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How to remove ceramic glaze

Updated April 17, 2017

Ceramic products are glazed by baking chemicals onto the tile at very high temperatures. Removing the glaze can be done by sanding the surface of the ceramic product. This process is usually done to prepare a glazed tile surface before it is painted. However, the glaze on other ceramic products can also be removed by sanding the surface by hand. Ceramic surfaces that are regularly exposed to water should not be painted as the paint can be easily removed when this occurs. The tools and supplies used to remove the glaze from ceramic products can be purchased at most online and local hardware stores.

Attach 220 grit sandpaper to an orbital sander. You can also sand the surface of your ceramic tile or other products by hand if you are only removing a relatively small amount or have plenty of time to spend on the project. This is not recommended for large surfaces of tile or large glazed ceramic products. An electric orbital sander will remove tile glazing much faster.

Wear safety glasses, protective clothing and a respirator to protect yourself from debris and dust generated while sanding the glaze from the tile.

Turn on the orbital sander and slowly move the sander across the surface of the tile. Be careful around edges and corners as the sander can damage baseboards, trim and other surfaces that are adjoining the ceramic tile. Sand the entire surface of the ceramic tile or product.

Clean up the dust and debris from sanding the ceramic glazing with a broom.

Mop the surface of the ceramic tile or other product thoroughly to prepare it for painting or refinishing.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator
  • Protective clothing
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About the Author

Joshua Kinser began writing professionally in 1999. He has worked as a staff writer for the "Pensacola News Journal" and is the author of Moon Handbook's "Guide to the Florida Gulf Coast." Kinser earned an Associate of Arts in journalism with an emphasis in biology from Pensacola State College.