The ceramic tiles surrounding our bathtub are clean, well grouted, and
like new. BUT we don't like their color. Can they be painted over
successfully? It certainly would be the cheapest and fastest solution!
Thanks a bunch.
Sure, but they will probably look like crap and eventually peel. If you
plan to be in that house for a very long time, replace them. If only for a
short time, live with them as it may devalue the house by thousands of
I'll second that- if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Try a different color
on the painted parts of the wall, try an opaque shower curtain, try
colored light bulbs, but don't paint the tile. That just SCREAMS cheap
remodeling job. If you have the cash to burn, get it retiled, or install
a surround kit, if you can find one that will cover the entire tiled
area. (although most surround kits look pretty tacky too, like showering
inside a refrigerator.)
Painting them is the easy part. The pain is cleaning them and sanding
them. You have to get every spec of soap scum off the grout and the
tile before painting or it will peel. You also have to rough up the
tile so the paint will adhere. That mean a power sander.
When you paint, it will cover the grout too and that usually looks
really bad. The only way out of that is to wait for the paint to dry
and then use an artists brush to paint the grout a different color.
Then enjoy it for about a year, at which point you're going to have to
strip it all off and do it again because it will start to peel.
Thank you all for your helpful comments. In view of that I think it
would be faster and better to cut out the drywall with all the tiles,
re-install a new drywall and do a new tiling job on it. Any thoughts
If you have your heart set on it, and you have the budget, go for it.
But the existing tile probably isn't on drywall (if the house was built
properly, at least). If it was a cheap house, it will be on greenboard,
if it was a quality house it will be on concrete backer board, and if it
was a fancy house or an older quality house, it will be on a mortar
mudbed. (quick check for that is the edge tiles- if they look like thick
wraparounds, it is probably mudbed.)
Note that if you have never done tile before, this is not recommended as
a DIY. It takes practice to make it look right. You can still save a lot
of money by doing the demo yourself, and setting the new backerboard and
mudding the seams, since that is hard to screw up. But if you want the
new tile to look like a pro job, best to contract that part out. The DIY
book aisle at the big-box will have step-by-step pictures for how to
true up the studs with furring or shims if needed (everything needs to
be flat and square for the final result to look good), and place and
seal the backer board. Note that this is a real good time to refresh the
faucet and showerhead, if they are showing their age, or to change
height of showerhead if it is too low, like most are. Don't forget to
protect the tub well with carboard and tarps as the work is going on-
dropped tools and broken tiles, not to mentions splotches of thinset,
are hell on the enamel.
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