Can You Spray Paint Backsplash? The Complete Guide

When it comes to kitchen backsplashes, spray painting can be an affordable and easy DIY option to quickly upgrade the look. But before grabbing a can of spray paint, it’s important to understand what’s involved and how best to get long-lasting results. This complete guide will cover everything you need to know about spray painting kitchen backsplashes.

An Introduction to Spray Painting Backsplashes

Spray painting allows you to easily change the color and look of your existing backsplash without the mess and expense of a full tile replacement. It can revive an old, dated backsplash and give new life to your kitchen.

Some key advantages of spray painting backsplashes include:

  • Cost savings – Much more budget-friendly compared to retiling or installing new backsplash materials. Cans of spray paint typically range from $5 to $20.
  • Quick project – Prepping and painting a backsplash can usually be accomplished in a weekend. No need to spend weeks on a full remodel.
  • Easy application – With some prep and priming, spray paint applies smoothly and evenly. Much easier for DIYers than tile setting.
  • Customizable color – Choose any color spray paint to match your decor or appliances. Go bold or neutral.
  • Variety of sheens – Matte, satin, gloss and more. Pick a finish that achieves the look you want.

So if your goal is to inexpensively upgrade your backsplash with a fresh pop of color, spray paint can be the perfect solution.

What Kind of Backsplashes Can Be Spray Painted?

The good news is you can spray paint a variety of common backsplash materials, including:

  • Ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile
  • Grout between tiles
  • Metals like stainless steel, tin or aluminum
  • Glass, mirrored glass or glass subway tiles
  • Painted drywall
  • Laminate
  • Wood

The key is proper prep and priming so the paint adheres correctly for a long-lasting finish. More on that coming up.

One material that cannot be spray painted is plastic laminate backsplash. The surface is not very conducive to painting.

For any materials other than real tile, the long-term durability may be reduced compared to painting a tile backsplash. But spraying metal, glass or drywall backsplashes can still be effective in the short-term for an inexpensive upgrade.

How to Prep a Backsplash for Spray Painting

Prepping properly is crucial for the spray paint to adhere well and achieve the look you want. Follow these steps:

Clean the Surface

Use a degreasing cleaner or soap and water to thoroughly clean the entire backsplash. This removes any dirt, grease or residue so the paint bonds well. Rinse and let dry fully.

For grout, use a grout brush and grout cleaner to scrub and sanitize. Rinse thoroughly.

Sand Glossy Surfaces

If you have glossy glass or ceramic tile, lightly sand the entire surface. This helps the paint grab on better. Wipe away any dust after sanding.

Fill Any Cracks or Holes

Examine the backsplash for any cracked grout, gaps or nail holes. Fill these in with caulk or spackle so the paint appears smooth. Let dry fully.

Remove Accessories

Take down any backsplash accessories like hanging utensil racks, soap dispensers or trivets. It’s also smart to remove switch plate covers. This allows you to fully paint behind them.

Use Painter’s Tape

Apply strips of painter’s tape around the outer edges of the backsplash. This keeps the spray paint contained to the backsplash only. It also delivers a crisp paint line.

Cover Nearby Surfaces

Protect countertops, floors and appliances with drop cloths. Tape off any areas adjacent to the backsplash. This keeps them paint-free.

Once your prep is complete, the backsplash is ready for a primer coat.

Priming a Backsplash Before Painting

Primer is a must before spray painting any backsplash. A quality primer will:

  • Allow for better adhesion of the spray paint topcoat
  • Conceal any existing colors on the backsplash
  • Create a uniform surface so the paint looks smooth
  • Increase durability of the painted finish

Look for primers specifically made for the material you are painting. Tile and grout, wood, laminate and metals may require different types of primer:

  • For tile and grout, use a tile primer like KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Latex Primer
  • For wood, choose a primer like KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Interior/Exterior Latex Primer
  • For laminate or metals, go with a versatile acrylic primer
  • For glass tile, use a primer made for slick surfaces

Thoroughly read and follow the product directions. In general, apply at least two coats of primer, allowing proper dry time between coats. The primer should fully conceal the original surface beneath it.

Once your primer is fully dry, the backsplash is ready for the spray paint.

Choosing the Best Spray Paint for Backsplashes

There are a few factors to consider when selecting spray paint for your backsplash:

Sheen Level

Matte finishes are ideal for a muted, subtle look. Satin, eggshell or low-sheen paints provide a nice balance of durability and luster. Full gloss paint gives maximum shine and high reflectivity. Consider the aesthetic you want and how the sheen may interact with your lighting.

Color Options

Most major spray paint brands offer dozens of colors. Browse color cards or paint chips at the hardware store for ideas. Neutrals like white, gray and beige work well in many kitchens. Or go bold with a dynamic color to make a statement.

Specialty Paint Finishes

Look for paints offering finishes like crackle, textured, chalk, metallic or hammered. These can add extra dimension and interest to your backsplash.

Durability Levels

Higher quality paints provide increased adhesion, abrasion resistance and longevity. They also allow for easier cleanup and touch-ups. Investing a little more upfront is usually worth it.

Once you select the perfect color and finish, get ready to spray.

How to Properly Spray Paint a Backsplash

Follow these tips for getting professional spray painted backsplash results:

Work in a Well-Ventilated Area

Paint outdoors or open windows and use fans. This allows fumes to dissipate. Always wear a respirator mask when spray painting.

Read All Label Directions

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, dry time, number of coats, proper spray distance and more. Proper application is key.

Use Light, Even Strokes

Hold the can 6 to 8 inches away. Gently sweep side to side, overlapping each pass by about 30%. Avoid holding the nozzle in one spot, which can cause drips.

Apply Multiple Thin Coats

Lightly mist on 2 to 3 coats for complete coverage. Let dry fully between coats. This creates a smoother finish than 1 thick coat.

Use Painter’s Tape to Create Lines

For straight edges against countertops, cabinets, etc., run painter’s tape and spray up to the line. Pull off the tape while the paint is still wet for super crisp edges.

Spray Finish Coats Vertically

Your initial coats can go horizontally. Last 1 to 2 coats should be sprayed vertically for a more cohesive look.

Check Coverage and Touch Up

Examine the entire backsplash once fully dry. Use a small foam roller to gently coat any missed spots.

Remove Tape Once Dry

Peel off all painter’s tape immediately after the final coat dries. Touch up edges as needed.

Allow Proper Cure Time

Most spray paints take 1 to 2 weeks to fully cure and become scratch and scuff resistant. Avoid cleaning or using the backsplash until fully cured.

Proper prep, priming and painting technique allows you to easily transform your backsplash on a budget.

How Long Does Spray Painted Backsplash Last?

When done properly, a spray painted backsplash can easily last 1 to 3 years with minimal touch ups. Several factors affect longevity:

  • Surface material – Tile and grout will last longer than drywall or laminate.
  • Prep and application – Thorough cleaning, priming and painting greatly increase durability.
  • Paint quality – Higher end spray paints hold up better over time.
  • Use and wear – Backsplashes behind stoves may need touch ups more often. Areas out of cooking zones last longer.
  • Cleaning method – Avoid abrasive scrubbing. Use mild soap and water only.

Although not as permanent as new tile or other materials, spray painting is an inexpensive way to quickly refresh the look of a backsplash for several years.

With just a few tools, primer and paint, you can revive your old backsplash in a weekend. And when it eventually starts showing signs of wear, simply clean, lightly sand and respray for a fresh upgrade.

Tips for the Best, Longest-Lasting, Spray Painted Backsplash

Here are our top tips for getting great results from your spray painted backsplash:

  • Thoroughly clean and prepare the surface – this helps paint properly adhere
  • Always use a primer first before painting
  • Lightly sand glossy surfaces for paint to grip better
  • Use quality spray paints meant for home interiors
  • Apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat
  • Spray final coats vertically for a cohesive look
  • Use painter’s tape for crisp edges against cabinets, walls, etc.
  • Allow the full curing time before cleaning or using the backsplash
  • Avoid abrasive scrubbing or cleaning – use mild detergent and soft cloth
  • Immediately touch up any scratched or damaged areas
  • Consider applying a clear sealant like polyurethane for added protection
  • Respray every 1 to 3 years as needed to refresh the color

Keeping these tips in mind will help your spray painted backsplash maintain its freshly updated look for years to come!

FAQs About Spray Painting Backsplashes

Here are answers to some common questions about spray painting kitchen backsplashes:

Can I spray paint over existing ceramic tile?

Yes, ceramic and porcelain tiles can be spray painted. The grout between tiles can be painted as well. Be sure to thoroughly clean, lightly sand and apply primer first.

What about natural stone or glass tile – can it be spray painted?

Natural stone like marble, granite or slate can be tricky to paint since they are porous. Glass tile can also be challenging. If spray painting, make sure to use specialty primers and paints designed specifically for these slick surfaces.

Is it ok to spray paint a laminate backsplash?

Technically yes, but paint adherence may be poor since laminate is a non-porous surface. Make sure to scuff sand and use a primer designed for laminates. Just don’t expect spray paint on laminate to last as long as on tile.

How long does spray paint take to fully cure?

Most spray paints take 1 to 2 weeks to fully cure and become scratch resistant. Avoid cleaning or placing anything on the backsplash during this time.

What’s the easiest way to get crisp paint lines against cabinets or walls?

Use painter’s tape! Apply it in straight lines where you want sharp edges of paint. Spray your paint coats, then remove tape before the paint dries for super clean edges.

Can I spray paint just a portion of my backsplash?

Definitely. Use painter’s tape and drop cloths to isolate and mask off only the portion you wish to paint. Just be sure to feather and blend any paint edges for a smooth transition.

What kind of primer should I use on a tile backsplash before spray painting?

Look for a high quality primer specifically made for painting over ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tiles. Many options are available at hardware stores.

How many coats of spray paint should I apply?

Typically 2 to 3 light, even coats allows for full coverage. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the spray paint can’s label for best results.


Reviving an outdated backsplash doesn’t have to involve the time and expense of retiling. With proper prep and application, spray painting can be a simple, budget-friendly DIY solution for dramatically improving your kitchen’s look.

The key is to thoroughly clean, sand and prime the surface first, then use light coats of a quality spray paint formulated for interiors. Allow the full curing time before use and clean only with mild detergent.

With the techniques outlined in this guide, you can spray paint your backsplash in a weekend and enjoy the refreshed look for years before needing a quick respray. Don’t settle for an ugly, dated backsplash – spray painting offers an easy upgrade that won’t break the bank.