Painting tile in a shower...

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Asked By: 
Phyllis

My bathroom walls in the shower area are tile. What kind of paint do I need to change the color, and they will remain in top condition?

Answer: 

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You can definitely repaint ceramic wall tile yourself in a half bath, kitchen, or other rooms provided that the tile is not directly exposed to water and is still in good condition. I know that you are interested in painting the tile around your shower area but it can be tricky due to the fact that water will be on it directly. If you have wall tile not in the shower you can definitely paint it yourself and hire a bathtub refinisher to do the rest. The tiles should stay in top condition if this process is done properly.
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Jane Tip: Be aware that you won't be able to reverse this process due to the fact that you will need to sand down the surface of the tile before priming it.
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Here's the steps you'll need to follow if you decide to take on this project. The key to success is very careful preparation and using the right primer and paint.
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The tools and materials you'll need are:
<ul>
<li>Rubber gloves</li>
<li>Pad or random-orbit type power sander </li>
<li>Goggles </li>
<li>Box or window fan (recommended) </li>
<li>Tile and grout cleaner </li>
<li>Vacuum, soft brush, lint-free dust cloth </li>
<li>Mildew remover (if needed) </li>
<li>Paint applicators (pad, brush, or soft-nap roller) </li>
<li>Nonmetallic abrasive pad </li>
<li>Primer </li>
<li>Bucket and large sponge </li>
<li>Paint topcoat (100% acrylic latex) </li>
<li>Dust mask and protective clothing </li>
<li> Drop cloths and painting supplies </li>
<li> 220-grit aluminum oxide sandpaper </li>
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<li><strong>Clean Tile and Grout</strong>: Use a good commercial bathroom tile and grout cleaner to remove all grease, dirt, and grime. If there is mildew present, be sure to use a product designed to kill the mildew and remove any stains. Use a nonmetallic abrasive pad (e.g., green scrubber pad) to clean. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of detergent/cleaner. Make sure to protect you hands, nails, eyes and hair by wearing rubber gloves, a hat and goggles. Jane Tip: If grout repairs are required they must be completed at least 48 hours prior to painting so the new grout will have adequate time to cure.</li>
<li><strong>Sand Tile</strong>: To assure a proper bond you must sand the tile very well. Use a very fine (220-grit) aluminum oxide paper. You'll love this sandpaper because it will remove the gloss without leaving scratches that would otherwise be visible through your new finish. For all but the smallest areas, use a palm sander (finishing) or random-orbit type sander. (One manufacturer, Zinsser, claims that sanding is unnecessary when using its well-known bonding primers, such as its water-based product Bullseye 1-2-3. Of course, you can still sand as an extra precaution if you use this product.) Make sure to protect your eyes by wearing goggles, a dust mask to protect you from inhaling the tile dust, and a hat to protect your hair from the dust which can seriously dry it out, as well as other protective clothing when sanding.
<blockquote>Jane Tip: Put a window fan facing outwards in the work area and open a nearby window outside the room. This keeps dust from entering other areas and exhausts much of it outdoors. If your sander is equipped for it, attach a vacuum or dust bag, too. Also, wipe off sanding dust with a damp cloth to reveal any areas that you missed, which will be indicated by glossy patches. </blockquote></li>
<li><strong>Remove Dust</strong>: Clean the tile thoroughly with a vacuum, brush, and slightly damp lint-free cloth to remove all sanding dust.</li>
<li><strong>Apply Primer</strong>: Due to the fact that there will be a great deal of humidity in this area, you'll need the extra bonding strength of a two-component epoxy primer or paint (if you use this as your paint you will not require a primer). This paint generally requires care and skill to apply and is best applied with a brush, so we suggest only useing it for more demanding applications.
<blockquote>Jane Tip: Improper measuring or mixing of the components can result in paint that won't cure or that dries too fast. Either way you would be in for a very big mess. Follow instructions to the letter!</blockquote>
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<li><strong>Apply Paint</strong>: Apply a 100% acrylic latex semi gloss or gloss paint over the prime coat. Cut in around windows, doors, corners, ceilings, and floors with a brush or pad applicator, and apply paint to the remaining area with a pad (or short-nap roller). Recoat after the proper drying time specified on the label. Latex primers and paints may take a full 14 days to become scratch-and abrasion-resistant. So prime and paint as directed above but make every effort to avoid unnecessary contact with the painted tiles for two weeks.</li>
<ul>
<li>Tip: Cut in/edge a limited area at a time so the paint won't begin to set up before you paint the rest of the wall. Go over as much of the cut-in area as possible to minimize any visible changes in texture.</li>
<li>A wide variety of decorative painting techniques such as sponging, rag-rolling, and stippling can add a creative touch to your project.</li>
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