How to Paint Over Plastic Tile

Updated February 21, 2017

If you want to finish your plastic tile with a coat of paint, use particular preparation techniques that will condition the plastic to accept paint, or you'll end up with paint that eventually peels away. Unlike wood, plastic is nonporous, making it resistant to paint adhesion. However, you can promote adhesion by abrading the surface with friction techniques. In addition, use a particular type of paint depending on what type of plastic tile you are working with.

Wash the plastic tiles with dishwashing detergent, using a plastic brush and rags. Rinse the detergent thoroughly, as it may prevent the primer from adhering appropriately. Allow the plastic tile to dry.

Scour the plastic tile with sandpaper to enhance surface adhesion. Use a palm sander to make the process easier. Wear kneepads if you are working on plastic tile flooring.

Apply a latex primer to the abraded plastic tile, using a roller frame and nap roller cover. Smooth the wet primer, using the paintbrush. Wait at least two hours for the primer to dry.

Clean the primer from the brush with plain water.

Apply satin latex paint to the primed plastic tile in the same way you applied the primer. Wait at least two hours for the paint to dry.


If you are working with plastic tile flooring or plastic shower tile, use a two-part epoxy paint instead of acrylic satin latex paint.


Do not prime or paint over plastic tile that has not been abraded, or the paint will peel up.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic brush
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Rags
  • Palm sander
  • Kneepads
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Roller frame
  • Nap roller cover
  • 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • Acrylic satin latex paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.