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Sick of Your Floor Tile? You Should Paint It!

by on Feb 8, 2021

Photo: Jess McGurn

Most of us have had one at some point or another… an ugly ceramic tiled floor. Well, here’s the good news… you don’t necessarily have to tear it up – painting is a great option that requires less time and money than re-tiling. Keep reading to learn more about using floor tile paint to give your space a quick, affordable makeover.   

Before and after of painted floor tiles

Photos: Driven By Decor

Would you just look at that red floor tile?! Paint completely transformed the room, no demo required. The gray paint also gives the tile more of a matte look, which coordinates well with the rest of the space. 

Another before and after of floor tile paint job

Photos: The Nester

This next one is pretty drastic too… the outdated brown floor was transformed with gray paint to give the space a farmhouse vibe, rather than the rustic look of the brown tones.

Floor tile paint job in pretty pattern

Photos: Cutting Edge Stencils

Stenciling is another great way to use paint to change up the look of your floor. The process is similar, with the added stenciling step. But the extra effort really pays off… look at those tiles now!

How durable is floor tile paint?

One blogger shared photos of her painted floor after six months of everyday use… and the results are impressive. There is a bit of normal wear and tear, but nothing that wouldn’t happen with any floor. Here’s another beautiful example of the longevity of painted tile floors.

Just be sure to clean your floors extremely well before you start, and don’t skimp on any of your materials. This blogger also suggests sanding your floors before your start, to give the paint a rough surface to adhere to. recommends using a high quality sealant to protect your painted floors once you’re finished, and regularly sweeping to avoid a buildup of dirt and grime. Be sure to put felt furniture pads on the bottoms of chair legs to avoid scratches, and use neutral pH solvents when you need to do a deep clean.

What kind of paint should you use? 

Most people recommend starting with Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Interior and Exterior Primer, and then using a heavy duty paint meant for floors or outdoor decks. You can get these items at your local home improvement store or online. And this blogger used chalk paint with great success.

How to paint a tile floor:

Here are the basic steps that you will need to follow to paint your floors. 

  1. Clean the tiles and grout thoroughly with TSP cleaner using water and a mop.
  2. Be sure to open all the windows and set up fans. 
  3. Working in small sections, apply the primer to the grout with a brush and to the tiles themselves with a long handled roller.
  4. Let the primer dry completely.
  5. Once dry, begin rolling the floor tile paint over the tiles in smooth even strokes.
  6. Let the first coat dry for two days.
  7. Apply a second coat and let dry for two more days.
  8. Finally, roll urethane over the entire floor three times with ample drying time in between.

How to remove paint from tile floor:

In the unlikely event that you’d like to remove any or all of your floor tile paint, simply purchase a commercial paint remover made specifically for your type of floor tile. Apply it to the surface using a cloth, and then remove everything using another clean, damp cloth. For a more natural alternative, use a mixture of equal parts warm vinegar and water to remove the paint.

Still not convinced? Here’s a first-person testimonial on painting tiles from former Curbly contributor, Shelly Leer:

When we bought our house many years ago, one big problem was the big front entry and hallway. They were tiled in a mauve-y purple thick ceramic tile. Mr. Mod had just put down hardwood floors in the large great room and we had them stained and finished by a professional (at that time we lacked DIY know how), and we were tapped out. 

Painted tile floor - it really works!

Painted tile floor - after

Contrary to the advice of every single paint store person I interrogated, I decided to go ahead and paint the tiles.

We’ve been here well over fifteen years and I’ve only touched up the paint once. I don’t even have a rug running down this hallway and I’ve never had to touch up that stretch. BTW-that door on the right goes down to the studio so it gets lots of foot traffic.

As I recall, the fumes were pretty bad (try these masks to help cut the smell) and we may have slept on the porch for a few nights but this was a quick fix that has lasted more than a decade.

Sometimes you win one.

How to floor tile paint

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  1. I have a kitchen floor that has cream colored floor tile. I hate it. It always looks dirty no matter what I do. So I was thinking of painting it but I wanted to cover it with epoxy after I painted it.Not sure in Texas

  2. B. Thomas, I live in Texas and painted my ceramic tile floor.  It was that dirty-looking tan/brown combination.  Like yours, mine always looked dirty.  I painted it with oil-based enamel and it has held up fairly well, considering the traffic it has.  Of course, if I drop anything metal, it chips, but it’s easily touched up.  I didn’t put a topcoat of anything on it and probaby should have to add more durability.  I did it as a temporary fix until I could afford to install something else, but it’s been three years now.  I plan to paint it again once the weather cooperates and I can leave the doors open while it dries.  Do it–you’ll love the end result!

  3. I am not sure if it is ceramic tile or not, but it is some knd of tile that has been in this house a long time. I have lived here 25 years, and I know it’s been atleast twice that, maybe even 3 times that. Maybe it is an Asbesto’s tile? I don’t know, but I can’t afford to remove and replace it, nor can I afford to cover it up right now. What I am wondering is If I can paint it, and how do I do it? I’d like something middle of the road color. Not too light and not too dark. It will be in a bedroom so not real crazy traffic. the color of the bedroom is yet to be determined. Light pink or light teal maybe.

  4. I’m definitely going to save your blog to my bookmarks. I just read up on the 29th Ave bathroom remodel and gave me a few ideas. I’ve posted my questions there. Now about the floor tile paint project. Love it and wonder if this is possible in an entry way, kitchen, pantry, and dining room. Currently it’s that ugly pinky color w/some texture to each one. I’m redoing the cabinets white with a bluish grey accent, a slightly darker counter and tiling backsplash with stone tile and may be painting that white and do the grout lines in the accent color on the cabinets. Would like to know if you think doing this project would be doable and is it the 3 coats of urethane make the difference and make it more durable for this kitchen? THanks.

  5. I would like to know which products you used. I have a small ensuite bathroom with terracotta orange tiles. I would like to paint them white.

  6. I have terracotta tiles in orange right though house is it cheaper to paint or cover with floor boards

  7. I wanted to paint my kitchen tile- counters and floors.  on the counters I used primer and then I applied the paint and they turned out great.  For the floor, the guy at the paint store told me “DO NOT use primer on the floor”  He gave me a Benjamin Moore Latex Floor Paint that has some epoxy in it and said not to prime.  I followed his instructions and while the floor looks great, if i actually put anything on it the paint scratches off. I have only tested this on the edges and it has only been a couple days.  I put a Chilewich floor mat over most of the floor to avoid scrathing it but am worried it will peel eventually. Would putting a coat of urethane over top help?  Not sure what to do.  ANy advice is greatly appreciated!

  8. I know this is an old post but I had some questions about the different products that you used. Can you tell me the primer and urethane that you used?

  9. Do not use any kind of latex paint on tile floors. I used the latex floor paint sold at Home Depot (Rustoleum) and it is a disaster. I am going to have to wait until my tenants vacate to be able to sand the paint of of the tiles.

    I do think that only a polyester type of paint similar to what one would bottom paint their boats would be tough enough and would provide the necessary adhesion qualities to last on tile. Most people that work at these stores do not know a thing, so do your homework.

  10. What do you think about using this process on my brick pavers? Is there more sealant on pavers then ceramic?

  11. Unfortunately I can be of little help at this time. All the paint either pealed or flaked off in track areas and the floor looks terrible. I will have to wait until the tenant moves out or is willing to move all their stuff out of the way and into other rooms. It all has to be sanded away and removed. Just a disaster.

    Do not use latex on anything. And adhesion is only as good as the first coating of paint you put down on any surface, brick to wood.

  12. Definite a polyurethane or polyester type of product, I would be looking to use when the time comes. Make sure you have examples you can see and good comments you can verify. Plastics are forever if you make a mistake.

  13. Lowes paint staff said the exterior or concrete floor paint products are not meant to be for indoors because of the heavy duty chemicals that can cause harm?

  14. I painted the linoleum floor in my kitchen in my old house. The kitchen was right in the middle of the house, and it was the only way to get to the bathroom and bedrooms. It held up longer than the other floors in that house (wood, & carpet). Just use the proper paint products, and put a good poly over it, and it should last a long time. I wouldn’t use chalk paint, though, as I don’t think it will hold up very well. We finally remodeled the kitchen, and put down new flooring, but I would paint it again in a heartbeat.

  15. what is the best thing to paint over the dried tiled paint with, like a finisher coat etc. or is it better left with just the tile paint?

  16. I never coated it with anything. I used satin paint and then with the mottled effect, I just left it. That house is for sale now and not one person has mentioned that they are opposed to the painted tile. Ha! Thanks for your question.