Thinking About Painting Tile Floors? Don’t.

Painting tile floors might sound like an easy fix to an ugly tile problem, but don’t pick up that floor tile paint just yet.


By Lauren Phillips, Real Simple

Painting tile floors sounds (and looks) like a common-sense fix to an ugly tile problem in a bathroom, kitchen, or entryway. After all, you can paint an ugly wall or an outdated door—why not paint some floor tiles? When replacing floor tiles is so costly, time-consuming, and messy, a coat of paint seems like the obvious, budget-friendly alternative, but this seemingly obvious DIY solution isn’t the fix-all you’d hope for.

Searches for painted floor tiles were up 1,276 percent on Pinterest in 2018, so plenty of people are interested in the option, and a plethora of DIY guides to painting tile floors are floating around online. But where figuring out how to clean floor tile grout is easy and straightforward, with reliable results, painting tiles floors can quickly go wrong.


Can you paint floor tiles?

“Because tiled flooring is commonly found in high-traffic areas, such as the bathroom or kitchen, there is a risk the paint will peel or bubble up from being frequently scratched or exposed to moisture, regardless of the amount of paint layers applied,” says Hunter Macfarlane, project expert at Lowe’s.

The process can be easy, and the immediate results might look great—but there’s a good chance they won’t last.

Ben and Erin Napier, the home improvement duo behind HGTV’s Home Town, also expressed doubts regarding the trend. “I don’t know how it would adhere to a porcelain tile,” Ben says. “I don’t know.”

“I think somebody did it and thought, ‘This is cool, I’m going to tell everybody this is cool,’” Erin says. “I could change my mind later, but right now, I’m not on board with it. I’m not sure about it. I mean, if we’re talking about a back porch, sun room, where you can paint it a fun color, maybe.” (Ben says, “No, don’t,” to that.)

So, technically, you can paint floor tiles in the literal sense—but the results won’t last as long as you want them to, and there’s a chance painting tile floors can actually cause maintenance issues. (Chipping and peeling paint can even lead to some health concerns, particularly if children or pets are in the home.)


Are there alternatives to painting tile floors?

The Napiers suggest just biting the bullet and replacing tile floors. (They suggest looking into The Home Depot’s Home Services to get the job done.)

If that’s not an option, there are certain peel-and-stick tile decals that can improve the appearance of unfortunate floor tiles. Affordable rugs can also help cover them. If you’re really attached to the idea of painting tile floors, though, go about the project carefully.

“To achieve the best results, I recommend working with professional painters that are specialized and equipped to properly paint ceramic tiled floors and walls, and leave the area unused for several days to allow the paint to dry once the project is completed,” Macfarlane says.

Refinish tiles, even give wall or backsplash tile a pretty painted pattern, but don’t paint the entirety of your tile floors—no matter how good it looks online.
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