How To Paint Tile Countertops: A Step-By-Step Guide

Painting a tile countertop is extremely easy and can save you a lot of money. Here is a 7 step guide on how to do it.

1. Choose Your Paint

Though painting a countertop is much cheaper and easier than completely replacing the tile, there are still some things you should be aware of. First, you should be aware that to paint tiles you will have to use a very specific type of paint which does not come in very many options.

You should also know that tiles are not very porous so even with the correct type of paint, there is a chance the paint will not stay if it is touched frequently. It is better if this is used as a short-term solution. For a long-term solution, you should consider just replacing the tile.

You may want to avoid painting a countertop that constantly gets wet, like surfaces in a bathroom or near your kitchen sink. The water that constantly hits these surfaces will cause the paint to rub away and your paint job may not last as long as you would like it to.

It is also important to note that this project may take longer than you expect. If you decide to go through with this project then plan on not being able to use the surface for several days.

If you have decided to paint your tile countertop then it will be crucial to use a primer and paint that are extremely durable and have a very strong finish once dried.

Below I have listed a few of the best paints to use on tiles, according to other homeowners and their experiences.

  • XIM Tile Doc Epoxy Acrylic Coating Aerosol

This tile paint may just be the most durable ever. XIM Tile Doc is known to be a great commercial tile paint that has been used in schools, public restrooms, and hotels. If you choose this paint to use on your countertop it is sure to last for years.

This paint only comes as spray paint and requires three days to fully dry. A major downside to this paint is that it only comes in white.

  • Valspar Terracotta Touch

This paint is meant to give a terracotta look, so if you use this on your tiles it will have a very matte and stone-like texture. This paint also only comes in one color and it is the color of natural terracotta.

Also, this paint is only sold as spray paint and the paint is released as a very fine mist, so proper ventilation and bodily protection are a must with this paint.

  • Valspar Premium Enamel Spray Paint

This spray paint is a great option if you are wanting more color options to choose from. This paint comes in almost 50 different colors. You can also get it in three different finishes; flat, satin, or gloss.

It also dries in just an hour, however, it does require a primer (of course) and a sealer, after the paint has dried. This will help make the paint job more durable since this paint isn’t the strongest of all the options.

Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit

This paint is only available in three colors, white, almond, and biscuit. This paint is also unique in that it comes as a kit with two different substances. To use the kit you will need to mix the two substances and then once they are thoroughly mixed, you can apply them as one. This paint only takes a few hours to dry, but you should ensure good ventilation while using it.

When it comes to priming your tiles, you will want a primer that will really aid in making your paint job more durable. The primer below is a great option for priming tiles and is highly recommended by other homeowners.

  • INSL-X Waterborne Bonding Primer STIX

This primer can be used on just about any type of surface! What makes it a great option for tile projects is its ability to bond to surfaces. This makes it extremely durable and your paint job would be sure to last years if you chose to use this primer.

2. Gather Materials

There are quite a few things that you will need to complete this project and they include the following:

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper (400 grit to 600 grit)
  • Painters tape
  • Painters Plastic (optional)
  • Tackey cloth
  • Scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Roller
  • Brush

You may not need both the roller and the brush. This will depend on how you want to paint your tiles, the size of the tiles, and how deep your grout is. That being said, it may be safer to have them both when it is time to start painting.

3. Clean The Tile

This a preparation step that can have a huge effect on the finished look of your painted countertop. You will want to remove everything off the countertop and maybe things in the near vicinity of it.

To start, mix some soap, ammonia, and hot water. You’ll need a scrub brush, but you may also want to use a sponge. Dip your scrub brush in the soapy water ad then use it to thoroughly scrub the countertop, especially the grout. You may also want to scrub the walls around the countertop as that could help the tape stick. Finish by rinsing it with clean water.

After it has dried go ahead and examine it. If there is any mildew or mold or stubborn grease, try scrubbing it again but with bleach this time. Then rinse it again with clean water. Make sure that all bleach is gone before it dries. The countertop must be as clean as possible before you start painting.

4. Sand The Tiles And Grout

You’ll want to lightly sand the tiles and grout to get rid of any old layers of grime and to give the tiles some grip to hold onto the paint. You will want to use 400 grit – 600 grit sandpaper. The layer you sand off must be as even as you can get it.

To get off all the leftover dust, wipe off your countertop with water (with no soap), and then, once it has dried go over it with some tack cloth and that should pick up any remaining dust.

5. Tape Your Surroundings

Before you even open the paint or primer, you need to use your painter’s tape and tape around the edges of your project. You must be precise as possible when taping as the finished look depends a lot on this step.

Also, if you plan to paint the tiles a different color than the grout, you will need to tape the grout as well but I wouldn’t recommend doing this until after priming is complete. This will allow your grout to look nice and new.

If there is any potential that paint could drip on the ground while painting, then you may want to use painter’s plastic to cover the ground below where you’ll be working.

Though you do not have to tape to get your paint job done, the tape and the plastic will really help avoid messes and will help keep lines sharp and clean.

6. Prime The Tile

Use a roller to get a thick layer of white primer over every square inch of the countertop. You will want to be sure that the layer is as even as you can get it.

If you can not completely coat the grout with the roller then you may need to use a brush to prime and paint the grout.

If the tile underneath is especially bright in color, then you may need to apply another coat of primer to completely cover it up. This is important because the primer will be much better at hiding the previous tile color than the paint will be.

7. Paint The Tile

Once the primer has completely dried then you can go ahead and paint. A roller will be your best friend if you are painting the entire countertop one color. Make sure that each layer is thick and even. Check to make sure that there are no drips before the paint dries. Two layers of paint are recommended, but you may need to do more if it looks patchy.

You may also need to use a brush if the roller cannot get the grout evenly coated.

However, you may not want to paint the grout the same color as the tiles. In this case, you will want to tape off all of the grout before you paint. It will also be better to use a brush to paint each tile.

After the paint has dried you may want to apply a sealer afterward, depending on the paint you have chosen.

After the sealer has dried, you are completely done! You can go ahead and remove all plastic and tape. Once those have been removed, only clean and sharp lines should be left behind. You can also return everything in the vicinity to its place. Now you can enjoy your tile countertop that looks brand new!

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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