How to Paint Tile – Homeowner’s Guide

Have your bathroom or kitchen tiles started to lose their color and become pale day by day?

The immediate thought after noticing this would be how much it will cost you to renovate the whole thing, right?

But what if I tell you with just a simple paint job, you can give your tiles a brand-new look again?

Wild, huh?

That’s why today I will present another home improvement hack, a complete DIY guide on ‘how to paint tile’ that will save you a ton of money.

How to Paint Tile?

In this section, I will explain the detailed steps for painting tile like a pro!

StepsEstimated Time
Clean the Tiles1-2 hours
Repair the Tile1-2 hours
Repair the Grout2-3 hours
Sand the Tile1-2 hours
Clean the Tile With Tack Cloth30 minutes
Apply Painter’s Tape1 hour
Apply Primer2-3 hours
Paint the Tiles2-3 hours
Apply a Sealer2-3 hours
Remove Painter’s Tape30 minutes
Clean and Maintain30 minutes

Step 1: Clean the Tiles

  • Make a cleaning solution by mixing warm water and TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) in a bucket.
  • Wear latex gloves to protect your hands and stay safe.
  • Dip a clean cloth in the TSP solution. Make sure it’s damp, not too wet.
  • Begin cleaning from the top of the tiles, going downwards.
  • This stops dirty water from falling on the spots you cleaned.
  • Gently wipe the damp cloth over the tiles. Do one section at a time.
  • This gets rid of dirt, grime, and grease.
  • If the cloth gets dirty, change the cleaning solution in the bucket.
  • After cleaning all tiles, rinse them with clean water.
  • This removes any leftover TSP residue.
  • Wait for the tiles to air dry before you continue fully.
  • This is super important, as painting wet tiles can mess up the paint.

Required Tools

  • Bucket
  • Warm water
  • TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)
  • Latex gloves
  • Clean cloth
  • Clean water for rinsing
Cleaning tile

Step 2: Repair the Tile

  • Wear latex gloves for protection if you find small cracks or chips on the tile.
  • Squeeze a bit of caulk onto the damaged area.
  • Use your gloved finger to smooth the caulk over the crack or chip gently.
  • This helps the caulk stick and makes the surface smooth.
  • Keep smoothing until the caulk is flat with the surrounding tile.
  • This makes sure the fixed part doesn’t look different.
  • For bigger problems like large chips or dents, use waterproof spackling paste.
  • Put on latex gloves to protect your hands.
  • Apply a bit of spackling paste to the damaged area using a putty knife.
  • Fill the problem spot until it’s the same level as the rest of the tile.
  • After applying, gently wipe off the extra paste with the putty knife.
  • This makes the surface even and smooth.

Required Tools

  • Latex gloves
  • Paintable caulk
  • Putty knife
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Waterproof spackling paste

Step 3: Repair the Grout

  • First, check through every grout line for any visible damage.
  • Look for cracks, gaps, or spots where grout is missing.
  • For minor grout issues, you can use any grout tube available in your local hardware store.
  • These tubes contain ready-to-use grout for fixing small areas.
  • You can mix the grout with some water if it seems too hard to be pressed.
  • Start applying it to the lines of the damaged area, and make sure all the gaps are filled.
  • Use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe off extra grout so that the area looks neat and clean.
  • If you notice any severe grout damage, carefully remove the damaged grout with a scraping tool.
  • Follow the previous steps to apply new grout on the damaged areas following the clean line.
  • Make sure it’s spread out and pressed in place.
  • Wipe away the extra grout from the tile’s surface with a damp cloth or sponge.

Required Tools

  • Latex gloves
  • Grout tube or mix
  • Water
  • Finger or applicator
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Scraper
Repairing grout

Step 4: Sand the Tile

  • Before starting, make sure you protect yourself by wearing safety goggles and a mask to avoid breathing in dust.
  • Use an orbital sander with sandpaper in the #100 to #150 grit range.
  • This specific range of grit is just right for getting the desired outcome.
  • The aim is to roughen up the glazed surface of the tiles softly.
  • Doing this creates a slightly rough texture that helps the paint stick better.
  • Make sure you treat the entire tile area evenly with the orbital sander.
  • This step gets the tiles ready for the next painting steps.
  • Since sanding can make dust, remember to clean the sanded area from time to time.
  • This keeps your surroundings tidy and lets you see how you’re progressing.
  • This gentle roughing up creates a perfectly prepared surface for the paint to grip onto.

Required Tools

  • Safety goggles
  • Mask
  • Orbital sander
  • Sandpaper (#100 to #150 grit range)

Step 5: Clean the Tile With Tack Cloth

  • Take the tack cloth and soak it in water.
  • Make sure it is not dripping.
  • Gently wipe down the whole tile surface using it to remove any remaining dust or debris.
  • The tack cloth is specially designed to catch the dust.
  • Use a gentle wiping approach when using the tack cloth.
  • Don’t press too hard, or you might push the dust into the tile.
  • Let the tile air dry by itself.
  • This way, any leftover moisture will go away before you start painting.
  • If you press too hard, beeswax from the cloth might stick to the tile.

Required Tools

  • Tack cloth
  • Water

Step 6: Apply Painter’s Tape

  • Make sure the surface is clean and dry before applying the tape.
  • Gently place painter’s tape along the edges of the walls, edges, and fixtures.
  • Keep pressing the tape down firmly to make it stick well.
  • Ensure the tape covers gaps and uneven parts slightly to prevent paint from going under.
  • Use your fingers to press the edges of the tape firmly.
  • Use sheet plastic to cover the furniture.
  • Secure the plastic with tape to avoid accidental paint splatters.

Required Tools

  • Painter’s tape
  • Sheet plastic
Priming tile

Step 7: Apply Primer

  • Choose a bonding primer that’s made for tiles.
  • This primer helps the paint stick well to the tile surface.
  • Get your paint tray ready.
  • Put a disposable liner in the tray to make cleanup easier.
  • Pour a bit of primer into the lined tray.
  • You don’t need a lot because thin coats work better.
  • Roll the roller on the textured part of the tray before putting primer on the tiles.
  • This removes the extra primer, so you apply it evenly.
  • Now, gently roll the primer onto the tiles.
  • Use a light touch with the roller to avoid using too much primer.
  • Make the primer coat thin and even all over the tile.
  • Let the primer dry as the manufacturer says.
  • This time, make sure the primer sticks well to the tile.
  • After the first coat is dry, put on a second thin coat of primer.
  • This helps the primer bond even better and gives good coverage.

Required Tools

  • Bonding primer
  • Paint tray
  • Disposable liner for tray
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush

Step 8: Paint the Tiles

  • Find the appropriate tile paint and mix it if necessary.
  • Make sure the color matches your home’s ambiance.
  • Use a paintbrush to paint the edges, corners, and small parts.
  • Use a roller to paint the larger areas for even coverage.
  • It is important to apply thin and even layers while painting your tile.
  • It helps the paint adhere well to the tile and prevents uneven spots.
  • Finish applying the first coat and let it cure so it can create a strong bond for the following coats.
  • Once done, let the final coat dry completely so the paint becomes solid.

Required Tools

  • Mixed tile paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
Painting tile

Step 9: Apply a Sealer

  • Applying a protective coating is crucial in maintaining the strength and durability of your painted surface.
  • Opt for a clear polyurethane coat as your protective sealant for the tile.
  • Ensure that the paint has fully dried before applying the initial sealer coat.
  • Use a paintbrush for the edges and a roller for the flat surfaces.
  • Allow ample time for the first coat to dry thoroughly, ensuring long-lasting protection for your paint.
  • It is highly recommended to apply multiple layers of the protective sealer for enhanced safeguarding.
  • Once completed, allow the final coat to cure completely.

Required Tools

  • Clear polyurethane sealer
  • Paintbrush or roller

Step 10: Remove Painter’s Tape

  • Once the tile has dried off, gently start pulling off the tape at a 45-degree angle.
  • This angle helps the tape come off smoothly and keeps the paint intact.
  • Slowly and carefully peel all the tape back.
  • Once the tape is off, let the painted tiles dry and harden.
  • This waiting time makes the paint strong before the tiles face water or heavy foot traffic.

Required Tools

  • Painter’s tape

Step 11: Clean and Maintain

  • Pick a gentle cleaner that isn’t rough.
  • This kind of cleaner gets rid of dirt and grime without ruining the paint.
  • Dip a soft cloth or sponge in the cleaner.
  • Gently wipe the painted tiles, especially the spots that need cleaning.
  • Don’t use any strong chemicals on the painted surface.
  • Don’t use rough scrubbers that might scratch the paint or clear coat.
  • Remember to clean your tiles regularly to take care of them.
  • These cleaning and care tips will keep your painted tiles in great shape and beautiful for years.

Required Tools

  • Mild and non-abrasive cleaner
  • Soft cloth or sponge

Factors to Consider Before Painting Tile

Before you dive into your tile painting project, it’s essential to consider a few crucial factors.

Choose the Right Primer

If you are planning to paint your tiles, it is really important to choose the right primer.

In this case, any primer with ‘bonding primer’ written on its label is right.

Ensure the primer is not meant for concrete, metal, or stone.

These bonding primers make the paint adhere to the tile strongly and stop the paint from peeling, flaking, or chipping off.

Types of Tile Paint

One-Part Epoxy Paint

One-part epoxy paints are easy to apply, and they do not require multiple coats.

They also get cured naturally with air.

You can even find some one-part epoxy paints in convenient spray cans.

Two-Part Epoxy Paint

A two-part epoxy paint is usually made by mixing two components.

These paints are available in any hardware store and offer multiple color options.

Two-Process Paint

A two-process paint basically requires a two-step application process.

The first step is applying a bonding agent, followed by the top finish coat.

Advantages of Painting Tile

  • You don’t have to take out the old tile.
  • It’s a chance to repair small tile problems.
  • It’s a budget-friendly way to refresh old tiles.
  • Homeowners can do it themselves.

Disadvantages of Painting Tile

  • The paint might come off as time passes.
  • The paint covers both the tile and grout.
  • Painting tiles requires a lot of preparation.
  • Painted tiles are only a temporary solution.
  • Paint needs time to dry, so your kitchen or bathroom will be unusable.

Final Verdict

Although painting your tile is not a permanent solution to the problem, this method often bears fruit if the area isn’t heavily used on a daily basis.

But who would have thought this could be done so easily, right?

By following all the steps in the guide I have provided, you have mastered the art of painting on a completely untraditional surface.

So, if you want to take your DIY home painting skills further, keep an eye on our website.

Happy DIYing!


What kind of paint do you use on tile?

Epoxy paints are the best type of paint to use on tile.

This paint is engineered to stick to tile, and it is incredibly durable and washable as well.

Is tile paint heat proof?

No, tile paints aren’t heat-proof or even heat-resistant.

Are painted tiles waterproof?

Yes, once the tile paint has dried off, it is completely waterproof.