Can You Paint Tile Edges? (What You Need to Know)

Tile is a common material used in homes across the world. Tile is common because it’s durable and beautiful. It can also be customized with the right type of paint to create a border or to help the tiles blend into other adjoining materials.

Keep reading to find out more about painting tile edges and get some information and ideas to make the tile more versatile and fit your overall design style.

Painting Tiles

There are many reasons people choose to paint the edges of a tile, but perhaps the most common is to finish a row of raw tiles. If the edges are left unpainted, they make the rest of the tile look unfinished and unsightly.

ceramic tile installation

The edges don’t have a glaze, which makes them ideal for painting. That’s because the paint easily absorbs into the porous surface of the tile.

You can easily paint them to match the rest of the design or to make them stand out. This technique works like trim for painted walls where the edges change direction and require a more finished or polished appearance.

You can use this option to help restore the look of areas with tile that needs a facelift or avoid replacing it altogether.

The most common areas where this technique applies are the bathroom and the kitchen. Ideally, you’d want to use this strategy around windows and other places where the tile ends.

Why Painting Your Tile Edges is Important

Remember that it’s essential to paint your raw edges on tile because they allow water to get into the pores of the clay and cause erosion and damage over time.

The paint serves as a barrier to prevent further damage and help the tile last for years to come.

Additionally, if you don’t paint the tile edges, the humidity from showers and kitchens can cause the tile to crack and the adhesive behind the tile to fail.

Eventually, the tiles will need to be replaced when this could be avoided with a simple tile edge painting project that most anyone can do themselves for a few dollars.

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grey tiled shower

What Paint to Use?

If you want to get the best results when you paint your tile, you’ll want to use epoxy paint. Acrylic paint is also an ideal option if you can’t find epoxy paint.

These paints are great for sticking to the clay surface and creating a barrier that keeps out moisture and dirt to help ensure the tile lasts. These types of paint are pretty affordable and make application easy.

Before you get started, ask a paint store associate to recommend a paint that would work to ensure you get the right type and get the best results. You’ll also need to gather the right materials to do the job before you get started.

Some items you’ll need include the following:

  • Painter’s tape
  • Sponges.
  • Small paint brushes
  • Stirring stick
  • Drop cloth

Once you select the correct type of paint and all the supplies, you’ll be ready to start the preparation process.

small paint brush

Preparing the Area

To begin the preparations, you’ll want to completely clean the tile’s surface and make sure it’s completely dry before you paint it. If the tile is damp, you lock in the moisture, which erodes and damages the tile from the inside.

Be sure to clean the surrounding areas and remove dust, debris, and dirt that can find their way into the paint and create issues or unsightly areas.

Once you clean and dry the area, you’ll want to put the drop cloth on the floor to protect it from the paint. Use the painter’s tape to cover the glazed tile around the edges to prevent paint from getting on it.

If you do happen to spill paint on the glazed tile, it’s important to wipe it off completely right away to prevent damage or noticeable errors.

Don’t forget to mix the paint very well with the stirring stick and have paper towels and rags handy to wipe up spills and messes.

Have something to put your wet sponges and brushes in and any items with paint on them so you can carry them without dripping paint in other parts of the area.

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turquoise paint brush strokes

Painting the Area

Be sure you have adequate ventilation before you begin the project. Open a window nearby and have fans and the air conditioner or heater circulating air, so the paint dries faster.

To start, use a painting sponge or a thin brush to apply the paint. The surface absorbs the paint quickly, so you might need another coat after the first dries for a few minutes.

Needing a second coat depends on the type of paint and how thick it is upon application. Try to apply the paint in long, even strokes.

Avoid applying too much paint because it will drip down the edges and onto the glaze portion of the tile. Allow the area to dry for the rest of the day before exposing it to any moisture.

Once you remove the drop cloth after the paint dries, carefully remove the painter’s tape, and you’re done with your project. You’ll save money in the long run, and your tiles will look great.

FAQs

Can I use oil paint?

You want to avoid using oil paint because it doesn’t dry like acrylic or epoxy. It’s not intended for use on clay surfaces.

Can I use caulk?

Caulk doesn’t look good and creates a space where the moisture can seep into the tile. Over time it will lift and peel up.

man caulking window frame

Does it matter which color I use?

You’ll want to match the colors used in the tile. If you have dark edges, you’ll want to apply two coats so the paint looks even. There’s usually less concern if the paint is white or light.

Summary

If you want to preserve your tile and make it look seamless and professional, consider painting your tile edges.

It saves you money by preventing you from replacing the tile due to damage or adhesive failures. Be sure you get the right type of paint and carefully prepare the surfaces before beginning the project.