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How to Paint Quarry Tiles

Updated February 21, 2017

Quarry tile is a flooring material composed of either shale or clay. While quarry tile is often left unfinished, sometimes it is coated with a tinted or opaque glaze. This material prevents painted finishes from adhering well. Before you try to paint glossy, glazed quarry tiles, sand them, or the primer and paint will peel. Unlike vinyl and ceramic tile, quarry flooring is not suited for ordinary latex coatings. If you want the final finish to stick to the quarry tiles, prime them with a masonry primer, manufactured to adhere to nonporous surfaces.

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  1. Sand glossy glazed quarry tile, using a power sander. Primer may not adhere well to glazed quarry tile. Don't skip this procedure, or peeling may follow. Sand until the tile appears dull. Skip this step if the quarry tile is not glazed.

  2. Wash your quarry tile with soap, using a plastic brush. Remove all dirt, or the new finish will fail. Rinse the quarry tile, using a mop. Let the tiles dry for about three hours.

  3. Shield baseboards or bottoms of walls, using painter's tape.

  4. Coat the quarry tiles with masonry primer, using a roller. Don't prime yourself into a corner. Start at the end of the room, opposite to the door. Move your roller vertically across the quarry tile, working backwards toward the door. Let the tiles dry for two hours.

  5. Wash masonry primer off your painting tools (wear gloves when doing this).

  6. Paint the quarry tiles as you primed them. Let the tiles dry for two hours.

  7. Tip

    Although acrylic floor paint will work on properly-primed quarry tiles, epoxy paint will prove more resilient.


    Latex primer won't hold up on quarry tiles.

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Things You'll Need

  • Power sander
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Waterborne soap
  • Coarse plastic brush
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Masonry primer
  • Roller frame
  • 2 shed-free roller covers
  • Roller extension pole
  • Acrylic floor paint
  • Epoxy paint

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.

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