When remodeling your bathroom, you’ll need to use special bathroom tile paint. Also, new shower tile paint formulas have made it easier to get the job done. With the variety of paint shower tiles available, there are more options to choose from than ever before.
If you’ve never painted bathroom tile, that’s not a problem as we’re here to help. We’ll show a few budget-friendly methods and what to look for when choosing bathroom tile paint. And you’ll also learn how to apply the paint on your shower tile surfaces.
We’ll look at the pros and cons of bathroom tile paint. There are things you should know before you begin painting your bathroom tile. We’ll also include a tutorial on how to paint shower tile.
Can You Paint Bathroom Tile?
There is a popular misconception in the DIY world that bathroom tiles cannot be easily or effectively painted. While this may have been true years ago, it is no longer the case. Thanks to new and better paint formulas, painting over existing tile is a cost-effective way to give your bathroom a fresh new look.
Painting your bathroom tiles can be a much faster DIY project than removing and replacing the tiles, and more environmentally friendly since there is no tile waste making its way to landfills.
Best Bathroom Tile Paint
Majic Paints Paint boasts superior adhesion to most surfaces including wood, drywall, metal, steel, aluminum, copper, brick, masonry, plastic, vinyl, glass, and tile making it the ideal paint for most DIY projects.
Diamond Hard paint has a one-step application process and sticks to most surfaces without pre-sanding or priming required. This durable water-based formula has superior color retention and levels beautifully to a smooth finish every time.
- Available in 10 different colors.
- Available in 1- and 2-quart sizes.
- Not recommended for “wet” areas
- May not withstand heavy use on marble surfaces.
Rust-Oleum Premium Latex Paint is ideal for indoor as well as outdoor applications. You can use it on different surfaces like wood, plaster, masonry, metals, and even unfinished ceramic. With enough paint to cover 120 square feet and a 30-minute drying time, this brand is ideal for any DIY bathroom tile project.
Painter’s Touch offers a durable water-based acrylic formula that goes on smoothly, providing long-lasting wear and chip protection. The paint is easy to apply and requires minimal surface preparation. Give your surface a light sanding before you begin painting and a gentle wash with a degreasing cleaner, and after it dries you can begin.
- Light odor
- Indoor/Outdoor applications
- Not ideal for use on tiles with metallic details
Giani White is a simple and cost-effective way to transform your existing kitchen and bathroom countertops – giving them the look of granite at a fraction of the cost. Ideal for covering laminate, butcher block, Corian, ceramic tile, cultured marble, and traditional granite, this paint kit can be used on countertops with drop-in or undermount sinks and includes special instructions for one-piece counter and sink combinations.
This countertop paint kit includes everything required for the three-step process in as little as one weekend. You’ll countertops will be ready to use within 14 days. The water-based acrylic paint covers 35 square feet and hides existing stains, burn marks, and scratches. The clear acrylic topcoat provides durable protection against daily wear and tear.
Included in This Kit:
- 12-ounce IronCore Primer Base Coat
- 6-ounce Greystone
- 6-ounce Quartzite
- 8-ounce White Limestone
- 3-ounce White Limestone
- 16-ounce Glitter Topcoat
- 6-inch Roller Arm with 2 Roller Pads
- 4-inch Paint Sponge
- 2-inch Foam Brush
- A Practice Board
- And Step-by-step instructions
- Low VOC
- Low Odor
- 5 colors that are adjustable to any décor
- 1-year limited warranty
- Will be dulled by harsh chemicals such as bleach and household cleaners
What Type of Paint Do I Need for Tile?
When painting tile it’s important to know the type of paint that works best on your shower stall and bathroom floor surfaces. For example, oil-based paints are best for areas that see a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens, while water-based paints are better in dry areas like floors or bathroom walls outside of the shower or tub area.
For any ceramic, porcelain, and quarry tile that’s unglazed and found on bathroom or kitchen floors and walls outside of the shower area, a water-based latex paint will do. But remember, water-based paints will wear in heavy moisture, so be sure not to use them near water sources.
Natural Stone Tiles
For natural stone tiles, an acrylic latex paint would be a great idea. These are still water-based so not ideal for super wet areas, but the acrylic resin gives them added durability to protect natural stone.
If you must use latex paint in moist areas, look for one designed for moisture and mildew resistance.
What About Epoxy Paints?
Epoxy paint should be used on ceramic, porcelain, and unglazed quarry tile. These are your “splash zones,” areas that have more contact with water, like countertops, backsplashes, and shower and tub surrounds. Epoxy paints create a harder and more durable finish. They also have a higher resistance to heat, moisture, and daily use. Two-part epoxy paints are available for tub, shower surrounds, and tiles.
Enamel paint is similar to epoxy in its durability and resistance to moisture. It’s a great option for ceramic and porcelain tile, and because it is oil-based it will stand up better in moist areas.
Similar paints are available in a variety of finishes, ranging from a simple flat to super high gloss. Remember, a glossy finish creates slippery tiles. When painting floor tiles or other surfaces that will be walked on, use a flat or matte finish. Both offer greater surface traction.
Choose a bathroom tile paint designed for tiles. If you’re painting areas exposed to water, make sure to use moisture-prone paint.
Should You Use Primer On Bathroom Tiles?
The type of paint you choose is important, but so is the type of primer. Make sure to choose a good quality primer with a high-adhesion value for the best results. For ceramic and porcelain tiles, you’ll want an epoxy or urethane primer and for natural stone and unglazed quarry tile, you’ll want to go with a masonry primer.
Bathroom Tile Paint Tips: What You Should Know
You Can Paint Most Tiles
Except for glazed quarry tile–which won’t bond to paint regardless of what you do–you can use paint on most tiles including, ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, and unglazed quarry tile, but there are a few things you should know before running out to the hardware store.
Do Not Paint Cracked Or Damaged Tiles
You cannot add paint to tiles that are cracked, crumbling, or broken in any way. Even gluing the pieces back together, will not be enough. The damage and imperfections in the tile will show through the paint and eventually damage the finish as the broken tiles continue to wear down. If you have tiles in less than a favorable condition, it is best to just remove them.
Paint in high-moisture areas wears faster than paint in non-moisture areas. When painting tub, shower surrounds, tiles, tile backsplashes, and sinks, use mildew-resistant epoxy or enamel paint that’s formulated for use in high-moisture areas.
Things to Consider Before You Paint Bathroom Tile
Painting your bathroom tiles is a project that can be broken down by five simple stages and the total time it will take depends on dry times for each of the products used, the scope or size of the projects, and the detail you put into any patterns or designs throughout the space.
In this stage, you will first sand all the tiles or surface area(s) to be painted. Sanding helps to scuff up the surface, giving the primer and paint something to adhere to. You will also be vacuuming away the dust left from sanding, but it’s a good idea to scrub the tile as well as any grout lines to wash away dust left behind.
You never want to miss this step as it is crucial for making your paint stick to the tiles surface. For ceramic and porcelain tiles, remember to use a urethane or epoxy primer and for natural stones like granite and marble, or quarry tile that’s unglazed such as slate, use a masonry primer.
If painting over a large area of multiple tiles, including the grout, a roller will be the quickest and easiest tool. Be sure to overlap in multiple directions and then “even” it out. If a more detailed look is what you’re going for or you want certain tiles to have patterns, use painter’s tape to tape off the edges of the tile you’re working on and then paint away.
Allow two days or more for the paint to dry. Avoid traffic in freshly painted areas for the amount of time indicated on the manufacturer’s label.
Use painter’s tape to tape off any surfaces you don’t want the paint to reach. Using a stencil or by freehand, paint the pattern you desire onto the tile. Here you can choose a color that compliments the tile color, or you can use the same color to achieve a more embossed look.
Sealing the Finished Tile
Once the paint layers are dry, it’s time to protect your “new tile” with a coat of sealer. For ceramic and porcelain tiles, urethane sealer is recommended. And for natural stones or quarry tiles, use a masonry sealer. It may be tempting to skip this final step,
Sealing the painted tile will give it an extra layer of durability and protect it from daily wear-and-tear, keeping it beautiful for years.
Painting your bathroom tile begins with knowledge. Know the type of tile you have and what paint works best on that type. Learn about what primer you should use and what other important steps you can take to prepare your tiles surface.
What Is the Best Bathroom Tile Paint?
There are a lot of options when it comes to paint, even paint for tiles, so it’s very important to do your homework before choosing the best one for you. Customer reviews are always a great way to see if a paint you’re considering will stand up to the job it’s for. Later in this article, we’ve also listed a few options of bathroom tile paint we think are some of the best.
Water-based paints will not hold up in areas with any amount of water, so they aren’t the best for bathrooms and not for “wet areas.” For your bathroom tile paint, the best options are anti-bacterial, water-resistant epoxy paints and primers.
Pros And Cons Of Painting Tile
There are pros and cons to painting bathroom tile. We’ve compiled some of them here:
- Customize your bathroom
- Lighten or darken the color of your tiles and, in turn, the bathroom.
- Apply custom patterns or designs.
- Well-painted tiles require little maintenance – a light cleaning with soap and water or a store-bought cleaner is all they need.
- If a scratch or chip occurs, it can easily be touched up with leftover paint.
- More cost-effective than removing and replacing tile.
- Faster than removing and replacing tile.
- Prolongs the life of the tiles and ensures they don’t end up in landfills.
- Can take a long time depending on the complexity of the design and the scale of the work.
- Drying times mean your bathroom could be out of commission for at least a week.
- Paint may chip or peel if applied wrong or if prepping steps were skipped.
- May inadvertently cover grout lines. To avoid this, use painter’s tape to tape them off.
- Labor intensive.
How To Paint Shower Tile In 5 Easy Steps
Before we begin, remember that you want to use a water-resistant epoxy or enamel paint since these tiles will get wet repeatedly and will often be in a high-humidity environment.
Step 1: Prep the Tile and Wall
Prepping the tile involves cleaning, sanding, and taping the areas that you don’t want the paint to reach. As with every step in the process, these are critical for a successful project.
Clean Tile Surface
To clean the tiles, use a cleaner formulated to cut-through soap scum and anything else that may have built up over time. Just about any bathroom cleaner meant for mold, mildew, and soap scum will work in combination with a good scrubbing pad. Your goal here is to get rid of as much build-up as possible so the primer and paint will adhere to the tiles better.
Sanding Tile Surface
Use 150-grit sandpaper and go over the surface of each tile. This process will get rid of embedded dirt. When you want to ensure the primer and paint will adhere. Give the tiles a good rinse to remove any dust left over from sanding. Then let them dry.
Tape around any windows or window casing as well as along the wall where the shower tile and wall meet. Tape along the tub edge where it meets the tile or the grout. If you’re painting a shower, cover the showerhead with a plastic bag.
If you are not painting grout, tape to the tile’s edge. If you are painting the grout, tape to its outer edge. Be sure to tape over caulking around the bathtub and faucets and fixtures around the tile. If you have tiles or tile areas, that will be a different color, tape them off with painter’s tape as well.
Step 2: Priming Tile
For ceramic or porcelain tile use an epoxy or urethane primer and for natural stone or unfinished quarry tile use a masonry sealer. Remember that the right sealer is equally as important as the right paint.
Prime the grout lines and any corners using a small or angled brush, then roll on one coat of your chosen primer over all the tiles. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for how many coats to apply and which roller is best to use.
Step 3: Paint Tile
Use a roller to paint tile. When the first coat is dry, proceed with the next coat. Depending on the color of paint chosen, three or four coats may be required. Make sure to allow adequate drying time between each coat.
If you have any areas that were taped off as detail or accent tiles, remove the tape. Let everything dry completely before moving on.
Re-tape Accent Tiles
Once the bathroom floor tile paint has had at least 24 hours to dry, re-tape the accent tiles, this time applying the tape to the outside of the accent area. Using a putty knife or other smooth object, make sure the tape is adhered to the tile paint along the edge that meets the accent tiles. This will ensure that no accent paint seeps under and will result in a crisp, clean line.
Paint the accent tiles in the same way you painted the main floor tiles. Start with the grout and fine details, then roll on the main color. Apply as many coats as needed, leaving ample dry time between coats.
Remove the painter’s tape from around the accent tiles and allow everything to dry.
Step 4: Add Caulking Around the Tub
Make sure to caulk around the tub where the grout line and tub meet. This gives the finished project a cleaner look and added protection from moisture damage.
Step 5: Seal the Tiles
Taking the time to apply a sealer to your finished project will ensure that it lasts and stands up to daily wear and tear. Use a urethane sealer when dealing with ceramic and porcelain tiles and a masonry sealer for natural stone types and quarry tiles like slate. With a foam roller, cover the entire surface of painted tiles with the sealer.
Make sure to get into the corners and any hard-to-reach spaces with a paintbrush. You may choose to apply multiple coats for added protection, but allow 12 hours of dry time between each coat.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How Much Does It Cost To Paint Bathroom Tiles?
You can paint 100 square feet of bathroom tile for $100 if you know what you’re doing. Should you hire a professional, depending on the size of the bathroom, you could pay $500 to $3,000. Most painting professionals will apply two coats to a surface.
Can You Paint Glass Tile Backsplash?
Before you begin painting glass tile backsplash, thoroughly prepare the surface. For a solid polished look, paint the backsplash a solid color.
How Do You Lighten Ceramic Bathroom Tile?
To lighten the color of ceramic tile, mixed powdered bleach with warm water and pour it onto your tile surfaces. Let the solution soak for 15 minutes. After, use a thick bristle brush to scrub the tile.
Is It Cheaper To Replace Or Refinish A Bathtub?
If you feel confident with your DIY skills, you could probably get it down for less than $300. Refinishing a bathtub can save you thousands. Most professional bathtub refinishing projects start at $500, with materials ranging between $50 to $175.
Can I Install Zellige Tiles In My Shower?
Zellige tiles are great for bathroom shower walls. Their strong glass enamel layer makes the tile an ideal surface in and around your shower. The tile also adds color and texture to your bathroom in ways that other tiles fall short.
Bathroom Tile Paint Conclusion
With the right paint, proper preparation, time, and a bit of patience you can take your bathroom from drab to fab. Painting bathroom floor tile is not hard. If you wanted to redo your entire bathroom, that’s also easy.
Wall tile and floor tile require special paint. As you’ve learned here, you wouldn’t want to use regular floor paint on your tile floors. The same can be applied to your shower surfaces. For example, spray paint would not be a great idea.
A DIY tile painting project shouldn’t require you to spend so much money. The amount of foot traffic your bathroom receives will make a huge difference in how long your tile paint job will last.