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How to remove oil-based paint from ceramic tile

Updated November 21, 2016

There is no magic cure for removing an oil-based paint from ceramic tile. This is why ceramic tiles are often painted with oil-based paints. This type of paint adheres well to most surfaces and is more durable than a latex paint when used for this purpose. Getting it off is another matter. Because the paint adheres so well, it will take some time and effort to remove, but it can be done with the right tools.

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  1. Cover the floors or work area with thick plastic dust sheets and tape them in place. Lay paper dust sheets on top of the plastic to absorb drips or spills. Cover adjoining walls with plastic and tape it in place.

  2. Open as many windows in the work area as possible. When working with paint strippers you need as much ventilation as possible. Put on the respirator, safety glasses and chemical-resistant rubber gloves.

  3. Saturate the ceramic tile with a spray-on paint remover that is suitable for all paints and ceramic surfaces. Allow the paint stripper to stay on the tile for the manufacturer's recommended amount of time. The oil-based paint will start to lose its adhesion when the stripper is working.

  4. Scrape the lifted paint off the tile with the plastic scraper and wipe off the scraper into an empty cardboard box. Use the edge of the scraper to help remove paint that is in the grout lines. Apply a second coat of paint stripper if the first coat did not loosen all of the paint. It can take time to get all of the paint off the tile.

  5. Wipe down the entire surface of the tile with clean rags to remove the paint stripper and paint residue. Wet a clean rag with lacquer thinner and wipe down the surface of the tile.

  6. Remove all of the dust sheets and stripping materials and let the room air out. Place all of the trash into a heavy trash bag and take it to a local hazardous waste facility.

  7. Wash the tile a final time with warm soapy water, rinse and wipe dry with clean rags.

  8. Tip

    Paint strippers that remove oil-based paint can be purchased at home remodelling centres and paint stores.


    Do not work in a closed in area without wearing the respirator. Paint removers emit strong vapours that can cause serious damage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plastic and paper dust sheets
  • Painter's tape
  • Respirator
  • Chemical-resistant rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Rags
  • Paint remover
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Lacquer thinner

About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).

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