best tile paint

Best Tile Paint – The Top 3 in 2021 (UK Buying Guide)

Last Updated on 19 May 2021

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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 on sale in the UK comes from Rustins. We reviewed their matt red paint and found it strong in all areas but requires a primer layer before applying it to brick.

In a Hurry? Here’s our Top Pick for 2021:

Rustins BRITW250 Quick Dry Brick & Tile 250ml, 250 ml
  • High quality and quick drying paint
  • Exceptionally well to brick and tile
  • Ideal for interior and exterior use
  • Model number: BRITW250

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Tile Painting Project Management

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 per day, which might be a problem for time-critical jobs or whole-house refurbs.

If you need hard-wearing exterior paint, masonry paint could be a better option. Our recent masonry paint guide explains everything you need to know about choosing and using masonry paint.


Size Matters (somewhat)

The largest tin in our shortlist is three times the smallest size, which might be relevant if you’re simply looking to tart up a few splashback tiles. However, don’t assume you can calculate tile paint’s value for money by merely 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 bigger 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 reaching 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. This YouTube video will guide you through the various steps involved in preparing bathroom tiles for painting.


Best Tile Paint – The Top 3 in 2021

These are our top picks for the best tile paints currently on the UK market, starting with the smallest and best.

1. Rustins BRITW250 Quick-Dry Brick & Tile 250ml

Rustins BRITW250 Quick Dry Brick & Tile 250ml, 250 ml
  • High quality and quick drying paint
  • Exceptionally well to brick and tile
  • Ideal for interior and exterior use
  • Model number: BRITW250

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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. Unfortunately, none of the other manufacturers on our shortlist make this claim. 

You’ll need several tins to complete a large project, with coverage of 14 square metres per litre. Overall, this is a durable paint that quickly bonds to cement, stone, tiles and bricks.

ProsCons
Dries in half an hourMay require several tins
Impressive coverage 

2. Dulux Tile Paint 600ml

Sale
Dulux Tile Paint Pure Brilliant White - 600ml
  • Dulux Tile Paint Pure Brilliant White - 600ml
  • PURE BRILLIANT WHITE 600ml

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dulux markets their 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 more than half as much again per litre as its rival. 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.

ProsCons
Generous coverageRelatively expensive
Good colour choice 

3. Johnstones Revive Tile Paint 750ml

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Available in white or pale grey, Johnstones tile paint can be applied directly onto tiles with no undercoat or primer required. 

This tile paint dries to a gloss finish, and there’s general agreement among users 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 per litre than Rustins or Dulux.

ProsCons
Delivers a clean finishUnderwhelming drying and recoat times
Good value 

Best Tile Paint – Final Thoughts

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.

Dulux’s contender has the best coverage per square metre, but it’s considerably more expensive. This paint has the best choice of colours, though, for sheer value, the Johnstones offering beats it. 


Best Tile Paint Comparison Table

ModelSizeCoverage (sq m/l)ColoursDrying timeRating
Rustins Quick Dry Brick & Tile250ml14230 mins8
Dulux Tile Paint600ml184Not quoted7
Johnstones Revive Tile Paint750ml1222 hours6