How do I remove icky paint from vintage tile?

ZophieAugust 7, 2013

I love my old 1920's colonial house and want to retain as many of the vintage aspects of it as possible. We have a tandem bathroom between the two children's bedrooms which has nice old yellow with black accent tiles.

Unfortunatley, the previous owner thought it would be a good idea to paint some of the black tiles pink, including the grout in between. They had the tiles painted pink over 20 years ago and upon inspection, there is only one spot where there is a tiny chip in the paint revealing the black underneath.

Here's my question, how do I remove the paint from the tiles and grout without damaging them? My contractor says if worse come to worst, I may have to have them painted back. I'm afraid that might look worse than the pink!

The bathroom and tile is in good shape but the pink absolutely has to go!

Also, any suggestions on what color to paint the walls? The tile goes up pretty high. I'm taking down the tacky and aged yellow and pink floral wall paper. Dove white?

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A heat gun might work. Warm the tile up slowly so it doesn't crack, but paint can't take heat like ceramic can. It should blister and peel off.

If that doesn't work, start testing paint removers ... begin with the least obnoxious ones, like citri-strip and soy gel. If that doesn't work, go to the stinky ones.

You may have to re-paint the grout if the pin soaked in.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 7:17AM
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Here is a thread about the same thing...scroll down to comments and maybe will get some other ideas, or at least the name of products to try.

Here is a link that might be useful: removing paint from tile

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 2:55PM
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PPG makes a spray on product called overspray remover (or something like that) Don't know if it will work on something this old, but when vandals spray painted my hubby's truck, it got every bit of it off. You spray it on and it looks like it is doing nothing, then if you keep rubbing with a paper towel it will in a minute or two just start to dissolve. I was amazed at how well it worked.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 6:15PM
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Ceramic tile is pretty hard to damage. I'd try scraping off as much as I could with a razor knife (I've done-it no damage).
You can use some kind of paint remover-you don't need heavy duty because the paint is just laying on the surface. Get a grout remover tool, scrape out the old grout, you don't need to go deep just removing the paint and giving it some depth to put in the new. Really easy, just time consuming and can be a bit messy.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

All the above would be true IF it is regular (oil or latex) paint. Aren't there companies that will apply epoxy to your old tub an tile to make them look like new? The pics of their work show the tile and grout all the same color as in your pics. It does scratch off, so I think you need to first figure out what is on the tile before you remove it. I have no clue but to razor blade some off and see what dissolves it before you start spraying or whatever. Good luck on that one.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:25PM
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