Is painted bathroom tile a defect to a home inspector?
Sunday, July 22, 2018
We do not define painted bathroom tile as a defect unless it has areas that are peeling, bubbling, or flaking off. However, we do call it to the homebuyer’s attention for two reasons: 1) it is often not noticed that the original tile has been painted and, 2) it is essentially a temporary solution for making an older bathroom more presentable by the homeowner, often done after watching a do-it-yourself video. The color is usually white and the tub is often painted too, like in the photo above, along with spray-paint silver on the valves and spout.
To paint tile properly, it must first be cleaned and sanded thoroughly to roughen and prep the surface so that it will hold paint well. Then an epoxy or similar primer has to be applied that forms a strong bond to the tile before the final layers of paint are added. Professionals use a sprayer in order to get an even, smooth finish.
But many homeowners do minimal or no sanding, and use a roller to apply the primer and paint. The resulting finish looks alright as long as you don’t look too closely but, after about a year or so of use, the fact that it was painted becomes obvious—especially on the center traffic area of the floor and the wet areas in and around the shower.
Even the pros typically warrant a tile paint job for only five years. It’s just not meant to be permanent.
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