Painting Over Tile

Q. I have dark tiles that almost look black around my fireplace, and I want to make it lighter. Is there a simple technique to cover the dark tiles? I thought about pasting contact paper but I worry it will look too artificial. Can I put new tiles over existing tiles? Are there any fake stick-on kind tiles that I can just paste over the dark tiles?

A. "Fake tiles" will look fake, possibly tacky, may or may not stick well, and will make the seams and grout lines look fake. Even with limited experience with paint, that really would be the easiest way to go. Painting is not that hard and it is the least expensive route. If you mess up, you can do it repeatedly and over until you get it right.

Start out with the easiest option: fleck stone spray paint. Mask off the surrounding areas and spray the tiles. You will end up with a "stone" finish. If the grout lines look weird with the fleck stone paint on them, then, before the paint dries, take your finger or a q-tip or something and wipe off the texture from the grout lines. If need be, after it all dries, go back and paint the grout with a color of your choice over the grouted areas white or gray. Or paint the tiles and grout all white. Then go back and sponge another accent color over that. For best results, use a very light accent color, just something to add interest, texture and depth, maybe a pale yellow or gray. Try to keep the accent color off the grout as much as you can.

Give paint a try. If after several attempts you are still not happy, then look into covering the tiles with something else. As far as durability goes, you probably do not want paint that scratches off when walking on it or banging it with fireplace logs. You might need to just be careful around the tiles.

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