Painting a Tile Floor

Written by DIY, Renovation

Welp, this is my most controversial move so far. We painted the tile floor in our bathroom. But for as many of you that screamed “OH NO!!!” there were just as many messaging me asking how to paint tile. So we’re gonna go over the process right now for you!

My first bit of advice: it’s your house and you have to be happy with it everyday. So take advice from others, but know when to follow your gut and do what you want. Because only you know your style in the end.

I chose to paint the tile even though the floor tile is vintage because it’s the part of the bathroom I like the least… HATE would actually be more appropriate. There is size variation, color value variation, direction variation… just way too much going on when the walls are pretty gridded and standard.

In a perfect world I would have torn it all out and put new tile down. But that would have meant tearing out the toilet… the only working one we have in the house hahaha! This is because, come to find out, our toilets are each tied into the opposite bathrooms’ cold water line. So when we turned off the water to this sink, we turned off the toilet in our master bathroom. A funny issue we will have to figure out for when we do our bathroom in a few months, but not something we felt like dealing with right now.

Also, this bathroom is something we just want to make look nicer – which paint solves. Paint also costs a lot less than buying all new hardy backer, screws, mortar, tile, grout and grout sealer. In fact, we actually had everything but the paint color for this, so it was even more inexpensive for us because we didn’t need to buy every single item on the supply list.

Speaking of! To do this yourself, you will need the following:

  • Palm Sander
  • 120 Grit Sand Paper
  • Floor Cleaner – something that doesn’t leave a residue
  • Painters Tape
  • Paint Tray
  • Paint Brush or Foam Brush
  • Kitchen & Bath Roller
  • Primer – we used Zinsser
  • Porch & Patio Paint

Overall, we ended up only spending about $55 to redo the flooring in here! Yeah, that’s a really nice phase 1 fix that does the job for me!

So step 1 – get your palm sander out and sand the tile to rough it up a bit. This will help the paint adhere better. When you are done, get that floor squeaky clean! Like… really clean, cleaner than it’s ever been. You want to get up all the debris so there isn’t anything between the floor and your paint. Just to be sure, you may want to repeat the cleaning step a couple times and make sure the cleaner doesn’t leave a residue either. If you need to rinse with clean water as well, do that a few times.

Once the floor is clean and fully dry, you can get right to the good stuff! I taped off the walls so I could be sloppy. For the first coat, use your primer. Be sure to get it in all the grout lines really good. Our roller couldn’t get in them, so we had to brush in the grout lines as we went. This was a bit tedious, but oh so worth it!

When you are starting out, make sure the paint is nice and smooth. This will mean more very thin coats rather than fewer thick coats. It will take longer, but result in a better finish. Also, just because this needs to be said somewhere – paint your way out of the room so you don’t get stuck…

After this first coat, you can switch to your paint color and do however many coats you need to do to achieve full coverage. We did a total of two additional coats of our white paint. I waited at least 12 hours between coats. Then the hard part is not walking on it because you have to let it cure. The paint we used directed to wait 24 hours till light traffic, but that it takes five days to fully cure.

It was perfect timing for our trip to LA which is why I hustled to get the paint done. This way we wouldn’t even be home during those five days and walking on it. Then voila! You have a painted tile floor! It’s that easy.

Two weeks in, and I’m so happy we did this! I feel it helps the wall tiles shine even more now. Next weekend is the big one when we get the new shower fixtures up and install the vanity and sink. We’re inching closer!

Last modified: September 30, 2018