Can U Paint Backsplash Tiles?

Painting backsplash tiles can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With some preparation and technique, you can easily paint over existing ceramic, porcelain or even glass backsplash tiles. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to paint backsplash tiles.


Painting over backsplash tiles allows you to inexpensively refresh the look of your backsplash. It is a budget-friendly alternative to removing and replacing tile. With proper preparation and application, painted tiles can look fresh, uniform and updated.

Painted backsplash tiles are best suited for ceramic, porcelain or glass tiles. Paint adheres well to these non-porous surfaces. Painting over natural stone or highly textured tile is not recommended. The prep work and number of coats needed for an even finish makes painting rough backsplash tiles much more tedious.

When considering painting backsplash tiles, it is best to use a high-quality, kitchen-bathroom suitable acrylic latex paint. Avoid exterior porch and floor paints as they are not ideal for backsplash use. An acrylic enamel paint is preferred for its durability and scrubbability.

Steps to Paint Backsplash Tiles

Painting backsplash tiles involves careful prep work and patience during the painting process. Here are the key steps:

Clean the Tiles

Use a degreasing cleaner or ammonia-based cleaner to thoroughly clean the tiles. This helps the paint better adhere to the tile surface. Rinse well and let dry completely.

Sand Glossy Tiles

If tiles have a shiny finish, lightly scuff sand them to dull the surface. This allows paint to bond better. Use 220-grit sandpaper and avoid scratching the tile surface. Wipe away sanding dust.

Apply Primer

Priming helps the paint better adhere to the non-porous tile surface. Use a high-bonding primer specifically made for glossy surfaces. Apply a thin, even coat per manufacturer directions and let dry completely.

Paint Backsplash Tiles

Use a small paint roller or brush to apply two coats of acrylic latex paint. Let the first coat fully dry before adding the second coat. Gently roll or brush to avoid leaving drips. Read the paint directions for drying times.

Seal and Protect Paint

Once the paint has fully cured, apply a polyurethane sealer to protect the finished paint job. Apply two thin, even coats allowing proper drying time between coats.

Tips for Painting Backsplash Tiles

  • Lightly sand tiles and prime before painting for best adhesion.
  • Apply paint in thin, even coats using a small foam roller or brush.
  • Let each coat of paint fully dry before adding an additional coat.
  • Use painter’s tape to cover adjacent surfaces to avoid drips and splatters.
  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid having to go back and fix drips or uneven coverage.
  • Seal painted tiles with polyurethane sealer to protect the finish.
  • Consider spraying paint as an alternative method for experienced DIYers.

Questions and Answers

Can you use any type of paint on backsplash tiles?

No, it’s best to use a high-quality acrylic latex paint made for kitchen and bathroom use. Avoid using exterior porch and floor paints. Look for an acrylic enamel paint for the most durable finish.

What kind of backsplash tiles can you paint?

Ceramic, porcelain and glass backsplash tiles can be painted using proper preparation and application techniques. Avoid painting over natural stone, granite, and other highly textured tile.

How do you prepare tiles for painting?

Clean thoroughly with an ammonia-based degreaser, rinse and let dry. Lightly sand glossy tiles to dull the finish for better paint adhesion. Wipe away dust and apply a priming coat.

Can you paint over crackled or damaged tiles?

It is best to replace any tiles that are cracked, chipped or damaged. Prepping and painting over damaged tiles will be tedious and the paint may not properly adhere.

How many coats of paint do you need?

Plan to apply two thin, even coats of acrylic latex paint allowing proper drying time between coats. More coats may be needed for dark paint colors. Read the manufacturer directions.

How do you protect the painted backsplash?

Once fully cured, apply two coats of polyurethane sealer. This helps protect the finish from moisture, grease splatters and potential scratches.


Painting over existing backsplash tiles allows you to refresh the look without costly replacement. With proper cleaning, light sanding, priming and application of acrylic latex paint, you can achieve an updated backsplash on a budget. Use high quality paint, apply thin even coats and take time to prep tiles for success. Protect the finished paint job using a polyurethane sealer. With some patience and technique, it is possible to paint over ceramic, porcelain or glass backsplash tiles.