Can Tile Floors Be Painted or Stained?

Let’s say you’ve repainted your walls and redecorated your rooms, but there’s still something that needs to change to complete the look of your home. Maybe reflooring your house is too expensive. Have you ever thought about painting your tile?

If you want to change up the look of your floors, you can paint or stain your tiles. Painting and staining tile can be a cost-effective way to rejuvenate your house. It’s more labor-intensive than hiring someone to re-floor your home, but it can save you so much money.

Not only is this less stressful than picking out new floors, but it can also be a fun and rewarding project to take on!

Why Paint Tile Floors?

Whether you changed the look of your house, you’re remodeling it, you just want to try something new, or simply trying to liven up old tile, painting is a fun and versatile option.

Painting your tile might be a stylistic choice, but it can also be advantageous in trying to sell a home or refinishing a cracking and dated floor.

Or maybe you want to paint a tiled wall in a bathroom. The process is the same and the results are just as wonderful!

Prep Work

A thoroughly prepped area will give you the best results possible. The key objectives in preparing the tiles are giving you a smooth, unbothered painting surface and literal clean slates to paint on. Residual dirt and build-up will interfere with the paint adhering to the tiles.

Not only should your tiles be cleaned, but the whole area of the floor that you are painting should be closed off to those who are not a part of the painting process. This is safer for the paint, but also reduces the opportunity for your clean floors to be dirtied again.


If you’re painting over ceramic tiles, this is especially important. The glossy overcoat on the tiles will not be receptive to the paint and it will simply slide off your tile. To remove this overcoat, use an orbital sander with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Another option is to use epoxy paint on your ceramic tiles. Epoxy paint is long-lasting on ceramic or glazed tiles, and won’t be as susceptible to wear and tear as other paint on these tiles.

In the case that your tile is unsealed and porous, sanding will not be necessary. Clay, saltillo, and travertine tiles are examples of common porous tiles. They will be willing to take most kinds of paint, included most wood stains.


You don’t want to paint over broken tiles or absent grout. Assess the kinds of tile and grout you will need before you start your job. Smoothen any edges, refill any grout, and replace any broken or cracked tiles.

And remember, you don’t necessarily need the exact same tile as the ones that are already on your floor. The size and material are important, but the color does not need to be exact, as you’re about to paint over the original tile color.


This is possibly the most important step in the prep process. Properly cleaned tiles will yield better results when the paint has dried.

If you have sanded your tiles, make sure all the dust has been removed. Wipe your surfaces as you go, but it’s also a good idea to go over the whole floor with a vacuum once or twice.

After vacuuming, prepare your tile for painting by wiping off any build-up. You can use a generic bathroom cleaner and then a special tile and laminate cleaner. If you want to be extra thorough, and this is recommended, you can use a trisodium phosphate cleaner. TSP cleaners not only disturb and remove dirt but also oils, grease, and other bathroom build-ups.

In the cleaning process, you can use a mop, but a scrub brush will give you better angles and a better vantage point during the cleaning. If you choose a mop, rinse and wring it out frequently. With the scrub brush, wet it and scrub one area at a time, wiping away any extra moisture as you go.

Thoroughly clean the grout as well. Even if you are planning on repainting “grout” over the tile, you still must have a clean surface. You can still use the same cleaners as the tile. Just be sure you are paying attention to the grout, too.

Once you have completed this process, towel-dry the moister spots, and let the rest air dry with plenty of ventilation. Keep the area clear from foot traffic and substances that might undo your cleaning job.


Primer is crucial in the longevity of your painting project. Without a proper primer or any primer at all, your paint is more likely to come off as it’s used or as it’s exposed to elements, like water or warm air.

The best primer for the job is a high-adhesion primer. Other good primers include tile and laminate-specific primers. Some painting brands have bathroom primers and paints. Certain paint brands even have comprehensive lines for bathroom paint jobs.

After you’ve applied your primer, let it set and cure. The length of time you will need to let your primer sit will depend on the brand. Make sure to know this in planning your project.


The more heavy-duty the paint you buy, the better your result will be. Go for a floor, outdoor, or tile paint. Epoxies, latex-based paints, enamel paints, and wood stains are also completely viable options that give great results, but they are best for specific kinds of tile.

When applying the paint, a rolling brush is the best option. A rolling paintbrush creates a smoother and more even layer on your floor and is less likely to streak.

It is best to let the paint set between coats. Depending on the kind of paint you have, give it a few hours to a day or two to properly cure. Don’t rush this process as it can disrupt the integrity of the paint.

If you’d like, you can also paint over your grout with a different color. This can break up the visual of the painted tile and add a more realistic look to the paint job.

Grout pens are also available for purchase. These are a good option because they control how much product comes out and have pen-like tips for convenience in application, but a thin paintbrush and white paint will work just as well.


A sealant will ensure that your paint job lasts! Without a sealing top coat, your paint is more likely to come off in high-traffic use or if exposed to moisture.

Like with the primer and paint, you’ll need to wait for each coat to dry and cure before you add another coat.

Once you have applied 2-3 coats and the sealant has dried, your floor is done! Enjoy the fresh look and great job on completing this project!

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

Recent Posts