How to Paint Your Tile Floor by Yourself?

I’ve transformed countless tile floors through painting over the past decade. It’s a cost-effective alternative to retiling that can refresh the look of tiles for several more years.

In this guide, I’ll share the techniques used on my many successful tile painting projects. Following best practices ensures a smooth process and a durable finish. Whether a small powder room or a large entryway, these methods will transform your floors.

You’ll learn how painting is a more affordable way to update old tiles without a full retile. Let’s get started so you can confidently paint your own tile floors!

Best Paint for Floor Tiles

As someone who has painted multiple tile floor installations over the years, I’ve tested various types of paint to see what works best. Enamel paint is the most commonly used option as it adheres well to tiles and provides a durable, glossy finish.

However, I’ve found urethane and epoxy paints to be even more hardwearing and stain-resistant over the long run.

Urethane paint contains resins that form an extremely tough protective coating over the tiles, protecting them from scuffs and scratches from furniture or regular foot traffic.

It’s highly recommended for high-traffic areas like kitchens. Epoxy paint takes this one step further with a non-porous ironclad gloss finish, making it very easy to clean and maintain.

It’s equally good for flooring in bathrooms. The downside is that urethane and epoxy paints are more expensive than enamel.

However, the added durability and protection make it worth it, especially for flooring that needs to stand up to wear and tear over many years of use. Enamel remains a solid option for lower-traffic areas and if you’re on a tighter budget.

Pros and Cons Painting Tile Floors

I worked on painting tile floors from many houses over the years, so I know what are the main pros and cons to consider.

Pros:

  • Gives tiles a completely new and refreshed look without replacing them
  • A wide range of color options allows for customization to match any room decor
  • Provides a protective coating that can make tiles more stain-resistant if a good quality paint is used
  • Less expensive than installing new flooring
  • Can potentially increase your home’s resale value by modernizing dated tile floors

Cons:

  • Painted tiles may not last as long as original glazed tiles before needing re-painting
  • Surface imperfections or cracks in old tiles may still be visible under the paint
  • Paint can peel or chip over time, especially in high-traffic areas
  • Future removal of paint layers can be difficult and damaged tiles
  • Painted floors are more prone to fading from sunlight over the years

Painting Supplies Needs to Paint Tiles Floor

To ensure your tile floor painting project goes smoothly, be sure to have the right supplies on hand:

  • Paint made specifically for flooring – enamel, urethane, or epoxy-based.
  • Primer – look for a bonding or adhesion primer for tiles.
  • Paint brushes – angled sash brushes are best for cutting along edges.
  • Paint rollers and extension poles – for large, open floor areas.
  • Paint trays – for holding and distributing paint to brushes and rollers.
  • Paint scraper – for removing any old, flaking coatings before priming and painting.
  • Sandpaper – start with coarse grit to scuff tile surfaces before priming.
  • Painter’s tape – for masking off edges and protecting baseboards.
  • Paint thinner or mineral spirits – for cleanup and tool cleaning.
  • Respirator mask – to protect from fumes during sanding and painting.

How to Paint Tile Floor Step by Step

Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to paint and transform tired tile floors with a fresh coat of paint: prepare surfaces, apply primer, and paint carefully with brush and roller.

1. Sanded Tile Floors

The first step is to scuff up the tile surfaces using 120-grit sandpaper. This provides a better surface for the primer and paint to adhere to when painting tile floors. Use a sanding block or long-handle sander to sand in straight lines across the entire floor area, paying close attention to corners, edges, and any grout joints. Spend time sanding to ensure a smooth, even texture across all tiles. This sanding process is crucial for allowing the primer and floor tile paint to properly bond to the surface and last. Sweep away debris thoroughly before proceeding.

2. Clean Tile Floors Properly

After sanding, it’s important to thoroughly clean the tile floors to remove any dirt, grease, or wax residues that may prevent the floor tile paint from properly adhering. I like to use a degreasing cleaner that is safe for interior floors and a scrub brush to deep clean the entire floor space. Scrub tiles, rinse well, and allow floors to dry completely before priming. Proper cleaning of the tile surface prepares it for optimal adhesion of the painting tile floor process.

3. Repair Cracked on Tile Floors

Before painting over cracked tiles, these problem areas need to be repaired first. For minor hairline cracks, filling with an epoxy grout made for tile repairs will usually suffice. For larger or multiple cracks in a tile, it’s best to replace the cracked tile to avoid issues later on like bubbling or peeling of the floor tile paint. Take the time for repairs to ensure a long-lasting result when painting floor tiles.

4. Apply a Primer on Your Tiles

Priming the tile floors is a crucial step before painting the tile floor. Using a bonding or adhesion primer specifically formulated for floor tiles allows the topcoat of floor tile paint to better bond to the tile surface, helping the painted finish last longer. Look for a high-quality tile primer and apply in thin, even coats using a high-quality brush, allowing full drying time between coats according to the product instructions. Proper priming promotes the adhesion of the floor tile paint.

5. Prepare Paint and cut in the paint with Brush

Once the tile floors are fully primed, it’s time to apply the floor tile paint. Start by pouring out the paint into a paint tray or bucket. Then use an angled sash brush to carefully cut in along the perimeter edges where the roller can’t reach, such as against walls, cabinets, or fixtures. Taking time to precisely cut in the paint results in a clean, professional-looking finished result when painting tile flooring.

6. Paint Tile Using a Roller

With the cutting-in completed, load a short-nap paint roller with paint, ensuring it is not dripping. Then apply smooth, even coats of paint to the main floor areas, working in small 4×4 foot sections and avoiding over-rolling any areas that are starting to dry. Typically two thin coats are better than one thick one when painting tile flooring. Using a roller makes quick work of larger floor spaces and ensures efficient full coverage of the tile surfaces.

7. Seal Your Tile

For maximum durability and protection, especially in high-traffic areas, I recommend applying a single coat of water-based urethane or epoxy floor sealer to the dried, painted tile floors. Look for a sealer formulated for interior flooring use. Sealing locks in the floor tile paint finish provides an extra layer of defense against scuffs, scratches, spills and wear over time.

8. Let Your Floor Dry

Allow full curing and drying time as stated on the floor tile paint and sealer product instructions, typically 24-48 hours. Proper drying is important to allow for a durable finish and prevent issues like peeling or sticky floors later on. Once fully cured, the freshly painted tile floors can then be walked on normally again.

Final Thoughts

With the right products, tools, and techniques, painting tile floors is a straightforward DIY project that allows you to customize your interior space. Regular re-painting can extend the life of your existing tile for many years.

Just be sure to select paint formulated for flooring, take your time with sanding and priming, and allow for proper drying.

The transformed floor will dramatically change the look and feel of the room. With some TLC, your tile floors can continue to stand up to daily use long into the future.

Joxan Williams
Home Maintenance Expert | joxanwilliams@gmail.com | Website

I'm a licensed home maintenance contractor with over a decade of experience, dedicated to preserving your home's value. My expertise includes roofing, gutter installation and repair, fencing, pool maintenance, deck and patio construction, plumbing, appliance repair, lawn care, painting, garage doors, windows, sump pumps, and steam heating systems.