Make Your Old Tile Look New with These Tips for Painting Grout

Refresh a tiled surface with our simple steps for painting grout. You'll learn to fall in love with your bathroom or kitchen backsplash all over again.

subway tile bathroom drawer storage trough sink
Photo: Designer Celily Mendell's home in Alamo, California near San Francisco.
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Glazed tile is a durable, attractive material for bathrooms, kitchen backsplashes, and floors, but over time, the grout can become discolored or damaged. To quickly refresh your tile, consider reviving the grout with paint. Inexpensive and less invasive than redoing the entire tiled surface, painting the grout allows you to freshen the look of a floor, backsplash, or accent area quickly. Even for a novice DIYer, learning how to paint grout is simple. Here's how to successfully revamp your grout color.

Note: Grout paint isn't recommended if you have unglazed tile—its porous surface will absorb the paint and can cause permanent stains.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Foam brush
  • 1 Any other recommended supplies and cleaning items listed on the grout paint directions


  • 1 Tile cleaner
  • 1 Painters tape
  • 1 Grout paint


  1. Prep Tile

    Prepare the surface for painting by fixing the tiles and grout where possible. For any areas with broken tiles or disintegrating grout, clean up and replace what you can. To inhibit the growth of mold and mildew, clean the tile surface using a tile cleaner. Follow the directions closely, allowing time to let the spray rest on the surface.

  2. Tape Tile

    You can skip this step if you plan to clean up paint as you go. If not, use painters tape to cover the tile, allowing only the grout to show through. Though it may seem tedious, this step is essential for achieving clean lines and a smooth look. To ensure no paint gets through the gaps in the tape, overlap pieces about an inch, pressing down firmly with your fingers or a painter's tool. Next, heat-seal the tape to further prevent seepage. Run a tapered tool (such as a painter's tool or plastic putty knife) along the edge of the tape, which creates enough friction to heat the tape and form a barrier at the edge.

  3. Paint Grout

    Choose your color and begin painting. Consider colored grout paint in a darker tone to help hide stains and provide a welcome contrast. Using a foam brush as wide as the grout, work in small sections at a time with small amounts of paint. Apply the grout paint with long strokes. Paint one coat over the whole surface and clean as you go. Let dry completely, according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Then complete a second coat and a third if needed.

  4. Clean and Seal Grout

    If necessary, remove the painters tape and follow the instructions on the grout paint regarding cleanup for the surface and your tools. A toothbrush used specifically for cleaning can be a handy tool for cleaning grout. Once the surface is dry and clean, seal the grout to help maintain the color and protect it from dirt and stains. Apply a clear liquid sealer in a smooth, even line, and make sure the grout is clear of dust or dirt, which can get trapped beneath the seal. Allow the sealer to dry completely.

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