Painting ceramic tile is best done with either counter tops or wall tile. Floor tile can be painted but the paint will eventually scratch or chip, needing touch-up or repainting more often.
Before you can start to paint ceramic tile the surface must be truly clean.
All chemical and soap residue must be removed. The best cleaner is <a href="http://www.house-painting-info.com/trisodium-phosphate.html">trisodium phosphate</a>. This is a harsh cleaner that requires a lot of rinsing, so be careful.
Wear rubber gloves and protect the surrounding areas not being painted. Allow the tile to dry then wipe the area with denatured alcohol. The alcohol will remove any remaining residue. <a href="http://www.house-painting-info.com/cleaning-mold.html">If mold is present treat the infected areas with bleach and water</a>. Repeat the treatment on the grout to make sure all mold is eradicated.
Now that the tile is clean you need to choose a good primer and finish paint. You have two choices, inexpensive and easy or expensive and challenging.
The easy choice is use Zinsser 123 Acrylic primer and top coat with a top of the line house paint. The primer should be easily found at any home improvement center or your local paint store. The expensive alternative is to use an epoxy paint system.
I have seen epoxy kits for sale at both the paint stores and improvement centers, but you are limited to just a couple of colors. These epoxy kits can be used to paint ceramic tile or antique bath tubs. A very good epoxy I have used is Pittsburg Aquapon. The Pittsburg product can be mixed in a variety of colors but is expensive and only available in gallon kits. Each kit is 1 gallon of part A and 1 gallon of part B, mixed in equal parts.
The best and toughest finish is the epoxy, but top of the line 100% acrylic interior semi-gloss paint can take a beating and is much easier to work with. Another excellent paint is traditional alkyd paint, oil base, with a semi-gloss sheen. The oil base paint will dry harder but a full cure will take much longer, 2-3 weeks.
Painting Ceramic Tile with Primer and Semi-Gloss Paint
The procedures used to paint ceramic tile are just like painting a wall except each coat must be applied very thin and even. Both systems mentioned can be brushed, rolled or sprayed. Personally, I would paint ceramic tile with a good brush and mini roller with a short nap. The fine stipple from the roller will look better than brush marks.
<a href="http://www.house-painting-info.com/masking.html">Mask and cover all areas that will not be painted</a>. This includes all wall surfaces and any trim. Use blue masking tape on wallpaper and metal fixtures not removed. Regular masking tape is fine for most areas as long as it is removed within 24 hours. Now is a good time to remove any outlet and light switch covers from the ceramic tile.
Cut-in with the brush before rolling. This includes around cabinets, next to the walls, trim and around the outlets. Do this before each coat of primer and paint. Now, use the mini roller and apply a thin coat of primer or finish. Work the roller carefully in all directions with the least amount of pressure necessary. You need an even coat with out thick or thin areas.
The primer is water based so clean-up of drips is easy as long as you get to it quickly. Both the primer and finish paint is applied the same way. Use thin coats instead of thick ones. Both the primer and the finish paint should have an even roller stipple. This will cover up the brush marks left behind after cutting-in.
Two coats of primer are needed with a few hours of drying time between the coats. Allow the final coat of primer to dry over night before top coating with paint. This finish will be soft for several days and easily damaged for a couple of weeks while the primer and paint cures.
I wanted to paint my tiles in my bathroom so I was told to use the 123 Bullseye and was told that's all I needed. However, it is chipping and cracking away at the edges and I need to fix this what do I need to do?
Clean everything really good and make make sure there isn't any soap residue. Then you will need to sand away the loose paint and re-prime the affected areas. Now you can repaint.
2 part epoxy is the best paint for ceramic tile. It dries very hard. The real key is the prep and primer used. It's up to the primer to stick to the tile then the paint is put on over that.