Can You Paint Vinyl Backsplash?

Painting a vinyl backsplash can refresh the look of your kitchen without the cost and mess of replacing the entire backsplash. With proper preparation and technique, painting vinyl backsplashes can be an easy DIY project. Here is a detailed guide on how to paint a vinyl backsplash in your kitchen.

Should You Paint a Vinyl Backsplash?

Painting vinyl backsplashes is a cost-effective way to update the look of your kitchen. It allows you to change the color and finish of your backsplash without removing and replacing the vinyl.

Benefits of Painting a Vinyl Backsplash

  • Less expensive – Painting is much cheaper than installing a new tile or stone backsplash. Cans of spray paint or acrylic paint for backsplashes cost between $5-$30.
  • Easy application – Paint goes on quickly and smoothly compared to laying new tile. No need to remove old vinyl.
  • Fast project – Painting a backsplash can be a weekend DIY project versus a lengthy re-tiling job.
  • Play with color – Paint allows you to choose any color paint for your backsplash.
  • Maintain shape – Painting keeps the existing shape and design of the vinyl backsplash.

Drawbacks of Painting a Vinyl Backsplash

  • Durability – Paint may scratch or fade more easily than tile or vinyl. Requires touch-ups.
  • Textured vinyl – Heavily textured vinyl is harder to properly cover with paint.
  • Limited finishes – Paint does not replicate the glossy finish orLook of new tile.
  • Permanent change – Painting is a permanent change unlike swapping out décor.

How to Prepare a Vinyl Backsplash for Painting

Proper prep work helps ensure the paint adheres well to the vinyl backsplash.

Clean and Degrease

Clean the backsplash with an all-purpose cleaner or degreasing agent like TSP. This removes any dirt, grease, or grime so the paint sticks.

Sand Gently

Lightly sanding the vinyl creates roughness for the paint to cling to. Use 150-220 grit sandpaper and avoid sanding all the way through the vinyl layer.

Patch Any Holes

Fill any holes, scratches, warped vinyl, or grout lines with caulk or spackle to create a smooth surface.

Prime the Surface

After cleaning and light sanding, apply a primer coat like KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer to prep for painting.

Apply Painter’s Tape

tape off any adjacent surfaces like countertops or walls to prevent unwanted paint smears. Remove tape after painting before the paint fully dries.

Choosing the Right Paint for a Vinyl Backsplash

Picking the correct type of paint ensures it will adhere properly and withstand moisture.

Acrylic Latex Paint

Water-based acrylic latex paint is the best choice for vinyl backsplashes in kitchens and baths. It sticks well to vinyl and holds up to some scrubbing and moisture. Opt for interior paint with a satin, eggshell, or semi-gloss finish.

Spray Paint

Specialty spray paint formulated for plastic surfaces can also work well and applies easily for full vinyl backsplash coverage. Use an enamel spray paint for durability and be sure to apply enough thin coats to avoid drips.

Avoid Oil-Based Paints

Steer clear of oil-based paints like enamel, alkyd, and urethane paints which do not flex well and may crack or chip when cleaning the vinyl backsplash.

How to Paint a Vinyl Backsplash

Follow these steps for painting your vinyl backsplash:

1. Lightly Sand Surface

Give the surface a final light sanding before painting for better adhesion.

2. Wipe Clean of Dust

Use a dry cloth to remove any leftover dust from sanding so it does not contaminate the paint.

3. Apply Primer Coat

Roll on a coat of high-bonding primer to prep the vinyl to accept the paint. Allow primer to fully dry.

4. Apply Two Coats of Paint

Use a small paint roller, brush, or spray bottle to apply two coats of acrylic latex paint, allowing proper drying time between coats.

5. Remove Painter’s Tape

Once paint is fully dry, remove any painter’s tape used to protect adjacent surfaces.

6. Seal with Polyurethane (Optional)

For added protection, apply 1-2 thin coats of polyurethane sealer over the finished painted backsplash.

Painting Vinyl Backsplash FAQs

Can you use spray paint on vinyl backsplash?

Yes, enamel spray paint works well on vinyl backsplashes. Ensure proper nozzle distance to avoid drips. Apply light coats allowing drying time between applications.

What kind of paint adheres best to vinyl?

Water-based acrylic latex or enamel spray paints specifically designed for plastics provide the best adhesion on vinyl surfaces. Avoid oil paints.

How do I paint textured vinyl backsplash?

For heavy textured vinyl, use a small roller and nylon brush to work the paint into the grooves. Apply several thin coats allowing proper drying between coats.

Can you paint right over existing vinyl backsplash?

Yes, most vinyl backsplashes can be painted directly without removing the old vinyl. Proper prep and priming are key to help the new paint adhere.

Does vinyl backsplash painting look good?

When done properly, painting vinyl backsplashes can give a clean, updated look. It will not have the exact finish of a new tile backsplash. But painting does provides a facelift at a fraction of the cost.


Painting vinyl backsplashes in the kitchen or bathroom provides an inexpensive way to update the look and color of your existing backsplash. With the right paint products and application techniques, even heavy textured vinyl can be given a fresh painted makeover. Just be sure to properly prepare the surface so the durable acrylic latex paints adhere smoothly. With a little time and effort, you can paint your outdated vinyl backsplash and enjoy a revitalized appearance.