Grout Paint Before and After: The Easiest Tile Floor Transformation!
I’m breaking down everything you need to know about using grout paint. This little miracle in a bottle instantly renews old dirty grout to give your tile a brand new look. Find out to paint your floor or backsplash grout with this easy weekend DIY, and get the inside scoop on the best grout color choices for your project!
You might be tempted to throw in the towel with your dirty tile grout. Let’s face it, there’s a million cleaning hacks out there that promise fresh, bright grout.
I should know, I’ve tried most of them. But there’s a much easier approach that promises the same results. And it won’t leave you on your hands and knees scrubbing tile grout for days on end.
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Can you really paint grout?
If you’re asking yourself whether or not you can paint grout lines, just take a look at the painted tile floor trend that’s been floating around Pinterest lately.
If I’ve learned anything in my DIY adventures, it’s that you can pretty much paint anything your heart desires.
So yes, painting the grout lines on your tile floor can be a quick and easy update for your home, but you do want to make sure you’re prepared for this project in order to get the best re
Grout Painting Tools
There’s plenty of painted grout line tutorials on the web, many of them showing the process of painting with specialty grout paint pens or small intricate artist brushes. And I actually tried this method for a quick hot minute before I decided to toss the brush into the trash in favor of a much easier approach.
The artist brush did nothing for penetrating into the grooves of the grout lines. Not to mention that most tile grout happens to be the sanded variety.
This rougher surface needed a more abrasive approach than simply coating the grout in paint. I really needed to work the new paint into the grout’s surface.
Enter, my handy toothbrush. I know, genius right? The tough bristles worked to spread the paint into the grout lines and really does make the best grout paint applicator out there (in my opinion).
Now I didn’t say it was a precise application. In fact, you’ll end up with some excess grout paint along the surface of your tiles, but not to worry. It scrubs right off.
How to paint tile grout (Selecting The Right Color)
I’ve used the Mapei Grout Refresh product in three of our homes now and each time I’m blown away by the before and after grout paint transformation. It’s a little bit of magic in a bottle.
Of course the biggest impact comes from the color paint you select. Mapei has nearly 40 different tile grout paint colors to choose from. Although I didn’t see nearly this large of a selection in my local Lowes store, so you might end up needing to order the perfect color match online.
To make things easier for you, I put together a guide of my top 5 picks for the best neutral grout paint colors. Grab your copy below!
Since we’ve painted several of our grouted floors before I had a stash on hand already and decided to test out two colors that I thought might work well with our beige builder grade tile.
From what I’ve seen so far, the color on the bottle doesn’t quite necessarily look like what you’d expect once it’s dry. In fact, I feel like it appears much lighter when applied and dry. Something to keep in mind when you’re trying to select the perfect paint color.
Since I didn’t feel like running out to my local hardware store just to buy another bottle (by the way, these bottles go a long way and will last you for several projects), I decided to just use the darker of the two shades and went with the color “Bone”.
It’s still not quite as dark as I wanted, but it’ll just fine to cover up the mismatched colors from our grout repair last week.
You might be tempted to simply paint your grout white, but I’ve done this before, and trust me, it’s not always the best color. If you’ve read about our tiled fireplace makeover, then you’ll know just how important it is to select the right color grout to compliment your existing tile floors.
So What’s the easiest way to paint grout?
I’m not going to sugar coat it. Depending on the size of your surface area that you’re painting, it can either take a little or a lot of time to get through this project. But, just to give you a rough idea. Our master bathroom is approximately 60 square feet and the entire process took me maybe 2 hours max.
Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the product bottle. But aside from giving the grout paint a good shake to mix it up, I just dove right into painting.
I poured a good portion of paint out onto a paper plate so that I wasn’t constantly dipping a dirty toothbrush back into the bottle.
Side note. Make sure you thoroughly clean your floor’s surface of any grime and debris.
I vacuumed and mopped and found out that even that wasn’t really good enough. Maybe another round with the Swiffer would’ve helped, but I’m impatient and tend to just dive right into things.
But trust me on this. Giving you floor a good cleaning will prevent you from pulling stray hairs and fuzz balls out of freshly painted grout lines.
Start working in small sections in the back of the room, so that when you’re finished painting you can easily step out without having to tip toe around fresh grout paint.
Dip your toothbrush into the grout paint, and using a generous amount, begin scrubbing into your grout lines. Don’t worry about being precise. The paint will end up on your tiles, and that’s okay. It’s similar to a latex paint and scrubs right off tile surfaces once it’s dry.
Helpful Handy TIP
DO NOT Try to wipe away the grout paint from your tiles before it’s had a chance to dry. You WILL end up removing it from the grout line as well.
Depending on the color of your original grout, you may be able to get by with just one coat of grout paint. In our case though, I needed to apply a second coat to fully cover our old brown grout.
Once the paint’s had a chance to dry (I waited about 2 hours) you can start to remove the excess paint from the surface of your tiles.
At first, I alternated between using a plain wet rag and a scrubbing kitchen sponge, and I actually found the wet rag to be the most effective at removing the dried paint. Go figure.
I think that’s because the excess water from the rag helped loosen up the paint first making it much easier to wipe away. The whole process of removing the extra paint probably took me about 30 minutes in total. And that’s out of the entire time frame of the 2-hour project. Not too bad.
Does Painting Grout last?
In my experience, most definitely. And I’ve used this method in both high and low traffic areas. I definitely think a lot of this has to do with the application method I used too (applying it in 2 even thin layers between drying times).
Is it really necessary to seal grout?
The short answer is yes, you need to seal your grout to avoid staining. But most of the pre-mixed grout products on the market today already come with a sealer mixed in. That includes the Mapei Grout Refresh used in this project.
I’m pretty pleased with how our painted grout turned out. It’s helped to hide the dirty dingy grout and made my bathroom floor look new again. Not too shabby for an $11 budget makeover.
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Hi! I wanted to leave a comment and say how happy I am that I stumbled across this guide! I was struggling with how to work with or totally change the tile floors in my bathroom, and was reluctantly leaning towards painting the tile completely. I stopped myself and thought I’d see what a good scrubbing did to brighten the tile and grout, and then realized the grout I thought was simply filthy was just dark grout that was bringing the whole room down. I looked into grout paint and found this guide that encouraged me to do it, and I had my grout painted and cleaned up in a single afternoon and it looks GREAT! I’m so happy with it and excited to get a fresh coat of paint on the bathroom. It’ll be brand new! 🙂
Can you show me a picture of what kind of paint you used please? Thanks.
About how long does it last in high-traffic areas? I have 2600 sq ft. of tile and don’t want to do this once a year if I don’t have to.
Hi Brandy! I’ve used this tutorial in 3 homes now with no issues, but I also don’t allow shoes inside so that might help prolong those high traffic areas.
Hi, thanks for the tutorial!
Do you think this works with painted tiles in the kitchen? By doing so we also painted the grout between the tiles with a roller and we want a white grout.
Hi Marilyn, If you were going to try this with painted tiles, then I’d probably use a more precision paint brush. You certainly don’t want to ruin your tiled paint job 🙂
I painted my bathroom floor with rust oleum floor paint and in doing so also painted the grout. Can I use grout paint over the rust oleum floor paint?
Hi Brenda, the product is made specifically for grout so if it’s been painted over I’m not sure it would adhere properly.
Hi can i dilute grout paint and sealant with water?
Hi Ayesha, I’m not sure I could recommend that. Is there a reason why you’d want to?
My grout lines are very dirty. Can I paint over without cleaning or it is better to clean it first?
Definitely clean first! Just enough to lift out loose dirt and debris otherwise the paint might not adhere well.
Thanks to your tips and guidance, we scrapped the idea of a $4,000 kitchen flooring project in favor of a simple refresh. We changed a tired terra cotta-colored grout to bone for well under $40, and it looks like a new room.
This makes me so happy to hear!!! Glad you like how it turned out! Feel free to email me a photo to share with the rest of my readers. Have a great week Rich!!
Do you have to remove the sealer from the grout before you paint? how can the paint adhere to sealed grout
I didn’t do any prep work other than a quick clean. No issues with adhering at all.
I’m finding that no – It doesn’t apply to newly sealed grout!! I did some grout fixes, used a sealant, now the paint looks great everywhere except the sections I used new grout and sealant!! Definitely better for older tiling where the sealant May wave worn off
I just applied one coat. Used your toothbrush method and it worked like a charm! THANK YOU for taking the time to explain your tried and true expertise! 😘🤙🏽❤️
Oh that’s awesome! I’m so glad it worked out for you, thanks so much for sharing! If you’re on Instagram, feel free to tag me if you posted a picture 🙂 I’d be happy to share it.
I’m wondering if the grout paint with the sealant will make the grout smooth so that it won’t stain so easily. Hoping I’ll never have to get on my knees with a scrub brush again!!
Also, is painting tile a project that will have to be repeated after a few years?
One more if you don’t mind….Are there any bad effects if there is mold or mildew deep inside the grout that doesn’t scrub out?
Hi Cristy! So glad you asked this because I was getting ready to add in my comments about how well it’s help up. To answer your questions, yes it’s smooth and sealed 2 years later with no staining. I have had one tiny area chip off that I had to touch up, and it only takes a minute. I haven’t used this product in wet areas like a shower so I can’t comment on the mildew issue, but I did clean the floors very well before painting the grout.
Do you think this approach would also work to refresh a tile backsplash in the kitchen? Wanting to change the tile color from gray to white to update it.
Absolutely Natalie! I used it on our last kitchen backsplash.
I’m looking for to replace a bit of tile that looks just like the tile in this tutorial. Any chance you know the name, or a way to search for it?
Hi Jordan! I’m so sorry I don’t. 🙁 It was a builder grade tile that was here long before us.
So the grout in my shower has become stained in light of hard water. I’m hoping to paint it with this. Will this paint withstand shower use? Is there something I need to seal the paint with? It looks extraordinary!!!
Hi there! I’ve never attempted to paint the grout in a shower before so I would recommend doing some research before attempting it.
I swear by using borax to clean my grout. I was able to get the white grout lines back in a shower that had mold, mildew, and hard water issues. I was thinking about painting an extra thick patch of grout that is visually different from the rest of the pattern on the rest of the surface, but it doesn’t seem like that is going to achieve the look that I’m going for. Good to know that painting can be an option though.
Great tip! I’ll have to try using borox in my shower grout. Thanks!
Never tried using grout paint before, I guess I would give it a try this time since our floors are a bit dirty now.
Thank you Martina.
Hey Mark! I’ve used it in 3 homes so far and it’s by far the cheapest way to make your old tile look sooo much better… Good luck and let me know how it goes for you!
So the grout in my shower has become discolored because of hard water. I am looking to paint it with this. Will this paint withstand shower use? Is there something I need to seal the paint with? It looks great!!!
Hi Jamey, I have never used this product in a shower before. So here are my thoughts for what it’s worth 🙂 Try a good cleaning first. My neighbor swears by clorox toilet bowl blue cling gel (letting it soak overnight before scrubbing off). If all else fails, I still don’t think painting it is a bad idea if you’re miserable with the discoloration. Just be prepared for touch ups or a redo sometime in the future. It could possibly peel due to humidity. For the time and effort it takes and the inexpensive cost, I personally would take the risk and paint if cleaning fails. Happy DIY adventures!
When we laid our very light colored kitchen tile we went on with very light colored grout. The beauty of the floors are washed out because both tile & grout are so light. Can I use this product in a darker color to change the color of our grout from almost white to a dark gray? Thank in advance for your input!!
Hi Carrie, you can definitely darken the grout color to provide a little more contrast and make the tile floors pop. Just be careful and make sure your tile is a non-porous surface so that your beautiful light tile doesn’t absorb the dark paint. Most ceramic tiles are perfectly fine.
How do you know if your bathroom tiles are porous?
Hi Julie! Great question, typically tiles that are natural stone materials and marble aren’t sealed so they can be porous and allow paint to seep through. You should be fine with regular ceramic tile though.
Seriously such a great makeover! I’m using this same stuff on the tile in our entryway and I’m jealous of how quickly you got your applied! I’m also removing 50 years of baaaaaaad sealant on top of slate, but…I’m impatient and can’t wait until mine looks like yours!
Thanks Catherine! I love how easy this stuff is. I completely forgot I recolored our backsplash in the kitchen with it too.