Painting a porcelain sink can completely transform the look of your bathroom. Tired of the same old white sink? With the right preparation and paint, you can refresh it with any color you’d like. Painting porcelain requires some special considerations, but with patience and the proper steps, you can end up with a stunning, long-lasting finish.
Can I Paint a Porcelain Sink?
Porcelain sinks have a shiny, glass-like glazed surface that can make painting them tricky. The slick surface needs to be roughened up so the paint can properly adhere. With the right steps though, even porcelain’s slippery surface can be transformed. Here’s a quick overview of what’s involved:
- Surface preparation is key – Thoroughly cleaning and sanding the sink smooths the glossy finish so paint can grip better.
- Priming the surface will also help the paint stick to the slippery porcelain. Primers made for glossy surfaces work best.
- Thin coats of specialty epoxy paint designed for porcelain gives the most durable finish. Acrylic craft paint is an option too.
- Allow proper drying time between coats – usually at least 24 hours. More thin coats are better than thick coats.
- 2-3 coats of paint followed by a clear sealer topcoat provides the toughest finish.
- Painting porcelain any color is possible, though darker colors show wear sooner.
- Use soft scrubbers and gentle cleaners to avoid chipping the paint when cleaning the sink later.
With the right preparation and paint products, even porcelain’s slick surface can be painted to refresh the look of a bathroom sink on a budget.
Why Paint a Porcelain Sink?
There’s several great reasons you may want to paint your porcelain sink:
Update the color – Tired of a basic white sink? Painting it any color you’d like can instantly give your bathroom a fresh new look.
Cover stains or scratches – Painting can mask any stains, chips, or discoloration in an older sink.
Coordinate with décor – Match your sink color to your wall tile, accessories, or towels for a cohesive style.
Cheap update – Painting a sink is an affordable way to update a bathroom’s look vs. replacing the sink.
Have fun with trends – Try a trendy hue like a deep blue or metallic gold to make your sink pop.
Add unique personality – A painted sink in your favorite color adds a sense of personal flair.
Increase home value – Updating outdated fixtures like a sink can boost the value of your home.
So whether you want to conceal flaws or just create a whole new look, painting porcelain is a great way to affordably transform the style of your bathroom.
How to Prepare a Porcelain Sink for Painting
Since porcelain has an ultra-smooth glazed surface, prepping it properly is a crucial first step for successful painting. Here’s how to get your porcelain sink ready for paint:
It’s important to start with a pristine clean sink free of any dirt, grime, soap scum or oils. Give the sink a deep cleaning by:
- Scrubbing with an abrasive cleaner like Bon Ami or Bar Keeper’s Friend.
- Using a scrub brush or dobie pad to remove any stubborn stains or residue.
- Rinsing well with hot water.
- Letting the sink dry completely.
Any debris left on the surface will prevent the paint from properly adhering.
Lightly Sand the Surface
The slick porcelain glaze needs to be dulled down a bit for the paint to grip well. Lightly sanding does the trick:
- Use 220-400 grit sandpaper and sand in different directions.
- Focus on sanding just enough to scuff up the shiny surface.
- Avoid sanding too aggressively which can damage the sink.
- Wipe away all sanding dust with a tack cloth afterwards.
This roughens the porcelain so the paint has something to grab onto.
Use a Bonding Primer
Priming first will also help the paint better adhere to the glossy non-porous surface.
- Apply a thin, even coat of a bonding primer made for slick surfaces.
- Allow the primer to fully dry per label directions, usually 24 hours.
- Gently sand again to smooth any drips or rough spots, then wipe clean.
The primer coat gives the paint an additional gripping layer.
With thorough cleaning, light sanding, and a primer coat, the sink is prepped and ready for painting success!
Choosing the Right Paint for Porcelain
The type of paint you use is important for achieving lasting results when painting porcelain sinks. Specialty epoxy paints designed for porcelain work best.
Epoxy-based paints are commonly recommended for painting porcelain sinks because they adhere very well to slick non-porous surfaces. The epoxy helps the paint bond tightly.
Some top epoxy paint options include:
- Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit – A urethane acrylic based coating made for porcelain tubs and sinks. Available in multiple colors including white, black, almond and blue.
- Homax Tough As Tile – A durable epoxy acrylic paint formulated to bond to porcelain and ceramic tile. Many color choices are available.
- Dupli-Color Tub & Tile Coating – A urethane modified acrylic enamel made to refresh porcelain fixtures. Offered in white, ivory, gray and black.
- Krylon Fusion for Plastic – A spray paint with strong epoxy bonds good for porcelain’s slick surface, sold in many colors.
Be sure to read all label instructions on dry time and topcoat recommendations when using epoxy paints.
Acrylic Craft Paint
For a very affordable option, standard acrylic craft paint can also work on porcelain. The results may not be as long lasting or durable as epoxy paint, but this can be a good temporary solution.
- Acrylic paint with a matte finish tends to adhere better than glossy types.
- Add a bonding primer first for better adhesion.
- Apply thin coats and expect to refresh it more often.
So while acrylic may not be as heavy duty, it can be a quick, cheap way to paint a sink.
Avoid These Paint Types
Certain paints are not well suited for achieving a lasting finish on glossy porcelain:
- Standard latex wall paint – Doesn’t bond well without a primer first.
- Oil-based enamels – Can chip or peel.
- Chalk paint – Too soft and prone to damage.
- Spray paint without epoxy – Won’t adhere properly.
Stick to paints formulated specifically for porcelain or other slick materials when painting a sink for the most durable, long-lasting finish.
How to Paint a Porcelain Sink
Once you’ve prepped the surface and selected the right paint, it’s time to start painting. Follow these tips for applying paint to porcelain:
Work in Thin Coats
Thinner coats of paint adhere better and look more even than thick coats.
- For the first coat, dilute the paint slightly with water or mineral spirits for better flow. Follow label thinning directions.
- Use a high quality trim brush for best coverage. Mini foam rollers can work too.
- Apply the paint smoothly, brushing in all directions to cover the surface.
- Allow the full drying time between coats as indicated on the paint label, usually 24 hours.
Applying multiple thin coats creates a strong, even foundation for the paint.
Build up With 2-3 Paint Coats
For best durability, apply 2-3 coats of paint, allowing proper drying time between each. This builds up a protective layer of paint so the porcelain doesn’t show through.
- Gently sand and wipe away any drips or imperfections before adding the next coat.
- Finish with full strength paint without thinning for the final coats.
- Porcelain’s slick surface means more coats are needed than when painting wood or drywall.
- Resist the temptation to rush – waiting until paint is fully dry prevents problems.
Patience leads to a beautifully painted sink that will hold up better long term.
Add a Clear Topcoat Sealer
Adding 1-2 coats of a clear acrylic sealer or polyurethane topcoat after the paint builds up another protective finish.
- Use water-based polyurethane, acrylic sealer, or epoxy clear coat per your paint manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Applying a topcoat helps prevent scratches, dings, and makes the paint more washable.
- Recoat every 1-2 years or whenever the clearcoat starts looking dull.
Choose Paint Colors Carefully
Painting a porcelain sink means you can choose virtually any color you’d like to match your bathroom’s decor. Keep these tips in mind when selecting a color:
- White or off-white is the most versatile and hides scratches well.
- Darker colors like black, charcoal or navy will show wear sooner.
- Pastels like light pink or mint green create a soft, feminine look.
- Bold hues like crimson, turquoise or gold make the sink a dramatic focal point.
- Avoid glossy or metallic finishes that highlight scratches more. Matte or satin is best.
- Test paint swatches first to ensure the color works with the lighting. Paint can look different on porcelain.
Picking the perfect paint color takes your sink from bland to beautiful!
Spray Painting a Sink
For a smooth factory-like finish, consider spray painting your porcelain sink:
- Clean and lightly sand the sink well first. Apply a bonding primer.
- Use epoxy-based spray paints formulated for slick surfaces like Krylon Fusion for Plastic.
- Work in a well ventilated area and carefully follow all label instructions.
- Spray light, even coats using sweeping motions and allow full drying time between coats.
- Finish with a clear sealer topcoat for added protection.
Spraying paint on vs. brushing allows for a super smooth, professional looking finish.
Paint Inside the Sink Basin
Don’t forget to paint the inside of the sink basin too for a fully finished look:
- Mask off the countertop and edges neatly with painter’s tape first.
- Use angled trim brushes to carefully paint the inside vertical surfaces.
- Apply thin, even coats allowing full drying time between.
- Use a small foam roller for quickly coating the bottom of the basin.
Painting the full interior covers any old stains and makes the sink looks great.
Create Unique Accent Designs
Get creative and add special painted accents for extra flair. Consider:
- Painting just the bottom of the sink basin a contrasting color.
- Adding handpainted designs like florals or geometrics.
- Stenciling patterns on the vertical front surface of the sink.
- Outlining the top edge of the sink in a bold hue.
Painted accents give your sink an artistic, personalized touch.
Cleaning and Caring for a Painted Sink
Once your sink is beautifully painted, you’ll want to take care to keep it looking fresh. Follow these maintenance tips:
Use Gentle Cleaners and Soft Scrubbers
Harsh abrasives can scratch or chip the painted surface over time.
- Use soft scrub brushes, sponges or microfiber cloths when cleaning.
- Choose non-abrasive liquid cleaners, or make a mild baking soda and water paste.
- Avoid using steel wool pads or scouring powders which can damage the finish.
Gentle cleaning prevents wear and tear.
Spot Clean Stubborn Stains
For tough stains:
- Try rubbing alcohol, lemon juice or vinegar first.
- If needed, use a mild abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub or Bon Ami applied with a non-scratch pad.
- Rinse well and hand dry to prevent water spots.
Promptly removing staining keeps the finish looking its best.
Touch Up Paint Chips Immediately
Re-paint any chips or scratches as soon as they happen to prevent further damage.
- Sand the damaged area lightly to rough up the surface first.
- Dab touch up paint just in the affected spot and feather out the edges.
- Small chips are inevitable, but quick fixes keep them minimized.
Timely touch ups help maintain a flawless-looking finish.
Recoat Every 1-2 Years
Periodically refreshing the paint ensures your sink stays looking like new:
- Plan on re-painting every 1-2 years with heavy use, or whenever paint appears faded or dull.
- Lightly sand to re-roughen the surface, then apply 1-2 fresh coats of paint.
- Add a new clear sealer topcoat with each re-painting for maximum protection.
Re-coating restores the sink’s just-painted sheen and protects the porcelain.
With the proper care and maintenance, a painted porcelain sink can look amazing for years to come!
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about painting porcelain sinks:
What kind of paint will stick to porcelain?
Epoxy-based paints specifically engineered for glossy surfaces like porcelain work best. Standard latex wall paints don’t adhere well.
Can you change the color of a porcelain sink?
Yes, porcelain sinks can be painted any color you’d like, though surface preparation is key for the paint to stick.
How can I make my porcelain sink look better?
A fresh coat of paint instantly gives a porcelain sink a like-new facelift. Properly prepping the surface allows the paint to adhere smoothly.
What should you not put on a porcelain sink?
Avoid using abrasive cleaners, steel wool pads, and scrub brushes once the sink is painted, as they can damage the painted finish over time.
Can you use spray paint on porcelain?
Yes, epoxy-based spray paints work well on porcelain and provide a super smooth finish. Special surface preparation is still required.
How do I paint porcelain so it doesn’t chip?
Proper cleaning, sanding, priming, using thin coats of epoxy paint, and adding a clear sealer topcoat will help prevent the paint from chipping.
How long does it take for porcelain paint to cure?
Follow your paint manufacturer’s directions, but typically epoxy paint on porcelain requires around 7 days to fully cure and become scratch resistant.
Painting porcelain sinks opens up amazing possibilities to transform the look of a bathroom. With the right steps and paint products, you can achieve stunning, lasting results. Get creative with paint colors and designs and see how a simple makeover of your sink can dramatically update your space!