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Painting Floor Tiles Correctly

By Jim Dugan
Professional Contractor & DIY Expert

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Whether they're vinyl, porcelain, fiberglass, ceramic, mosaic or terrazzo; tiles will not hold a painted finish unless they are appropriately conditioned using the proper preparation techniques. Painting floor tiles is not particularly difficult as long as you take the time to prepare the surface for better adhesion, beforehand.

Preparing Tiles for Paint

Most people don't know how to paint floor tiles, and their best efforts inevitably lead to chipping and peeling. No type of paint will stick to tiling unless the surface is abraded. Scour the tiles with sandpaper until they feel coarse to your fingertips, or expect rampant paint failure at some point in the future.

Applying a Bonding Primer

Even after you've abraded the floor tile, it will reject paint unless you've added the proper bonding primer. Use an acrylic primer specially made for floors.

Paint for Floor Tiles

Ordinary latex paint is fine for walls; however, it won't hold up on your floor tiling. Choose an acrylic floor paint, specially manufactured for horizontal surfaces forced to endure significant foot traffic. You may also use a two-part epoxy coating for enhanced durability.

Important Considerations

Preparation is the fundamental key to painting floor tiles. Primer and paint will not adhere to your tiling if it isnít clean. Scrub the flooring with a tri-sodium phosphate cleanser before doing anything else, or expect significant finish failure.