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How to Paint Tile Floors

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My daughter and son-in-law recently purchased their first home, together.  An older, all-brick, rambler built in the 70s.  The kitchen had been updated but everything else in the home was original.  Andrew & Rachel could live with most of the original interior but NOT the foyer floor!   The floor was a combination of mustard, tan and random splotchy of chocolate with texture.  The grout was chocolate, as well, with 50 years of dirt.  No matter how many times you scrubbed it, it still looked dirty.  Also, it made the foyer look small and tight. 

I read about Rustoleum’s Floor Covering and decided to give this tile paint a try!  Anything would be an improvement!! 

painting tile floors

Step 1: Thoroughly Clean the Tile

Cleaning the tile is the most important step to ensure the paint forms a strong hold.  Since they just purchased the house, this floor was scrubbed very well several times! All the stuck on debris had already been cleared off.  So I decided to use denatured alcohol to give it one last thorough scrub.  

paint ceramic floor

Step 2: Tape off any trim, walls, or thresholds

Use a painters tape to tape off around the edge of your tile.  Be sure to tape the trim, walls, and any thresholds that you do not what to get paint on.  After taping off, I was ready to paint!

Hint: Learn from me! Do not try to tuck the tape underneath trim or thresholds.  This proved to be problematic when it was time to remove the tape!

Step 3: Apply the Base color

bathroom tile

For the base coat I used the color Steam Gray.  Don’t be fooled by the name, the color is white!  I started by trimming the edges and most of the grout lines using a good 2” brush

Next, I rolled the entire floor using a ¾” nap roller.  I also kept my paint brush handy, there were some grout lines I thought would cover with the roller but they did not and the brush was needed to ensure everything was covers.

Then I waited 6 hours for the floor to dry.  Since the original floor was so dark in color, I needed a 2nd coat.  I wore clean socks on my feet and trimmed the edges and grout lines again with a 2” brush.  Then left the floor to dry overnight. 

Step 4: Apply the Secondary Color

Since the floor had texture, I decided to apply a color to the white to bring the texture out.  I also thought the white floor was too white.  I used the color Coastal Fog.  If your tile does not have a texture then you can use a tile stencil to add a pattern to give the floor some additional detail! 

Using the dry brushing technique, I applied Coastal Fog on top of the white paint.  If it went on too heavy, I used a clean rag to wipe the paint away.  At one point, when I looked at the floor I thought it looked splotchy so I applied more paint and then wiped away again. 

NOTE:  Be very careful here because you can pull up the base coat.  The paint doesn’t fully cure for 7 days. 

After the dry brushing was complete and I was happy with the overall look, I waited 2-3 hours for this coat to dry.

how to paint floor tiles

Step 5: Apply the Top Coat

According to Rustoleum, you only need to apply one top coat.  I personally think it’s best to apply 2 coats for durability, but the dry time is 24 hours between coats and usage. Rachel and Andrew were anxious to move into their new home so I did only get to do one top coat.  I will update over time on the durability! 

 I again started by trimming the edges and some grout lines using a 2” paint brush and then rolled the top coat on the floor using 1/4” nap roller.  Then, waited 24 hours and WOW!!  The transformation is amazing!  The splotchy spots on the floor I saw were gone!    

Step 6: Remove the Painter's Tape

diy projects

I hinted at this above but here is where I encountered a bit of a problem!  When I tried to remove the tape, it started to pull up some paint.  I don’t know if it was the tape, although I used a painters tape or the paint on the tape but I had to adjust how I went about removing it.

For the remainder of the tape removal, I used a utility knife and scored a line at the base of the trim, walls, and threshold.  This worked fine and didn’t pull the paint. 

I did leave some tiny bits of painters tape behind that were just stuck underneath the trim, so I ran a bead of white caulk around the perimeter of the floor.  The results are beautiful and the foyer is light and bright! 

paint floor tiles

The overall application of this paint was user friendly and the finish looks professional, even for the novice painter! Learning how to paint tile floors was easier than I expected and I love the results!

As I said above, the floor does not fully cure for 7 days.  Do not set anything on the floor until after that time; e.g., rugs, furniture, etc.  You can walk over it, during this time, but I would advise you remove your shoes.

Re-doing your mudroom?  Check out our guide on building a mudroom bench

How to Paint Tile Floors Links

Rust-Oleum Home 1 qt. Coastal Fog Interior Floor Base Matte Clear Coating Kit
Rust-Oleum Home 1 qt. Steam Gray Interior Floor Base Matte Clear Coating Kit*

*For a more cost efficient option, if you are in the store they do sell 1 qt. of the floor paint that you can have mixed at the paint counter.  

paint tiles

How to Paint Tile Floors

Prep Time 1 hr
Build Time 6 hrs
Dry + Cure Time 10 d

Equipment

  • Painter's Tape
  • 2" Brush
  • 3/4" Nap Roller
  • Utility Knife
  • 1/4" Nap Roller

materials
  

  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Ultra White Interior Floor Base Coating
  • Steam Gray Interior Floor Base Matte Clear Coating Kit (includes top coat)
  • Coastal Fog Interior Floor Base Matte Clear Coating Kit
  • Krud Kutter (if needed)

Instructions
 

  • Thoroughly Clean the Tile
  • Tape off any Trim, Walls, or Thresholds
  • Apply the Base Color
  • Apply the Secondary Color
  • Apply the Top Coat
  • Remove the Painter's Tape
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