How To Paint Tile Floors? (6 DIY Steps)

Tile floors are durable, but they don’t have a good appearance. So, can you paint tile floors?

You can paint tile floors with floor paint designed for tiles. Other types of paint can be used over tile floors, but they won’t stick as well as tile paint. However, you shouldn’t paint busy tiled floors as the paint 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. 

Pros/Cons of Painting Tiles

Pros

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

  1. Adds Beauty To The Home – Painting the tiled floor will add beauty and class to the home. That’s because it’s not a common practice to paint tiles. 
  2. Revives Old Tiles – If your tiled floor is old, stained, or faded, applying a fresh paint coating over them will revive the floor. Painting old tiles will make the tiles look better. 
  3. Protects The Floor – Applying moisture-resistant paint over tiles will protect the tiles from chipping, dents,  moisture, and scratches. 
  4. Affordable – Painting your tile floor is cheaper and more affordable than replacing the tiles or changing the floor. 
  5. Versatile – Tile paint allows you to choose different colors and designs for your tiles. 

Cons

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

  1. Highlights Stains on The Floor – Stains and dirt are unnoticeable on unpainted tiled floors. However, if you paint tiles, the tile paint will highlight the stains on the floor. This means you must clean the tiles more often.
  2. 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 paint will penetrate the tiles, so you must remove some parts of the tiles to remove the paint. 
  3. Applying Paint is Hard – Since tiles are non-porous, you must sand the tiles to create scratches for the paint to penetrate into. So, prepping the tiles for paint is a hard task. 
  4. Paint Won’t Last Long – The more people walk over the painted tile floors, the less the paint lasts. Due to weak adhesion, the paint will start to wash off after a while. 

Paint Doesn’t Stick Well To Tiles

Paints don’t stick well to tile floors because ceramic tiles are non-porous. This means paint can’t penetrate the tiled floors. Since paint can’t penetrate the tile floor surface, the paint won’t stick well. So instead, the paint will stay over the top layer of tiles without penetrating it.

Tiles have a non-porous slick, sealed surface that repels any moisture, including paint. Once applied over tiles, 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 to tiles, you must sand the tiles to create ridges (or scratches) over the tile so the paint can penetrate them. 

Types of Paint To Use on Tiled Floor

What Type Of Paint Should You Use For Tiled Floor?

Use floor paint (designed for tiles) to paint a tile floor. Paint for tile floors etching compounds that help the paint to “eat” into the tiles and stick well. Also, tile paints are moisture-resistant, so the paint doesn’t chip or get damaged easily.

Moreover, tile paints have binders and additives that improve the features of the paint. The binders make the tile paint stick to the tiles regardless of their slick texture. 

You can also use other types of paint over a tiled floor. But, the results won’t be good. For instance, latex and acrylic can be used over a tile floor, but the paints won’t stick well nor protect the tiles from moisture. This is because latex paint can’t penetrate the surface of the tile, and the paint isn’t moisture resistant.

How To Paint Tiles?

Painting tile floors isn’t hard, but you must prep the floor and use floor paint. 

Here are the tools you need:

  • 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

First, wipe and clean the tiles.

To clean a tiled floor:

  1. Sweep or vacuum the tiles to get rid of dirt and dust.
  2. Mix detergent with water, and use the mixture to wipe the entire tiled floor. 
  3. For stubborn stains, apply floor cleaner or TSP (Trisodium phosphate) 
  4. Wait a few minutes. 
  5. Use a floor brush or sponge to scrub the stain off the floor. 
  6. Use clean water to remove the detergent or cleaner residue. 

2. Repair Damaged Tiles

Repair Damaged Tiles

If you have damaged tiles, repair (fix) them before applying paint. If you don’t repair the damaged spots, the tile will soak into the holes (cracks), and the finish will be uneven.

To fix tiled floor cracks and dents:

  1. Use latex or acrylic latex caulk. 
  2. Fill the cracks with the caulk.
  3. Wait for the caulk to dry. 
  4. Remove excess caulk by sanding or using a clean rag. 

3. Sand The Tiles

Sand The Tiles

Once the caulk dries, sand the tiled floor. Sanding will smooth out the caulk and create ridges on the tiled floor for the paint to penetrate into. 

To sand tiled floors, use a floor sander or orbital sander. Only use fine-grit sandpaper for sanding the tiled floor. If you use coarse sandpaper on tiled floors, you will scratch the floors more than needed. After sanding the tiles, vacuum the dust.

4. Cover The Base Walls and Baseboard Trims

Cover The Base Walls and Baseboard Trims

Cover the base walls with painter’s tape. This prevents the tile paint from splashing on the walls. If you want to paint the tiles with different colors or designs of tile paint, you can also use the painter’s tape to ademarcate the floor to know where to paint and where to stop.

5. Prep The Tile Paint

Prep The Tile Paint

Depending on the brand of the floor paint, you must thin, stir, or mix the tile paint 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 tiles. However, if you want to use a primer on tiles, use an epoxy primer. 

6. Paint The Tiles

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 tile paint will polyurethane. 

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.

Paint Doesn’t Last Long on Tiled Floors

Paint doesn’t last long on tile floors because the tiles are non-porous, and the 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. 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 tiled floors, 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 tiles. 

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 on a tiled floor. 

However, the type of room determines how long the paint will last. For instance, the paint will last longer if you use tile paint on a boardroom tiles floor. However, if you use tile paint on a bathroom tiled 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 the tiled floor with a different shade or color of paint. However, you must remove the existing paint from the tiled floor before applying another paint. This is because applying multiple coats of paint on a tiled floor will lead to weak adhesion between the paint and the ceramic tiles.

Also, you can change the color of tiles by whitewashing or bleaching the tiles. But, this only lightens the shade of the existing color. Applying polyurethane will also lighten the color of the tiled floors. Since polyurethane is a clear coat, the finish will appear lighter than it is. 

Final Words

You can paint over a tiled floor, but you must prep the tile floor and use floor paint. The floor paint is designed with extra additives to stick to the tiled floors. 

However, painting your tiles will cause stains and dirt to show faster. So, you must clean the painted tiled floor more often. 

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