Asked on Jun 21, 2012

Can I paint over bathroom tile and have it look good?

Donna C
by Donna C
My 2 bathrooms are horrendous. One is black & pink the other has issues all its own.
I'd love to paint the pink & black bathroom as a cheaper option while I renovate the other. Is it going to look terrible or can it really be a project worth getting into??
my pink & black bathroom. ugh, help!
  68 answers
  • Carroll A Carroll A on Jun 21, 2012
    Rustoleum makes a product that I saw at Walmart this week, Tub and Tile kits. I was reading the box thinking about trying it on my tub. I have don't know if it works, I hope you get lots of responses to this questions.
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 21, 2012
    I've never tried it myself, but I found this video using the Rustoleum kit Carroll mentioned.
  • Donna C Donna C on Jun 21, 2012
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Erica F Erica F on Jun 21, 2012
    I'm wondering....could you live with it if say you had less tile? I'm thinking leave the floor, but remove the wall tile and depending on how much reno that requires to prepare the wall after - then paint it. The tiles are cool, but I can understand how that would be a LOT of pink to live with - wouldn't be my first choice either. (Our master bedroom currently has 23 year old pink carpet in it that has to go - so I feel ya!) Or if the thought of preparing the wall for paint proved to be more than you wanted after removing you could get a few sheets of that pre-primed beadboard and apply it to the wall and paint it and add a decorative trim molding and cap to the top or even go floor to ceiling with it. I think it could look pretty chic with white beadboard chair rail height or maybe higher with a black moulding around the top edge and a wide baseboard and shoe molding also in black at the bottom. :)
  • Erica F Erica F on Jun 21, 2012
    I also hear that Sherwin Williams makes a pretty durable floor paint. You might check them out to see if you could paint your tile floor in a color of your choosing, you might be limited to just a few choices with the Rustoleum.
  • My wife did her very first sponge painting in our pink, blue and black tiled bathroom when we first moved in. We simply used a good quality over the counter paint from HD at that time. She kept the pink in background and then sponged more blues over it. It ended up looking pretty good. After 10 years we tore it out and redid the entire bath with new tile. So I would not be to worried about what type of paint your going to use, but what you want it to look like once done. Just be sure to clean the tile well to remove any soap or cleaning films on it before you begin. We also had a pretty ugly floor, while yours to me anyway, looks fine, you can purchase peel and stick tiles that will last a long time as well, or at least until your ready to tear it all out down the road.
  • Layne T Layne T on Jun 21, 2012
    I just did this in my half bath. It was an addition to my house in the 60's or 70's and it was plastic tile (yuck, right??). I got the info from a painter that had done it on 'real' tile and it seems to hold up so far. First clean the tile then paint with a primer (I used Valspar's Contractors Primer) let it cure, sand down, then paint with a high gloss paint. I cut in with a brush but then used a cabinet roller for the rest. Hope this helps!
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 21, 2012
    The only "type" of paint I would be concerned about would be that you should probably buy something that is mold/mildew resistent, and at least a semi-gloss so you don't have to worry about being able to clean it without damaging the finish.
  • JJ J JJ J on Jun 21, 2012
    Beadboard panels are inexpensive and you can get it in white or unfinished, so you have an option to paint, stain or whatever. That would give you the chance to have a small what-not shelf around the walls at the top of the beadboard as well.
  • Donna C Donna C on Jun 22, 2012
    These are all great responses...thank you. I'll have to do more research based on some of the information you provided but now I feel a little more confident!!
  • Vicki C Vicki C on Jun 22, 2012
    My bathroom was painted when I bought the house 10 years ago...still looks good, but has chipped in a couple of spots (you can see when it was green at one time) . The shower are was also painted and is holding up just fine. I dont know what type of paint they used but it can be done. My daughter said her Dad repainted his too at his house and it's looking good and no problems. Good Luck !!
  • Donna Marie P Donna Marie P on Jun 22, 2012
    My friend did it with outdoor house paint for durability. Sand the tile and paint a couple coats. It should last years.
  • Delores M Delores M on Jun 22, 2012
    Gotta say, I'm lovin' the pink and black!! I recently moved into a home with a peachy pink tile floor and half walls, pink vanity/sink, tub and toilet. Previous owner went with pink/peach/green 80's wallpaper above with matching balloon shade window treatment. Ack!! I removed wallpaper and window treatment -- and went art deco!! Added gray to the upper walls, ceiling, and all wood trim; frosted glass on lower half of the window (for privacy) while leaving the deep window otherwise unadorned; installed new black toilet seat; painted the vanity wood satin black and added clear crystal knobs; hung a new black, gray, and light beige shower curtain with a huge black tassel tie-back and with a clear liner on brushed nickel new shower curtain rods; new brushed nickel light fixtures; added all black vanity accessories; and added interesting art pieces in black satin frames all around. Rave reviews all around!!
  • Jayme T Jayme T on Jun 22, 2012
    Delores, your post made me think of this site:
  • Penny L Penny L on Jun 22, 2012
    there's an epoxy on the market, sold at most paint and hardware stores, just for painting tile. would be ur best bet.
  • Vallerie T Vallerie T on Jun 22, 2012
    The tile is soo amazing and beautiful. Go with the art deco style, retro is all the rage! You will get so many compliments and it will raise the value of your house to restore it to the original beauty.
  • Joan L Joan L on Jun 22, 2012
    Are you sure that you want to paint this? From the picture it looks pretty cool and very RETRO. You could just use all black and white accessories with it. Some white towels with a band of black ribbon with pink polka dots sewn on would add to it too. A couple of inexpensive prints of silhouettes (black on white) with inexpensive thin black frames would finish it off. Or black and white prints of Paris, Florence or some other interesting city. Then, this would make it look acceptable until you get around to renovating.
  • Cathy B Cathy B on Jun 22, 2012
    I would keep the retro amazing color.
  • Lydia R Lydia R on Jun 22, 2012
    Sherwin-Williams has special paint for the job.
  • Carol M Carol M on Jun 22, 2012
    I painted over the seafoam green acrylic tiles in our bathroom, knowing that it was a temporary fix until we could do the full renovation. It held up for the year that we had it that way, except in the shower area, where it had started to chip. I blogged about it here,
  • Marianne L Marianne L on Jun 22, 2012
    I know you are tired of looking at the black and pink, when you see glass tile and tumbled marble in glossy magazines. However, I agree that making the most of the black and pink is probably a better idea than painting it. Try installing BLACK crown molding, or painting the trim black. Crisp white towels and black/white art deco prints could be gorgeous.
  • Mary E Mary E on Jun 22, 2012
    Definitely keep the tile and go with the art deco theme. It's a classic and will stay fashionable after all the oranges and other themes become dated. Delores - pictures please!
  • Robbie G Robbie G on Jun 22, 2012
    Donna I paint the tile in my bath tub/shower about two years ago. I used an epoxy paint from Home Depot. It was a process but it looks wonderful and has held up great.
  • Carla K Carla K on Jun 22, 2012
    I just posted how I painted my bathroom tile with a faux finish and it's working like a charm. Here is the link: search=photos#!/417670
  • Carol M Carol M on Jun 22, 2012
    I would re-think painting this as well. People pay lots of money for this look. Embrace and enhance it is my opinion.
  • Carol C Carol C on Jun 22, 2012
    I would love to have the pink and black...nowadays every home has Beige/brown.UGH!I can see it black/white and grey towels and etc
  • Karen C Karen C on Jun 22, 2012
    Love the original colors!! Beautiful pinks but maybe you are tired of it.. I myself think it's beautiful..
  • Donna C Donna C on Jun 22, 2012
    I also would leave the bathroom as it is. Pink can be overwhelming, but this is definitely an art deco design. I would add to pull out one color - with black, red, white - and pictures that express that time period, which is what 1960's. Black and white pics of pretty much anything. Pick a theme - retro chic, retro shabby, retro rock.....
  • Michelle I Michelle I on Jun 22, 2012
    It took me awhile to embrace the turquoise tile in my bathroom from I guess the 50's or 60's but I did exactly like everyone is saying I embraced and made it work, my bathroom was an addition to my 1900 yr old home.
  • Susan T Susan T on Jun 22, 2012
    I had a pink and black tiled bathroom at one time too... I loved it!! It is classic. In the photo it looks in good shape, it would be a shame to paint over it and if you sell your house, they may wish you hadn't painted it. That may not be an issue for you though. I had white walls and curtains and black cat bath accessories then. I've seen a lot of pink and black glam type pictures and things for bathrooms. A white fluffy rug and towels and it would look great to me anyway! Let's see when you decide... :)
  • Sherry R Sherry R on Jun 22, 2012
    I have a bathroom that is pink and do I decorate it? Can't remodel right now thamks
  • Tina M Tina M on Jun 22, 2012
    I've never seen a paint over tile look good the best bet would be to decorate to match the tile. paint devalues it, that's a rock'n bathroom I'd get a black toilet and sink and bring out the Black
  • Ghislaine A Ghislaine A on Jun 22, 2012
    I like the floor tiles too, 50s is good look I hate to see them all go. I had a blue and black one,same flooring, had gloss black counter tops installed, very striking
  • Lori J Lori J on Jun 22, 2012
    So often this looks is faux--plastic. That would be the deal breaker for me. Ceramic I would incorporate and plastic I would rip out.
  • Jill P Jill P on Jun 22, 2012
    I had a kitchen in yellow & black until I couldn't take it any more. Also a peach & black bath! I painted both and was very pleased. I used a sanding sealer on it first! Just ask your paint provider for the finish you want.
  • Diane H Diane H on Jun 22, 2012
    Just like my Mamaw's bathroom... wish it was mine. I have seen painted tile look OK from a short distance but up close it's "eh" and a job best left to professionals. Very specific prep work, lots of nasty chemicals, and it's actually appliance or car paint they use. That is if you are going to do it right. Anything less would end up being a disaster in the long run - peeling, moldy, nasty. Same for refinishing tubs and sinks. After 30 years in the remodel biz, I've seen a lot of do-it-yourself jobs gone bad. Good luck with your decision.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 23, 2012
    Donna, if you have not noticed, the retro look is coming back. People are actually buying acqua stoves! Instead of changing the color by painting that does not last or by spending a fourtune on a redo, try playing off the colors. Black accents would be stunning! An old tophat...or any old black hat...would make a great basket to hold a couple of pink or white hand towels! I do not have $25,000 to spend on one of those TV bath makeovers! Even then, within 7-8 years it too will be out of style. Life is learn to deal with this. It does not have to be "cutesie" but can be made stunning! I have 60s olive drab and my bathroom is stunning. New vanity, framed out the mirror, put up chair rail and painted bottom half to match green and top cream, new chrome light fixture, white accents and it is beautiful! I have the small mosiac tile too with the olive and white in it! People "ah" over it! Cannot believe it is the original tile. Get your brain in gear and you can do it!
  • Debi B Debi B on Jun 23, 2012
    Yes you can paint over it there is a primer you will have to get first for it.
  • Nancy S Nancy S on Jun 23, 2012
    I've got the pink bathroom too. I went art deco with it. Changed the light fixtures to an alabaster art deco style, painted the walls a silvery grey and went with a silvery grey shower curtain and big white fluffy towels. I don't have an after but here's a before picture. I also had the tiles professionally regrouted. It made a huge difference in making the bathroom look fresh and clean.
  • Carol C Carol C on Jun 23, 2012
    If you can sew,I would sew black/white toile curtains and use some of the material to put a boarder on some towels with black tassel trim.
  • Jean M Jean M on Jun 23, 2012
    never done it, but I've heard of painting over the tile...with a sponge applicator...I've got Pink tile all over a bathroom, but I painted the walls a medium green, hung a new mirror, and new sink appliance.
  • Margarite K Margarite K on Jun 23, 2012
    I love the black and pink. try working with it by using pretty towels and other linens......
  • Carol M Carol M on Jun 24, 2012
    I love the old tile and retro style, sorry you don't. I like what Margarite K said is the way to go with it. Lucky you I have no tile in this house at all!
  • Tina M Tina M on Jun 25, 2012
    Black toilet and sink:) expensive I know but the bathroom would be awesome!
  • Pam Swartz Cody Pam Swartz Cody on May 05, 2013
    Are they plastic tiles? I have plastic tiles and I want to cover them up with beadboard. Thoughts?
  • TJ TJ on May 12, 2013
    Donna - Rustoleum Tile Transformation is about only product I found after a several weeks research for my bath. Otherwise you call in the pros. But as others have said, pink & black is really coming back in a very big way.
  • Yvette Gerace Yvette Gerace on Apr 11, 2014
    I love it the way it is. Dress it up for a new look. I'm also seeing bead board sections put over existing walls too. It looks good!
  • Jackie Prim Jackie Prim on Apr 12, 2014
    If this is plastic tiles I would say they must be taken down.You don't know how smart you are till you go with no reverse.Then you can get on line with pics of the mess and you will get many ideas.
  • Elaine Hague Kavulak Elaine Hague Kavulak on Apr 12, 2014
    If you decide to take the tiles down think about preserving them and selling them to a reclaim business. There are lots of people looking for repair pieces and the money you get might help to pay for the reno.
  • Elaine Hague Kavulak Elaine Hague Kavulak on Apr 12, 2014
    Oh and I had a house with the pink and black tiles and I loved the Retro look. Black and white accessories are the way to go. It down plays the pink and accentuates the Art Deco
  • Celeste S Celeste S on Apr 12, 2014
    Rustoleum makes a product just for tubs and tiles. It's a lot of work but looks great and lasts a long time. I watched a you tube video about it and I've seen a bathroom after it was done. Also, if you do a search on Hometalk you'll see before and after pictures & and learn more about the process and product. My philosophy is Retro maybe coming back but if it isn't something you like or your style then change it.
  • Lynn Lawson Lynn Lawson on Jun 19, 2014
    I love the black and pink! Wish I had it in my bath. I'd uses aqua blue, black and pink accessories. You can replace the sink and tub with aqua and use black and pink shower curtain, cafe curtains and bath rugs, towels. etc.
  • Charmaine Charmaine on Jul 20, 2014
    You can have them glazed whatever color you want. I would call a professional tho. They prep the tiles and tub a certain way makes it look like it was made that way.
  • Brittany Cross Miles Brittany Cross Miles on Jul 21, 2014
    I just got done refinishing the tile on my walls and tub surround. Rustoleum makes a tub and tile epoxy. It isn't as difficult as some make it seem. Just make sure you have the correct roller and brush and a vapor mask. The smell is very very strong. It looks great and you would never know the difference. Good luck
  • Nancy Mangano Nancy Mangano on Jan 10, 2015
    curtains are cheaper then getting rid of all that tile..put weights at the bottom of curtains and make cutouts around towel rack, toilet paper and other will make your bathroom warmer as well. it might be best to use a shower curtain that is mildew resistance
  • Capernius Capernius on May 03, 2015
    I'm with you..I think the pink & black looks like something from a Hollywood sci-fi movie...a very cheap, low budget, sci-fi movie. Any tile can be painted... but 2 Q's come to mind... #1) how long do you want the paint to last? #2) how much time, money & effort are you willing to put out? These are Qs that only you can answer...and no work of ANY kind should be done until those 2 Qs are answered. You have to decide what direction you wish to go before you start your trip... or in this case, before you start to paint or tear something apart, etc.
  • Capernius Capernius on May 03, 2015
    One more thing, if you are looking for that magical answer that will solve all your problems with this dilemma, forget it, it not gonna happen. Nobody, dead or alive, will have that magical answer. and it does not matter how educated they are, only GOD has them kinds of answers.
  • Nadlou Nadlou on May 03, 2015
    I lived with pinkish-purple and black tile like yours. It's awesome and has tons of character. If you hate it, don't destroy it when you remove it. It has a LOT of value these days. My master tile man says that even for little 50's tract homes, to leave the tile in.
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jun 01, 2015
    I'm with Charmaine.Here's what I posted to a similar question: We had hideous traffic light yellow tiles on our shower walls. We also had ugly white worn-out melamine counter tops. We had a company that does a chemical bonding spray to redo ours. It doesn't matter what your old color(s) are. Our shiny yellow tiles now look like textured stone. I had this done on all three of my baths' sink counters and tub surrounds. It has been 4 years and still looks brand new. They are in & out in a 2 day process & leave no mess to clean up. Easiest redo I have ever done. Buy the time you buy all the supplies & do all the labor, this method is not that much more and way easier. It also looks really good. You can get just about any color and finish.
  • Marlene Beyer Marlene Beyer on Jun 18, 2015
    Keep the pink and black. It is very special if it is original. Many people would give anything to be so lucky, I agree with Nadlou.
  • Linda Santo Linda Santo on Jun 21, 2015
  • Judy Judy on Mar 27, 2016
    I would paint the wall very black -maybe even gloss black and then put one print with misty pinks and faded greens. Floral or antique looking girl in a garden with flowers but needs to be very soft to balance the paint. Or if modern use a picasso like print with pale pinks and blacks and a neutral
  • Nanc Nanc on Mar 27, 2016
    I had a pink tile bathroom with black tile trim like your, but the tub, sink and toilet were blue and the cabinet and mirror were a horrible 50's Formica. Ugh! We had to replace the toilet and chose to go white. The cabinet was the next to go but before we installed a beautiful ebony cabinet with a white sink we hired a glazer. It was $280 to refinish the tub or $800 to due the whole bathroom. We chose just to due the tub. The bath looks great and we're glad that we didn't do the tile and floor after seeing a neighbors bath where everything had been glazed white. It was painful on the eyes. And yes we've recently read praises about maintaining the old pink bath.
  • Nancy Heil Nancy Heil on May 27, 2016
    In answer to your original question I painted the ceramic tile feature strip in my kitchen and it worked fine. Be sure to clean it very well and then go over it with a fine grit sandpaper to rough up the surface. Afterward us several coats of polyurethane to protect it and it should be fine. But I do tend to agree with the others who say to keep it. There are a lot of beautiful things you can do with it.
  • Rene Patton Rene Patton on Jul 16, 2016
    Check out spreadstone it is a stone effect type of paint for tile very nice. Im going to do my bath tile with it. The bath room one.
  • I painted the tile in one of my lasted for years....and I also did the back-splash tile in my daughter's first was harvest gold and there was no money to turned out great....did the countertops too, like marble with poly finish.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 31, 2023

    Had you thought to use Stick on Tile covers come in colours and patterns and Metallics. or Stencil yours.