2 Types of Paint to Use on Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile sitting on a table next to blue and brown paint samples.
What You'll Need
Drop cloths
Personal protective equipment
Adequate ventilation

Ceramic tile paint is not easy to stumble upon. This is because ceramic tiles boast one of the hardest-to-paint surfaces known to man. It is simply too slippery for the paint to adhere properly. These candidates are the elite few that can handle the challenge—and stick it to the tile!


Regardless of what type of paint you use, ceramic tile still has to be properly prepped in order to take to paint. First, you will need to make any repairs to chips or other imperfections on the surface of the tile. Take sandpaper to the glossy surface after repairs are finished until the finish is all but stripped away. This may take some time and elbow grease to get right, so be patient. Then be sure to thoroughly clean the tile with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue, debris, or dust that may interfere with your paint job.

These steps may take some time depending on how many tiles need repairs and how easily the gloss sands down, but it is important that you do not rush through it. If you do, your paint job may end up ruined.

1. Alkyd Paint

This paint is relatively easy to find in your local hardware store. As with all other types of paint that could work, this will only stick once you have sanded off that high-gloss finish ceramic tiles have. Make sure that you use a damp cloth between coats of alkyd paint as well to encourage the coats to properly stick.

2. Oil-based Paint

Conveniently, any type of oil-based paint sticks wonderfully to ceramic tile—which is strange as it repels so many other types of paint. Many people think that latex-based paint is the answer when painting ceramic tile but this is definitely not the case if you require a paint that is hard-wearing. Latex-based paint dries with a raised and soft effect that will chip with the slightest impact.

Oil-based paint also goes on best in multiple coats. Be sure to give the paint time to dry between coats or else you could compromise the finished product.

For the incredible resilience of the ceramic tiles' slippery shine, there are only two types of paint that can stand it. Alkyd paint is better for dry tiles while oil-based paint is the best choice for tiles that get wet, such as those in bathrooms or in kitchens.