Sick of Your Floor Tile? You Should Paint It!

Sick of your floor tile? Paint it! Everything you need to know about floor tile paint.
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This next one is pretty drastic too… the outdated brown floor was transformed with gray paint to give the space a farmhouse vibe, rather than the rustic look of the brown tones.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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