If your old vinyl flooring or ceramic tile looks tired, consider painting the surface. You can easily paint both vinyl flooring (sheet flooring and tile) and ceramic tile with the proper preparation. Paint is much cheaper than the expense of tiling over the existing floor.
This treatment is not recommended for ceramic tile shower and tub walls, but it works well for other walls in the bathroom that don't get wet. The key to success is careful preparation and the use of the right primer and paint. The preparation techniques and products shown here apply to both materials. You will not need to use a deglossing agent on ceramic tile.
Use high-quality primers and paints made specifically for painting vinyl flooring or ceramic. Get recommendations from your paint supplier.
What You Need
- Sanding block and/or pad sander
- Paint rollers and brushes
- Stencil pattern (optional)
- Cleaning solution
- Deglossing agent
Step 1: Clean Floor
Remove any mildewed areas by scrubbing them with a 3-to-1 water-bleach solution, letting it soak for 20 minutes before rinsing it. Then scrub the floor thoroughly to remove grease and dirt.
Step 2: Sand Floor
To provide a slightly roughened surface that will help the paint adhere, scuff-sand the flooring with 150-grit sandpaper and a pad sander. Wipe the floor with a damp rag. Then remove any remaining gloss with a deglossing agent.
Step 3: Primer
Apply a thick coat of latex stain-blocking primer, first cutting in the edges with a brush, then filling in the rest of the surface with a roller. Sand the primer when it's dry, then apply a second coat if necessary to further level the surface.
Step 4: Paint Floor
Paint the floor, cutting in and brushing. For walls use a quality latex kitchen and bath paint in a satin, semigloss, or gloss finish. For floors use a latex satin-finish floor paint or a semigloss oil-base or polyurethane floor paint.
Step 5: Add Sealer
For added protection apply an acrylic floor sealer. Check with your paint distributor to find a product compatible with the floor paint you applied.
Bonus: Stencil a Pattern Over the Final Coat
Painted floors provide perfect backgrounds for stenciled patterns. Tape the stencil to the floor and paint the pattern with a stencil brush. Stenciling will help hide areas that might show remnants of the vinyl or ceramic texture.
How to Color Ceramic Tile Grout
If you don't want to paint an entire ceramic tile surface, color the grout instead. Colorants made specifically for grout can dramatically alter the color scheme of the floor. First chip out any loose grout with a hammer and cold chisel and vacuum the loose dust. Patch the repaired spots with the same grout as the original, finish it with a striking tool, and let cure. Mix up the colorant and apply it to the grout with a narrow brush. Repeat the application to make the color darker.