How to Paint Ceramic Tile in a Kitchen

Updated February 21, 2017

There are many reasons why you might want to change the tile in your kitchen. Maybe the design is out of date, or perhaps older neutral tiles look dingy. When the tile is fully bonded to the substrate and is in good shape, a suitable alternative to ripping the tile out is to paint it. Your kitchen floor or backsplash tile can be painted with speciality paint that will adhere to the ceramic tile glaze. Just take care to paint up to the edge of the grout joint---and not over it---to ensure a natural look when finished.

Clean the ceramic tile thoroughly. Remove any wax, grease, dirt or debris that could get in the way of the bond between the paint and the tile. Allow the tiles to dry fully before beginning.

Use a paint brush and an oil-based or urethane resin paint to carefully paint the tiles. Start from the top or back of the tile by positioning the paintbrush next to the grout joint and pulling it down or toward you in even strokes.

Allow the paint to dry completely. Depending on the type of paint, this may take several hours to several days. Refer to the manufacturer's specifications.

Cover the tiles with a top coat of clear urethane to protect the paint finish. Use a paintbrush to brush the tops of each tile with the urethane, pulling the urethane from back to front. Allow this top coat to dry completely.


Use a small detail brush to paint or stencil designs in the tiles if you prefer.


Keep windows and doors open for proper air ventilation while painting.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paintbrush
  • Oil-based or urethane resin paint
  • Clear urethane top coat
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About the Author

Sarabeth Asaff has worked in and has written about the home improvement industry since 1995. She has written numerous articles on art, interior design and home improvements, specializing in kitchen and bathroom design. A member in good standing with the National Kitchen and Bath Association, Asaff has working knowledge of all areas of home design.