How to Paint Ceramic Tile Flooring

What You'll Need
Spray bathroom tile cleaner
Large sponge floor mop
Tile caulking
Tile repair epoxy
220-grit (fine) sandpaper
Power sander with low-speed setting
Painter's green tape
Oil-based paint or epoxy paint
2-inch natural bristle paint brushes
4-foot paint roller handle
Fine nap paint rollers
Clear water-based polyurethane sealer

You can paint ceramic tile flooring with an oil-based paint. It will stand up to foot traffic for years with a final coat of clear urethane, just like the kind used on hardwood floors. Follow the directions below to freshen your ceramic tile floor with a great paint job.

Step 1: Diagram Your Tile Pattern for Painting

You may choose to paint your tiles in a checkerboard, or with a contrasting border. Diagram the tile pattern for painting on a sheet of 1/4 inch graphing paper. If you are painting the whole floor a single color, you can skip this step. Purchase your paint according to the square floor footage of the room.

Step 2: Empty the Room and Open Windows for Ventilation

Remove all floor furnishings and rugs. Tape off all baseboards and doorways in the room with painter's green tape. Vacuum and sweep the ceramic tile floor. Open room windows and doors to allow for adequate ventilation while painting with oil-based paint, and to speed the curing of repaired tiles.

Step 3: Thoroughly Clean the Tile Surfaces

Use a spray bathroom cleaner recommended for tiles to clean and degrease the ceramic tile and grout. Apply it from the spray bottle and spread it over the floor with a sponge mop. Rinse out the mop with cool water and pass the mop over the floor surface again to rinse off dirt and excess cleaner solution.

Step 4: Repair Cracked and Chipped Tiles

Fix cracks and chips in tiles with tile grout and acrylic epoxy before painting. Allow the adhesives and grout to cure for 2 days, and check there is no "tacky" surface tension remaining. Once the surfaces are smooth to the touch you can paint them.

Step 5: Roughen the Tile Surface

Make 1 pass with the power sander fitted with a 220-grit sandpaper disk over the entire floor, then vacuum up all the dust. This will roughen the surface just enough so the oil or epoxy paint will adhere most effectively. Ensure you perform this step on glazed ceramic tiles. For unglazed tiles, this step is optional, depending on the reflectivity of the tiles.

Step 6: Apply Paint

If you are painting a pattern on your floor, apply the lightest color first with the natural bristle brushes, then the darkest colors. If you accidentally paint the wrong tile in a light color, the darker color will easily cover it. Use the 4-foot paint roller to apply a single color over the entire floor, including the grout lines. Allow the paint to dry for 48 hours to ensure it has adhered to the tile.

Step 7: Apply Urethane Sealer

Use the long-handled paint roller to apply water-based clear urethane sealer over the entire painted floor. The sealer will protect your paintwork and ensure years of vibrant, scratch-resistant color on your ceramic tile floor.