How to Paint over Terra Cotta Tile

terracotta tiles
  • 24-48 hours
  • Beginner
  • 60-150
What You'll Need
Mild detergent
Oil based primer
Oil based paint

Terra cotta tile floors or walls are practical and these tiles may also be used to decorate various items of furniture. The surface of a terra cotta tiles may deteriorate in time, especially if the tiles are kept outdoors, but you have the choice of painting over them.

Step 1 - Clean and Prepare the Tile

Clean the terra cotta tile, making sure to remove mold, moss or other debris. Use a mild detergent or a tile cleaner with a soft brush. Allow the tiles to dry completely before going to the next step. Use a sander and 220 grit sandpaper to remove any remains of paint, glaze or gloss from the surface of the tile. Remove the dust that forms after sanding the surface using a clean piece of cloth or a soft brush.

WARNING: to avoid getting paint particles or other harmful materials into your eyes or lungs, wear safety glasses and a face mask while sanding the tiles.

Step 2 – Apply the Primer

Choose a highly adhesive, oil based primer and apply it on the surface that will be painted. Apply 1 coat and allow to dry (depending on the brand you buy, this may mean leaving it overnight). You may also apply a second coat.

Step 3 – Apply the Paint

Get an oil based paint and apply a thin coat. Allow the area to dry and apply a second coat.