Can tile grout be painted?

Category: Maintaining your tiles

Grout looks so good when it’s new and freshly applied. It enhances the look of your chosen tiles. However, over time, it can lose its crisp and clean colour and may even look dirty, regardless how well floor or walls are cleaned. Many people think that the only solution is to re-grout the desired area in order to refresh the look. There may be another way though, but only for certain type of existing tiles.  You can always apply a coat of colourant, also known as grout paint. Grout paint can restore the grout to like-new or change the tint to a different one completely if you fancy trying something new.

The paint used for painting grout between tiles, is a special paint made specifically for grout. It is more of an epoxy colourant and not so much a traditional paint, therefore it lasts many years once applied. In contrary to ordinary wall paints, which tend to peel off or flake, the epoxy paint which is available in many colours will stick; however, a second coat may be needed.

Tile grout paint is recommended only for sealed or glazed tiles, but not for the unfinished or raw tiles such as terracotta or natural stone tiles. Tiles made out of natural materials which have not been sealed, absorb grout paint easily and it would be difficult to wash off later on. If you would want to apply grout paint to natural materials, it is recommended that a coat of tile sealer is applied first on the tiles (always following manufacturers’ instructions) before applying the grout paint.

If you decide to give grout painting a try, remember that key to the successful project is the preparation of the surface, as poorly prepared surfaces can lead to cracking.

As with every paint, the grout paint will require clean conditions otherwise will not stick properly. A strong tile cleaner will remove any build-up of gunk on the grout and tiles. These cleaners are quite strong in smell, so make sure the windows are open and you are wearing suitable gloves whilst you use them.

You will also need the right size brush. The ideal brush is almost exactly the width of the grout line.