How to Change the Color of Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Changing the color of your existing ceramic tile backsplash can completely transform the look of your kitchen. With some preparation and the right materials, you can paint ceramic tiles to achieve the fresh new backsplash you desire. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to change the color of ceramic tile backsplash.

Assess Your Existing Backsplash

Before deciding on a color, take time to examine your current backsplash tiles. Determine if they are in good condition or need repairs.

  • Inspect for any cracked, chipped, or missing tiles that need replacing.
  • Check for gaps or grout lines that need re-grouting to create a smooth surface.
  • Clean tiles thoroughly with an all-purpose tile cleaner and rinse well. Allow to fully dry.
  • Consider if tiles have a glossy glaze that may require extra prep and primer before painting.

Choose a Paint Color

Select a new color that will coordinate well with your cabinetry, countertops, and overall kitchen decor.

  • Neutral colors like white, gray, or beige work well in most kitchens.
  • Bold colors like navy blue, green, or red make a dramatic statement.
  • Metallic paints in gold, silver, copper, or bronze add shine and dimension.
  • Consider surrounding elements like appliances and flooring so colors will complement each other.

Purchase Supplies

Gather the necessary painting supplies, including:

  • Paint specifically formulated for tiles: Paints like latex enamel provide maximum adhesion and durability on slick tile surfaces.
  • Angled paint brush: To reach grout lines and tile edges. Look for nylon or polyester bristles.
  • Paint roller: A 3/8″ nap size works well for smoothing larger tile areas.
  • Primer/sealer: Prevents absorption into porous tiles for truer colors.
  • Paint tray: To hold and distribute paint evenly as you work.
  • Painter’s tape: For masking edges and outlets.
  • Drop cloths: To protect counters and floors.

Prepare the Tiles

Proper prep creates the best foundation for your new paint.

  • Clean tiles again with a grease-cutting degreaser and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use painter’s tape to mask edges, cabinets, and outlets.
  • Lightly scuff glossy tiles with 220-grit sandpaper to help paint adhere.
  • Apply a thin coat of tile primer and let fully dry.
  • Use painter’s caulk to fill any cracks or gaps for a smooth finish.

Apply Paint

Paint tiles using a combination of angled brush work and rolling techniques.

  • Stir paint well before starting and intermittently during the job.
  • Work in 3×3 foot sections for easier control and to prevent lap marks.
  • Use brush to cut-in grout lines and tile edges first.
  • Then quickly roll the main tile area using a crisscross technique.
  • Apply two thin, uniform coats allowing proper drying time between coats.
  • Inspect for any drips or uneven coverage and touch up as needed.
  • Remove all painter’s tape immediately after the final coat dries.

Sealing and Curing

Allow paint to cure fully before using kitchen again. Sealer protects finish.

  • Let paint cure 24-48 hours to achieve maximum durability.
  • Apply two coats of tile sealer for added protection and sheen.
  • Avoid cleaning tiles or placing heavy objects on them for 5-7 days.
  • Gradually return to normal kitchen use, avoiding abrasive cleaners.

With some strategic color choices and proper painting techniques, it is possible to change the look of a ceramic tile backsplash. Taking time to prepare tiles correctly allows the new paint to adhere smoothly for a flawless finish. Just be patient during the curing process to ensure your freshly painted backsplash lasts for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Changing the Color of a Ceramic Tile Backsplash

How do I know if my tiles are suitable for painting?

Most ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles can be painted but very porous or absorbent tiles are not recommended. Avoid painting over natural stone tiles. Test paint adhesion on one tile before proceeding.

What special considerations are there for glossy tiles?

Glossy tiles require extra roughening with sandpaper and an adhesion-promoting primer so paint will stick properly. Take extra care when preparing.

What kinds of paint work best?

High quality 100% acrylic latex paints formulated for tiles, or urethane-based tile paints, adhere best. Avoid regular wall paints or spray paints.

How do I get paint into the grout lines?

Use an angled paintbrush to work paint into the grout lines. Rollers work for large areas but cannot reach into grout properly.

Can I use painter’s tape on recently painted tiles?

Newly painted tiles require at least 2 weeks of curing time before tape can be applied. Cover areas carefully with drop cloths instead.

How soon can I use my kitchen after painting?

Avoid heavy usage, abrasive cleaners, and placing hot pans or heavy objects on painted tiles for 5-7 days to allow for proper curing.


With careful planning and preparation, changing the color of a ceramic tile backsplash is an achievable DIY project. Proper materials and application techniques allow for a long-lasting professional look. The freshly painted backsplash can make the kitchen feel bright and renewed. Just be patient during the paint curing process for maximum durability. With some strategic color choices, you can transform the entire feel of the kitchen anytime.