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How to Paint a Tile Floor

A floral blue tiled floor

Table of contents

DIY and home improvement tasks are challenging, but we recommend giving it a try; whether you are painting a brick wall, your cabinets, your garage doors, general furniture, or even glass, we’ve got a list of posts to put you on track.

Ripping out your tiled floor and then replacing them with expensive commercial patterned tiles will be costly, as well as costing you time. Therefore, learning how to paint a tile floor correctly will save you a few dollars and allow you to put your feet up.

Removing and destroying old tile requires a lengthy, messy, and environmentally unfriendly process.

So, if you don’t want to harm our environment further and are up to saving a bit of cash, continue reading our guide on how to paint a tile floor.

How to Paint a Tile Floor: Best Paint

Typically, three paint types work best when discovering how to paint a tile floor. The top three picks are chalk paints, latex paints, and oil-based paints.

It’s essential to understand the benefits of each paint type to allow you to make the best possible decision.

The table below summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Types of Paint AdvantagesDisadvantages
Chalk PaintChalk paints can be used without a primer, and if you plan to have a patterned finish, they can serve as a base coat. 
Latex PaintIt can be used for either solid or patterned tiles and usually dry reasonably quickly.The tile needs to be primed with an epoxy or urethane primer for best adhesion levels.
Oil Based PaintOil-based paints are tougher than latex, so there will be minor damage or chips.The tile needs to be primed with an epoxy or urethane primer for best adhesion levels.   Oil paints take longer to cure and are extremely dangerous for the environment.
The three main types of paint to use on tiles are Chalk, Latex, and Oil.

What Style Brush Should You Use?

While you may not want one to splash the cash on quality paint equipment, you must bear in mind that this could be the difference between a quality finish and an unprofessional look.

Depending on which type of paint you decide to use may alter the required paintbrush. For example, if you use water-based paint, a synthetic paintbrush is recommended as a natural bristle brush may absorb too much water.

?Hot Tip: You’ll only want to use your paintbrush when cutting in or painting around the edges of your tiles.

Once you are ready to paint the main surface of your tile, then switch to a roller. Ideally, you want something small and easy to maneuver, such as a mini roller. If you can, purchase a short-pile roller as these will leave you with a smooth and even finish.

How to Paint A Tile Floor: Adding Patterns

A patterned floor tile, for article how to paint a tile floor

The simplest way to transfer a pattern onto a tile is with a stencil which can be bought, or you can create a stencil that fits the size of your particular tile.

Place your stencil onto your tile, ensuring the pattern reaches the edges of your tile, and then secure with some painter’s tape. As mentioned in the best paint section of this blog, you can use either chalk paint or latex paint when adding a pattern to your tile.

So, using a mini roller and whichever paint you prefer, gently roll over a section of your stencil at any one time. As you complete one tile, move on to another till and replicate the process for your entire floor.

?Bear in Mind: If you rush and try to paint the entire stencil in one go, you may notice heavy roller marks.

If you spot any errors that need touching up, you can use an artist’s paintbrush to correct them and let the paint fully dry before adding a clear water-based sealant.

What Color Should I Use?

Using a complementary color for your existing tile will help you avoid a jarring contrast with the rest of your home’s decor.

Dark or bright colors can overpower a room, so use light colors instead when painting your tile.

If you plan to paint a mural, you should choose a design that is easy to paint and looks good in your home.

Before you Begin:

Now, there are definitely some pros and cons to round up before you begin rejuvenating your tiles. It’s important to weigh these up before you get started, as a failed job could leave you with damaged tiles that need to be removed.

Advantages:Disadvantages:
✔️Can be done independently, no need for a professional❌ Not a long term solution
✔️ It’s significantly cheaper than replacing and laying new tiles❌ In area’s that you walk on a lot, you may see chipped and peeling paint
✔️ You are able to pick a color or shade that matches your interior color scheme
Advantages and Disadvantages of Painting Tiled Floors:

How to Paint a Tile Floor: The Guide

Clean your Tiles

Firstly, you’ll want to clear your painting area, so remove any objects that may get in your way and store them in a different room.

You’ll want to ensure your tiles are free from any grime, grease, or dirt. Using a standard kitchen or bathroom cleaning or a homemade solution of TSP and warm water, take a wire tool or abrasive sponge and scrub your tiles until spotless! Remember to clean your grout as well.

Once you’re satisfied, wash down your tiles with warm water to remove any residue left behind from your clean or TSP, then dry your tiles with a cloth.

?Remember: The shinier and cleaner your tiles depend on how well your paint will adhere!

Repair and Sand the Tiles

Carefully look over your tiles and look out for any hairline cracks or chips to the tiles, as these will need to be filled. You can use epoxy resin to cover up these flaws. If you notice any areas where there’s missing grout, you’ll also need to fill them with tile grout and ensure you wait for it to set completely.

Once you’ve repaired your tiles, you can sand the surface of the tiles. Sanding will help create a rough edge for better adhesion; it’s recommended that you use 120-220 grit sandpaper.

?Professionals Tip: If you own a hand sander, this will speed up the sanding process and create an evener finish.

You can either wipe down your tiles with a cloth or use a vacuum to remove any lingering dust, and then you’ll need a damp cloth to wipe over the tiles to ensure any dust or debris is completely removed. Before moving on, make sure your tiles are fully dry.

Using either masking or painter’s tape, tape any surfaces that meet the tiled area you plan to paint. If there are surfaces, such as cabinets or countertops in the area you plan to paint; you can cover them with plastic sheets for extra protection.

Prime Time

In high traffic areas where you constantly walk on your tiles, such as your bathroom or hallways, you should definitely use a primer!

Use a primer with a high adhesion rating to ensure that the paint has the best chance of adhering. In addition to adhering to the tile, a primer provides a smooth surface to paint.

Make sure the primer is applied evenly across the surface of the tiles by using a roller. For best results, wait until the primer has completely cured before applying your final coat.

It’s recommended that you let the primer dry for at least 24 hours before painting over it but consult your primers manufacturer’s guidelines for an accurate time.

Paint your Tile

For best results, start with a solid painted surface covering and sealing all existing ceramic tiles and grout. Apply two to three even coats to ensure complete coverage. You can then stencil a design on top of it once it’s completely dry.

If you paint over the grout instead of avoiding it, you won’t be able to see it. Before moving on, allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

If the tiles you are painting are in an area exposed to moisture, such as a bathroom or kitchen, necessitate the use of urethane that is specifically formulated for ceramics. Finish with six coats of clear urethane. Any home improvement store carries urethane.

Once your tiles have dried, clean them thoroughly with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). In addition to dirt, TSP can remove grease, soot, and oils from ceramic tile surfaces when diluted with water, making it an excellent cleaning agent.

⚠️Caution: TSP is a toxic clean so ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area and are wearing protective equipment such as a mask and gloves.

Allow the floor to air dry thoroughly after cleaning, and you’ve successfully learned how to paint a tile floor!

Round-up on How to Paint a Tile Floor:

Learning how to paint a tile floor presents a particular set of challenges when it comes to painting; after all, they were never meant to be painted in the first place.

It’s possible to get the job done right and extend the life of your tile with a few simple tricks. When painting, start with the lightest color and let it dry completely before moving on to the next to prevent smudges from forming.

To paint the tiles, the tedious cleaning process seems like a breeze afterward. To ensure that all three types of paint adhere to your tile, a high-adhesion primer must be used before applying any of the paints.

Use several thin coats of paint when painting a solid color surface on your home. If your paint color is significantly lighter than the original, a minimum of three coats of paint is typically required.

But, if you don’t feel up to tackling the tasks you can find a house painter on our site, and view our blog on the questions you should ask a house painter before you hire them!

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