Planning on Painting Your Bathroom Tiles? Read This First

According to the latest cost-vs-value report, a bathroom refurbishment can bring you a 64% ROI if you decide to sell your house.

It’s also something you’ll enjoy every day. So, if your bathroom tile’s outdated and chipped, you win both ways when you upgrade them.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer the expense of removing and replacing all the tile in your bathroom.

Painting bathroom tile is easier than you think, and the results look fantastic too. Here’s what you need to know.

Painting Bathroom Tile is Affordable

Painting your bathroom tile won’t cost you much when compared to the cost of re-tiling your bathroom.

Even if you go the DIY route, new tiles can cost as much as $1,500 for a standard bathroom. You can opt for cheaper materials like solid ceramic tiles, but then you must sacrifice the time and effort needed to complete the job.

After all that there’s no guarantee you’ll get the result you want. Painting a bathroom is cheaper and easier and there’s not a lot that can go wrong in the process.

You Have So Many Choices When Painting Tile

When you buy tile, you’re limited by your budget as well as the range of tiles available.

The most popular choices include quarry tile, stone, ceramic, and porcelain tile. Yet these are available in a limited number of designs and finishes.

With paint, your imagination’s the only limit. You can mix and match colors to create custom shades, lighten, or darken your bathroom color as desired, and come up with your own designs.

The best part is that these customizations make little impact on the costs involved in painting bathroom tile.

You Can’t Paint All Types of Tile

Glazed quarry tile doesn’t bond well with paint, but you can refresh ceramic, porcelain, unglazed quarry tile, and stone tile with a coat of paint.

Remember, your efforts will last longer in areas that have low to moderate exposure to moisture. So avoid painting areas close to your tub, shower, and sink.

Of course, if you like to refresh your bathroom regularly, this isn’t a problem for you.

Pick the Right Paint

You can use latex or epoxy paint on porcelain, ceramic, and unglazed quarry tile.

These paints come in one-part pre-mixed and two-part ready-to-mix varieties suitable for painting bathroom tile. You can also get mildew-proof varieties of these paints if you want to enjoy your efforts for longer.

Unfortunately, both these paints have a powerful odor, so you’ll have to wear a suitable safety mask when applying them.

You must use epoxy paint on any splash zones of your bathroom such as countertops, backsplashes, shower surfaces, and tub surrounds. Epoxy paint cures into a durable, hard coat with good resistance to wear-and-tear, heat, and moisture.

If you want to paint natural stone tiles, you need to use acrylic latex paint produced specifically for stucco and masonry. You can get these lovely paints in the full spectrum of sheens from high-gloss to flat.

Remember, the glossier the result is, the more slippery it will be, so it’s inadvisable to use these types of paint on shower floors.

Painted Bathroom Tile is Low Maintenance

If you want to keep your painted tile in tip-top condition, all you need to do is sweep, vacuum, and mop it as part of your regular housekeeping routine.

Even with this limited care, painted tile will retain its color and look great for months to come. It’s worth laying mats in high scuff areas if you want your paint to last longer.

Should any blemishes appear on your paint job, grab a small artist’s paintbrush, and touch up the offending part with some leftover paint. Allow it to dry before re-sealing that portion of the tile.

How to Paint Bathroom Tile

You won’t be able to use your bathroom until the primer, paint, and sealer’s set, so you’ll need a backup plan for your bathroom activities while waiting for everything to dry.

There are four main stages involved in painting bathroom tile. These are:

Surface Preparation

Vacuum your tile and then scrub the tile and grout lines with a bleach solution to ensure they’re spotlessly clean. You should remove any caulk from the area you’ll be painting since you can’t paint over it.

If necessary, remove any chipped grouting and repair that too. You’ll need to give the grout time to dry before you start painting.

Priming the Tile

This essential step helps make the tile receptive to paint.

You can use urethane or epoxy primer for ceramic and porcelain tile. You’ll need a masonry primer for unglazed quarry tile or natural stone tile. Stick to the manufacturer’s instructions about the drying time, you can’t paint over a sticky surface.


Stick painter’s tape over any edges you don’t want to paint over.

If you’re planning a geometric design, you can paint individual tiles by cutting in with a paintbrush around the edges. If you’re painting the surface one color, cut in around the edges of the space and then use a roller to finish the job.

You can also use a store-bought or homemade stencil and a small roller to add a pattern to the surface of your tile too.

Depending on the brand of paint you’re using, you’ll need to wait at least an hour in between coats of paint.

Sealing the Tile

This final step protects all your hard work from scuff marks, grime, and scratches. Use clear sealer that corresponds with the type of primer you used on your tile i.e. urethane or masonry sealer.

Be sure to follow the manufacturers drying time for the best results.

You can’t step on the sealer even momentarily. So, if you’re painting your floor, be sure you don’t end up trapped in the corner and make sure you remove all your essentials out of the bathroom before you start painting.

Do you have ceramic tile in your bathroom? See these extra tips for painting bathroom tile.

More Bathroom Design Ideas

If you’re an adventurous and creative homeowner, painting bathroom tile is a great option for you. Would you like some more DIY tips to save you money on refurbishing both the interior and exterior spaces of your home?

Keep browsing our blog for top tips for all your upcoming home improvement projects.

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