How To Paint Tile Floors? (6 DIY Steps)

Painting your floor is a great way to revive and improve its beauty. But can you paint a tiled floor?

You can paint tiled floors but you should only use floor paint designed for tiles. Other types of paints can be used on tiles but they won’t stick as well as tile paint.

Also, you should know that it’s not a good idea to paint a busy tiled floor. This is because the paint will not last long if used on a tiled floor with high foot traffic. While painting a tiled floor will improve the look of the floor, the paint will also make stains and dirt more visible on the floor.

This post reveals more about painting tiles including the best type of paint to use and a 6-step method on how to paint tiles. So, let’s dive in.

Does Paint Stick To Tiled Floors?

Generally, paints don’t stick well to tiled floors because ceramic tiles are non-porous materials. This means that the paint can’t bite into or stick to the tiled floor. To make paints stick better to tiles, painters usually sand the tiles to create ridges and teeth in the tiles that the paint can bite into.

For paints to stick to a floor or surface, the material of the floor needs to have some level of porosity. When the floor is porous, it means that paint when applied will bite into and stick well to the surface.

However, tiles are non-porous materials. The texture of tiles is usually slick and sealed meaning that paint can’t penetrate or bite into a tiled floor. So, when you apply paint on tiles, the paint just stays on the top layer of the tiles without having a strong bond to the tiles. This is why paints commonly chip off on tiles.

To prevent early chipping, painters commonly sand the tiles with a fine-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper helps to create tiny ridges in the tiles that the paint when applied can bite into to stick.  So, what type of paint should you use on a tiled floor? Let’s find out.

What Type Of Paint Should You Use For Tiled Floor?

What Type Of Paint Should You Use For Tiled Floor?

You should only use floor paint designed for tiles for a tiled floor. There are different types of tile paints and each paint is designed with bonding products to make the paint stick well to tiles.

Some of these paints even have etching compounds that allow the paint to eat into the tiles and stick strongly. Tile paints are also designed to be very durable and moisture-resistant so the paint doesn’t chip or get damaged easily.

There are different types of paints out there and to be fair, each type can be used on a tiled floor. Latex and acrylic paints for instance can be used on tiles but the problem with these paints is that they will not stick well or last long on the tiles. This is because these paints can’t bite into or penetrate the tiles so the paint will not stick.

Asides from not sticking, these paints are also not durable enough to withstand the traffic on a floor. If used, the paint will chip and peel off within a few months.

The best type of paint for a tiled floor is tile floor paint. These paints are formulated with binders and additives to improve the features of the paint. The bonders for instance make the tile paint stick to the tiles regardless of the slick texture. Also, the additives make the paint more resistant to water, heat, and other factors that can cause chipping. Top brands of floor paint for tiles include:

Can You Change The Color Of Tiled Flooring?

You can change the color of tiled flooring by painting the tiled floor with a different shade or color of paint. However, you should know that you’ll need to strip the existing paint off of the tiled floor before applying another paint. This is because applying multiple coats of paint on a tiled floor will lead to very weak adhesion between the paint and the ceramic tiles.

We are constantly affected by a change in taste either with our clothes or the color of our tiled floor. So, if you get bored of the existing color on your tiles, you can change it by applying new paint color to it. But, you’ll need to remove the existing paint first to allow the new color to stick well.

You can also change the color of the tiles by whitewashing or bleaching the tiles but this method only works to get a lighter shade of the existing color.

While changing the color of tiled flooring is possible, it’s usually impossible to go back to the existing color or look of the tiled flooring after you have changed it.

Next, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of painting a tiled floor.

Should You Paint Tile Flooring? (Pros/Cons)

Pros of Painting Tiles

Here are the perks you’ll enjoy from painting your tiled floor:

1. Painting a Tiled Floor Adds Beauty and Class to the Home:

When you apply paint on your tiled floor, the paint will add beauty and a touch of class to the home. This is because it’s not a common practice to paint tiles.

Painting your tiled floor will have visitors asking what you did with the flooring and depending on the color and pattern of paint that you use, the tile paint can also match or complement the room décor.

2. Painting a Tiled Floor Helps to Revive Old Tiles:

If your floor tiles are looking old, stained, or faded, you can revive the tiles by applying tile paint on the floor. This will revive the look of your floor and make the tiles look better. This is also a great way to increase the resale value of your home when you want to sell it.

3. Tile Paint Helps to Protect the Floor:

As explained earlier, tile paints are reinforced to withstand chipping, dents, and scratches. Using such paint on your tile floor will protect the flooring.

4. Painting a Tiled Floor is Affordable:

Painting your tile floor is cheaper and more affordable than replacing the tiles or changing the floor. So if you are looking for a pocket-friendly option to improve the look of your tiled floor, you can opt for tile paint.

5. Tile Paint is Versatile:

Tile paint gives you a wide array of designs and colors to choose from. If you are someone that fancies room décor, this is a great choice for you as you can easily pick any design of tile paint that you want. You can even mix and blend tile paint colors to give you a unique appearance.

Cons of Painting Tiles

Here are some disadvantages to consider before putting paint on a tiled floor:

1. Tile Paint Highlights Stains on the Tiled Floor:

One good thing about tiled floors is that stains and dirt are barely noticeable, especially with tiles that have neutral colors. However, when you paint the tiles, this is no longer the case as the tile paint will highlight stains on your floor. This means that you’ll need to take on a bulkier cleaning routine.

2. Going Back is Usually Impossible:

After painting tiles, it’s usually impossible to go back to the existing look of the tiles, especially if you use tile paint.

This is because tile paint is designed with bonders and sometimes etching compounds that make the paint bond strongly to the tiles. So, if you try to go back to the existing look of the tiled floor, there will still be paint and color residue on the tiles.

3. Paints Don’t Stick Well to Tiles:

One major disadvantage with painting tiles is that paints hardly stick to tiles due to the slick and non-porous texture of the tiled flooring. To make paints stick better to tiles, you’ll have to sand the tiles or use bonders and both of these tasks will scar the tiles.

4. Paints Don’t Last Long on Tiles:

Another disadvantage of painting a tiled floor is that paints don’t last long on tiles. Due to weak adhesion and high traffic on the tiled floor, the paint will eventually chip and peel off.

How To Paint Tiles?

To paint tiles, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Tile paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • Floor cleaner
  • A mop
  • Paint sprayer or paint roller
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Orbital or floor sander
  • A pair of gloves
  • Breathing protection (a face mask)
  • Paintable caulk

1. Wipe and Clean The Tiles

Wipe and Clean The Tiles

The first step is to wipe and clean the tiles. To do this, start by sweeping or vacuuming the tiles to get rid of dust. After, mix some detergent in water and use the soap mixture and a mop to wipe the entire tiled floor.

For stubborn stains, you can apply floor cleaner or TSP (Trisodium phosphate) to the stained spot and leave for a few minutes. After, use a floor brush or sponge to scrub the stain off of the floor. Ensure the floor is clean and dry before moving on to the next step.

2. Repair Damaged Tiles

Repair Damaged Tiles

Though tiles are strong and durable, you are bound to notice cracks and dents on your tiled floor. These dents could have been caused by dropped items or heavy furniture and you need to repair the damaged spots before painting the tiles.

If you don’t repair the damaged spots, the tile paint will highlight them making your floor look amateurish. Also, the damaged spots will suck the tile paint so it’s important to fix them. To fix the cracks and dents, use latex or acrylic latex caulk. Latex caulk dries fast and can be painted.

3. Sand The Tiles

Sand The Tiles

When the caulk has dried, you need to sand the tiled floor. This is important to create tiny ridges on the tiled floor that the paint can bite into.

Since the floor will be large, sanding manually will be difficult. So, you’ll need to use a floor sander or orbital sander. Ensure to use only fine-grit sandpaper. Also, don’t use heavy-duty sanders as these can crack the tiles. After sanding the tiles, vacuum the dust.

4. Cover The Base Walls and Baseboard Trims

Cover The Base Walls and Baseboard Trims

The next step is to cover the base walls with painter’s tape. This is to prevent the tile paint from splashing on the walls. If you’ll like to paint the tiles with different colors or designs of tile paint, you can also use the painter’s tape to demarcate the floor to know where to paint and where to stop.

5. Prep The Tile Paint

Prep The Tile Paint

The next step is to prep the tile paint. You may be required to thin, stir, or mix the tile paint depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also, some painters usually prime tiles before painting but this is not necessary because you don’t want too many coats on the tiles. If you want to prime, ensure to only use a coat of epoxy primer.

6. Paint The Tiles

Paint The Tiles

The final step is to paint the tiles. To do this, you should use a paint roller or a paint sprayer for proper coverage. You can apply 2 coats of the tile paint but ensure to allow each coat dry before applying the next. After painting the tile, you can decide to seal it for improved durability.

You don’t have to paint the grout with tile paint. You just need to focus on painting the tiles first. Then if you decide to paint the grout, you can use a grout pen or grout paint to make the entire floor neater.

Does Paint Last on Tiled Floors?

Paints don’t last very long on tile floors because the tiles are non-porous and tiled floors experience high foot traffic. On average, regular paints like latex and acrylic paint don’t last up to a year on a tiled floor.

Floor paint for tiles on the other hand last between 3 and 5 years before you start to notice signs of chipping and peeling on the floor. You should also know that the room or space where the paint was used determines how long it will last.

Since tiles are non-porous, regular paints will not stick well. The lack of a strong bond between the paint and the tiled floor will make the paint come off with ease. Also, since the tiled floor is going to be subjected to shoe soles, stomping, dropped objects, and regular cleaning, the paint will fade and peel easily too.

Tiled paint on the other hand lasts longer because the paint is formulated to bond well to the tiles and withstand high traffic. These types of paints usually last up to 5 years if properly applied and maintained.

The type of room where the tile paint was used also determines how long it will last. For instance, if you use tile paint on a bedroom tiled floor, the paint can last well over 5 years. This is because the bedroom floor will not be subjected to much traffic or cleaning.

On the other hand, if the paint was used on bathroom tiles, it will not last long because bathroom floors are always wet and stained with soap residue, filth, and scum. At best, tile paint will last about 3 years on a bathroom tiled floor.

Final Words

In summary, you can paint a tiled floor as long as you use the right type of tile paint. You should also know that it’s very important to wipe, clean, and sand the tiles to allow the paint to stick better.

You should remember that painting your tiled floor will cause stains to show quicker since the paint will highlight the stains.

This means you’ll need to do more cleaning on a painted tiled floor. So, before you go ahead to slap some paint on your tile floor, ensure to consider the pros and cons discussed above.

Leave a Comment