Can You Paint Stone Tile Backsplash?

Painting a stone tile backsplash can give your kitchen a fresh, updated look without the hassle and expense of replacing the tiles. With the right prep work and paint products, you can easily transform the look of your existing stone backsplash. Here’s what you need to know about painting stone tile backsplashes.

Should You Paint a Stone Tile Backsplash?

Painting stone tile has several benefits:

  • Cost-effective: Buying paint is much cheaper than re-tiling an entire backsplash. Painting lets you update the look at a fraction of the cost.
  • Quick makeover: Prepping and painting a stone tile backsplash can typically be done over a weekend. Much faster than demo and re-tiling.
  • Customizable finish: Paint opens up many possibilities for finish like gloss, matte, metallic, chalky paints and more.
  • Hides flaws: Painting can conceal chips, cracks, discoloration and other flaws in the existing tile.

However, there are a few downsides to consider:

  • Paint may not adhere as long-term as new tile. Requires occasional touch-ups.
  • Glossy painted finishes highlight uneven tiles more than matte finishes.
  • Can’t create same intricate patterns as decorative tile.

Overall, painting a stone tile backsplash is best for a short-term spruce up on a budget. For a permanent solution, re-tiling may be better.

What Type of Paint Adheres to Stone Tile?

For a successful painted stone tile backsplash, it’s essential to choose the right type of paint:

  • Epoxy paint – Offer excellent adhesion and a durable finish. Ideal for high-moisture kitchen backsplashes.
  • Acrylic paint – Specifically formulated for tiles and masonry. Flexible finish won’t crack or peel.
  • Latex paint – Usually not recommended. Doesn’t bond well and can peel off over time.
  • Chalk paint – Provides a trendy matte look. Requires a sealant top coat for protection.
  • Enamel paint – Often used for kitchen and bath surfaces. Provides a glossy, scrubbable finish.

Be sure to use interior/exterior formulas for kitchen backsplashes. Check manufacturer instructions for any specific surfaces or prep recommendations.

How to Prepare Stone Tile for Painting

Proper prep work is crucial for successful, long-lasting paint adherence on stone tile. Follow these key steps:

Clean Surface Thoroughly

  • Remove all grease, soap residue and dirt using a degreasing cleaner or TSP substitute.
  • Scrub grout lines to eliminate built-up grime. Use a grout brush or toothbrush.
  • Rinse tiles well and allow to fully dry before painting.

Sand Glossy Tiles

  • For glossy tile, lightly sand the surface to remove shine.
  • Use 220 grit sandpaper and avoid scrubbing too hard.
  • Wipe away sanding dust.

Repair Cracks and Holes

  • Fill any cracks, chips, holes or uneven areas with spackling paste.
  • Allow paste to fully cure before painting.

Remove Outdated Caulk

  • Cut away old, cracked caulk from seams.
  • Recaulk with quality silicone caulk and let cure fully.

Apply Primer

  • After thorough cleaning, apply a primer coat suited for tile/masonry.
  • Allow primer to fully dry per manufacturer’s directions before painting.

What Type of Paint Finish Is Best?

There are a few considerations when choosing a painted finish for your stone tile backsplash:

  • Matte finish – Hides imperfections in uneven tile surfaces best. Provides a modern, trendy look.
  • Satin finish – Offers slight durability boost over matte. Provides a stone-like look.
  • Gloss finish – Very durable and scrubbable but enhances imperfections more.
  • Metallic finish – Adds a glamorous, almost iridescent effect.
  • Chalky finish – Achieves a soft look but requires protective top coat.

For high-use kitchen backsplashes, satin or semi-gloss enamel paints provide the best blend of appearance and protective finish.

How to Paint a Stone Tile Backsplash

Once prepped properly, applying paint is straightforward. Follow these steps:

1. Begin with a Base Coat

  • Use primer or paint base coat tinted close to your final color. This helps coverage.
  • Apply in thin, even coats using an angled trim brush or mini roller.
  • Allow to fully dry before moving on.

2. Add Second Coat

  • For best coverage, apply two coats of top-coat paint in your desired sheen and color.
  • Thin each coat with paint thinner or water (check label).
  • Allow proper dry time between coats.

3. Paint Grout Lines

  • Use an artists’ brush or Q-tip to carefully paint grout lines.
  • Take care not to get paint on surrounding tiles.
  • Tape off edges for cleaner results.

4. Remove Tape and Touch-up

  • Once fully dry, remove any painters tape used during process.
  • Make any final touch ups with paint brush.
  • Avoid heavy scrubbing for several weeks to allow paint to fully cure.

Tips for Achieving Best Results

Follow these tips to ensure your painted stone tile backsplash looks amazing:

  • Take time to clean thoroughly before painting for best adhesion.
  • Apply thin coats of paint instead of thick coats which can crack or bubble.
  • Tape off edges and outlets for super sharp paint lines.
  • Use high-quality polyurethane or epoxy paints for a durable finish.
  • Consider adding texture with textured paint rollers or brush techniques.
  • Seal chalky or matte paints with polyurethane for added protection.
  • Test colors on posterboard before committing to painting.

With proper products and techniques, you can refresh your kitchen backsplash with a brand new painted stone tile look! Take your time prepping the surface and applying paint. The results will be well worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular latex paint on stone tile?

No, regular wall paint does not adhere well to non-porous surfaces like stone tile. Opt for specialty paints made for tile, masonry and metals.

Should I use a paint primer first?

Yes, quality primer enhances paint adhesion and provides a smooth base coat. Primers like Bulls Eye 1-2-3 are ideal for tile and masonry.

How long does painted tile last in kitchens?

With proper prep and quality epoxy paints, a painted backsplash can last 3-5 years before needing touch ups. Proper sealing helps prolong the finish.

Should grout be sealed before painting?

Sealing grout prior to painting is recommended to prevent paint bleeding into the grout lines. Use a penetrating grout sealer.

Can I get stone tile paint colors matched?

Yes, many paint brands can accurately match colors if you provide a sample. Benjamin Moore is known for spot-on custom color matching.


Painting a stone tile backsplash opens up many quick and affordable options to update your kitchen’s look. With the right primers, paints and plenty of elbow grease for prepping, you can achieve a brand new backsplash on a DIY budget. Use high-quality epoxy or acrylic paints, allow proper drying times between coats, tape off edges for sharp paint lines and take care when painting grout. With some simple techniques and patience, your outdated stone tile backsplash can be looking fresh and new.