How to Paint a Tile Backsplash Kitchen Renovation

How to Paint a Tile Backsplash. This simple tutorial will transform your outdated tile in one day for a fraction of the cost of new tile. Read more...


When you’ve missed the remainder of the collection on my DIY funds kitchen renovation, you possibly can learn all about how I painted my kitchen cupboards right here.

The ultimate publish on this collection HERE consists of the entire ending touches and decor accents that full a kitchen.

Table of Contents

The way to Paint a Tile Backsplash

When you missed it in my posts on methods to paint kitchen cupboards, I do have a free information and printable supplies checklist for my subscribers! I hope it’s useful to you if you’re renovating the whole kitchen together with portray tile backsplash!

Subscribe now to realize entry to this free information and my free printable library.

Can You Paint Over a Tile Backsplash?

Let’s begin by answering a generally requested query, “Are you able to paint a tile backsplash?” Sure you possibly can!

Portray a tile backsplash is probably the most reasonably priced technique to replace outdated tile.

Fortunately, most surfaces are paintable. You merely want the fitting prep work and supplies in your particular undertaking. See under for precisely what it’s essential full this undertaking efficiently.

Painting Travertine Backsplash: Before

Everyone loves a good before and after. Here is our tile backsplash before. Note that this is not your traditional ceramic tile. It is travertine, which is more porous; however, the process remains the same for both.

You can see some additional suggestions for painting a ceramic tile backsplash in step 4.

Many may call this tile neutral and already updated. I really didn’t mind our tile backsplash prior to painting our cabinets white.

However, once the cabinets were fresh and clean the tile just screamed at me to paint it too! The biggest issue for me is that the busyness of the countertops combined with the tile pattern weren’t cohesive.

In reality, I didn’t pay one penny for this project because I used all left over materials from our kitchen cabinet renovation. If you are solely painting your kitchen tile backsplash, then the cost will still be very minimal.

Materials Needed for Painting a Tile Backsplash

Similar to painting our kitchen cabinets, the materials for painting tile backsplash are listed below!

Most DIY projects include painting at some point, so I like to stock up on painting supplies ahead of time. That way I always have the painting materials I need when project inspiration strikes!

The Process for Painting a Kitchen Backsplash

Step 1: Clear Your Counters + Protect Surfaces

The first step to painting your kitchen backsplash is to clear everything out of the way.

Clear your counters, remove outlet covers and prepare your work surface. It is best to have a home base for all your materials, whether that is a work table or kitchen island.

At this point, inspect your backsplash to see if there is any excess caulk build up. Using a flat utility knife, scrape any over-caulk off the tiles.

Many times builders do not use paintable caulk on the backsplash to countertop seam, so you need to remove the excess for the paint to adhere correctly.

Step 2: Clean Your Tiles

Next, using the TSP according to package directions, wipe down your backsplash to remove any residue or grime. Make sure to look closely for splattered food from cooking or any greasy residue. Your tile should be fully clean and dry.

Pay special attention to the area behind stoves and sinks, as those are often the dirtiest.

Step 3: Tape Your Countertops

Next, protect your surfaces.

Place plastic or canvas drop cloths on your countertops to catch any paint splatter. Use painter’s tape to adhere your plastic drop cloths to your counter so there is a clean paint line. This also holds your drop cloth in place.

I taped the edge of my countertops, along my window trim, as well as the sides of my kitchen cabinets where they joined.

Step 4: Etch the Surface

My tile is a porous tile, which is more likely to soak in paint than many other kitchen backsplashes. Depending on your tile type, you may need to etch the surface so the paint adheres well and is long lasting.

To etch the surface of a glossy tile, start by cleaning it with a calcium/rust cleaner. Clean your tile backsplash with the cleaner and a sponge and then let it dry.

Next, use a very fine grit sandpaper, I recommend 400 grit, to rough up the surface further. Do not use a course sand paper as that will leave visible scratches on the surface of your tile.

After you’ve etched the surface of your tile backsplash, clean it with a damp cloth. Let it dry fully so that the tile and the grout are completely dry.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Tile Backsplash?

The next step is to prime and paint your final color onto your kitchen tile backsplash. You have several paint options which will all work well to paint a kitchen tile backsplash.

The best paint for a kitchen backsplash is one of the following:

  1. Semi-Gloss or gloss latex interior paint with proper primer
  2. Gloss enamel paint
  3. Tile epoxy paint

Latex Paint v. Epoxy to Update Tile Backplash

At this point, you have a choice! Using the above preparation steps, you’ll be able to use a simple latex interior paint or gloss enamel paint to paint your tile backsplash. However, you also have the option to use a tub and tile epoxy specifically made to paint tile.

Pros and Cons of Latex Paint v. Tile Epoxy

There are a pros and cons of each type of paint.

First, let’s discuss the option I used, an interior latex paint. The pro of using latex paint or a gloss enamel paint is that it is more affordable, readily available, and can be tinted to any color of choice. It is easily applied with a paint brush and roller, and offers easy clean up during the painting project.

Conversely, using a latex paint requires you to prime your tile with paint primer to help with adhesion and longevity. Additionally, it can be less durable than an epoxy paint.

I used our kitchen for almost a year with the painted tile prior to our full kitchen remodel.

In that year, I never had any chips, cracks or peeling from my painted tile backsplash. However, I know that had I continued to use the kitchen as-is, eventually some wear and tear would show.

On the other hand, the pro of using epoxy is that it is highly durable. It is made specifically to adhere to tile, and offers a glossier surface. It also holds up to moisture very well. This makes it easier to clean and less susceptible to chips and peeling.

Epoxy tile paint sticks to a kitchen backsplash most effectively.

The two main cons of using epoxy paint is that it can be more expensive, depending on the square footage you need to cover, and is highly odorous. So if you choose to go this route, make sure you have proper ventilation.

If you decide to use an epoxy, simply do all the preparation steps stated above, then follow the directions on your epoxy kit. This tub and tile kit comes highly recommended.

If you decide to move forward using a latex paint or enamel paint to paint your tile backsplash, then continue on with this tutorial. Next up: priming!

Step 5: Prime

Just like with cabinetry, you want to give your paint the best surface possible to adhere to. Use a high quality primer to prime your tile backsplash. First use a brush to trim out tight spaces and corners and then finish with a roller.

Make sure to pay special attention to your grout lines. Painting grout with a brush can take more paint than expected since the grout tends to soak the paint up quickly.

As you can see, I worked on this project at night. But even with the poor quality photo you can see that the primer itself improves this space dramatically already!

I applied one coat of primer and that was sufficient because of the porousness of my tile. However, if you are painting a glossy tile, I would recommend applying two coats of primer to ensure durability on that slippery surface.

Step 6: Paint

Repeat the same process of priming, but with a high quality paint. I used Magnolia Home’s Cabinetry and Trim paint which comes in a semi-gloss. I highly recommend either using an enamel or a semi-gloss/gloss interior paint.

If you choose to use a matte paint you will need to seal your tiles after painting so they are durable and able to be cleaned.

Apply two coats of paint for extra coverage and durability, allowing ample time between coats to dry fully.

Depending on the color of your existing tile and the color paint you choose, more than 2 coats may be required for full coverage. Once you’ve applied enough coats for full coverage, you can remove your tape!

As you can see this is SUCH a simple process. If you can paint a wall then you can paint a tile backsplash!

Wait for the paint to be fully dry and cured (at least overnight) before re-installing your outlet covers.

Can Grout Be Painted a Different Color?

If you like the high contrast look, then you might not want to paint your grout the same color as your freshly painted tile. If that is the case, then your project may take a turn towards the tedious.

You can paint grout with a grout paint pen if you desire a contrasting color!

There are many colors of grout paint found available in an easy to apply pen. If you choose to use a grout paint pen, then the process for how to paint your tile backsplash will look a little different.

You can paint your grout one of two ways:

  1. After preparing the entire backsplash surface with steps 1-4 above, tape off existing grout lines prior to painting your tile backsplash. Then, paint your backsplash tiles fully, remove grout line tape, and use the grout pen to change the color of the paint. If that seems too tedious, try option 2!
  2. Hand paint each individual tile with a brush without touching the grout lines. Yes, this sounds very hard and prone to mistakes! But it is a viable option if you have a steady hand. Once the tiles are painted, you can come back with the grout pen to finish off your backsplash.

A Painted Tile Backsplash: The Reveal!

Don’t you love how fresh the painted tile is?! It’s a completely different kitchen and the entire transformation was done SOLELY with paint!

Updated: The full DIY kitchen remodel reveal is live HERE.

I hope this has been a helpful tutorial on how to paint a tile backsplash! I absolutely love to hear from you so if you follow me on Instagram please tag me in your post showing your progress using one of my tutorials!

Make sure to also follow along on YouTube where I get into these projects in detail.

Before and afters are so inspiring to me and I love seeing how you are benefiting from what you’ve read here.

Stay tuned for the final reveal coming soon! And if you’d like a tutorial on how I built these kitchen shelves then leave me a comment below!

Updated: You asked so I answered! Click here for the full DIY open shelving tutorial + free guide!

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How to Paint a Tile Backsplash: Kitchen Renovation 2024