Porcelain is a type of white vitrified translucent ceramic made from two essential ingredients: kaolin and petunse.
Kaolin, also called china clay, is a silicate mineral that gives porcelain its plasticity and structure. Petunse, or pottery stone, lends translucency and hardness.
Besides interior applications like pottery, tiling floors, and walls, porcelain is used on other surfaces like sills, ledges, shelves, and even roofs.
Porcelain is also widely used in jewelry making, laboratory tools, and electric insulation.
Because porcelain is so durable and looks excellent, painting it is often cheaper and more practical than replacing it.
What Kind of Paint to Use on Porcelain?
A porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, making it a denser and more durable option.
While a variety of different paints are available for ceramic and porcelain, you must typically use latex-based or epoxy products on porcelain, but not oil- or acrylic-based paint.
I prefer and recommend an epoxy two-part (ready-to-mix) kit for painting larger porcelain surfaces like tiles, as it sticks well, is durable, and will last much longer once cured correctly.
For smaller surfaces like sinks, tubs, toilets, etc., one part (pre-mixed) epoxy will generally do the job.
Unlike most interior paints that will fade and lose their color over time when exposed to heat and moisture, epoxy is different – its adhesive qualities ensure that it lasts longer without losing its color.
How to Paint Porcelain Fixtures and Accessories?
Painting porcelain is not difficult, but it does require some prep work and a few specialized supplies that you may not have on hand.
Start by gathering the following materials:
- A drop cloth or old newspapers to protect your work area
- Masking tape
- Sandpaper (100-grit or higher)
- Household cleaners
- Epoxy paint in the color of your choice
- 1-2 small paintbrushes
Once you have all of your materials, follow these steps to get started:
Step 1 – Clean the Porcelain
Clean the surface thoroughly with a cleaner like Homax to remove any dirt, grime, and rust
To avoid scratching the surface, you could also use a soft cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.
Denatured alcohol will remove any residue left behind by cleaners.
Be sure to rinse the surface completely and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 2 – Mask Off Any Areas You Don’t Want to Paint
Use masking tape and old newspapers or a drop cloth to protect any areas of the porcelain that you don’t want to be painted.
These can be nearby light fixtures, mirrors, plumbing, or other hardware.
Step 3 – Sand the Porcelain Surface
Use 100-grit sandpaper to lightly sand and rough up the entire surface of the porcelain you intend to paint. This will help the paint adhere better.
Keep in mind that if the porcelain surface is new and super smooth, you will need to roughen up the gloss so that the paint sticks better.
In this case, use 400 or 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper for sanding the entire surface where you will be putting the paint to change the color.
Step 4 – Apply a Coat of Paint to Porcelain
Once the surface is sanded, it’s time to apply a coat of paint made specifically for the surface of the porcelain.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the can of paint for specific guidance.
In general, you’ll want to apply a thin layer of paint with a small brush, working in long strokes in the same direction.
You may need to apply two coats of paint, depending on the color you’re aiming for and the type of paint you’re using.
Allow the first coat to dry completely before adding a second.
Step 5 – Allow Enough Time to Dry and Cure the Paint
For an hour, place a heat lamp next to the porcelain to help it dry. If you don’t have one handy, let the paint air-dry completely.
Once that’s done, consider sanding the sink with 800 or 1,000-grit paper which will smooth out any uneven patches or rough areas.
Wipe the entire sink down with paper towels after sanding to clear away any dust particles.
And let the paint cure for about 2-3 days before you plan to use the freshly painted surface.
After curing, you can use a power buffer along with foam and car wax to give it a shiny finish if you want.
The Bottom Line
Porcelain is the densest and most durable ceramic type, making it versatile for a myriad of uses and practical applications like bathroom fixtures like sinks and tubs, as well as flooring tile.
Porcelain is a popular choice for many homeowners because it’s easy to clean and maintain and has a long lifespan.
And when it comes to painting porcelain, the process is not complicated.
With a little prep work and the right supplies, you can achieve excellent results that will last for years to come.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
Just in case you want to hire pro painters in your local area, you can click here. We can instantly send you free quotes from trusted painters based on your specific requirement.