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Can You Paint Slate Tiles?

Updated November 21, 2016

You can paint slate tiles quite easily. Slate offers a unique surface for paint because its naturally rough and rigid texture adds depth to your finished product. Both artists and homeowners paint on slate tiles to create beautiful, exclusive artwork that transforms walls and floors.

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To prepare the tile for paint, clean the front and back of the tile to remove dirt and grime. Put a mild soap and warm water in a bowl next to the sink. Use only a small amount of soap to prevent a large amount of suds; warm water alone may be sufficient, but the soap will remove any dirt stains. Place the tile under warm running water to wash away large sediments. Slate typically has ridges and edges that trap impurities, so you can use an old toothbrush or bristled brush to scrub in the creases. Finish the washing process by running the slate under the warm water one more time to rinse off excess soap that will leave a residue of not removed completely. Dry all surfaces with a paper towel or an old, absorbent towel. If you notice dirt on the towel, repeat the washing steps until dirt is no longer evident.

Cleaning the back of the tile is important to eliminate the chance of getting dirt in the paint on the tile front. If you accidentally transfer dirt particles into the paint, remove it before the colour dries. Removing it after the paint dries will chip the paint and leave an indentation in the surface.

Paint the Tile

Apply a thin coat of base to the tile surface. A thin glaze is sufficient for adhering paint to the tile without leaving build-up between the creases. If you want to ensure the glaze does not gather in the crevices, remove as much of the liquid from the brush as you can and brush over the area. Because the brush is almost bare, it will grasp excess liquid that did not stick to the tile. Allow the base coat to dry before applying the colour. Let the first coat of colour dry to determine its richness. If you have dark slate tiles, you may need to paint a second layer to achieve the suitable shade.

Finish the tile by brushing on a sealant coat. This top layer will prevent the paint coat from being scratched and increase colour richness even further. If you want to boost smoothness on the back, add a single layer of sealant once the front coats are dry.

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