Can You Paint Shower Tiles? | Everything You Need To Know

Are you staring at dirty grout lines in the shower every morning? Does that 1980s rose colour on your wall tiles drive you mad? You don’t need to rip apart the entire bathroom to fix this. You might want to consider adding paint to your shower tiles.

In this post, I’ll answer the question, can you paint shower tiles? As well as look at how to go about it, the pros, cons and the best paint for the job.

Let’s get into it!

Can You Paint Shower Tiles?

Yes, you can! If your tiles look outdated but are still in great condition, you can freshen up the look of the bathroom without ripping out the tiles.

Replace that old mosaic look from the 70s or 80s with a single white colour. Maybe you hate the sea of off-white tiles in your bathroom and want to introduce a pop of colour.

You can paint single tiles in a bright hue or add a stencil or pattern to break up the monotone decor.

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How Do You Paint Bathroom Shower Tiles?

It will take at least the entire weekend to paint your tiles. It may take longer if you are painting inside the shower enclosure as you will need paint with a longer drying time and multiple coats

How To Paint Bathroom Tiles:

  1. Empty the Bathroom of Everything!: You won’t be able to walk on the floor or use the water until the paint is thoroughly cured.
  2. Collect Your Tools: You will need sandpaper/sanding block, paint tray and small rollers, a degreasing cleaner that is safe for tile, mask, gloves, eye protection, and latex or two-part epoxy paint designed for use in a bathroom on tile. Don’t forget painting tape, tarps, and stir sticks!
  3. Clean the Tile and Grout: Give the tile a good scrub. Take a toothbrush to the grout. Use a mould-killer if needed. Let it completely dry.
  4. Sand All the Tile: In order for the paint to stick to the tile, the shiny glaze must be scuffed on every tile that will be painted. You don’t need to go nuts, just knock down the gloss.
  5. Tape Off Sanitaryware, Woodwork, and Untiled Surfaces: Use high-quality painters tape to prevent the paint from getting in the wrong place. You need to tape off drains, taps, mirrors–everything!
  6. Apply Tile Paint to Your Tiles: You can either use a roller or brush. Some tile paint requires a primer coat that bonds to the scuffed tile. The colour coat comes after the primer coat dries. Other types of paint are supposed to be a single-coat primer paint, but your tiles will always need a second coat.
  7. Add a Sealer: A sealer can add an extra layer of gloss or give your tiles a little more grip. Either type helps the tile paint fight off water damage. Always follow the directions for full drying time before using your bathroom after painting the tiles.
  8. Move Back in and Enjoy
Painting Shower tiles in the bathroom

Advantages Of Painting Shower Tiles

The most attractive reason for painting tiles is cost savings. Paint only the backsplash around the sink and other wall tiles in your bathroom for about £150. If you are painting the tiles inside the shower and the floor, double or triple the price.

However, having the tile replaced costs an average of at least £400 and can skyrocket well over £1,000 for a quarry tile.

It is definitely a DIY project that most homeowners can tackle as it requires no special skills or equipment.

The huge savings come in when you are convinced that your vintage bathroom needs a complete gut job when the fact is that erasing dated colours with paint can help you to decide to stop the wrecking ball.

There is no demolition involved! No skip will take over your parking space. The neighbours will not even know you are fixing up the house.

Disadvantages Of Painting Shower Tiles

If you don’t follow the directions for preparing the surface and allowing the paint to fully dry, you can be disappointed by the results. Tile paint that does not cure may bubble or peel after just a few short months.

If you paint the tile in the shower, the constant wet surface will degrade the paint. It will need to be touched up after a few years.

Painted tile floors can be slippery! You may need to add texture to the paint to get a better grip.

Painting will not address the actual function of your bathroom. If you struggle with low water pressure, not enough hot water, and leaky taps, changing the colour will not make your life better.

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What Kind Of Paint Do You Use To Paint Bathroom Shower Tiles?

There are two types of paint designed to be used for tile. One is latex, which is popular with the DIY crowd as it emits low fumes and is easy to clean up.

The other is a two-part epoxy paint that delivers a more durable finish. It does significantly off-gas, so you will need to open windows and set up fans. You may even want to sleep over at a friend’s flat for a night.

Any paint–tile or wall paint–that says it is a one-coat paint and primer is not telling you the whole truth.

While you can skip the primer coat before adding colour, it is extremely likely that you will need two or three coats to get a nice even colour on the tiles without visible streaks. The primer paints cost more per bucket, so after the extra coats, your cost savings may be erased.

Read the label and make sure that it is a paint designed for use on ceramic and glazed tiles.

Paint tins for shower tiles bathroom

What Are The Best Waterproof Paints For Shower Tiles?

My favourite tile paint is One Coat Tile Paint by Ronseal. It is affordable at about £20 per 0.75 litres which covers about 8 square meters. Remember that you will need two or more coats for the best results.

Dulux also offers an excellent option, although it’s typically a little more expensive than the Ronseal paint. You can order it in a rainbow of colours for that modern designer look that you love.

For superior results, look for Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit, which includes their two-part epoxy tile paint that will perform better inside the shower and on floors.

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Does Painting Bathroom Shower Tiles Really Work In The Long Run?

If you are looking for a short-term solution to a tiled shower enclosure that just doesn’t go with your decor choices, painting the tile is affordable and achievable! 

However, if you are planning on painting tiles as the 10-year option instead of replacing the tiles, you will need to be prepared to repaint them every few years. If your tiles are damaged and chipped, painting is not a great idea.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! The pros, cons and everything you need to know if you are considering painting your shower tiles or bathroom tiles.

Painting the tiles in your shower or bathroom can be a quick, easy and cost-effective way of updating the look and feel of any bathroom. However, you do need to prepare the room correctly and use the right type of paint, otherwise, you won’t get the best result.

Painting shower tiles is by no means a permanent solution but if you’re looking for a quick fix or don’t intend to stay in the property long term, it can be a great way to freshen up the bathroom.


Michael R

Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.