Can You Paint Tiles With Chalk Paint?

Wanting to paint your tiles? Maybe you’re thinking of using chalk paint, but is this even possible? Can you paint tiles with chalk paint? So many questions, well I have answered them for you. I got some tile, grabbed a tin of chalk paint and did some testing. Read on to see my results.

Priming The Tile

So the first part of this test will show us whether primer is important when paint tile with chalk paint. I used some Zinsser bull’s eye 123 on one half of my tile. 123 is a really good primer from Zinsser and is what they themselves recommend for tile, to find out more about Zinsser primers why not read my Which Zinsser Primer to Use article.

Priming One Side Of The Tile With Zinsser Bulls Eye
Priming One Side Of The Tile With Zinsser Bulls Eye

I will be using a grey primer so it is a close match to the grey chalk paint I will be using. This will just help the colours match better and not require as many coats. If you cant get a close match in primer don’t worry, it just means you may need an extra coat of chalk paint.

One Side Primed
One Side Primed

Now I have primed one side of the tile. On the other half, I will just paint the chalk paint straight onto the tile with no primer.

Painting the Tile With Chalk Paint

The chalk paint went onto the tile really easily. It also covered really well, even with such a drastic colour change. The chalk paint I was using for this was Rustoleum chalk paint.

The Non primed side painted with chalk paint
The Non-primed side painted with chalk paint

I painted the non-primed side with a brush, then I will paint the primed side with a roller. This is just to give you an idea of the different finishes you will achieve by either using a brush or roller.

The Primed Side Has Now Been Painted Using A Roller
The Primed Side Has Now Been Painted Using A Roller

So with the brush, it is hard not to end up with visible brush lines. Whereas with the roller you end up with that bubbly roller texture you always seem to get, you know the one I mean.

Both Sides Once Dry
Both Sides Once Dry

Here we have the tile once it has been left around a week to fully cure. The roller was used on the left-hand part and a chalk paintbrush on the right. There are actually more lines in the brushed side than it looks like here, my camera just didn’t pick them up too well for whatever reason.

So both sides have been painted with chalk paint and the paint has gone on really well, the next big test is how well the paint has stuck to the tile.

Scratch Testing The Tile

This is the real test. We now know that the paint will go onto the tile easily, but has it stuck? This is the big problem with painting tiles due to how shiny the surface is. A general rule of thumb to follow when decorating is that when something has a shiny surface it is going to be difficult for paint to have anything to stick to. So let’s find out how our primer and un-primed tile got on.

For the scratch test, I will use some rough-cut timber and run it harshly across the surface of the paint. This is the same method I use in all my scratch tests.

I feel that rough cut c16 timber is a good test medium as it is not too hard but not too soft. If I used something really hard like metal then not much would stand up to it and the test would be pointless.

On the other hand, if I used something too soft it would never scratch anything and again it would be pointless.

The Result of the Scratch Test
The Result of the Scratch Test

You can see big scratches on both sides, which is always likely when painting tile. What really stands out however is how much better the primed side has done than the non-primed side.

If you are going to paint your tiles with chalk paint I would definitely recommend using a primer like Zinsser 123 before painting!

Water Based
Zinsser 123 Bulls Eye Primer/Sealer Paint 1 Litre
£16.50
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10/20/2021 01:08 am GMT
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Sam Wood

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!

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