How Can I Cover White Ceramic Tiles in My Kitchen?

Updated February 21, 2017

Covering white ceramic tile in a kitchen with a new eye-catching colour or texture gives a completely new look to the room. Stencils and other decorative touches can change the look and feel of the kitchen from modern to traditional with a few hours of work. Changing from the cool look of white ceramic to a warm tone or shade will make the kitchen feel welcoming and comfortable. You can create the look you see when dreaming of a new kitchen, without totally remodelling.

Painting Ceramic Tiles

Change ceramic tile colours with paint to create a very different look in the kitchen. Anyone who can paint a wall can paint ceramic tile. At any time, the ceramic tile can be repainted when decorating tastes change. Design elements, such as stencils and other design elements added after the tile is painted create a decorative look that reflects your style.

Cleaning the tile before beginning the painting process is the most important part of the process. Paint will not adhere to ceramic tile that has any traces of grease or dirt on the tile surface. Scrub the tile surfaces and grout lines with a powdered cleanser and a scrub brush. TSP also works well to remove grease, dirt or wax. Allowing the TSP solution to sit on the tile for a few minutes before scrubbing will make the work easier. Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove all trace of the cleaner used.

Repair any chips in the tile, sand smooth and wipe up any traces of sanding dust. Paint will not fill in the chipped area and leave the smooth surface required to have the tile look like new.

Mask off all areas that not being painted. Apply a bonding primer to the ceramic tile using a foam roller. Work carefully to avoid marks from the roller, these marks will show through the finish paint. An oil-based bonding primer is better for this project than one with a water base. Use a brush to smooth the primer into the grout lines.

Your style and individuality will shine when you apply paint to the tiles. Painting every other tile a contrasting colour makes an eye-catching border across the top of a counter top back splash. An artist's brush makes controlling the paint easier. Perhaps using a contrasting colour to form a pattern on the counter top or a floor appeals to you. Oil-based paint is a better choice for the top coat; it dries harder than a water-based paint. If oil-based paint is not available, choose a water-based paint that contains urethane resins. Add any stencils or decorative paint touches before applying the clear urethane.

Two coats of water-based urethane applied to the painted tiles, protects and makes cleaning easier. Oil-based urethane tends to develop an amber tone that may not appeal.

Tin Tiles

Decorative tin tiles attached to thoroughly cleaned ceramic tile with mastic dresses up the wall area between the counter top and the base of upper cabinets or the wall area behind the stove. This element will bring a classic look to the kitchen. Attach tin tile to the bulkhead area from the top of upper cabinets to the ceiling. Trim tin tile to fit with tin snips if necessary.

Paint the tin tile in any metallic shade such as copper or black to create a focal point.

New Ceramic Tile

New ceramic tile will install over existing ceramic tiles. A levelling compound applied to the existing tile wall or counter top to fill in the grout lines, gives a smooth level surface to attach new tile. Grout the new tile to finish.

Consider the added depth added when installing new ceramic tile over existing ceramic. The added depth could require new trim or not allow enough clearance for existing doors to open properly.

Use levelling compound on ceramic floors and cover with vinyl tile or install a floating floor.

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About the Author

Myra Smith has retired from the business world after successfully working as a manager in the accounting field over twenty years. Smith received her education in Texas (high school) and Missouri (University of Missouri) business courses offered by employer. Smith has now embarked on an exciting second career as a writer for Demand Studios. Smith writes articles in the Home and Garden section.