~~Wellll... obviously whatever the original painter used didn't stick all that well either, right?!
However, as noted in the website info below, that might partly be because he or she didn't 'prep' or 'prime' properly.
~~Yes there is such a thing as ceramic paint -- specifically "ceramic acrylic enamel," I believe; it 'is' waterbase, but I'm not sure if it's intended for glazed or UNglazed ceramic.
I'm also guessing it's more expensive than regular acrylic or latex waterbase paint because it's "special-purpose." That's why I suggested using regular paint.
But then again, "IF" it could be used "without" the extra expense/time/effort of a primer coat as suggested in the info below... any extra cost of the ceramic acrylic enamel paint might be worth it to you.
[[ btw... re 'removing' paint from tile: I stumbled across a paint-remover product sold online called "Peel Away 7"http://www.paintremoval.com/Qstore/c000003.htm
which says it can indeed be used for removing paint from ceramic tile. Seems pretty pricey to me (about $28 for 1 quart...less per unit if you buy a coupla 1000 bucks' worth...lol!).
But anyway, I'm thinking that if you go to a home improvement or hardware store & read the labels on a few different types of paint removers, you might possibly run across one that says the same thing.
Alas, however, seems all the other tile-paint-removing recommendations online involve physically "scraping" it off, which I believe is something you said you didn't care to do. ]]]
~~The tile *painting* info below -- from an about.com website link -- is presumably for tile which *hasn't* already been painted, but it sounds like good advice if/when you're able to get the existing paint off :::
Before we get into this you need to understand that adhesion is not the problem --
you have to keep in mind that the finished product is only as durable as the paint film itself.
For example: Your automobile has one of the toughest finishes available, but you would not go sliding a can of green beans across the hood without expecting damage.
Expect the same results from the paint on your ceramic tile. If you exercise a little care and common sense, the finish will give you years of satisfactory service.
Avoid harsh cleansers (Soft Scrub works great), and, a coat of paste wax once a year or so will do wonders for protecting your finish.
First, wash the surface to with a 50/50 solution of household ammonia and water to remove soap film from bathroom surfaces or grease from kitchen walls.
Also recommended: wash with a mild acid solution which is used to clean ceramic tile of excessive grout. This can be found in the tile section of most home centers, hardware stores, and tile distributors. Rinse well with plain water, and let the surface dry thoroughly.
Next, prime it with a high-quality adhesion-promoting primer like Zinsser's latex-based Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer-Sealer.
Bulls Eye 1-2-3 adheres tenaciously to ceramic tile, glass, and other hard-to-stick-to materials. The primer provides an "anchor" for the topcoat so it won't get rubbed, chipped or scraped off easily.
If the area is going to be subjected to a lot of water such as the tile in the tub area, use Zinsser's BIN -- an alcohol-base primer -- for maximum durability.
Follow the primer with one or two coats of a high-quality finish paint.
In moisture-prone areas, alkyd (oil base) paints are preferred, as they provide a harder finish than water-base paints and are more washable and durable.
There are also several epoxy coatings that are excellent for durability; check with your local paint store for availability.
If you want to paint the grout a contrasting color, you can go back over it with an artist's brush.
Your finished project will be fully cured in appx 2-3 weeks and you should avoid harsh abrasive cleaning agents; Soft Scrub is a good general cleaner for painted surfaces.
Zinsser's Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer-Sealer & BIN can be found paint stores, hardware stores, and home centers across the country. For more information, visit Zinsser's web site:http://www.zinsser.com/