area and the wear and tear. But because this is an area you’re not walking on, first thing you want to do is make sure that the ceramic tile is I mean perfectly, perfectly clean. You don’t want any grease, you don’t want any dirt, you want nothing on there. So clean it, scrub it and just really, really go at it until it’s thoroughly fresh.
And then what you want to do is use an oil-based primer; let it dry, dry, dry, dry, dry; and then an oil-based paint. And then once that is done, I would even recommend putting a water-based sort of like clear coat on top of it but you have to let every layer dry, dry, dry. Be very careful around the grout lines because I don’t think you would want to paint the grout; I think you want to keep it the way it is. But that could work, especially in an area where you’re not really walking on. So I would give it a go, especially if it’s something that you’re going to cover up anyway.
TOM: My only concern is that if you do paint it, I don’t know if you’d be able to glue to the top of it afterwards.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah?
MIKE: Yep. Alright, well I’ll give it some more thought and get to it.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.