Can You Paint Floor Tiles?

Most homeowners may have had one at some point or another, an ugly ceramic tiled floor—that they do not necessarily have to tear it up – painting is a great option that requires less time and money than re-tiling.Decorative tile floors can add an element of elegance to a hum-drum living space, but often cost much. In order to avoid the complexity of ripping out existing floor and the high cost of commercial patterned tiles, some crafty homeowners choose to achieve a similar look by painting tile floors.

Which types of tiles can you paint?

Although paint can be applied to ceramic tile in any room of the house, it does not hold up equally well under all conditions. Prolonged exposure to moisture, for example, will cause paint to peel away from the tile over time. For long-lasting results, only paint tiles in the drier areas of your house, such as the laundry room, mudroom, or kitchen. If you do opt to paint tile floors in high-moisture spaces, such as the bathroom, opt for a section of the floor far from the mildew-prone splash zone of the shower or bathtub and/or choose a paint labeled as specially made for bathrooms.

How should you prepare the floor?

All that it takes to achieve a pristine paint finish is a canvas of smooth, undamaged tile. Sand and vacuum the tile you want to paint, then get rid of dirt, grime, and mold by scrubbing the tile and grout lines with a homemade solution of equal parts bleach and warm water. Alternatively, you could clean the tile with a commercial cleaner that removes mold. Then, donning protective gear and maintaining proper ventilation in the room, repair any visible chips or cracks in the tile with caulk or a two-part epoxy.


Once the floor is prepped, protect nearby baseboards from paint splatter by applying painter’s tape where the baseboards meet the tile floor. If you don’t want to paint the grout lines, cover them with acrylic masking tape.

What types of paint should you choose?

  • Chalk paint can be applied without primer to lend a shabby-chic solid color to the tile, and it can also serve as a base coat for a patterned finish. If using chalk paint as a base coat, choose a shade that will visually contrast with the color of the pattern you intend to overlay.
  • Latex paint works for both solid and patterned tile floors; select a semi- or high-gloss latex paint for solid tiles and a high-gloss latex paint for patterned tiles.
  • Oil-based paint holds up better than latex paint since it’s less prone to chipping and damage. However, oil-based paint takes longer to dry, and it’s becoming increasingly harder to find because of environmental concerns. If you opt for this type, you are recommended to go with a high-gloss or semi-gloss option.