Best Tile Paints for Updating Without Renovating

Transform old tiles and backsplashes with tile paint

The 70s and 80s were a criminal era for tile design. If you still have these outdated colours and designs hidden away in your bathroom, you are not alone. Or perhaps you simply want to update your tiles to make them fit the rest of your home. Renovation and tile replacement is an expensive job, but luckily there is a cheaper and quicker alternative: tile paints.

Tile paint is formulated for use on tiles in a range of areas, interior and exterior. Designed to be able to deal with humidity, they are perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, or laundries, basically anywhere that you have tiles!

Product Guide: 5 of the best tile paints UK

Below are 5 of the best tile paints available in the UK, from renowned paint brands including Ronseal, Dulux, and Zinsser. Read through for a guide to the different paints, or you can jump ahead to the step by step guide for the best possible application and result from your chosen tile paint.

Tile paint
Dulux Primer for Difficult Surfaces

Dulux Primer – Preparation is paramount

First things first – any paint job is only as good as its preparation. Most tile paints require some kind of pre-treatment for the best adhesion and performance. Dulux Primer for Difficult Surfaces is:

  • Suitable for MDF, tiles, melamine and UPVC
  • Low odour and easy to apply
  • Quick drying and applied with a brush or roller
Ronseal tile paint
Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint ‘White Satin’

Ronseal Tile Paint – Coverage in One Coat

Ronseal is the name in tile paint. Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint transforms tired tiled surfaces, allowing you to create a new look without the price tag of a renovation. It is:

  • Highly durable, waterproof, and mould resistant
  • Available in 13 colours, from black to grey to white and even ‘pink fusion’
  • Ideal for tiled areas around sinks, baths, cookers, and domestic shower areas (not floors)
Tile paint
Rustoleum Universal All Surface Paint

Rustoleum Universal – Paint and Primer in one

Rustoleum has a range of paints for tile, including Tub & Tile or their Tile Transformations Kit. Rustoleum Universal All Surface Paint is a paint and primer in one, which is:

  • Suitable for ceramic, wood, metal, and plastic
  • Durable and full hardness after 7 days
  • For interior and exterior use
Tile paint
Rustins Step and Tile Gloss Paint

Rustins Step and Tile Gloss – Tiles, concrete and bricks

For giving your front step a makeover, Rustins Step and Tile Gloss is the easy-to-use solution. This tile paint is water-based with a gloss finish and:

  • Is suitable for tiles (not glazed or quarry tile), concrete, and bricks
  • Contains special pigments for good opacity, in black and red
  • Is quick drying, hard wearing, durable, and weather resistant
Tile paint
Zinsser Permawhite Interior Paint

Zinsser Perma-White – Mould protection in humid areas

Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundries are humid spaces where a mould resistant paint can be necessary. Zinsser Perma-White Satin is an interior top coat (it requires a primer for tiles) that:

  • Contains a biocode that protects the dried coating against fungal degradation
  • Resists cracking, peeling and blistering for up to 7 years
  • Is scrubbable and durable

The essential steps for applying tile paint

Here are the most important steps to any tile paint application, whether in the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions, and that tile paint is designed for best performance on vertical surfaces like backsplashes, wall tiles, tiling around baths etc. It does not perform well for floor tiles or for tiles in shower booths that endure a lot of water. Essentially, what you need to do when applying tile paint is:

  1. Clean the tile – Make sure the tile is completely clean of soap scum, grease, dirt, mildew, or any other contaminant. Use a sugar soap or bathroom cleaner, then wipe the surface down again with a clean cloth. Allow to dry.
  2. Prepare the surface – Sand the surface of the tile with a fine sandpaper, 180-220 grit. This gives the paint something to stick to. Once done, clean the tile again.
  3. Priming – If a primer is needed (and we do recommend it), apply the primer once the surface is sanded, clean, and completely dry. Paint over the entire surface, including the grout.
  4. Painting – Once the primer is dry, it is time to paint. Use whichever method is recommended in the instructions and apply as you would any other paint. Tada! It really is that simple. Avoid being too rough with the new coating until it is fully cured.