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Tile paints represent a cost-effective and straightforward way of injecting new life into ceramics which have otherwise seen better days.
Generally intended for internal use only, some tile paints are fully weatherproof and apply to materials as diverse as brick, stone or concrete. However, tile paints deliver their best work when lightly applied to internal tiles — typically in kitchens or bathrooms.
There’s a surprising diversity in the composition and performance of tile paints, but we’re confident the best tile paint in the UK comes from Rustins. We’ve spent hours reviewing their matt red paint and found it strong in all areas we tested.
Best Tile Paint Reviews — The UK’s Top 3 in 2023
These are our top picks for the best tile paints on the UK market, starting with the smallest and best.
1. Rustins Quick-Dry Brick & Tile Paint
- Matt red finish
- Works for interior and exterior applications
- Durable and weather resistant
- For bricks, tiles, walls, cement and stone
Also available in gloss black, Rustins’ most popular brick and tile paint offers a matt red finish thanks to micronised red oxide.
This 250ml tin is smaller than the other products on our shortlist, ideal for touch-ups or modest projects. However, it does require a primer layer before being added to brick, whereas competitor products don’t need this.
Suitable for internal or external use (providing rain isn’t imminent), Rustins claim their paint is dry within 30 minutes and ready for redecoration within four hours. None of the other manufacturers on our shortlist makes this claim.
You’ll need several tins to complete a large project, with a coverage of 14 square metres per litre. Overall, this is a durable paint that quickly bonds to cement, stone, tiles and bricks.
|Dries in half an hour||It may require several tins|
2. Dulux Tile Paint
- No undercoat required
- Coverage: up to 18 square metres per litre
- Quick drying
- Available in 3 colours
- Gloss finish
Dulux markets its tile paint in four colours, but we’ve tested pure brilliant white, which is well-regarded and widely available.
The company promotes this paint as being ten times tougher and ten times more shower resistant than conventional water-based satin paints.
Coverage of 18 square metres per litre trumps the Rustins’ coverage, although Dulux’s product costs almost 30% more per litre. Still, there’s no need to invest in a primer, and this shower-resistant paint is quick-drying for jobs with time constraints.
Pro Tip: Some people have suggested multiple thin coats deliver a better result than thicker applications, which may expose brush strokes and leave drips.
|Generous coverage||Relatively expensive|
|Good colour choice|
3. Johnstones Revive Tile Paint
- Touch dry in two hours
- No need to use primer or undercoat
- Low odour
- Coverage: 12 square metres per litre
- Available in three colours
- Gloss finish
Available in white or pale grey, you can apply Johnstones tile paint directly onto tiles with no undercoat or primer.
This tile paint dries to a gloss finish, and users generally agree that a foam roller delivers an impressive finish across internal tiles. Marketed as low-odour, this paint is a good choice for people with a strong sense of smell.
However, the Revive paint isn’t suitable for outdoor use, which might restrict its appeal. Moreover, a drying time of two hours and a recoat time of 16 hours is underwhelming.
Coverage of 12 square metres per litre is comfortably beaten by our other contenders, though this product is considerably cheaper than Rustins or Dulux.
|Delivers a clean finish||Underwhelming drying and recoat times|
Best Tile Paint in the UK — 2023 Comparison Table
|Model||Size||Coverage (sq m/l)||Colours||Drying time||Rating|
|Rustins Quick Dry Brick & Tile||250ml||14||2||30 mins||8|
|Dulux Tile Paint||600ml||18||4||Not quoted||7|
|Johnstones Revive Tile Paint||750ml||12||2||2 hours||6|
Tile Paint Buying Guide
Tile paints typically come in small ranges with limited colour options, so the need for a particular shade might steer you towards a brand that offers that colour. As such, it may be better to approach redecoration by choosing the tile paint first and then selecting the surrounding décor to match it.
Pay attention to recoat times with tile paint since two lightly-applied coats often provide a better finish than one heavy application. Unfortunately, one of our shortlisted products takes up to 16 hours before it’s ready for redecoration. This delay effectively restricts you to one application daily, which might be a problem for time-critical jobs or whole-house refurbs.
Size Matters (somewhat)
The largest tin in our shortlist is three times the smallest size, which might be relevant if you’re only looking to tart up a few splashback tiles. However, don’t assume you can calculate tile paint’s value for money by dividing size by price. There’s also coverage to consider.
Our Dulux paint choice covers 18 square metres per litre, compared to just 12 from Johnstones. However, the latter is cheaper and comes in a larger tin. You’ll need to do some measurements (and some sums) to determine the best option for the scale of the paint job.
The choice between rollers and brushes affects how much paint is required and how many applications are necessary. Rollers deliver a smoother finish on flat surfaces, but paint brushes (or paint pads) are essential for edges and corners. We recently reviewed the best paint brushes on sale in the UK.
Pro Tip: It’s advisable to rub fine-grit sandpaper over tiles to remove some of their gloss before painting them. Sanding their surface improves adhesion and removes invisible debris like oil. The video below guides you through the various steps in preparing bathroom tiles for painting.
Final Thoughts — Best Tile Paint in the UK
Each of our shortlisted tile paints comes in a limited array of colours. If a particular shade is essential, this might influence your judgement.
Assuming colour is not an issue, the Rustins range is a clear winner. It’s available in affordable 250ml pots, dries in half an hour, and is suitable for external application on tiles and bricks as well as concrete and stone. That’s something our other two products can’t match.