Can You Paint Glass Tile Backsplash?

Painting a glass tile backsplash can completely transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With the right paint and proper preparation, you can easily freshen up old tile or create a whole new color scheme. Here’s what you need to know about painting glass tile backsplashes.

Should You Paint a Glass Tile Backsplash?

Painting glass tile has several advantages:

  • It’s more affordable than replacing the tiles. Re-tiling an entire backsplash can be expensive and time-consuming. Paint provides an easy makeover at a fraction of the cost.
  • You can change the color. Tired of outdated or dingy-looking tile? A fresh coat of paint in a new hue gives your backsplash a whole new look.
  • It updates the aesthetic. Painting tile lets you remodel the backsplash without changing any tiles. This allows you to modernize the space while matching the rest of your interior design.
  • It creates a seamless look. Painting over grout lines helps provide a sleek, uniform appearance. This can make the space look larger.

There are a few factors to keep in mind before painting:

  • The paint may chip or scratch over time. Touch ups may be needed.
  • Paint may not adhere as well to glossy or smooth tiles. They may require etching or primer first.
  • Painting over intricate tile patterns will obscure the original design. A busier tile may look best left unpainted.

As long as the tile is properly prepared, painting a simple glass mosaic backsplash can give it an entirely new look with very little cost or effort.

How to Prepare Glass Tile for Painting

Proper prep work is crucial for the paint to adhere correctly to the tile. Here are the key steps:

Clean the Tile

Make sure the tile is free of any dirt, grime, soap residue, or oily buildup before painting. Clean it thoroughly with a degreasing cleaner or tile cleaning product. Rinse any cleaner off completely.

Remove the Grout

Use a grout removal tool or Dremel rotary tool to carefully scrape out all existing grout between the tiles. Getting grout out of textured glass tile can be tricky. Work slowly to avoid damaging the tile.

Once all the grout is out, vacuum up any debris. Wipe the tile down again. Removing the grout allows the paint to adhere directly to the tile surface for the most seamless look.

Roughen Up the Surface

Most glass tile has an ultra-smooth finish. This can cause paint to peel or chip easily.

Lightly scuffing up the surface helps the paint grip better. Use 150-220 grit sandpaper attached to a sanding block. Gently sand in a circular motion until the shine on the tile dulls.

Be very careful not to apply too much pressure, which can scratch or crack glass tile. Wipe off any dust after sanding.

Apply Primer or Etching Solution

For best results, apply a primer or etching solution before painting. These help the paint bond tightly to the non-porous glass surface.

Primers made specifically for glass, such as Krylon Glass Primer, work great. Or use an etching product containing phosphoric or hydrofluoric acid. Follow all safety precautions when using strong acids. Apply an even coat to all tiles and let dry completely.

How to Paint a Glass Tile Backsplash

Once your tile is prepped, it’s time to apply the paint. Follow these steps:

Choose the Right Paint

Look for paints specifically made for glass and tile. These have formulas that resist chipping and stand up well to moisture.

Some top options include:

  • Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations Kit
  • Krylon Fusion for Plastic and Ceramic
  • BEHR Premium Cabinet and Trim Interior Paint
    -Valspar Premium Ceramic and Porcelain Paint

Semi-gloss or satin finishes often look best on tile as they resist staining and are easy to clean.

Apply Painter’s Tape

Use painter’s tape to mask off any areas you don’t want painted, like countertops, cabinets, or switchplates. Press the tape edges down firmly to prevent bleeding.

Paint With a Small Roller or Brush

Dip the paintbrush in the tray and apply a smooth, even coat using light, long strokes. Make sure to get paint into the corners.

For large areas, a small foam roller can help speed up the application process. Always maintain a wet edge to prevent lap marks.

Apply Multiple Coats

Most glass tile needs 2-3 coats of paint for best coverage and durability. Allow each coat to dry 3-4 hours before adding another. Sand lightly between coats if the surface feels rough.

Remove Tape and Re-Caulk

Once the final coat is dry, carefully remove all tape. Use a razor blade on edges. Then recaulk along countertops, sinks, and any other areas that need fresh caulk. Let dry fully.

And that’s it — you now have a beautifully transformed glass tile backsplash! Proper prep and the right paint allows you to easily refresh your kitchen in a weekend. Just be sure to allow the paint at least a week to fully cure before cleaning or using the backsplash. With a little care, your painted tile can look fresh for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about Painting Glass Tile Backsplash

What kind of paint adheres best to glass tile?

Look for tile and glass-specific paints like Krylon Fusion or Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations. The formulas are designed to bond tightly and resist moisture.

Can you use regular wall paint on a backsplash?

Regular wall paints may not stick or hold up as well on slick non-porous tile. Enamel, epoxy, or urethane interior paints can work but may require more prep. Always use primer.

How long does it take for paint on tile to dry?

Most tile paints take 1-3 hours to dry between coats. Allow the final coat to cure at least 24-48 hours before use. Let the paint cure for a full week before thorough cleaning or wiping.

Will painted tile scratch or stain easily?

Quality paint finishes formulated for glass and tile resist chipping, fading, and stains. Satin or semi-gloss sheens hold up best for backsplashes. Hand wash gently using non-abrasive sponges.

Can you paint over cracked or damaged tile?

Painting can camouflage minor cracks or chips. But repair larger damaged areas with caulk or sealant before painting. Badly cracked or missing grout should be re-grouted for best results.

How long will painted tile last?

With proper prep and application, painted tile can last 3-5 years or more. Heavy usage areas may require touch ups over time. Re-apply another 1-2 coats as needed to refresh the painted finish.


Painting a glass tile backsplash is an easy and affordable way to transform the heart of your kitchen. With the right paint and preparation, even old outdated tile can be given a modern makeover. Be sure to thoroughly clean and roughen the tile, prime it, and apply 2-3 coats of a specialized glass and tile paint. Allow the paint to fully cure before using the backsplash. Follow these steps and your freshly painted backsplash will provide a beautiful focal point that lasts for years of cooking and entertaining.