How to Paint Kitchen Tile Backsplash (In Just Four Easy Steps)

Painting a tile backsplash is a great way to add style and personality to your kitchen, but it can be daunting for those who have never done it.

If you’re looking for an easy DIY project to make a statement, then painting tile backsplash could be the perfect fit!

But where do you start? Don’t worry – with this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps needed for this improvement project.

So get ready to transform your kitchen into something special – let’s get started on how to paint your kitchen tile backsplash like a pro!

1. Preparing The Surface For Painting

The most critical step in this process is getting the surface ready for painting. The key to success lies in the preparation phase. The right tools and materials are essential for getting a quality finish.

First, protect the kitchen cabinets and the countertop.

The paint doesn’t adhere well to the glazed tile. Use sandpaper (100 to 220 grit) to gently scuff up the area so the paint will adhere better when applied later. Avoid damaging the tiles.

Any dust can prevent paint from sticking, so vacuum carefully. Clean any dust or dirt with soap and water and let dry thoroughly.

2. Priming

With primer, you give the paint the best surface to stick to.

There are different primers for different tile surfaces. Epoxy or urethane primer is for ceramic and porcelain tiles. A masonry primer is for unglazed quarry tiles.

You can use a roller to apply the primer over the tiles and grout lines. Use a brush for tight spaces and corners.

Note that grout tends to soak the primer and paint more than tiles.

3. Selecting The Right Paint For Tiles

With so many options on the market, finding the type of paint that will stand up to wear and tear while still looking good can be daunting.

Luckily, you can use some easy-to-follow tips when selecting the right tile paint for your kitchen backsplash project.

Firstly, opt for quality paint explicitly designed for tiles – they resist chipping and fading better than regular formulas.

Rust-Oleum 1992502 Painter's Touch Latex Paint
Rust-Oleum 1992502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint
Water-based acrylic formula is low odor, resist chips and provides long-lasting protection
$16.48 Amazon Prime

You’ll also want to choose something with good coverage; look out for products labeled “high hide,” which indicates a thicker paint layer.

And remember color: pick one that brings out the unique characteristics of your tile without overwhelming them!

Majic PAINTS Interior/Exterior Satin Paint
Majic PAINTS Interior/Exterior Satin Paint
Color: Golden Dandelion; SUPERIOR COLOR-RETENTION: Levels to a beautiful smooth satin finish

Finally, make sure whatever product you go with is water resistant – this way, you won’t have to worry about any damage occurring in the future.

You can read more about what color backsplash goes with oak kitchen cabinets in our other article.

4. Applying The Paint To The Tiles

You can use a roller the same way as a primer: apply the coat of paint over the tiles and grout lines.

Or you can use a brush and paint each tile separately (steady hand needed, but you can also tape off grout lines). This way, you can leave the grout lines without paint.

And you have the option to paint grout lines with grout pens (they are available in multiple colors)

When applying paint to tiles, apply multiple thin coats instead of one thick coat – this helps prevent any drips or runs.

To avoid visible strokes from paint brushes or rollers after painting, a sponge can help create an even-looking finish once dried (note that dry time might be long).

If painting patterns such as stripes or checks onto your tiles, masking tape can help keep lines neat and straight before beginning each section of color.

To ensure your hard work stays looking great for years to come, seal all painted areas with a clear acrylic sealer once fully dry. This protects against dirt and wear and tear caused by everyday use in kitchens. If you are sealing porcelain and ceramic tiles, use urethane sealer. If you are sealing quarry and natural stone tiles, use masonry sealer.

The Pros and Cons of Painting Kitchen Tile Backsplash


  1. Cost-Effective: Painting tile is much cheaper than replacing it with new tiles.
  2. Quick Process: Unlike laying down actual tile, painting tile takes only a few hours to complete and a day or two to dry properly.
  3. Custom Designs: You can also create custom patterns with paint that wouldn’t be possible with conventional tiles.
  4. Low Maintenance: The backsplash requires very little maintenance once painted. You only need to wipe it clean with regular cleaning supplies. And it is easy to paint again over previously painted tiles.
  5. Personalization: Painting your backsplashes allows you to personalize the look of your kitchen on a budget; you can choose bright colors and interesting textures that make it unique to your home and style preferences!


  1. Paint chips and scratches easily, so regular maintenance is needed.
  2. Depending on the type of paint used, especially if it’s oil-based, it can have a strong odor for days or weeks.
  3. It might be difficult to achieve a smooth finish.
  4. The paint may not adhere properly to the surface and could peel off over time.
  5. If done incorrectly or in an improper environment, moisture from behind the tile can damage the paint job.

The Bottom Line

The critical steps for your painting project are preparing and cleaning the surface and selecting the correct paint.

Once you’ve applied the paint, finish your project with some touches that give it a professional look – this could include grouting around edges and adding sealant if necessary.

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