I painted the floor tiles in my studio a few years ago. But did they hold up? I'm showing you how they look today PLUS answering all the FAQs you have on this DIY in this blog post and video!
Table of contents
- Can you paint floor tile?
- How to paint floor tile
- How to seal painted floor tiles
- How to clean painted floor tiles
- How durable are painted floor tiles? Do painted floor tiles last?
- Can I also paint tile backsplashes? Countertop?
- Do I use my wood stove over the painted tile?
- Final thoughts
Can you paint floor tile?
Yes, you sure can! You can paint almost anything with the right preparation, the right paint, and the right finish. If you have old ceramic tiles that you want to make look new again, this is a budget-friendly way to update your flooring. It's one of my favourite DIY projects of all time!
How to paint floor tile
There are a few different methods for painting floor tiles, but here's mine:
- If there are any cracks or chips in the tile, you can use a wood filler or latex caulk to fill in any issues and make repairs.
- Sand the original tile to make it rough & ready to accept the paint. I use a 100 grit sandpaper.
- Clean and scrub the tile with a degreasing cleaner like this one to get rid of any dirt and dust.
- Tape off any trim and baseboards near the floor.
- Use a small brush to paint chalk style paint in the grout lines and edges of the floor.
- Use a foam roller to apply chalk style paint to the rest of the flooring. You may be able to get away with one coat of paint, but apply a second if needed.
- Once the paint is dry, you can add a pattern with a stencil and a contrasting colour of chalk style paint.
- If using a stencil, use a very small amount of paint on a foam roller to apply. You can roll off any excess paint onto a paper towel before rolling on to your floor.
- Use a small craft brush to touch up any of the stenciled areas.
- Once all the paint is dry, seal with Varathane polyurethane in a satin finish. I don't recommend a high-gloss sealant as it's slippery underfoot.
- Use a foam paint roller and at least 2 coats of polyurethane to protect the paint beneath. Alternatively, you can wipe it on with a foam brush.
If you want to see a video tutorial and more information on how I painted my floor tiles, visit this blog post.
Other tile painting methods
If you don't like chalk style paint, there are other ways to paint floor tile:
- Clean the tile, scuff sand the tile, apply a primer like this one, and then use an enamel paint like Julie Blanner did here.
- Clean the tile, scuff sand the tile and use a specialty tile refinishing kit like this one. It's a two-part epoxy paint formula that I've used on my camper tub with great results.
How to seal painted floor tiles
I think it's very important to seal your painted tiles with a polyurethane coating. This is a hard, durable clear coat that will prevent your paint from chipping or wearing as much (if at all). I like to use Varathane products for this step.
How to clean painted floor tiles
Cleaning sealed & painted floor tile is easy. I use the exact same method as I clean other flooring in my home - a mop and all-purpose cleaner! If you have any stuck-on residue, I'd be careful scraping it with anything sharp or metallic. Using soft, plastic tools would prevent the flooring from getting scratched.
Watch my YouTube video to see how I clean my painted floor tiles, and how they look after 2+ years:
How durable are painted floor tiles? Do painted floor tiles last?
I've had my painted floor tile since May 2018 and it still looks great! There's no peeling or lifting, and it still looks fresh years later. I think that most painted tile should last many years if the surface is prepared properly, a good paint is used, and if it's sealed properly. You may want to consider re-sealing the floor every year or two if it's in a high-traffic area that will get lots of wear and tear.
Our painted floor in 2018:
Our painted floor now:
Here are some spots that have worn. One was where I scraped something heavy over the tile, and the others are from water and moisture damage from a ceiling leak:
Can you do this in a high traffic area?
My painted floor tile is in a low-traffic area, so that's definitely one of the reasons it still looks so good. I personally don't have painted floors in a more used area, but I know that my blogging friend Dale has painted her bathroom tiles and you can find her thoughts right here. Last I checked, she had her bathroom flooring painted for over a year and it's lasted.
Can I also paint tile backsplashes? Countertop?
You can use this same method to paint the tile on a kitchen or bathroom backsplash or countertop, too. Instead of replacing an old backsplash completely, painting the old tile is a budget-friendly way to get a brand new look.
Do I use my wood stove over the painted tile?
Many of you have asked if I use my wood stove that sits on my painted tile and if the tile is still to code. I DO NOT use this stove as it's in my work studio, so I didn't worry about how the paint would affect fire code. If you do plan to paint the tile around a stove or fireplace that you're using, you should consult a professional to ensure that your finish will be heat safe. If we ever sell our property (which we aren't planning on doing in the near future), I may either have to remove the old wood stove in my studio or replace the tile.
Overall, I would recommend painting tile floors AS LONG AS you take your time to carefully prep and seal them. I'd recommend testing this method on a smaller spot first like an entry, and then proceeding to do a larger area after you're happy with the look and durability.
Would YOU try this DIY? If you have any other questions about painting tile floors, please let me know in the comments!
This post was first published September 2020 and has since been updated.
This floor is amazing! I painted and stenciled our concrete floors almost 3 years ago now and they've held up really well too. My biggest regret is that I did not seal them because we were in a time crunch so I'm really glad you've suggested adding a coat of poly. It makes a big difference. Hope your day has been a fun one, CoCo
Katherine J Masters
What a blessing that the floor looks great after 2 years. It had to be a lot of work and it looks like it held up nicely. 🙂
I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to coat it with a layer of 2 part epoxy
Sarah - The DIY Mommy
Perhaps? Since it isn't in a high traffic area, Christina is just going to leave it but for high traffic areas, it might give it new life!
I am so very surprised to hear you say that people didn't like the pattern on the floor. I think it's absolutely gorgeous! I've never heard of doing this before but I love the idea!
I love this! I love the design...what stencil did you use? Can’t really fine anything even similar. Thanks!!!
The DIY Mommy
Hi Jennifer, It's this one: https://www.cuttingedgestencils.com/santa-ana-tile-stencil-spanish-tiles-cement-tile-patterns.html
This looks great! And that's because you have taken all of the prep and sealing as important! Obviously, in high traffic areas, you are going to need some more maintenance regularly and may need to reseal more often. Loved the videos! Great Job!
You really did an amazing job there painting your tiles i love also your taste of design. very informative article thank you so much.
Very interesting details. Appreciate all the efforts that you have put here. Hoping that everyone should know about this.
Hi I painted my bay windows all those little ones then the window sill had shined brown tiles which I don’t like brown I sanded it then went over in cream Color as window although it is Hayman solar outdoor paint not tile should I put a sealer over sill paint . Hope to hear from you ANNEKA
The DIY Mommy
It would be best for you to check with the paint company on what they would recommend.