How To Paint Over Tile

What You'll Need
TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) Cleaner
Denatured alcohol
Sand paper with 150-grit rating
Bonding Primer
Gloss or semi gloss latex paint designed for ceramic and porcelain surfaces
Painters Tape
Soft brush or Roller

A paint over tile project is perfect if you just don't want to replace or remodel that old outdated ceramic tile in your kitchen or bath. Painting over tile is a simple project that can create amazing results. Once you have decided on the color, it's time to get started.


Step 1 - Repair Any Chips 

Before you begin the paint project, examine the tile for damage. Quick-drying epoxies are the best materials to use. The cracks need to be filled also. Allow the calk to dry for a few days before applying step 2.

Step 2 - Sand

Sand tiles lightly with the 150-grit sandpaper, this will help the paint to adhere to the surface.

Step 3 - Wash Tile Thoroughly

Carfully wash the tile and grout with the TSP cleaner to remove built up grease or dirt. TSP is a common cleanser and can be purchased at most hardware or home and garden stores.

Step 4 -Remove Residue

Remove any left over cleaning residue by wiping tile down with a denatured alcohol.

Step 5 -Mask

Using the painters tape, mask off areas that transition from the tile to the wall or floor. We recommend painting the grout with the tile due to the labor intensive project it can turn into trying to mask off the grout.

Step 6 -Test Area

Find an area to test the results of the primer and paint. Behind the bathroom door is a good location, or near the refridgerator in the kitchen. 

Step 7 -Prime

Apply the bonding primer. Be sure the primer you are using has been designed to adhere to shiny surfaces. Allow bond to dry thoruoughly according to manufacturer's guidelines.

Step 8 -Paint

Paint gloss or semigloss paint over the dry primer. Allow the main paint to dry to assure that your are getting the expected result.  Organic or ambient light can change the look of the tile dramatically, so check area a few times throughout the day to do a visual evaluation. If satisfied, paint the rest of the tile and grout. Once agian, allow to dry according to product instructions. Tile may need a second coat.

Step 9 -Cure

Though the tile may be dry to the touch it will take a few weeks to properly cure. Avoid heavy use to prevent scratching.

Step 10 -Protect

For greater protection and color preservation, especially around high water areas around the sink or near the bath tub, finish with a few coats of clear water-based urethane.


  • Try painting more than one color creating criss cross or horizonal pattern.
  • Paint a tile border, using a 2" to 2 1/2" brush.
  • Lay plastic wrap over the top of your freshly painted tile press loosely and then pull off creating a fun texture effect.
  • Play with stencils