Can you paint ceramic tile? Yes, and we’re sharing everything you need to know about tile paint. Get the best tutorial from real-life homeowners with a practical approach. We’ll teach you how to prep, specific products to use and more!

This project is affordable and surprisingly durable. Using this paint is an easy and inexpensive way to update tile floors and walls – even for high traffic areas!

I have recently just painted my bathroom tile floor, and I was very skeptical about how easy it was gonna be, and I was very surprised. Between the prep work (cleaning, deglazing tiles and tape), primer and two coats of final paint it probably took about 5 hours total. Total investment was just over $70 and I couldn’t be happier. Honestly it turned out amazing and saved me a ton of money!

– peter –
A small bathroom with painted tile and gray board and batten on the walls
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This is a complete tile paint tutorial and product guide. We are self-taught DIY homeowners just like you, and this guide is written with you in mind!

We’ve painted ceramic floor tile in several homes over the years. It’s a great trick for a temporary makeover, to buy time before a renovation, or simply to update old tile you’re not ready to replace.

Throughout this guide, you’ll see photos of our entryway at the lake (once a 90s green tile) and then our most recent St. Louis primary bathroom. I hope that our detailed efforts will provide you with the most complete, comprehensive project guide on the internet!

Can You Paint Tile?

Yes! You can paint floor tile, wall tile and even countertop tile with if you follow a few simple steps, using high quality product. It can handle substantial wear and tear if you prep properly.

High quality ceramic tile paint is very durable and can be used as floor tile paint if you do a few basics – sand, clean, and prime first.

A green entryway floor in a 90s home
tile paint

Even with a crowbar (which we used when we eventually removed our entry tile for new flooring), the paint finish did not chip! That’s why we felt so good about moving forward with our next tile paint project.

Pros of Painting Tile

  • Affordable – It’s a great way to save money and preserve flooring that is in good shape, but needs a refresh.
  • Easy – Painting floor tiles is so much easier than we ever anticipated.
  • Quick – This is a quick project with some downtime to allow the primer and paint to properly dry and cure between coats.
  • Customizable – The Benjamin Moore product we used is ready-mixed in white and black. However, you can have it matched to any color in their deck, or a color of your choosing!
white floor tile paint

Cons of Painting Tile

  • Prep Work – The prep is the most time consuming part of this project, and it needs to be thorough.
  • Less Permanent – Paint doesn’t last forever! Though this project has held up incredibly well for us in the 3-4 years after painting, it’s not always a long term solution.
  • No Contrast – Because your tile paint will cover your grout lines as well as your tiles, you’ll lose the more intricate patterns of certain tiles.
  • Timeline – This project has a longer timeline than painting walls thanks to the prep and time in between coats. You’ll need to make a plan for avoiding the area for several days!
Old square floor tiles before tile paint
Old square floor tiles after tile paint

Project Timeline

Note that while the hands-on parts of this project will move quickly, you’ll want to let the coats of primer and paint fully dry in between. This will depend on circulating air and moisture in your home, but plan on this project requiring a full weekend.

Similarly, allow another 48 hours after completion before you walk on painted floor tile.

A small bathroom with white tile floors and gray board and batten on the walls
Our primary bathroom tile is Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White – the same color as the walls above our board and batten (painted in Benjamin Moore Classic Gray).

What Tile Paint is Best?

The type of paint you select is very important. You’ll want to choose a high quality product specifically meant for ceramic tile. We love Benjamin Moore Satin Imperial Low Lustre Enamel.

An enamel is very durable and stain resistant so it can handle a lot of wear in high traffic areas. Latex paint is not a good fit for this project as it won’t stand up to the wear and tear.

Stripper helps remove any protective glazes (often found on tiles) that can prevent your paint from sticking to the surface.

A small bathroom with painted tile and gray board and batten on the walls
Our primary bathroom tile is Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White – the same color as the walls above our board and batten (painted in Benjamin Moore Classic Gray).
A hand, using a paint roller to roll white tile paint over old green tiles.

Tools and Supplies


Tile Paint Prep Tips

  • If you have any tile cracks that need to be repaired prior to painting, add a little caulking and smooth out with your fingertips. 
  • The same thing goes for grout repairs. Ensure that you’ve filled in or replaced any bad grouting, as the tile paint won’t cover damaged areas!  
  • Sanding is an important step, so don’t skip it! It helps buff any shine out of the tile, leaving you with a surface that is better able to accept the primer and paint. 
  • Only use tile paint intended for this project! Traditional latex paint will not hold up over time. 

How to Paint Tile

  1. Tape around tile to protect surfaces around tile if needed.
  2. Hand sand using medium grit sandpaper with a sanding block, or if possible an electric sander to rough up the surface so that primer can adhere. A hand sanding old tile with a sanding block
  3. Thoroughly clean the tile with a stripper. A bottle of Citrus Strip being poured onto old tile for a tile paint tile. Person applying pink Citrus Strip onto old bathroom tiles. Person applying pink Citrus Strip onto old bathroom tiles.
  4. Rinse clean (ideally, you can use an after wash product as noted in the supply section above) and allow to dry. Old tiles with citrus stripper being wiped away for a tile paint project Old tiles with citrus stripper being wiped away for a tile paint project
  5. Prime tile and allow to dry. Use a second coat if needed. A person in latex gloves rolling primer onto old bathroom tiles
  6. Roll on your paint, starting with the farthest corners of your space and working your way towards the door as you exit. If you choose to do a second coat, lightly sand between coats so the paint properly adheres.

SEALANT – If you’d like, you can take this project one step further and seal with a coat of polyurethane sealer. This might be a good idea if you’re working with a high traffic or high moisture area, but we haven’t felt we needed it personally.


Maintenance Tips

  • Avoid harsh chemicals that can deteriorate the quality of the paint over time. I like to use this inexpensive and natural grout cleaner.
  • You can run a Swiffer over your painted tile, and mop with vinegar and water.
  • We do not recommend a steam mop for painted tile floors, as this could eventually damage paint adherence.
Square white ceramic floor tiles

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does it Cost to Paint Tile?

This project cost under $100 in total, and we had a lot of product leftover! Of course, we already had rollers and painter’s tape on hand.

Where Can You Paint Ceramic Tile?

Anywhere that needs an update! It’s the perfect solution for dated tile in an entryway, kitchen, laundry room, mudroom, bathroom floors – yes, even high traffic areas! You can choose any color you want, too! I chose to match the upper walls in our bath, but it can be tinted to the color of your choice.

Should I Paint Grout Lines?

As you can see, we decided to paint over the grout lines for ease and a monotone finish, but you can tape to retain them if you prefer.

Does Tile Paint Hold Up?

YES! We loved this project even more after we decided to remove it in favor of installing one continuous floor (rather than breaking up the floor plan at the entryway). It had to be removed using a hammer and crow bar. This paint did not chip at all. We were blown away at how well it adhered.

A white tile floor with a jute rug in the background

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    1. I would double check with your local paint store, but I believe so. Enamel can handle water…it’s used in garages, etc.

  1. Julie,

    What a great post! I am wondering if I wanted to apply a stencil on tile, would it make sense to paint it all first in white?  I have painted concrete floors and then stenciled them, but I would love to try a stencil (like old world tiles) on tile.  Any thoughts?

    1. It would definitely depend on your stencil design – if white is one of the 2 colors, definitely! Otherwise you can just follow the first steps and start with your first color. Enjoy!

  2. Julie, 
    So helpful! Thank you! I have been looking for just these tips! One question..I am wanting to do a gray and white checked rather than just one color in our laundry room and half bath. Two questions. One, what do you think the best way to deal with the grout would be? Should the grout be white or gray? And, two, how would I tape it off? Thanks! 

    1. That’s why I decided not to do a pattern – clean lines for grout would be nearly impossible. Sorry I’m not more help!

  3. Hi, thank you for this post. I have the same tile around my fireplace as at my front door, and this sounds like it can take care of both places. Any idea if you can find the STIX primer in stores, or is it strictly on Amazon?

    1. I purchased it in store, just linked for convenience and so you can read more details should you want them. I’d love to see the transformation when you’re done! I still cannot believe how much it elevated our entry.