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.

By Kelly Roberson
Updated February 18, 2020
Designer Celily Mendell's home in Alamo, California near San Francisco.

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 quickly freshen the look of a floor, backsplash, or accent area. (However, it's important to note that if you have unglazed tile, grout paint is not recommended, as its porous surface will absorb the paint and may cause permanent stains.) Even for a novice DIYer, learning how to paint grout is simple. Here's how to successfully revamp your grout color.

  • Working time 4 hrs
  • Start to finish 1 day
  • Difficulty Kind of easy
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What you need

Tools
Materials
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How to do it

Step 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, including allowing time to let the spray rest on the surface.

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Step 2

Tape Tile

If you plan to clean up paint as you go, you can skip this step. 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. 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.

Step 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.

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Step 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 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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