How to Paint a Tile Fireplace with Ease

Bob Thomas


If you're looking to give your home a fresh, updated look without breaking the bank, painting your tile fireplace is an excellent DIY project.

Not only will it transform the appearance of your living space, but it's also a cost-effective way to revitalize your fireplace.

As a qualified painter and decorator, I've helped countless homeowners bring their vision to life, and now I'll share my expertise with you.

In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the process of painting a tile fireplace, ensuring a professional-looking result.

Quick Summary

  • Clean the tile surface thoroughly
  • Sand the tiles to create a rough surface for better paint adhesion
  • Apply a high-quality primer
  • Paint the tiles with your chosen color
  • Apply a sealant for added durability

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting a Tile Fireplace

Prepare the workspace:

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials.

Protect the surrounding area with drop cloths and painter's tape to prevent any accidental paint spills or splatters.

Tools and Materials

Drop cloths
Used to protect the surrounding area from paint spills and splatters.
Painter's tape
Helps create clean lines and protect surfaces that should not be painted, such as walls and trim.
Cleaning supplies
Includes mild detergent and warm water for cleaning the tile surface before painting.
Sandpaper (80 to 120 grit)
Creates a rough surface on the tiles for better paint adhesion.
Primer (suitable for tile surfaces)
A high-quality primer designed for use on tile surfaces to ensure a strong bond between paint and tile.
Paintbrushes and/or foam rollers
Used for the application of primer and paint on the tile surface.
Tile paint or latex paint with acrylic additive
Specially formulated paint for tile surfaces or latex paint with an acrylic additive for better durability.
Sealant (optional)
Provides additional protection to the painted tiles, improving durability and longevity.

Clean the tile surface

Remove any dirt, dust, or grease from the tile surface using a mild detergent and warm water. Make sure the tiles are completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Sand the tiles

Using 80 to 120 grit sandpaper, lightly sand the tile surface to create a rough texture.

This will help the primer and paint adhere better to the tiles.

After sanding, wipe down the surface with a damp cloth to remove any dust.

Apply a primer

Apply a high-quality primer designed for use on tile surfaces, such as an epoxy or bonding primer.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.

Using a primer will help create a strong bond between the paint and tile, ensuring a long-lasting finish.

Paint the tiles

Once the primer is dry, it's time to apply your chosen paint.

For best results, use a tile paint or a latex paint with an acrylic additive.

Apply the paint using a brush or foam roller, working in small sections to ensure even coverage.

Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat if necessary.

Apply a sealant (optional):

For added durability and protection, you may choose to apply a sealant after the paint has dried.

Make sure to use a sealant that is compatible with your chosen paint and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.

Remove painter's tape and clean up

Once everything is dry, carefully remove the painter's tape and drop cloths, and clean up your workspace. Your newly painted tile fireplace is now ready to enjoy!

Last year, I helped a friend give their living room a makeover, and painting the tile fireplace made a massive difference. They chose a bold color that perfectly complemented their décor, and it instantly became the focal point of the room. With a bit of patience and attention to detail, you too can transform your fireplace and create a stunning new look for your home.

Choosing the Right Paint Color for Your Tile Fireplace

Assess your current décor:

  1. Before selecting a paint color for your tile fireplace, take a moment to analyze your existing home décor. Consider the color palette of your walls, furniture, and accessories, and choose a paint color that complements these elements.

Create a mood board:

  1. Gather inspiration by creating a mood board with images of fireplaces, color schemes, and styles you like. This will help you visualize how different colors and finishes might look in your space and guide you towards the perfect choice.

Test paint swatches:

  1. Purchase a few paint swatches in your desired color range and test them on your fireplace tiles. Observe how the colors appear in different lighting conditions and at various times of the day. This will give you a better understanding of how the final result will look in your space.

Consider the size of your room:

  1. Darker colors can make a room appear smaller, while lighter shades create a sense of spaciousness. Keep this in mind when selecting a paint color, especially if you have a small room or limited natural light.

Don't be afraid of bold colors:

  1. A fireplace can serve as a stunning focal point, so don't shy away from bold colors. A vibrant hue can make your fireplace stand out and add a unique touch to your living space.

Proper Maintenance and Care for Your Painted Tile Fireplace

Regular cleaning:

  1. Keep your painted tile fireplace looking fresh by regularly wiping down the surface with a soft cloth or sponge and mild detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, as they can damage the paint.

Address chips and scratches promptly:

  1. If you notice any chips or scratches on your painted fireplace tiles, touch them up with a small amount of paint as soon as possible. This will help prevent further damage and maintain the overall appearance of your fireplace.

Use heat-resistant paint:

  1. If your fireplace is functional and frequently used, it's essential to choose a heat-resistant paint designed for high-temperature surfaces. This will help prevent the paint from peeling, cracking, or discoloring due to heat exposure.

Avoid direct contact with flames:

  1. While heat-resistant paint can withstand high temperatures, it's still crucial to avoid direct contact between flames and the painted tile surface. Maintain a safe distance between your fireplace's opening and any flammable materials, including the painted tiles.

Monitor for signs of wear:

  1. Keep an eye on your painted tile fireplace for any signs of wear or damage over time. If you notice the paint starting to look dull or worn, it may be time for a touch-up or a fresh coat to maintain its appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions Section FAQs

Q. Can I paint over any type of tile?

  A:  Yes, you can paint over most types of tile, including ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone.

However, it's essential to prepare the surface correctly and use appropriate primer and paint products designed for tile surfaces.

Q. How long will the paint last on my tile fireplace?

  A: With proper preparation and the use of high-quality products, the paint on your tile fireplace should last for several years.

Regular maintenance and prompt touch-ups of any chips or scratches will help extend the paint's lifespan.

Q. Can I paint my tile fireplace if it's in use?

  A: Yes, you can paint a functional tile fireplace.

However, it's crucial to choose a heat-resistant paint designed for high-temperature surfaces to prevent peeling, cracking, or discoloration due to heat exposure.

Q. How long will it take to paint my tile fireplace?

  A: The entire process, including preparation, cleaning, sanding, priming, painting, and optional sealing, can take anywhere from one to three days, depending on the size of your fireplace and drying times between coats.

Q. Is it necessary to apply a sealant after painting?

  A: Applying a sealant is optional but recommended for added durability and protection. A sealant can help protect the paint from scratches, stains, and moisture, ensuring a longer-lasting finish.

Q. Can I change the color of my painted tile fireplace later on?

  A: Yes, you can change the color of your painted tile fireplace by following the same preparation and painting steps outlined in this guide.

Be sure to clean and sand the surface well before applying a new coat of primer and paint.

Q. Can I paint the grout lines as well?

  A: Yes, you can paint the grout lines along with the tiles. If you prefer a different color for the grout, use painter's tape to create clean lines between the tiles and grout before painting.

Q. Do I need any special tools or equipment for this project?

  A: You'll need basic tools and materials, including drop cloths, painter's tape, cleaning supplies, sandpaper, primer, paintbrushes and/or foam rollers, tile paint or latex paint with acrylic additive, and sealant (optional).

Most of these items can be found at your local hardware store or online.

Q. Can I use regular latex paint on my tile fireplace?

  A: While regular latex paint can be used, it's best to use a latex paint with an acrylic additive or a paint specifically designed for tile surfaces.

 These paints offer better adhesion and durability on tile surfaces.


By following these steps and using the right tools and materials, you can achieve a professional-looking finish that will breathe new life into your living space.

Remember to take your time, carefully follow each step, and don't be afraid to get creative with your color choices.

With a little effort and some expert guidance, you'll have a beautifully updated tile fireplace that will be the envy of your friends and family.

Suggested Products:

Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations Kit: This all-in-one kit includes a bonding primer, tile paint, and sealant, making it an excellent choice for a complete fireplace makeover.

XIM Tile Doc Epoxy Acrylic Coating: A highly durable, high-gloss epoxy acrylic paint designed for use on ceramic and porcelain tiles, perfect for a lasting finish on your tile fireplace.

Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Primer: This versatile, high-adhesion primer is suitable for various surfaces, including tiles, and provides excellent bonding for your chosen paint.

Rust-Oleum High Heat Enamel Spray Paint: Ideal for functional tile fireplaces, this heat-resistant paint is designed to withstand high temperatures and maintain its appearance.

Miracle Sealants 511 Porous Plus Sealer: This penetrating sealer offers excellent protection for your painted tiles, preventing moisture, stains, and scratches.

ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Painter's Tape: This high-quality painter's tape ensures clean lines and easy removal, helping you achieve a professional finish.

Wooster Brush Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush: A high-quality paintbrush with a short handle for precise application and excellent control, perfect for painting tile fireplaces.

Microfiber Mini Foam Paint Rollers: These foam rollers provide a smooth, even application of paint on tile surfaces, helping you achieve a professional-looking result.

3M SandBlaster Sandpaper: Available in various grits, this sandpaper helps you create the ideal surface for paint adhesion on your tile fireplace.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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