Can You Paint Over Backsplash?

Painting over an existing backsplash can be a quick and easy way to update the look of your kitchen without undergoing a full renovation. However, there are some important factors to consider before slapping a fresh coat of paint over your old backsplash. Here is a comprehensive guide on whether you can paint over backsplash tiles, and how to do it right.

Can You Paint Over Ceramic Tile Backsplash?

Yes, it is possible to paint over existing ceramic tile backsplash. Ceramic tiles have a non-porous glazed surface that provides a good base for painting. However, the success of painting over ceramic tile depends on thorough surface prep and using the right type of paint.

When painting over ceramic backsplash tiles, it’s important to use a bonding primer or tile paint formulated for slick surfaces. This helps the new paint adhere properly. An acrylic latex paint formulated for bathroom and kitchen use is ideal. Stay away from regular wall paints, as they may not bond well or withstand moisture.

Make sure to thoroughly clean and lightly sand the tiles to rough up the surface before painting. This allows the paint to grip better. Be patient and do multiple thin coats of paint to avoid brush marks and uneven coverage.

Can You Paint Over Backsplash Glass Tiles?

Glass backsplash tiles can definitely be painted over, but it requires some additional preparation compared to ceramic tiles. Glass has an ultra-smooth surface that paint can have trouble adhering to.

To paint over glass backsplash tiles, start by lightly sanding the surface. This helps the paint grip. Wipe away all dust. Then apply a clear acrylic bonding primer made for glass and slick surfaces. This gives the topcoats of paint something to hold onto. A 100% acrylic latex paint formulated for bathrooms works best for the finish. Apply thin even coats.

Can You Paint Over Stone Backsplash?

Natural stone backsplash like granite, marble, slate, etc. can be painted, but it can be tricky. Stone is very porous and you’ll need to properly seal and prime it for paint to adhere properly without sagging.

First, clean and dry the stone backsplash tiles thoroughly. Use a staining blocking primer specifically made for stone surfaces. This seals and creates a surface for painting. A 100% acrylic paint made for high-moisture areas works best as the topcoat. Apply in thin coats.

The paint finish on natural stone will require some maintenance and re-coating as it can chip or wear over time due to the porosity of the stone.

Can You Paint Over Backsplash Mural Tiles?

Backsplash murals made of ceramic tiles can definitely be painted over. Follow the same process as painting over regular ceramic tiles.

Thoroughly clean the tiles, lightly sand, and apply a bonding primer. Then apply at least two coats of a bathroom/kitchen acrylic latex paint in the color of your choice. This will fully hide the existing mural design.

Can You Paint Over Stainless Steel Backsplash?

Stainless steel backsplashes can be painted, but require a coat specifically made to bond to the slick metal surface.

Lightly scuff the surface with fine grit sandpaper to help with adhesion. Wipe away any residue or dust. Then apply a thin coat of etching primer formulated for smooth metals. Once fully dry, follow up with a couple coats of appliance epoxy spray paint. Choose a semi-gloss or gloss finish for easier cleaning.

Step-By-Step Process for Painting Over Backsplash Tiles

Here is a complete step-by-step overview of how to properly paint over an existing backsplash:

Supplies Needed

  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleaning rags
  • Paint primer
  • Acrylic latex paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray

Prep Steps

  1. Remove any items on backsplash like towel bars, shelves, etc.
  2. Clean tiles thoroughly with TSP to remove oils, soap scum, and grime.
  3. Rinse well and let dry fully.
  4. Apply painter’s tape around the edges to protect cabinets and countertops.
  5. Lightly scuff glazed tile surfaces with fine grit sandpaper.
  6. Wipe away all dust with a tack cloth.

Painting Process

  1. Apply a bonding primer suited for the tile type. Allow to fully dry.
  2. Do first coat of acrylic latex paint, using a small brush for grout lines.
  3. Let paint dry 4-6 hours then do a second coat.
  4. Use painter’s tape to create clean paint lines against ceiling, cabinets, etc.
  5. Apply third thin coat if needed for full coverage.
  6. Allow paint to cure fully for at least 72 hours before cleaning or replacing items.

Tips for Successfully Painting Over Backsplash

  • Take time to clean tiles thoroughly and sand smooth surfaces. This helps paint adhere.
  • Always test paint compatibility and adhesion on a small hidden area first.
  • Apply painter’s tape for clean edges against walls, countertops, ceilings.
  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid messy drips.
  • Do multiple thin coats of paint for a smooth finish vs thick coats.
  • Give new paint several days to fully cure before cleaning or replacing items.
  • Be prepared to do periodic touch ups over worn areas as needed.


Painting over existing backsplash tiles can refresh the look of your kitchen without requiring a full tile tear-out. With the right prep and paint products, even ceramic, glass, stone, metal, and mural backsplashes can be updated with a fresh coat of color. Just be sure to take time to properly clean and prime the surface so the new paint will adhere well and withstand moisture. Follow the tips above to tackle a backsplash painting project with success.