Are you wondering “can you paint a tile floor?” The answer is YES! Learn how to paint tile floor in your bathroom for a cheap and easy DIY!
Thank you to Rust-Oleum for sponsoring this how to paint tile floor tutorial! All opinions are entirely my own. This post also contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.
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We’re knee deep in our latest renovation project – our small guest bathroom. I don’t even actually know if you could call it a renovation project because really we’re not renovating it!
Instead of a full renovation, we’re giving it a super budget friendly makeover with paint (lots of paint), wall coverings… (did someone say shiplap?…UPDATE: Check out how the DIY vertical shiplap wall turned out here!), DIY wall art made with wood shims and scrap wood and refreshed decor (the cabin theme is gone, thank heavens!).
With this budget friendly makeover, we needed to do SOMETHING about these tile floors – which were tan, cheap and boring. Since we’re not doing a full renovation of this bathroom right now, we’re working with what we have and we’re going to paint the floors with bathroom floor paint!
Now are you ready to see the before pictures to see what we’re working with?? Unless you’ve seen our home tour from when we first moved into this house, you’ve probably never seen this bathroom (once you see the before pictures, you’ll know why I never share it!)
Can you paint a tile floor?
Say WHAAAAT?!? Maybe you’re wondering “can you paint a bathroom floor?” And the answer is YES, my friends!
Over the years I’ve seen people online painting tile floors over and over and so many of them were using paint that is not designed for floors or heavy use. A lot were even using chalk paint! As good as it looked, I always cringed thinking that it probably won’t last long.
What kind of paint to use on ceramic tiles?
Then my friends at Rust-Oleum came out with a line of Rust-Oleum HOME Floor Coating that is made JUST for floors.
It’s extremely durable, easy to use and allows you to paint your tile floors without stripping, sanding or priming first.
And the best part is that you can use it on not only ceramic tile floors, but porcelain tile, concrete, hardwood, laminate, vinyl and more!
What floor paint colors are there?
The fun part about using bathroom floor paint is that there are SO many color choices!
What about painting other tile in a bathroom (not floors)?
If you’re thinking about painting other tile in your bathroom (like maybe a backsplash or even a shower!), you’re going to want to use something like Rust-Oleum’s Speciality Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit, rather than the floor coating. I love how this bathtub turned out after using the kit!
What you need to paint your tile floors:
- Rust-Oleum HOME Floor Base Coating (Smoke), 1 Qt – buy it here
- Rust-Oleum HOME Floor Base Coating (Ultra White), 1 Qt – buy it here
- Rust-Oleum HOME Floor Top Coating (Matte Finish), 1 Qt – best deal to buy in a kit because they don’t sell the 1 Qt size individually online
- Krud Kutter Cleaner/Degreaser
- Paint trays
- Angled paint brush
- 4 inch paint roller
- 3/8″ nap roller cover, 2 (for base coats)
- 1/4″ nap roller cover, 1 (for top coat)
- Dense foam roller, 1 (for stenciling)
- Tile floor stencil – I used this one in 12″ size and got two
- Paper plates (or more paint trays)
- Delicate Surfaces painter’s tape
- Small artist paint brushes
Note about the supplies: If you need two colors for stenciling a tile floor, like I did, your best deal is to purchase a kit like this with the base colored coating + top coat + cleaner and then separately purchase the 2nd color individually.
Step 1: Remove old caulk.
If you have any existing caulk on the floors, you want to remove that first. To remove old caulk, use a sharp utility knife to score the edges of the caulk in between the floor and the caulk line & the tub and the caulk line. Then with needle nose pliers, pick out the caulk. Continue until all old caulk has been removed.
Step 2: Clean tile floors well.
You definitely need to start with super clean floors before painting your tile. Krud Kutter is the best for this because it’s a super duper powerful cleaner that will remove dirt and grime.
Simply spray on and wipe clean with paper towels or a rag.
Step 3: Test floors for adhesion.
As recommended by Rust-Oleum on the can of floor paint, you should test your flooring first to make sure it doesn’t need to be sanded. Even though this took some extra time and patience, I’m glad that I took the extra step just to make sure our floors were ready for painting!
To test your floors:
- You just paint the base coat on a small section about 3 inches by 3 inches
- Wait 12 hours to dry
- Make an X in the paint with an utility knife (don’t go too deep, you just need to get through the painted surface, not actually mark up the flooring!)
- Press duct tape over painted area
- Remove quickly
- If more than 10% of the base coat comes off on the duct tape, you need to sand your floors before painting.
- If sanding is needed, use 60 – 80 grit sandpaper.
Happy to say that absolutely NO paint came up with the duct tape test on our floors, so we didn’t need to sand first. Whew!
Step 4: Apply base coat of bathroom tile paint.
I started with a first coat of white base coat (no color tinting). Start by going around the room and around any edges (like the toilet and sink if you’re painting bathroom floors like me).
Alternatively, you could tape off your baseboards with painter’s tape. I didn’t do this because my baseboards were freshly painted so I was worried about the paint peeling up on the baseboards since the paint wasn’t fully cured yet!
Work your way out of the room so you don’t have to step on the wet paint.
*Note: I chose to do a layer of white base coat in my bathroom before moving onto the colored base coat. However, looking back, I probably could have skipped this step entirely and moved right onto applying the colored base coat right after cleaning the floors. But ya know, hindsight’s 20/20.
Step 5: Colored base coat.
After waiting 6 hours to dry, I painted with the colored base coat. For my bathroom floor paint color, I chose Smoke, which is a great neutral gray color!
I ended up needing to do two coats of the colored base because I could still see a few specks of the white underneath. Wait 6 or more hours in between coats for drying.
Step 6: Stencil.
Now it’s time to move on to stenciling! Even though our bathroom is super small, the tile floor stencils took me an ENTIRE day do.
I honestly think the smaller the room, the harder, because you end up having to do a lot of cutting with the tile floor stencils to make it work around the edges of the room, sinks and toilet.
Here’s the basic process for painting with tile floor stencils:
- Start in the middle of the room and plan out your design. To help you visualize (and not make mistakes), lay out the stencils and paint a few of the registration marks so you know where the stencils will be laid out.
- If you will be able to tile a full sized stencil row along the edge of the room, start there. For my small room, all of the edges needed to be done with cut stencils, so I started in the middle of the room.
- First do you full size stenciled areas in the middle. Line up stencils and gently tape down with Delicate Surfaces Painter’s Tape to hold in place.
- Use a dense foam roller loaded evenly with not too much paint (roll out excess on paper towels or paper plate).
- Roll over the stencil until you have an even coat on the tile floor stencil.
- Use a medium pressure with the roller, rather the pressing hard. If needed, do layers of paint instead of pushing too hard – which will lead to paint bleeding under the stencil.
- Carefully pull up stencil to check for coverage.
- Use the registration marks on the stencil to line up your stencils and continue working.
- When it comes time to start cutting your stencil up for the edges and to work around items like the sink and toilet, plan carefully starting with the largest pieces first and working your way down to small cut out stencils. Even though my bathroom is very small, there was A LOT of cutting needed and at the end I had just a couple small pieces left which made it hard to finish. For this reason, I definitely recommend getting at least two stencils!
The biggest mistake in stenciling tile floors is having too much paint on your roller, which leads to bleeding under the stencil.
Step 7: Touch up stenciled floors.
Wait 6 hours and you can go back in and touch up with a small paint brush.
Even though you can take measures to prevent the stencil bleeding, there will always be some touch up required.
Step 8: Add top coat of floor coating.
Wait 6 hours and then you’re ready to seal the bathroom floor paint with the top coat. I used the matte finish.
To apply the top coat, start by gently wipe the floors with a baby wipe or slight damp paper towel (or lint free cloth). Learn from my mistake here! I didn’t take this step and ended up getting small hairs and dirt in the top coat that was hard to get out once I started.
If needed, go around the edge of the room and anything you’re painting around with an angled paint brush. Then use a 1/4″ nap roller to roll on the top coat in a thin even coat allowing it not to puddle.
Work your way out of the room so you can avoid walking on the floors. Wait 12 hours before using light foot traffic on the floors. Allow a full 7 days for the floors to fully cure (where you can clean as normal and put furniture back in place).
Ta DA!!!!!!! Isn’t she pretty?!
I’m pretty obsessed with how it turned out! I LOVE the stencil pattern and think it added so much character to the room!
Pretty amazing, right?
Before we wrap things up, let’s take another look at the dramatic before and afters, shall we?
I love that there’s a product that allows you to completely reimagine a space without even replacing your floors.
This project is perfect for beginners who aren’t quite ready to fully renovate a bathroom and tile a room or those of us that want to save money and do a budget friendly makeover.
Do you have ugly floors in your house? What room would you try this tile floor paint?
Let us know in the comments below!
- Remove old caulk.
- Clean tile floors well with Krud Kutter.
- Test floors for adhesion.
- Apply base coat of bathroom tile paint.
- Add colored base coat.
- Touch up stenciled floors.
- Add top coat of floor coating.
- Note about the supplies: If you need two colors for stenciling a tile floor, like I did, your best deal is to purchase a kit like this with the base colored coating + top coat + cleaner and then separately purchase the 2nd color individually.