Here's everything you need to know about painting tiles.

Here's everything you need to know about painting tiles.

New tiles are a big project, which is why they're often put at the bottom of home project lists. However, you don't have to settle for an outdated look just because you aren't ready to splash out on a brand new tile. In order to make your tile surfaces look more cohesive, it is a good idea to paint them in colours that match the rest of your room. This is a simple, low-cost method of transforming most tile surfaces.

To ensure a successful project, we've outlined tips and step-by-step instructions for prepping and painting a variety of tile surfaces using Cornish Milk products.


The first step is to know your surface

It's important to understand whether your tile will accept paint and how long your finish will last before beginning any painting project. If you plan to renovate your bathroom or kitchen in the near future, painting tiles is a great temporary solution. It is important to note, however, that not all tile is created equal, and while some surfaces may last for decades, others may show more signs of wear and tear sooner.

It is best to apply paint to matt, unsealed tiles, preferably with some texture. Paint can also be applied to vinyl tiles or flooring. If this is what you have installed in your home, then you should consider painting it.

You will want to proceed with caution if you have tile with a very shiny or smooth, sealed surface. Shiny tiles can still be painted with a bit of extra preparation, but they may wear more quickly than matt surfaces, particularly if they are installed on high traffic floors. You should adjust your expectations and know that it may need to be repainted or replaced eventually if this sounds like your tile.


The second step is to choose a colour and finish

Typically, floor tiles are shaded or textured, using multiple colours to create depth and hide dirt. When choosing a floor colour, you may want to choose a neutral shade (not too light, not too dark) to avoid revealing every speck of dirt. Our favourite Cornish Milk colours for floors include Goose, Melinsey, Gul Rock, High Tide, Mor and Samphire. The Cornish Milk colour range is more flexible if you are painting tiles on walls.

You can highlight any texture on your tile by layering 2-3 colours in a Washed or Dry Brushed finish, just be sure the finish you choose can be easily replicated on each tile. This will add depth to your surface or even give it a stone-like appearance.

It is also a great opportunity to experiment with stencils and patterned designs on tile. For inspiration on patterned tiles, we recommend searching on Pinterest.


Preparation of the surface is the third step 

Cornish Milk's BioClean is a biodegradable cleaner that will help you clean your surface well. Especially pay attention to areas that receive a lot of traffic, such as bathrooms or kitchens, where extra dirt and grime can accumulate. Rinse your surface well after cleaning to remove any residue left behind.

For shiny tiles, use 150 grit sandpaper to sand them. The purpose is to scratch up the surface, which creates tension and allows the paint to adhere better. Dust and debris should be cleaned up after sanding.

Make sure you tape off any moulding, appliances, or other areas you will be painting.

This is the time you can add a tile primer, if you choose to use one. Which is recommended for higher sheen tiles. 

The fourth step is to paint

Cornish Milk Mineral Paint has such good adhesion that you can proceed straight to your first coat of paint without priming, unless you choose to use a tile primer beforehand. Our recommendation is to use a low to medium napped roller for large areas, depending on your floor's texture. Cut in on the edges and remove any pooling of paint in your grout lines with a Flat Brush.

Start painting at the far end of the room and work your way towards the door. You should start by cutting in the edges of the space, then use your roller to fill in the centre. To ensure proper adhesion, allow the first coat of paint to dry for 24 hours to allow the paint to begin curing.

The second coat of paint should be applied the same way as the first one, and it should be allowed to dry for at least 8 hours. A third coat will be needed if you wish to apply a patterned design or a third coat of Cornish Milk Mineral Paint if you want a deeper colour.


The final step is to topcoat

Depending on what type of project you are working on, you will use a different topcoat:

FLOOR TILES: For most floor projects, a Floor Varnish is an excellent choice. The satin/matt/gloss finish is highly durable and wear-resistant. Nevertheless, if you are painting in an area that will regularly be exposed to water, such as an outdoor area or heavily used bathroom, you may want to use a water-proof sealer like Cornish Milk's extreme lacquer.

WALLS & BACKSPLASHES: Cornish Milk's Extreme Lacquer is recommended for sealing backsplashes. If the tiles are in a less-trafficked area, they can be left unsealed.

FIREPLACES: If the tile around the fireplace will be exposed to heat, leave the paint unsealed. Cornish Milk's Extreme Lacquer can be used if tile is far enough away from the fireplace that it won't experience high temperatures.

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