Asked on May 26, 2016

Has anyone painted bathroom tiles successfully?

Lesley Brisco
by Lesley Brisco
I HATE my 1985 yellowing cream, public toilet-like bathroom! I can't afford to redo it at all & I'm thinking to paint the tiles, but when I've seen hand painted tiles before they looked awful, I could see all the brush marks & didn't think it was an improvement! Is there special tile paint? Is it waterproof, for inside the shower & does one use a brush or roller? Is there any prep involved? So many questions! Can anyone help me please!?
1985 horror story! :(
  35 answers
  • Jim L Jim L on May 26, 2016
    My I suggest that you paint the walls a medium shade of gray...this will make your tile look 100 % better Right now there is nothing to "grab" your attention. Then add some white or dark gray towels...or maybe even RED!
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    • Jim L Jim L on May 26, 2016
      @Sher Well, I need to step back and re-think this! I would replace the little thin curtain with one in a white and cream stripe plus another color for an accent. Then make the curtains longer and hang them from the ceiling. Install some towel bars and use towels that pick up the accent color in the curtains...then a small rug with those can find fake Orientals for not much money... I can't see a light fixture, but that can be changed to something that would speak out and take away the attention of the least the tile isn't PINK!
  • Melly Melly on May 26, 2016
    I have painted tile. It looked like painted tile. The prep work was daunting. I did it for a friend who wanted a temporary solution. It was indeed temporary. Lots of work for a result that looked entirely average. Wouldn't do it again....
  • Brenda P Brenda P on May 26, 2016
    I think using a roller vs. paint brush may work. You could even use a "double roller" so you could roll on two shades and kind of blend the colors. Here's one link I found that might help. :) Another idea would be to find a pretty stamp and stamp the tiles and then seal them. Would love to see "after" photos. Good luck.
  • Vicky Johnson Vicky Johnson on May 26, 2016
    I did both kitchen and bathroom wall tile! I used a bonding primer first and then latex paint. It is scrub able and has been great and I did it in one day!
    • Linda Hunt Linda Hunt on May 26, 2016
      @Vicky Johnson My dear Vicky!!! Please, do expound upon this venture we beg you, bwahahhaha. I am in same position with tiny budget and would love to learn about your primer and painting of tile. If you have the time, of course. I am desperate because I am stuck with a gaudy pink that has no place upon this earth for any reason. I have never seen this shade anywhere and I do normally like pinks, lol. Hopeful in Canada!
  • Nadine Nadine on May 26, 2016
    Can you afford some bead board? If you break up all the tile with some bead board on the bottom, it would make a big difference. You can glue the bead board directly on the tile. Do half bead board on the bottom, trim and then paint it your favorite accent color.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on May 26, 2016
    You have a lot of tile! Is it in the budget to replace and update the vanity cabinet and sink? That would add an element of color to your neutral bathroom. Also adding a colorful or pattern window treatment and a throw rug would warm up the room and add interest. I personally think painted tile looks like painted tile. If you have Command Hooks available, you can use them to hang some wall art without damaging the wall tile.
  • CK CK on May 26, 2016
    This is a product a blogger used on her ceramic kitchen and bath countertops. Don't know if it would work on your floors but certainly would work on the walls. While I totally understand your desire to update your yellowing tiles, one of the reasons your bathroom looks so like a public restroom is because it really doesn't have any personality. ;-) Before you try painting anything, try adding in some colored towels and accessories of your choosing. Maybe switch out the plain white curtains to something prettier with a little pattern. Or you might be able to install blinds or shutters (Can't tell if this is possible by looking at the photo.) You could also paint the vanity for some color. Sometimes these little, less expensive, less permanent fixes make a huge difference in the room.
  • CK CK on May 26, 2016
    Oopps....sorry, I just saw that product I linked to can only be shipped in the U.S.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on May 26, 2016
    Celan and prep paint with epoxy spray. Venting is critical. I would suggest you only do a couple line changes of cool or some random pieces. You could always paint a redesign on some, also consider just tiling over some with a new tile. Way too much to try and do the whole room. A neutral beige is perfect as the major back color to some other color areas or drama pieces.
  • Dale Dale on May 26, 2016
    Marine (boat) paint? OR, peel & stick vinyl flooring can go right over tile ~
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    • Swinnen Lisette Swinnen Lisette on May 26, 2016
      @Dale Last week ! A man in a floorshop told me this. But I live in France. It is a country that's about 30 years behind with almost everything...
  • Cindy Cindy on May 26, 2016
    yes there is a paint that will cover them just ask at a paint store and they will tell what u need
  • Vicky Johnson Vicky Johnson on May 26, 2016
    I do things easy and quick or lazy of you so choose. I went to the hardware locally and my 'advisor' told me to use this primer and it sticks to anything. I will list it at the end. I washed the tile with vinegar water and used the primer and then two coats of white latex interior paint. You can lightly sand but she said you don't have to so of course I didn't! I used a brush for the 'cracks' aka grout lines and then a small Purdy roller. The primer was Valspar Interior/Exterior Bonding Primer. The paint was also Valspar latex. The primer dries quickly and I did it all in a day. I was careful with water in the backsplash area for a couple days just to let everything cure really well. It is washable if I splatter on it and so far so good. It has been a few months. My 'advisor' at the hardware store told me she had done it at her moms and church for years and all is well! I had ceramic white to cream tiles with green speckles in the kitchen and same thing with blue speckles in the bathroom. It looks wonderful in my opinion. I did not have them around the shower as we had put in a fiberglass surround. I have always said ceramic tiles were a 'rich mans disease'. You just never knew there was a problem until there was damage. Hope this helps!! It's all clean and fresh!
  • Vicky Johnson Vicky Johnson on May 26, 2016
    Two quick pics! Anything else?
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  • Andrea Andrea on May 26, 2016
    There is special paint for this. The fumes are HORRIBLE! Because my boyfriend has allergies and asthma problems, we ended up having it done professionally. They used the same stuff that we can get. We had Wall tiles repainted. Unfortunately, we were covering darker colored tile so it took a couple of coats and several days.
  • Swinnen Lisette Swinnen Lisette on May 26, 2016
    If you are really short of money, you can take your time to paint only the grout of the floor and in the shower in white and do what I did (but then better) : fill the grout of the wall-tiles. Sand everything even and put on wallpaper of your choise ex. faux brick wall, baroque design, faux wood etc. If you could change the walls, it would look very different already.
  • Maria Igartua Maria Igartua on May 26, 2016
    With epoxy paint. But you need to open the windows, I even put a fan. Its been 2 years and it looks brand new.
  • Maria Igartua Maria Igartua on May 26, 2016
    Sorry I meant oil glossy paint.
  • Betsy.o Betsy.o on May 26, 2016
    A friend of mine painted hers five years ago and looks great. I believe she got her paint and help from lowes on this. She lightly sanded the tiles first. I like your bathroom and how it's arranged.
  • Lisa Lisa on May 26, 2016
    I painted mine have t had to redo in 10 years. The key is in the preparation and thoroughly cleaning the tiles & grout. I used TSP for that then painted with melamine paint. Good luck!!
  • Nonna Nonna on May 26, 2016
    Always degloss by sanding and use oil enamel or epoxy enamel. Mine still look good after 19 years
  • Use gladden gripper primer available at Home Depot and then paint over it. Works great
  • Alice Alice on May 26, 2016
    I haven't tried it in a bathroom but did do the backsplash tiles in my kitchen once. There is a ton of prep but was worth the hassle. I picked up the needed things at a Sherman Williams.
  • Rae5975230 Rae5975230 on May 26, 2016
    Yes. I used silver aluminum paint. It worked great. I had 3 different tiles in this bathroom around the bathtub so I first painted them with a grey oil based primer . (Which is now obsolete) and over that I painted silver aluminum. Walls were pale pink. Looked great.
    • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Jun 01, 2017

      Even though the grey primer is obsolete, they should able to mix a grey color just like they do other paint if you choose to use grey or silver paint.

  • Lizzy L Lizzy L on May 26, 2016
    I painted the grout in my kitchen with Polyblend Grout Renew. Looks great.
  • Rms5476521 Rms5476521 on May 26, 2016
    Menard's has a kit in the paint department that is amazing. Its for tubs and tiles, my bathroom looks awesome , it was an ugly peach color now its white and I absolutely love it . The kit cost about 25$ and is well worth every dollar.
  • Michelle Michelle on May 27, 2016
    I did the whole of my bathroom as I was in the same predicament as you, with very little money, so I just tried gloss paint. It worked like a dream, and is pretty cheap. I painted all the walls with white gloss, and picked out the odd tile and over painted those by stippling black onto them. Hope this helps
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  • Cindi Cindi on May 27, 2016
    You might want to think about decorating the tiles with decals, and give it a spanish or mediterranean look. It would brighten it up and be a whole lot easier. They sell them on Etsy.
  • Sus2783475 Sus2783475 on May 27, 2016
    Yes just buy tile paint and follow instructions. The paint isn't cheap but it's easy, looks great and doesn't come off. I would do it again in a heart beat. I love the result. Go for it.
  • Me Me on May 27, 2016
    I am a professional painter, I have painted tile in bathrooms and kitchens, I use Zinsser Odorless oil primer & paint grout and tile Using a low nap mohair roller. Then I used Rustoleum gloss oil paint, it's for metal but leaves a great finish I use it on everything I want a tough finish on. Takes 15 hrs or so to dry & stinks to high heaven, but do 2 coats & it's worth the result . Never use Latex as it's waterbased and showering the paint will loosen and peel. I have also used this same paint on vinyl flooring, when a new floor is not quite attainable :)
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    • Me Me on May 27, 2016
      @Carol.jussely Hi Carol. I have never painted marble, but you may want to purchase 1 marble tile at Lowes and experiment. Would be cheaper than trying it and have it fail and have a mess. I hope that helps. :)
  • Suzie Suzie on Jun 18, 2016
    I used the products noted above on my backsplash then stamped a design as a touch up until I could replace it. After 15 years of scrubbing with green scrubbies and wiping often around the stove and sink etc, it hasn't even begun to come off or nick. It has amazed my tile man husband (yes, the baker never has bread!) So paint away! It will be worth it!
    • Lesley Brisco Lesley Brisco on Jun 19, 2016
      Hi Suzie, Thanks for your reply. I think it's hilarious that your hubby is a tiler & has never done yours, I know the feeling! Which products did you use? Normal tile paint? Did you seal it? I'm SO scared as I have a guest house & that bathroom is in one of the guest rooms! What if I stuff up! Or, it just looks cheap & brush marks show! Did you use a roller or brush?
  • Me Me on Jun 19, 2016
    If you use Rustoleum it's an alkyd paint for metal, it is self leveling, brush/roller marks disappear. For an even smoother finish you can use mini foam rollers. They usually come in a kit for $5/6.
  • Suzie Suzie on Jun 27, 2016
    I didn't seal it. Just primer that was meant to paint on glass/slick surfaces and regular wall gloss paint. It was so long ago that I can't remember. It was probably kilz. It stuck like a champ! I have tiled in the past. That's how us girls are! We just jump in and do what we want! Who wants to wait? 😂😂😂
  • Allan Allan on Jun 01, 2023


    Did you manage to paint your tiles? If so, I would love to receive some advice. I'm planning to paint the tiles in my kitchen as well. I've already ordered tile-paint online, but I'm not sure if it's the right product. Before using it, I would like to hear your opinion. What type of product did you use for your project, and what method did you apply? I'm also a beginner in this area, so I would greatly appreciate your insights.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance and sharing your experience.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 02, 2023

    Would be easier to paint the walls. The yellow isn't a school bus yellow (not too intense) so why not paint and add other ways to bring color into the room. That mellow yellow will fade into the back ground if you pick the right colors to compliment it.