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Your Place: Painting Ceramic Tile to Bring It Up to Date

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By Alan J. Heavens

ceramic_tiles(MCT)—Q: I live in a house that was built in the 1940s to 1950s, and the floor tile in the bathroom is original — black and pink. Can I successfully paint this tile so that it is more up-to-date?

A: Usually, I recommend waiting a while, until a style comes back, but you seem very eager.

You can repaint ceramic tile, but floors are a problem because you walk on them and can mark up what you have painted.

Here’s some advice from Dow’s Paint Quality Institute in Spring House:

First, prepare the surface. Treat mildew with a 3:1 water/household bleach mixture, leaving it on for 20 minutes and adding more as it dries. Wear eye and skin protection. Rinse thoroughly.

Remove dirt by scrubbing with detergent and warm water. Rinse thoroughly.

Scrape out and widen any cracks, brush out dust, and seal with 100 percent acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk. Smooth caulk flush while it’s still wet. Make a second application in several hours, if needed.

Check grouting and repair or re-grout as needed.

To the tile, apply a high-adhesion latex stain-blocking primer recommended for interior use. Allow the primer to dry overnight before painting.

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