I often get asked, “can you paint tile floors?” And the answer is YES, of course you can! Painting tile floors in your home that you don’t love is really easy. I’m going to show you exactly how it’s done.
Anytime I’ve mentioned that we painted the tile floor in our bathroom, I get the incredulous question: wait, can you paint tile floors? YES! Yes, you can paint tile floors.
This is such a simple, quick, and affordable project. It’s an amazing way to give a space an entirely new look without a major renovation. So today, I’m taking you on a deep dive look at how to paint tile floor, and answering all of your questions. You know I love me some thorough and detailed tutorials, so read on for all the good stuff.
Let’s start with the obvious – what’s the best tile floor paint and where can you get it?
Rust-Oleum Floor Tile Paint
We used a product from my friends at Rust-Oleum called Rust-Oleum HOME Interior Floor paint. This paint is specially formulated for painting interior flooring. It can be tinted to a variety of different colors, and should be combined with the coordinating top coat for a finished look that will last for years.
You may wonder if you can use latex paint on your tile floor. Technically, you can. However, it won’t last like this stuff will! If you really want a long-term solution that will be durable and last for years, this is the way to go. If you do go with latex paint, you would 100% need to add a bonding primer to the tile floors before starting!
I’ve had questions from so many of you who are eager to try this for yourself. So, I’m hoping this post will be helpful and informative. Before we dive in, let’s take a look at what our bathroom floors looked like before we got started.
This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum and contains affiliate links.
Ohhh that floor. It was so dark, and it made the entire room feel smaller and more closed in. I knew a fresh color would make a world of difference, and I still can’t get over how much brighter, cleaner, and more open the room feels now.
It’s pretty cute too, if you ask me.
I know you’re dying to hear all of the details, so let’s dive in!
What Kind of Tile Can I Paint?
Before we get to the tutorial – here’s a breakdown of the types of tile this will work on:
- Ceramic tile
- Porcelain tile
- Hard wood
Our bathroom had ceramic tile floor, and it worked great. I would love to also use this as patio paint for our back porch someday!
How to Paint a Tile Floor
Tools & Materials
Rust-Oleum Tile Paint comes in a ton of different colors, and there’s definitely going to be something that suits your needs! See all the color options here.
Want to watch it all play out on video? Here’s a look at the entire process!
Here’s an Instagram highlight with a video walkthrough of the entire process. If you prefer to find your tutorials on a blog post (raising my hand here!), read on.
1. Clean the flooring
The first (and most important) step of the process is to thoroughly (!!) clean your flooring. I can’t emphasize to you enough how vital this step is. If you don’t have clean floors, the paint can’t adhere properly and won’t last as long. So, please don’t skimp on this part!
I started by sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping just like I normally would. Then, I went back in with the Krud Kutter spray and a rag and I scrubbed every inch of the floor. Be sure to pay special attention to the space along the baseboards and in the corners where dirt and hair can accumulate!
2. Prep Tile Floor for Paint
Once you’ve cleaned the floor thoroughly, and it has had time to dry, it’s time to prep the floors!
It’s recommended to remove caulk from around the tub and toilet before painting, as the paint will not stick to caulk. I didn’t do this, but I was extra careful in those areas and made sure to re-apply fresh caulk when the paint had dried.
It’s also a good idea to use painter’s tape to tape off any areas you don’t want to get paint on. This could include the baseboards, door and door frame, or vanity. I have a really steady hand and a solid amount of painting confidence, so I skipped this step too.
Some people recommend sanding the tile floor with 220 grit sandpaper prior to starting. This is not a required (or even recommended) step with the paint I used. But, if you choose to go with a different type of paint, be sure to check the directions to be sure. It would definitely be a good idea if you have any cracks in your tile or if there’s paint peeling already on them.
3. Cut in around the edges
Once the floor is completely clean, you’re ready to get painting. Priming is not required for this – it’s just a two step system (paint and topcoat). You should start the base coat by cutting in with a high-quality, angled brush. I liked to work in sections (so, I’d cut in one part and then roll that same area), but you can also do the entire room before grabbing the roller. It’s just a matter of personal preference!
Just be sure to move slowly and steadily. If you need some help with cutting in, I have a whole post with tips and tricks on how to cut in paint like a pro!
I started with Steam Gray, and painted the entire floor that color before doing the alternating squares.
4. Roll the rest of the floor
Once you’ve cut in, grab a 3/8″ nap roller and roll the rest of the floor. Be careful not to allow any drips to sit or paint to pool, or else it might create a texture in your finished product (ask me how I know).
You might want to use an extension pole to make this part easier if you’re working in a large space, but my bathroom was small enough that I just scooted around on the floor and painted with roller at the regular, short length.
You don’t need to worry about the grout lines. You can (and should) paint right over them without issue.
5. Determine if you need a second coat
This paint does not require two coats – you may only need one! However, our floors were so dark and we were painting them so light, that I really needed to do a second coat after the first was dry.
After you’ve painted the first coat, you need to wait a minimum of six hours before doing a second coat (or before sealing it, if you’re just doing one).
After you do the second coat, you only need to wait 1-2 hours before adding the squares (or sealing it, if you’re just doing one color all over).
6. Add a design, if desired
I decided to do a checkerboard pattern on my floor. I was going to do a stencil, but it ended up being a bit of a mess. This was much faster and easier, and I adore the finished result!
All I did was tape off alternating squares (I left the grout the lighter color) and painted them Windsor Gray. Be sure to use delicate surfaces tape – I didn’t, and some of the paint got pulled off the grout since it wasn’t fully cured or sealed! It was easy to touch up, but I think delicate surfaces paint probably wouldn’t cause that issue.
Be sure to remove the tape immediately after you finish painting the squares – if it dries with the tape still on, you could pull up the paint when you remove it.
Other options include stencil designs, free-hand painting a design, or taping off any sort of design your little heart desires!
7. do Touch-ups, if needed
I had a few areas where the paint bled through the tape a bit, or where I had pulled paint off the grout with the tape. I went back in and quickly touched those up before sealing the paint.
8. Add the sealer
Finally, you’re ready to add your sealer. The top coat is similar to a polyurethane, so it’s much thinner than regular paint. Simply do the same combo of brushing and rolling to apply it all over the floor, only this time you should use a 1/4″ nap to apply. Once you’re done, allow it to dry for 24 hours before you use the space!
I’m so, so, so excited about how this turned out, and I can’t get over how much better the room looks now!
how do you clean tile floor paint?
Let’s be honest – there’s a lot of grime and dirt that comes with tile floor. Especially in a high traffic room like a bathroom! So, cleaning is important.
You should avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. Regular old soap and water is fine, though! When I clean these floors, I like to use a steam mop. It doesn’t use any cleaners or chemicals (just water!) and it does a really great job of keeping my floors clean.
is tile floor paint durable?
Yes! It’s honestly so durable and reliable. We had no issues with chipping, scratches, or anything else. This stuff is formulated to be used on high-traffic areas, and should be able to stand the test of time.
If you do have any problems over time, the beauty of painted tile floor is that it’s easy to fix! You can keep the paint kit on hand and touch up any chips that show up over time.
This project wraps up the master bathroom refresh we’ve been working on for months. Click here for a full breakdown of everything we did so you can see how we turned this into an entirely new space with almost nothing but paint! It was a super fun project and I can’t believe how different the bathroom looks now.
If you want to learn more about Rust-Oleum’s Rock Solid Home floor paint, click here to see all of the color options! It’s so much more affordable than replacing tile, and it’s a high-quality product so you know it’ll last for years and years to come!