How to Paint Ceramic Shower Tiles

  • 3-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
Paint primer
Paint (latex or oil-based)
Paint brush
Orbital sander
Fine grit sandpaper
Mild abrasive cleaner
Safety goggles
Rubber gloves
Newspaper or cardboard

Painting ceramic shower tiles may be a good option for people who want to bring a newer look to their showers. Sometimes the colors on the ceramic shower tiles just do not mix with the homeowner’s preference and replacing the tiles is just too costly. Painting the tiles is a more feasible choice. It is common knowledge that paint does not easily stick to slippery or glossy surfaces, but with careful preparation, painting ceramic shower tiles is not as hard as it seems. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1 - Preparing the Tiles for Painting

Before anything else, understand that while painting ceramic shower tiles is possible, it may work only for wall tiles and not for shower floor tiles that get wet constantly. Like all painting jobs, the tiles need to be fit for painting. Clean the tiles first to remove any dirt, mold, or mildew. Apply a mild abrasive cleaner as well to remove stubborn dirt. The abrasive cleaner will also start to scratch the shiny surface of the tiles to make them fit for painting. Remember to wear safety goggles, a mask, and rubber gloves for protection.

If there are any broken tiles, it is best to fix them first because these may cause problems after the painting job. Use fine grit sander to remove the shine or gloss from the tiles. Once again, paint does not bond easily with shiny or slippery surfaces so make sure to sand the surfaces well. Use an orbital sander to speed up the process if the tool is available.

Step 2 - Painting the Tiles

Place cardboard or old newspapers on the corners of the floor to avoid the dripping paint from dying on the floor surface. Before applying the top coating of paint, apply a coating of primer first and allow it to dry. Use a primer with extra strength so that it can stand the high humidity inside the shower. Since the shower is always wet, using a primer that can withstand extreme moisture will surely make the paint last longer.

Step 3 - Finishing Up

The top coating will depend on the homeowner’s preference. Although semi-gloss or high-gloss latex paint is easy to apply and produces a rubbery and shiny finish, it is not very durable. For people who want a more durable coating, semi-gloss or high-gloss oil-based paint is a good substitute. Oil-based paint may be a bit messy during application, but it does provide long lasting coating. When applying the top coat, spread a thin coating of paint first and allow it to dry. Apply another thin coating and allow it to dry. Add more coating if necessary. This process is way better than applying a single thicker coating because it ensures better adhesion, thus producing high quality and high durability coating.