With most do-it-yourself home remodeling projects, you can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself. That is NOT the case with tile refinishing. Getting a cheap kit from a hardware store seems like a great idea at first glance, but the results are always disastrous. Before you waste your time and money, check out the top nine disadvantages of DIY ceramic tile paint.
Improper Tile Preparation
The secret to long-lasting tile refinishing lies in the way you prepare the surface of the tile. Professional tile refinishing companies use-etching tools to sand down the existing finish on the tile. High-quality primers that help the topcoat grip onto the tile follow this up. You won’t get that with a tile painting kit.
The contents of the kit vary by brand, so some may have a primer with them. This is not going to be as strong as what the pros use though. Think about it this way – Would you trust a hardware store primer to paint your car with? Probably not. You would take it to a professional paint shop to get done. Keep the same mentality for your tile, and you’ll be in good shape.
Brush and Roller Strokes
Another appeal for DIY ceramic tile paint is the fact that it looks easy to install. Just roll it on like you would paint on your walls, and you’re good to go! There is a big flaw with that thinking though: the roller marks will show. This is why we use specialty-airbrushing tools to apply our primers and topcoats. The airbrush creates a smooth, seamless surface that looks like tile glaze. People will think you got new tile at first glance. With tile paint, you’re never going to get the same results.
Scratching and Chipping
Because tile paint kits do not have the same primers that professionals use, the paint cannot grip onto the tile long. All it takes is something minor to scratch the paint and expose the tile below. This may not be noticeable at first if the tile is a similar color to the topcoat, but if they’re drastically different colors, it will stick out like a sore thumb.
Note that this is also the case with countertop refinishing kits. Some DIY-ers have come up with a way to refinish laminate countertops with chalk paint. The results look good in videos, but they don’t in person. Since you constantly interact with your countertops, you’re going to see chips and scratches quite quickly. This defeats the purpose of refinishing and is a guaranteed waste of money.
Professional tile refinishing feels like real tile. When you run your hands across, you will get the same silky texture that you would from ceramic tile. With ceramic tile paint though, the texture is much different. It’s unpleasant to walk on, and it instantly gives away the fact that your tile has been recovered. Nobody wants that!
Ceramic tile has a beautiful glossy surface. This reflects light and makes your whole bathroom look clean and open. Ceramic tile paint can somewhat mimic that, but not nearly as much. Even the high gloss paint kits yield a semi-gloss finish, which will look dull compared to the original tile surface. Professional tile refinishing uses special top coats that look as close to ceramic glaze as possible. If you want to show off your bathroom in the best way possible, this is the way to go.
Because ceramic tile paint does not have the smooth, shiny surface of regular tile, it can be difficult to clean. You may also have a hard time painting the grout lines, which means that some areas might be exposed at the end of the project. You have to avoid abrasive cleaning products, like soft bristle brushes, because they will easily scratch your already scratch-able tile. This is a bunch of headaches that you can avoid with professional tile refinishing.
Since pro tile refinishers use airbrushes to apply their primers and topcoats, they are able to cover the grout and other grooves. You can still see the valleys from the grout lines, but the grout is covered in the same material as the tile. This makes it incredibly easy to clean your bathroom, easier than it was with the original tile. You don’t have to get on your hands and knees to scrub the grout with a toothbrush. Just wipe everything with a rag, and you’re set!
No Financial Savings
At first, DIY ceramic tile paint seems more affordable than tile refinishing, but it’s not. The kit may be cheaper than the labor of a professional job, but the results only last a fraction of the time. You’ll end up redoing the work shortly after, and that will require even more effort than the first time. It’s going to cost significantly more money if you want to buy an airbrush to try to mimic the results of the pros. When you think about the full picture, you will most likely spend more money on tile paint than you would on tile refinishing.
Longer Waiting Time
Tile refinishing can be completed within a few hours, and the top coat should be completely cured within 24-48 hours. Tile paint has a similar curing time, but the application takes a lot longer. Part of the reason is because you don’t have the same skill set that a professional would. Consider how long it took you to get good at your job and how slow you were when you first started. The pros have been doing this for years, sometimes decades, so they know how to get the job done fast.
Health and Safety Risks
The chemicals and odors released during tile refinishing can be toxic. Not only do you have to protect your nose/mouth from airborne particles, but you also have to protect your skin. If you do not wear the right gear to paint your tile, you could be putting your health and safety at risk. You also need to pay close attention to the way the room is ventilated. If the chemicals have nowhere to go, they will move into different parts of your house – thereby affecting your family.
The pros know what tools and safety equipment to use to protect them and you during tile refinishing. Combine this with the many other disadvantages of ceramic tile paint, and the choice is obvious.
Contact Maryland Tub and Tile for a free quote for ceramic tile refinishing, and we will get your home looking its best.