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How to Paint Tile

Paint expert Mauro Henrique helps a homeowner avoid a costly and drawn-out project by painting his avocado green tiles with an epoxy paint.

Paint expert Mauro Henrique heads out on a house call to check out a beautiful kitchen renovation, the homeowner takes Mauro to the issue: an avocado green bathroom tile.

Mauro first explains the options to the homeowner, explaining that he can either tear all of the tiles down and rebuild or paint the tiles. In light of budget and time, the two decide to paint the existing tile.

How To Paint Tile

You don’t always have to remove tile for a new look. It can be painted with the right steps and materials.

  1. Use the screwdriver to remove any electrical wall plates and fasteners driven into the tile.
  2. Use a cleaning solution and microfiber cloth to clean all of the tiles really well. Any residue left on the tile will prevent paint adhesion and look spotty or splotchy.
  3. Apply painter’s tape to the wall where it meets the tiles. Hold a painter’s tool or putty knife flat against the wall and drag it along the tape’s edge to create a solid seal. Also, cover the sink, toilet, and cabinets with plastic sheeting, and tape resin paper to the floor to prevent drips. Epoxy paint can be difficult to remove so it’s best to avoid drips in the first place.
  4. Install a fan in the window and turn it out so it blows outward. This will help with dust and fumes as the project progresses.
  5. Use a piece of sandpaper folded in half to scuff the tops of the tile border where it meets the wall. Switch to a random orbit sander hooked to a wet-dry vac with a HEPA filter and scuff the surface of the tile to give the epoxy a surface it can cling to. With everything sanded, wipe the tile with a microfiber cloth to remove residual dust.
  6. Donning a respirator, open the epoxy paint cans and mix them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Be sure to work in a ventilated area as the fumes can be particularly noxious. Pour the mixed paint into a paint tray.
  7. Use the angled paintbrush to cut in along the tops and bottoms of the tiled sections. Switch to the roller with the foam cover to roll paint across the tile surface, working in small W-shaped sections and maintaining a wet edge. Paint the entire tile surface.
  8. Apply a second coat of paint using a microfiber roller. This will allow the paint to get deeper into the grout lines, resulting in a better finish.
  9. Leave the fan on and allow the tiles to dry as long as the manufacturer suggests. Once dry, carefully remove the tape, plastic drop cloths, and resin paper revealing a fresh new look in your bathroom.


Mauro helps a homeowner, Brian, repaint his 1950s avocado green bathroom tile with a white epoxy tile paint.

Mauro and Brian use painters tape to protect the edges of the newly painted bathroom walls. To cover the vanity and toilet, they use plastic sheeting. For the last step to prep the bathroom, they tape down floor paper.

To sand the tiles for better adhesion, Mauro uses an orbital sander and 320-grit sandpaper. To clean up the dust, Mauro goes in with a HEPA vacuum. To paint the tile, Mauro uses an epoxy acrylic tub and tile paint. To ensure proper ventilation, Mauro installs a window ventilator, and he and Brian wear respirator masks.

To cut in, Mauro uses a soft 1-½ inch angled brush. Then Mauro and Brian roll the paint onto the tiles using 4-inch foam rollers and short neck roller frames. For the second coat, to get deeper into the grout, Mauro switches to 4-inch microfiber rollers.

All products can be found at local home centers.