CERAMIC TILE PAINTING TIPS

  • 13 min read

Painting ceramic tiles and tips on how to do it

Ceramic tiles are durable and a popular surface material.

The tiles provide a water-resistant surface for bathrooms and kitchens as well as other spaces. When times and styles change, it may be time to look at the tile surfaces in the home as well.

When you use colors to easily change the style in the rest of your home, can the same also apply to tiled areas and what advantages could it have?

Why would you want to paint tile surfaces?

For many, it's just about looks.

Because ceramic tile is so long-lasting and durable, many homes have tile that was installed several decades ago.

It is natural that the appearance of these tiles has aged over the years. It can be an old-fashioned color or even an outdated pattern. Painting over the tiles offers a fresh new look in the color of your choice.

In addition, you can think about cost and convenience.

If you want a change, removing tiles from a wall can be messy, time-consuming and expensive - especially if you want to replace them with new tiles.

Painting the tiles can be an alternative.

You can paint the existing tiles with a suitable paint product. This is how you make the surface new in an efficient way without having to start with disturbing removal.

Painting is a small budget change that you can do yourself.

Choose a paint for the tiles from the two Frenchic series

You can paint tiles either with paints from the wall paint series or with paints from the Al Fresco series.

The difference is the degree of gloss: The wall paint has an ultra-matt surface.

Container size: The container size of the wall paint is 2.5 liters. The container size of the Al Fresco series is 750ml or 250ml.

Finally, you should consider the benefits of painting the tiles versus removing the tiles altogether.

There is a good reason that tiles are a popular choice for demanding rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are durable, waterproof and impressively long-lasting.

Painting as an alternative to removing tiles means that you will benefit from these features for a long time to come.

So can you paint the tiles?

The answer is a clear yes for most ceramic wall tiles.

However, first think about your own spending habits in that destination.

That's why you should be realistic and practical:

When deciding whether to paint the tiles, it is wise to consider the need for maintenance over time.

Read here our instructions and tips on how to succeed best and what you should take into account. At the end of the blog text, you can find a video about painting ceramic tiles.

Surface preparation

Preparation is the key to getting the best results when painting tiles - this applies to other painting projects as well.

Neglecting the primer is the most common cause of failure in painting jobs.

Before starting the project, the surface must be in good condition. This means a clean, dry and intact surface. Check that the tiles are intact.

Replacing the old silicone seams with new ones is convenient at this point, you get a finished end result.

We recommend always using products from one manufacturer for the same project:

Wash the surfaces thoroughly, rinse and allow to dry thoroughly, then proceed with surface roughening.

Although this step may seem inconvenient, it is worth it.

The used detergent must still be washed off the surface before painting. The detergent film prevents the paint from sticking to the tile surface.

Clean, dry and dust and you are ready to paint.

When painting tiles, use a light hand and avoid too thick layers of paint.

We recommend reading the instructions for use of the product you are using before the project and following them, including the given drying times between paint coats.

Aftercare of painted tiles

After the tiles have been painted, the paint must be allowed to harden to its full durability. Treat the surface carefully for about three weeks, until the paint has completely hardened.

We also recommend not letting the painted area get wet for at least a week. In the future, clean the painted surfaces with a mild detergent and avoid strong chemicals and scrubbing.

We officially do not recommend painting floor tiles.

However, our customers have painted floor tiles with good success. Floor tiles can be more challenging because the pressure from wear and tear is greater than on walls.

If you have decided to paint the floor, it is best not to walk in the area for at least the first four hours.

For the next seven days, we recommend walking on the painted surface wearing only socks and keeping pets' paws and claws away to prevent damage to the finish.

In any case, due to the nature of the floor's wear and tear, you may need to maintain the paint finish, especially in the hallway, where sand and gravel are transported to scratch the paint finish.

If you wish, you can add a finishing coating to the surface.

Inspiration for painting tiles

If you have decided to paint the tiles, our Al Fresco and Chalk Wall Paint collections offer a range of colors to choose from. But how you use these colors is entirely up to you.

One of the most popular options is to simply choose one color and paint the tiles for a clean and even finish. Choose a modern, versatile gray or a bold shade like blue or green.

Refresh with white or choose dark drama with black!

Alternatively, you can create a stunning look by simply using alternating colors on the tiles. Black and white offer the ultimate monochromatic contrast to classic Victorian style, but you can mix and match any color to make the style your own.

Another point of interest is the seam

We are all used to the presence of seam lines in tiled areas. But when you're painting over tiles, the quickest and easiest way is to ignore the grout lines and paint the entire area, as avoiding joints can be time-consuming and tedious.

The finished, painted look means that the grout lines are less defined and tend to blend in, meaning the area has a completely different look - even more cohesive and contemporary.

Some people love this look, but if you prefer a traditional look, there are jointers available that allow the grout lines to be reworked.

If, on the other hand, you want a completely new and personal style for your seams and you like meticulous work, you can tint and paint the seams in a metallic shade with our FrenSheen colors!

Tile paint Frenchic copper seams with Frenshee metallic color.

Image: Copper-toned Frensheen, in the tile joints

Give your tiles a new life in Frenchic style!

Frenchic Paint series chemists have conducted tests for painting ceramic tiles in England.

Finally, we can officially announce that ceramic tiles can be painted with Al Fresco series paints and Chalk Wall Paint !

For painting ceramic tiles, tile paint Frenchic paint Al Fresco.

Al Fresco is a versatile paint series in delicious colors

Matte and durable paint for outdoor furniture, balcony and terrace furniture and indoor furniture - for all kinds of interior painting!

With Al Fresco series paints, you can paint, for example, kitchen cabinets. The protective properties of the paints of the Al Fresco series make the paint very durable, and the paint reaches its final hardness in about three weeks.

The matte surface and powdery shades look beautiful indoors, the shades are beautifully suited to old and new buildings and a variety of interior styles.

  • Coverage: approx. 12.5m2 per 750ml.

  • Suitable for spray painting.

  • Al Fresco series paints are suitable for metal, wood and ceramic tiles.

They have UV protection and anti-mould included in the paint, the paint does not contain anti-rust agent. Al Fresco paints have a low VOC content and are EN71:3 certified .

Read the instructions on the side of the paint can before use and always paint at least two layers . Careful mixing of the paint is the key to the best coverage.

Observe the two-hour drying interval of the layer, and you will get optimal durability on the paint surface.

However, not for areas of stagnant water or saunas

However, please note that areas with high humidity or standing water should be avoided:

For example, a sauna, shower area, sinks or a tiled area around the bathtub, where water can remain standing, and the space between the kitchen cabinets, where the stove is in front of the area to be painted and hot steam is generated from cooking, etc.

However, many of our customers have painted a lot of all kinds of tile surfaces; for example, the tiles in the kitchen space, aware of our official recommendations - but with good success.

For example, you can add a glass protective surface behind the stove, as in the picture, or finish the paint surface with Tuff Top Coat, which is resistant to heat and moisture.

No matter how you implement your own project, painting saves you from a larger and more laborious renovation and you can do it yourself without special tools or arrangements.

It's easier than you think - just follow our instructions.

The tiles in the picture below are painted with a dark gray Smudge shade, from the Al Fresco series. You can see all 'before and after' photos of this kitchen painting project in our FB group ' Frenchic Paint Finland '

Painting ceramic tiles with Al Fresco Frenchic Paint paint set.
Photo: tiles: Smudge, Al Fresco . Kitchen cabinets; Swankypants, Al Fresco

Washing and cleaning is always important before painting

Careful preparations and groundwork are always the key to a successful outcome.

Clean the surface to be painted and the seams from mold, dirt and grease with Frenchic's Sugar Soap detergent, then rinse/wipe the cleaning agent off the surfaces with clean water.

 

Silicone seams and gaskets should be replaced with new ones, not painted

Sand the surface of the tile lightly so that the paint adheres. Ceramic tile can be sanded with a diamond sanding sponge intended for it or by machine.

You don't tape over fresh paint.

For trimming and taping, choose a high-quality tape intended for painted surfaces .

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Paint lightly with a brush or roller

Paint the first coat waiting two hours before applying the second when using Al Fresco series paints.

Too thick layers can hinder durability, and paint layers do not dry in the time specified by the manufacturer.

A small roller is a quick work tool to make larger areas and also get a quality brush for the edges and corners.

With versatile and high-quality tools, your painting project will go smoothly. Read more tips for choosing a brush here.

For example, a 10mm mini roller is suitable for quick painting of the first layer.

Remember to mix the paint thoroughly before painting.

Tile painting Frenchic Paint tile paint.
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Treat the painted surface with care

When cleaning painted surfaces, use only mild detergents and avoid steam cleaning, scrubbing and strong chemicals such as descalers and bleaches.

If a sharp object falls on the painted surface, any paint surface can be scratched. In this case, spot painting is a normal remedy.

Set aside time for the project and do a test painting first

Schedule your painting project so that the paint has a chance to dry in peace for the first 48 hours before careful commissioning.

Handle the painted surface carefully for three weeks, when the paint hardens sufficiently. Moisture resistance comes from two intact layers of paint.

We recommend trying the shade before a larger project, order a small sample jar and try the shade in an inconspicuous spot in the place you are painting or do a test painting on a loose tile.

This way you can easily notice the coverage of the shade you have chosen on the surface to be painted and get an idea of ​​how the paint is going.

If the shade difference is large between the surface to be painted and the selected shade, it may be that more layers of paint are needed than normal.

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Painting the kitchen tiles with paint from the Al Fresco Frenchic Paint series.
Painting ceramic tiles with paint from the Al Fresco Frenchic series.
The cabinets in the picture are painted with a light gray Swankypants shade and the tiles in the intermediate space with white Dazzle Me! - tone.
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What is Al Fresco or our wall paint not suitable for?

Al Fresco or Chalk Wall Paint is not suitable for areas with standing water, such as the inside of bathtubs, showers, sinks or countertops, or saunas.

Not for waxed or oiled tiles, cork floors, tiled floors or oiled or waxed wooden surfaces.

Frenchic paints cannot be used as waterproofing. Al Fresco or Chalk Wall Paint are not certified wet room paints.

Our customers who have painted surfaces and objects other than officially recommended are aware of the instructions and the work is done at their own risk.

Here you can read useful painting instructions . You can always find painting instructions on the side of the paint can.

For painting the wooden floor, we recommend the Chalk Wall Paint series, or if you use other series or make stencil patterns on the floor, then Finish the surface with the Finishing coating.


Watch the video on how to paint ceramic tiles

If you wish, you can add a Finishing coating on top of the dry paint surface.

We recommend Finishing coating, for example, for finishing floor painting or protecting stencil patterns with tiles.

The Finishing Coat is added with a sponge and dries clear and shiny. The surface becomes resistant to splash water.

Or choose matte: The new ' Tuff Top Coat ' is a matte coating. Read more about water-based Frenchic coatings.


Frenchic TTC matte finish coating.

General information about the Al Fresco series:

  • Water-based

  • For indoor and outdoor furniture

  • Made for painting wooden furniture - Chalk & Mineral paint: for laminate, powder coated radiators, UPVC and ceramic wall tiles (recommended to avoid very wet areas such as shower/bathtubs, basins).

  • Also suitable for interior walls - in this case it is recommended to thin it by approx. 5-10%, with clean tap water

  • Also suitable for indoor wooden, concrete and most laminate floors, added according to the instructions - note that in these situations it may be necessary to maintain the surfaces according to wear.

  • Minimal VOC content, low fragrance

  • Ingredients: chalk, clay, titanium dioxide, resin, talc, preservative

  • UKCA and EN71-3 certified (safe for use in children's toys) EN71-3: 2013+A3: 2019

  • Self Priming - no primer or adhesive required

  • Self Leveling - little or no brush marks

  • Self Sealing - does not require varnish or wax for durability

  • Gloss level: - soft, almost matte

Coverage:

  • A 750 ml can is enough for up to 12.5 m2.

  • To achieve a durable finish, at least 2 layers are required, so with a 750 ml can of paint, you can paint more than 6 m2 twice.

  • Porous or uneven surfaces, such as clean wood or MDF, tend to absorb paint, meaning that new coats are likely to be needed to achieve a durable finish. In this case, a 750 ml jar covers less than 6 m2. If you apply the paint too thinly, it can affect the durability.

  • If the shade difference between the surface and the selected shade is large, additional layers may be required.

  • Unmixed paint does not cover well, read more work instructions in Painting instructions.

Preparation:

  • Make sure that the surfaces are in a suitable condition for painting - clean, dry, wax-free, grease-free and free of other substances and in good condition.

  • Remove loose or flaking old paint.

  • Wash and clean the surface, rinse and dry thoroughly.

  • Roughen the surface by hand or machine sand.

  • Wipe off the dust and paint on a clean and dry surface!

  • Watch the video about Preparations with Finnish subtitles.

  • Be careful when opening the can lid - we recommend using a Frenchic paint can opener.

  • Mix the paint thoroughly with a wide tool before the painting project and during the long painting project.

Painting, paint drying and hardening:

  • Avoid painting in direct, hot sunlight.

  • The best air for painting is when the air and surface temperature is 10–32 oC and the air humidity is below 85%.

  • Avoid painting outdoors if there is a probability of rain, frost, fog or moisture condensation during the next 48 hours during drying, or if the temperature is likely to drop below 10 degrees.

  • In particular, wooden surfaces can retain moisture for up to 48 hours after rain or preparation.

  • Make sure the objects are dry before painting.

  • Only paint outside furniture that you can keep protected from the weather during the winter. Read on Frenchic Blogs how to succeed in outdoor painting !

  • Use only clean, intact and high-quality tools for painting; brush or roller.

  • Also suitable for spray painting - thin depending on the device, up to 10-15% with clean tap water.

  • Let the paint level itself and activate the 'Self Leveling' feature by avoiding overworking the paint.

  • There must be at least 2 hours between layers (even if the paint feels dry to the touch).

  • The paint surface reaches its final hardness in 2-3 weeks under normal conditions. Handle the freshly painted surface with care until curing is complete.

  • Avoid scratching and damaging the newly painted floor and avoid walking on the completely painted area for 4 hours after painting and then without shoes for the next 7 days. Also, try to keep pets' paw nails away from the freshly painted area during the paint's drying and curing process. Do not let the surface get wet for at least a week. Continue treatment carefully for up to 3 weeks. In the future, treat your painted floor with non-scratch cleaning tools and mild detergents.

Storage and cleaning:

  • Always close the lid of the paint jar tightly after use.

  • Protect the paint can from needles, pollen and other debris when painting outside

  • Clean spills immediately with warm water.

  • Wash the brushes in warm soapy water immediately after use.

  • Do not store paint cans in a place where the paint can be exposed to moisture, frost, freezing or high temperatures.

Instructions for choosing a shade:

  • We strive for the best possible accuracy with the shade models on our pages. However, we cannot always guarantee perfect color reproduction, as shades may reproduce differently due to different devices, screen types and device settings. Additionally, colors may appear differently in the home due to lighting and environment, and may appear differently depending on the texture and porosity of the surface. The best way to choose a shade is to visit a Frenchic retailer to see the shades live or order a small 250ml sample jar and try the paint yourself at home.

    • Make sure you reserve enough paint to complete the project. Standard industry advice is that if you need more than one can of paint, make sure they are from the same batch (batch number) or, if that is not possible, mix the paint batches before painting to ensure a consistent end result.

    • One layer of paint or thinned paint can have a detrimental effect on durability.

    • Porous and uneven surfaces, such as mdf board, fiberglass wallpaper, braided surfaces or raw board, usually require a little more paint than in the instructions. All Frenchic series paints are painted at least twice.

    • Check the shade only when dry, after two layers according to the instructions.

      Remember that the nature of colors changes depending on the lighting and the adjacent color. The color repeats differently also on horizontal or vertical surfaces.

    • The mixing of the paint and the color of the base to be painted also affect the opacity, tone reproduction and coverage.

Painting instructions and inspiration:

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