Tile floors are durable and last long, but they don’t have a good appearance. So, can you paint tile floors?
You can paint tile floors with floor paint designed for them. Other types of paint can be used, but they won’t stick as well. Also, you shouldn’t paint busy tiled floors as the finish won’t last long.
Paint will improve the look of the floor, but it will also make stains and dirt more visible on the floor. Also, once you clean and sand off the original finish of the floor, you won’t be able to get an original look at the same floor again.
Should You Do it?
- Adds Beauty To The Home – Painting the tile floor will add beauty and class to the home.
- Revives Old Tiles – If your is old, stained, or faded, applying a fresh paint coating over them will revive the floor. Painting old tiles will make them look better.
- Protects The Floor – Applying moisture-resistant paint will protect the floor from chipping, dents, moisture, and scratches.
- Affordable – Painting them is cheaper and more affordable than replacing them or changing the floor.
- Versatile – You can choose different color shades for your floor.
- Highlights Stains on The Floor – Stains and dirt are unnoticeable on unpainted tiled floors. However, if you paint them, the finish will highlight the stains on the floor. This means you must clean them more often.
- You Can’t Get a Natural Look – If you paint tiles, you can’t go back and get a natural look anymore. That’s because the finish will penetrate their surface, so you must remove some parts of the tiles to remove it.
- Hard – Since tiles are non-porous, you must sand them to create scratches for the paint to penetrate into. So, prepping them is a hard task.
- Won’t Last Long – The more people walk over the painted floors, the less the finish lasts. Due to weak adhesion, the paint will start to wash off after a while.
Paints don’t stick well to tile floors because they are non-porous and paint can’t penetrate them. Since paint can’t penetrate the floor, it will stay over the top layer of tiles and won’t stick or dry.
Tiles have a non-porous slick, sealed surface that repels any moisture or liquid. Once applied over them, the paint will slide off and won’t stay in the same place. This makes it difficult for paint to stick.
To make the paint stick better, you must sand the floor to create ridges (or scratches) over it so the paint can penetrate them.
Types of Paint To Use
Use floor paint to paint a tile floor. This paint has etching compounds that help it “eat” into the tiles and stick well. Also, it is moisture-resistant, so the finish doesn’t chip or get damaged easily.
Moreover, these paints have binders and additives that improve their features. The binders make the paint stick to the tiles regardless of their slick texture.
You can also use other types of paint, but the results won’t be good. For instance, you can use latex or acrylic paint, but they won’t stick well nor protect the tiles from moisture. This is because latex paint can’t penetrate the floor, and it isn’t moisture-resistant.
How To Paint Tiles?
Painting tile floors isn’t hard, but you must prep them and use floor paint.
Here are the tools you need:
- Tile paint
- Floor cleaner
- A mop
- Sprayer or roller
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Orbital or floor sander
- A pair of gloves
- Breathing protection (a face mask)
- Paintable caulk
1. Wipe and Clean The Floor
First, wipe and clean the floor to remove dirt and debris.
To clean it:
- Sweep or vacuum the tiles to get rid of dirt and dust.
- Mix detergent with water, and use the mixture to wipe the entire floor.
- For stubborn stains, apply floor cleaner or TSP (Trisodium phosphate)
- Wait a few minutes.
- Use a floor brush or sponge to scrub the stain off the floor.
- Use clean water to remove the detergent or cleaner residue.
2. Repair Damaged Tiles
If you have damaged tiles, repair (fix) them before applying paint. If you don’t repair the damaged spots, the paint will soak into the holes (cracks), and the finish will be uneven.
To fix tiled floor cracks and dents:
- Use latex or acrylic latex caulk.
- Fill the cracks with the caulk.
- Wait for the caulk to dry.
- Remove excess caulk by sanding or using a clean rag.
3. Sand The Floor
Once the caulk dries, sand the floor. Sanding will smooth out the caulk and create ridges that the paint to penetrate into.
To sand tiled floors, use a floor sander or orbital sander. Use only fine-grit sandpaper as coarse sandpaper can scratch the floor more than needed. After sanding, remove the dust.
4. Cover The Base Walls and Baseboard Trims
Cover the base walls with painter’s tape. This prevents the paint from splashing on the walls. Also, if you want to use different colors or designs, you can also use painter’s tape to demarcate the floor to know where to paint and where to stop.
5. Prep The Tile Paint
Depending on the brand of the floor paint, you must thin, stir, or mix it before using it.
Optionally, you can apply a primer over tiled floors, but this isn’t necessary because you don’t want many coats over the floor. However, if you want to use a primer, use an epoxy primer.
6. Paint The Tiles
Once the tiles are cleaned, sanded, and dry, apply paint.
To paint ceramic tile floors, use a paint roller or sprayer to apply 2 coats of tile paint. Wait until the first coat dries before applying the second one. Optionally, you can seal the finish with polyurethane.
You don’t have to paint the floor grout. 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.
Paint Doesn’t Last Long on Tiled Floors
Paint doesn’t last long on tile floors because the tiles are non-porous and experience high foot traffic. On average, regular paints like latex and acrylic paint don’t last up to a year on a tiled floor. On the other hand, floor paint lasts 3-5 years on tiles before you notice signs of chipping and peeling.
Regular paint won’t last long because regular doesn’t stick well to the floor, so the paint washes off easily. Also, regular paint, such as latex paint, isn’t moisture-resistant or durable enough. As a result, regular paint won’t last longer than one year on the floor.
On the other hand, floor paint is formulated to bond well on tiles and withstand high foot traffic. As a result, the floor paint will last up to 5 years.
However, the type of room determines how long the paint will last. For instance, the paint will last longer if you use it on a boardroom floor. However, if you use it on a bathroom floor, the paint will last 3 years or less.
Changing The Color of Tiled Flooring
You can change the color of tiled flooring by painting it with a different shade or color of paint. However, you must remove the existing paint from the floor before applying another paint. This is because applying multiple coats of paint will lead to weak adhesion between the paint and the ceramic tiles.
Also, you can change the color of the floor by whitewashing or bleaching it. But, this only lightens the shade of the existing color. Applying polyurethane will also lighten the color, since it’s a clear coat the finish will appear lighter than it is.
You can paint over a tiled floor, but you must prep the floor and use floor paint. The floor paint is designed with extra additives that help it stick to the floors.
However, painting them will cause stains and dirt to show faster. So, you must clean them more often.
Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about,