Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2009

Painting Exterior Tiles

Q. I'm working on a restaurant renovation. There are exterior tiles along roof side that we would like to paint. Is there an eco-friendly paint that could do this?

Also, on a different note. Do you know anything that can be put into paint to make it sparkle?

A. The choice of paint really depends on the nature of the tiles. Are they smooth, rough, ceramic, metals, or what? Depending on the type and surface finish on the existing tiles, you will need to perform some form of surface preparation. In the worst case, you might need to abrasive blast an existent smooth, hard, glossy surface, to provide a slightly textured one. In addition, you might need to do some experimentation before you make your final paint selection.

If you wish the paint to have a sparkle, you can look at typical automotive base coats that contain metallic pigments. Visit an automotive paint store in your local area where you will see your options. Automotive paints will work, provided you prepare the tiles and prime them appropriately. However, depending on the color, automotive paints can be pricey ... some of them are exorbitantly expensive. In addition, if you want long term sunlight resistance, you might need to apply one or two clear coats over the base coat.

Acrylic latex paints might also do the trick, but they might not provide the sparkle you require.

Unfortunately, I didn't give you specific recommendations, because there are too many unknowns that you didn't provide. In any case, I hope I have provided some help.


Ron Joseph

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