Can You Paint Shower Tile?

Vintage bathrooms. They’re out there. Some people love them, other people hate them. There are, in fact, whole websites dedicated to them. Old dated tile seems to hold up remarkably well, which means that even if you hate the color, it can be hard to justify ripping it out. After all, changing your bathroom tile can cost thousands of dollars. This is what drives some people to seek alternative solutions.

Can You Paint Shower Tile?

Yes, you can paint shower tile, although you’ll get the best results by painting tile in more low-moisture areas of your bathroom, like the backsplash over the sink and tile behind the toilet. The key to properly painting ceramic tile is preparation. By roughing up the surface of the tile, you create a surface to which the paint can bond.


Cleaning A Shower

Start by cleaning the tile. If the tile has mildew or mold, use the most powerful cleaning agent you can find to eliminate the fungus. You’ll have the best luck with bleach-based products designed specifically to clean shower tiles.

Once the tile has been cleaned and the mildew removed, use 220 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander to remove the glaze layer from the top of the tile. You can also this by hand, but it will take longer and you may not do as thorough of a job.

After sanding, clean the tiles again to remove dust that you produced during the sanding process. Use a damp sponge for this part.

Painting Process

Once the surface is ready, paint the tile with primer designed to adhere to ceramic surfaces. You may have to go to a specialty paint store to get this material. Paint the tile with two coats, allowing the primer to dry between coats. To get the smoothest finish, use a paint gun instead of a paint brush.

Once this is done and the primer is dry, paint the shower tile with a two-part epoxy paint designed for tile and other ceramic surfaces. Epoxy paint is only available in pastel colors, which can be limiting, but it’s also the best paint for high-moisture areas. If you’re painting tile parts of the bathroom far from the shower, you can use an oil-based paint.


There are a few downsides to painting tile. The grout and the tile will become all one color. In addition, a painted surface just isn’t as durable as a ceramic tile surface, so painting the tile in your bathroom commits you to redoing the process periodically as the paint starts to wear down. How often you’ll have to redo it will depend on how well the paint holds up.

All in all, painting your shower tile is a low-cost, DIY way to get rid of your pink, avocado or sky-blue bathroom. For more information about painting your tile, take a look at this website. For more information about making bathroom updates, call Terry’s Plumbing.