Painting / resurfacing ceramic tile in bathroom

7 Replies

Hello, I am researching my options on a old bathroom that has some ceramic tile from the 1950's - installed on a lath& plaster wall with a 1" "mud wall" behind the tiles. They DO NOT want to come off. The bath has a nice "retro" look with a blue-and-white tile floor, white 4 x 4 standard wall tiles and light blue bullnose trim along the top. Textured, plaster walls above the bullnose painted blue. Want to prevent completely gutting this bathroom - house will be a rental/lease-purchase. House was built in 1940. Any suggestions on product / application tips for NOT destroying this bathroom would be appreciated!

What's the condition of the tile? Is it good enough to have someone come in and repair and regrout it? Where I am you can leave a 1940s tile bathroom in a rental or lease purchase. Does the house have any other vintage elements you can keep/restore to hang with the bath? Also, it sounds like you have OK colors. White with blue is totally acceptable. Way better than pink with burgundy, which I've seen multiple times here.

Have you heard of tub reglazing? There are companies who will clean and reglaze tubs and tile, making it look almost like new. Granted, if you have them do the tile, the coating they apply will cover the grout, too, so it will be one monolithic color. Generally, it comes out looking pretty good (if you hire a pro). We used a pro to reglaze a tub in one of our rentals and it came out great.

I've heard that they sell similar stuff at Home Depot and Lowes, but this is one of the few things I'd say you should hire someone for. And we normally do most work ourselves. I've even used the Rustoleum product for coating kitchen counters, too, and I still wouldn't do a tub/tile. There is a lot of cleaning/prep to be done, and trying to coat something with all those little crevices with just a roller would be a nightmare. For a few hundred bucks, I think the pros are well worth it.

@Mike Bryant - Lowes sells a kit for painting bathtubs and tile that I've used in the past. It works pretty well as long as you properly clean/prime everything. I have a unit which it was used on that was not properly primed/cleaned and the stuff just flaked off everywhere.

I couldn't find a link to it on the website, but if you look in the paint area you should be able to find it - I believe the only option is white. I think it's right next to the countertop paint which is excellent for ugly old countertops!

Well, I actually sold my previous home to someone who was delighted that I hadn't removed the original tile and cabinets in the kitchen because she was into "50's retro-chic" , lol.

So, depending on your demographic, you could just say it's a design choice...

I have also used tub/tile resurfacing with good results. I used Miracle Method, which is a franchise operation. Don't do it yourself.

Why don't you post a photo? We can give better opinions after seeing it.

Yes @Jean Bolger , I will post photos in a few days when I get back over there. Thought about that!! I have requested the local Miracle Method franchisee to give me a quote. Appreciate all the feedback!

I've used Miracle Method, too, and been pleased with the results. This was for a tub that had a dent from the tile guy (grrr). But I know they can go over tile, too. Time will tell how it holds up.

One option would be tiling over the existing. It's an acceptable method of installation as long as the glaze on the existing tile is scarified and a latex modified thin set is used. Those old tile mortar "mud" beds are far superior to the installation material/methods used today.

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