Can I Paint Backsplash Tile?


Backsplashes play an important role in kitchens and bathrooms – they protect the walls from water damage and splashes while adding style. If you have a tile backsplash, you may be wondering if painting it is an option to update its look without replacing the tiles. The short answer is yes, you can paint ceramic, porcelain, or even glass tile backsplashes with the right prep and paint. Painting tile backsplashes can be an affordable and easy weekend project to refresh your space.

Benefits of Painting Tile Backsplash

  • Cost effective: Replacing tiles can be expensive, but painting them allows you to update the look for a fraction of the price. Paint and supplies will likely run you less than $100.
  • Quick update: Prepping and painting a backsplash can usually be done over 1-2 days. Much faster than re-tiling which can take several days.
  • Easy customization: Paint allows you to choose any color you like to match your new décor. You can even paint a pattern or mural for added interest.
  • Covers imperfections: Painting can conceal any chips, cracks, discoloration, or grout stains on existing tiles. It creates a fresh uniform look.
  • Less mess: Painting creates less mess than a full backsplash demolition and re-tiling project. The wall area stays intact.

What Type of Tiles Can Be Painted?

The good news is that most types of backsplash tile can be painted successfully:

  • Ceramic tiles: The most common material, ceramic absorbs paint well.
  • Porcelain tiles: Denser than ceramic and less porous, but paint still adheres with proper prep.
  • Glass tiles: More prone to show brush strokes, but paintable with a spray application.
  • Stone tiles: Materials like granite, marble, and slate will need specialty paints.

The key is proper prep and primer before painting any tile. This helps the paint adhere. More porous tiles like ceramic may require extra primer coats.

How to Prepare and Paint Tile Backsplash

Painting a tile backsplash is fairly straightforward. Follow these steps for best results:

Clean and Remove Gloss

  • Wash tiles thoroughly with a degreasing cleaner and rinse. This removes dirt, oils, and soap scum.
    -Degloss shiny tiles by scuff sanding or using deglossing solution. This helps the paint adhere.

Repair Grout Lines

  • Re-grout any cracked or missing areas and let dry completely.
  • Caulk around edges, fixtures, and outlets if needed.

Apply Primer

  • For ceramic or porcelain, use a tile primer made for slick surfaces.
  • Apply a minimum of 2 coats following label directions.

Paint Tile Surface

  • Use 100% acrylic interior paint for best adhesion and durability.
  • Apply a minimum of 2 coats with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
  • If spraying, back-roll for a smooth finish without drips.

Seal and Protect Paint

  • Allow paint to cure fully, usually at least 24 hours.
  • Seal with a clear acrylic sealer for added protection when dry.

Tips and Considerations

  • For a smoother finish on grout lines, apply grout paint or whitewash after sealing the tile.
  • If painting a mosaic tile pattern, use painter’s tape to mask off edges for crisp lines.
  • Make sure paint type is compatible with original tile material and any sealers previously used.
  • Textured or glossy paint finishes can help hide brush strokes on glass tile.
  • Hire a pro if removing or altering existing backsplash. Painting is easy DIY.

With the right preparations and techniques, it is perfectly possible for DIYers to paint their kitchen or bathroom backsplash tiles. The result is an affordable, customized, new look for your space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Painting Tile Backsplashes

Can I use regular wall paint on a tile backsplash?

For best adhesion and durability on slick tile, interior paints formulated especially for high-gloss surfaces are recommended. Latex or acrylic interior paints can work for ceramic and some porcelain. Avoid exterior paints.

How long does a painted tile backsplash last?

With proper prep and sealing, a painted backsplash can last 3-5 years or more before needing touch ups. Using a high quality interior paint helps extend the life. Proper cleaning is important – use gentle dish soap, don’t abrasively scrub.

Can I use spray paint on backsplash tiles?

Yes, spray paint formulated for glossy indoor use will adhere to tiles. Make sure to apply even coats. Spraying results in a smoother finish than brushes on glass mosaic tiles.

What kind of primer do I need for painting a tile backsplash?

Look for primers specifically made for tiles or other slick, non-porous surfaces. These contain additives for maximum adhesion. 2-3 coats of primer are ideal to block out stains.

Can I just paint over my existing backsplash without priming?

Primer is strongly recommended. Without it, the paint may chip or peel quickly. Primer provides a uniform base and helps the new paint stick to the slick tile surface. Proper prep is key for lasting results.


Painting a tile backsplash allows you to inexpensively refresh your kitchen or bath in just a weekend. With somesimple preparation, high quality interior paint, and primer specifically for tile, you can easilyupdate the color of your existing ceramic, porcelain, or glass tile backsplash. Take your time prepping thesurface and applying paint in multiple coats. Add a sealant once dry for protection. Then enjoy your freshnew backsplash look!