Painting Tile Floors: Pros and Cons

After some time and no matter how sturdy a bathroom floor tile is, it starts to chip and wear, losing its original gloss and radiance. Replacing tiles is quite costly and overly exhausting as such makeovers require a lot of labor too. Factoring in all these aspects, retaining your old tiles, and having them painted is a more cost and labor-effective option.

The benefits of painting tile floors include savings on labor costs when you do it yourself, being cheaper than retiling, and giving you the options to choose different patterns and designs. The downside to painting your tiles is that it makes the shower unusable and isn’t a permanent solution.

Painting Tile Floors

Can bathroom tile be painted?

You can paint bathroom tiles although you will be losing some benefits and characteristics of the tiles. For example, the grout lines will be the same color as the rest of the floor which isn’t very pleasing. In areas with lots of traffic, water and activities in general, painting tile walls isn’t a good idea. 

Why should I paint my bathroom tiles?

Bathroom updates and makeovers are quite popular. However, replacing a whole bathroom is quite costly. If you have outdated tiles or old ones worn and chipping off, then painting them is ideal. It is cost-effective, has minimal labor, gives you room to explore with patterns, colors, and designs. You can even do it yourself.

Tile paint pros

Below are some of the advantages that come with painting tiles:

Cost-effective

Painting is an economic and budget-friendly way to revamp your floor especially if you end up doing it yourself as it also cuts on labor costs. It all depends on what you are going for since the costs for various equipment and materials vary.

Less labor and labor costs

Painting your floor tile will significantly reduce your labor and labor costs, more so if you are doing it yourself.  It reduces the tasks at hand and the time taken to complete them as the procedure is quite simple.

Versatile

Painting over your tiles gives you more room to explore with colors and patterns, it gives you the chance to have your floor look exactly as you want it. The best part is you have the option of repainting at will, thus you aren’t limited to any pattern or design. 

Keep in mind that brighter and bold shades are ideal for smaller bathrooms as darker shades have the effect of making tight spaces feel constricted.

Minimal maintenance

It does not take more than the regular cleaning to have your painted floor looking clean. However, using mats and rugs especially in places with heavy traffic makes your paint last longer and reduces the rate of abrasion and paint chipping off.

Tile Paint Pros Tile Paint Cons 
Cost-effectiveBathroom will not be used for a while
Less labor and labor costsNot fully practical
Versatile  
Minimal maintenance

Tile paint cons

The downside to painting your shower tiles includes the following aspects:

Your bathroom will be out of use for a while

The total time spent on the bathroom floor is solely dependent on your speed and the time taken to complete the task at hand. The complexity of your pattern and design and dry time for your primer, sealant, and paint being used are also factors in the time taken. Doing this may be as short as a weekend to as long as a week and a couple of days.

It’s not fully practical

You can paint over almost most tiles with the exception of the glazed quarry tile as it does not bond well with paint. However, your paint will last longer in places with less exposure to moisture and backsplash. 

Long-term exposure and your paint are likely to start wearing and chipping off, you are on board for frequent re-applications and touch-ups. 

What paint to use on tiles

Not every paint is suitable to be used, your paint shouldn’t be water-based as it will disintegrate. There are limited options when it comes to suitable paints, you can buy the two-tile paint as they do not require primers. Ordinary paint is not ideal for floor tile as it wouldn’t stick on the surface.

Tile paint can also be used to paint materials such as glass, metal, concrete, plastics, and decorative stones. The products below are the best paint for tile floors:

Epoxy paint

Epoxy paint is an anti-bacterial paint, highly resistant to abrasion and use of detergents. It does not produce any strong smell but is thinned by water.

Alkyd urethane paint

Although it is commonly used for metal, it can also be used as tile paint. It creates a strong, resistant layer ideal for painting tiles.

Acrylic tile paint

These products are specifically manufactured to be used on tiles. Contrary to ordinary products, it is water-resistant and can also be used to cover glass and metals.

Always be sure to use products or finishing that is washable and highly resistant to abrasion as tiles are usually placed in places with high humidity, moisture, and foot traffic as well.

Can you paint ceramic floor tile?

You can paint on ceramic floor tiles. Just beware of areas with high traffic or moisture-prone areas as this causes your paint to wear or bubble with time. This is a better option especially if you are unable to or don’t want to commit to the costs of replacing the floor tile. Although this is a cost-effective and easy method, it’s not the same as installing new floor tiles. 

How to paint tile floors

The steps to painting tile floors are as follows:

1. Decide on what you are going to paint

Whether your tile is old, outdated or you just want a feel of something different, start by weighing the pros and cons of painting tile rather than just replacing it.

2. Decide where you will paint

The area to be painted will work well with painting if you avoid areas with a lot of traffic, moisture, or heavy use. Avoid painting your tiles on shower walls or floors. Instead, consider using tile finishing as it is more effective and less costly as compared to having them replaced. Countertops are more acceptable if they aren’t constantly inflicted with heavy wear.

3. Clean the shower surface and tape it

Make sure to clean the tiles really well before painting them. Remove any layers of dirt, soap scum, or oils before doing anything else as these substances prevent any paint or sealant from sticking. After that, mark the perimeter of the area you want to paint with tape.

4. Buff the tiles

The next step is to buff your tiles especially if you have tiles with a smooth or glossy finish. You can use sandpaper or steel wool to scuff off the surface thoroughly but not too much. It helps the paint adhere to the surface better.

5. Repair cracks or chips

Identify any chips or cracks on the tile, this can be fixed by putty or caulking gun before you begin the painting process. Doing so gives you a cleaner and smooth finish, remember to give the putty or caulk quality time to dry.

6. Create a conducive workspace

While the putty or caulk is drying, you can use this time to prepare your painting workspace. It should be close to an air vent to prevent any dust from getting through, avoid opening windows too wide.

7. Apply the primer

Using a primer or base coat will help the paint stick to the tile better, wait until it is completely dry before moving on to the next step. It should take around 6 hours to completely dry off.

8. Paint the tile

Choose quality acrylic latex paint in the color of your preference for the painting. Avoid using too much painting on the brush and be sure to follow the user guide on how many layers to apply. Let it dry for at least 72 hours before using the area.

Should I hire a painter or paint tile floors myself? 

Painting, whether it’s the interior or exterior of a home, is one of the fastest ways to transform the outlook and feel of the home. There is quite a significant difference between working professionally and self-done work. Give yourself time to contemplate your options first.

The factors to help you decide between the two options include the following:

Time

You may have to work for long hours and, if you are not in a hurry, then the whole process can take a couple of days to complete. However, if your schedule isn’t as flexible it is more ideal to have it professionally done as it’s quite fast and saves on time. 

Quality

No matter how keen and precise you are, your skills and abilities don’t match that of a professional painter especially if you are going for complex designs. Professional painters have more experience and training needed and would be more effective.

Costs

For obvious reasons, it costs less to paint the floor yourself as opposed to having it professionally done as you have to pay for the labor and services offered. However, it is also quite costly as you may need to invest in new equipment for a one-time job. Unless otherwise, having it professionally done is more ideal.

These aren’t the only factors to consider as some prefer having control over work and would rather have it done themselves. After considering the factors, weigh your options although it is advisable to have it professionally done as it yields better results.

When properly taken care of, tile shower floors can last long and look very good too. If you’d rather have something less conventional, go instead for teak shower floors as they give a great look and last long too. Pebble shower floors are another great option.

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