By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Until we learned we could paint ugly plastic and ceramic tile, we thought the only way to deal with them was removal, a strategy that makes sense if you're remodeling, but not for a quick facelift when painting them is the way to go. It's an effective and inexpensive makeover for bathroom walls or a kitchen backsplash. The paint won't last forever, especially in a tub or shower enclosure, but it will give a fresh new look to a room, giving you more options than just working around the color of the tile.
Preparing the tile for paint is the key to a successful makeover and that involves cleaning and priming them with an adhesion-promoting primer first. We use a 50/50 solution of household ammonia and water to clean the tiles and then let them dry. We like B-I-N, a shellac-based primer sealer that creates an anchor for the finish topcoat. We let the primer dry for a few days and then apply two coats an alkyd-based paint because it creates a durable and washable surface.
If you don't have the time or desire to paint, you can find a painting contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right. Click here to get to
a free referral service that connects homeowners with local prescreened contractors.
A painting contractor will charge $315 to prepare and paint 100 square feet of tile; you can do the job for $95.
For ideas and inspiration about painting wall tiles go to Pinterest.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid topaint wall tile with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020