The best paint for tiles you can buy in 2022

Rachel Ogden
21 Sep 2022

Freshen up tired kitchen and bathroom tiles for a stylish new look with the best paint for tiles

Faded or stained tiles – or simply tiling that’s not to your taste – can be a chore to replace, especially if you’re not renovating an entire room. And if the tiles themselves aren’t badly damaged then tile paint is an inexpensive and effective fix. It’s also far quicker than replacing your tiles and generates much less mess. Painting your tiles is an ideal weekend project: prep your tiles by getting them as clean as possible (so the paint adheres properly), fill any cracks or chips, give them a light sand, then slick on a coat or two of paint.

Choosing the right tile paint for your project is key: some brands offer a limited range of colours and finishes, or include water and mould resistance for use in bathrooms, while others don’t need a primer, so you can get the job done faster. We’ve selected some of the best paint for tiles you can buy for your budget, as well as the questions to ask when choosing one. Below, you'll find our buying guide to help you select the best tile paint, or you can scroll on for our top picks.

Best paint for tiles: At a glance

How to choose the best paint for tiles for you

How is tile paint different from other formulas?

While it might be tempting to reach for a pot of emulsion to cover up your tired tiles, a specialist tile paint is a smarter choice as it will be formulated to be more durable and water-resistant. This makes it able to withstand the humidity of a kitchen or bathroom, as well as regular cleaning with a mild detergent. In general, stick to painting wall tiles – floor tiles may look great when they’re first painted, but even the toughest tile paint will start to wear over time.

Some formulas will need to be used in conjunction with a primer, whereas others may only require a single coat to transform your tiles. However, limiting the paint to the tiles without covering the grout is tricky, so you may need to buy a grout pen to redefine the lines when you’re finished.

What if I don’t like the available colours?

Colour choice for specialist tile paint can be limited, with some ranges only available in neutral shades, or one or two bolder tones. If you have a specific colour in mind, you can always prime tiles with a high-quality, solvent-based primer and use a high-gloss or semi-gloss paint for the top coats. Just be aware that the surface will probably not be as durable as using a specialist tile paint.

READ NEXT: Ready for a complete upgrade? Find the best bathroom tiles for you

How much should I spend on paint for tiles?

Most tile paints are priced at between £20-30 per litre. However, the amount required to properly cover your tiles will vary, and it could mean that single-coat products end up being better value than a cheaper product that needs two or more coats. The estimated coverage area can also vary so, to make sure you only buy as much paint as you need for the area that’s being painted, it’s advisable to work it out in advance using a paint calculator.

READ NEXT: The best kitchen paints to buy

The best tile paint you can buy in 2022

1. Rust-oleum Universal All Surface Paint: Best paint for kitchen splashback tiles

Price: £19 (£25 per litre) | Buy now from Amazon

Give your kitchen splashback more wow with this clever paint, with no primer required. Unlike most, it’s available in a wide range of gorgeous colours – from bold blues to sunshine colours of orange, yellow and red – as well as a good choice of neutrals, and different finishes (black and white are both available in matte, gloss and satin). We tested it in Duck Egg Blue Satin – an elegant shade that provided excellent coverage in one coat, although a second coat is an option after 16 hours’ drying time.

As Universal All Surface Paint is heat-resistant, it’s perfect for kitchens. You can also use it in a bathroom, although it’s not advisable in areas that are in prolonged contact with water, such as showers. We especially liked how forgiving it was when applying – visible brushstrokes melted away as it dried. Perhaps the only downside is a strong solvent smell – out of all the paints we tested, this one was the most noticeable – but the great coverage and choice of colours far outweighs the initial odour.

Key specs – Colours/finishes: 26; Available finish: Matte/satin/gloss; Also suitable for: Wood, metal, plastics, ceramics; Clean tools with: White spirit/brush cleaner

2. Zinsser Bulls Eye 123: Best paint for stained tiles

Price: £21 per litre | Buy now from Amazon

While Bulls Eye 123 is billed as a primer and sealer, it’s perfect for tiles, happily sticking to glossy tiled surfaces without the need for sanding. It can even be tinted from its white or deep tint base shade so, after a couple of coats of Bulls Eye 123, you might not even need to use a coloured top coat. It’s also a real multitasker: it’s great for covering up stains, and contains a biocide so can be used to prevent mould in bathrooms. You can even use this water-based primer on metal to prevent rust, and it’s touch-dry in 30 minutes.

We tested it in the grey version – a medium smoky tone that provided excellent coverage after a couple of coats (as it’s a thin primer, one coat was a bit patchy). We liked its speedy drying time – around an hour before another coat – and there was no strong smell, plus we could wash brushes using soap and water.

Key specs – Colours: 3; Available finish: Semi matte; Also suitable for: Interior or exterior non-ferrous metal; Clean tools with: Water and detergent

3. Wickes Brick & Tile Paint Gloss Red 750ml: Best paint for tiles in indoor-outdoor areas

Price: £18 (£24 per litre) | Buy now from Wickes

While it’s designed for outside use, there’s no reason why any tiles wouldn’t benefit from a coat of this easy-to-apply paint. And, given its weather resistance and tough finish, it would be ideal for interior areas that are more exposed to fluctuating temperatures or extra cleaning, such as conservatories, porches or boot rooms. Though there are only two colours, black and red – available in gloss or matte finishes – the latter is more of a rich terracotta tone than its basic name suggests.

The paint went on easily and, although we needed two coats to cover the pattern on our tiles, dried to a pleasantly glossy finish. The smell was noticeable, but not strong, and the surface was touch-dry in around four hours.

Key specs – Colours: 2; Available finish: Gloss/matte; Also suitable for: Concrete, stone, brick, paving, roof tiles, slate; Clean tools with: White spirit/brush cleaner

Buy now from Wickes

4. Wilko One Coat Tile Paint 750ml: Best speedy paint for tiles

Price: £20 (£26.67 per litre) | Buy now from Wilko

If you’re less than keen on DIY, or want a rapid makeover for dingy tiles, reach for this product – there’s no need for primer, and once you’ve slapped on a single coat, you’re done. Colour choices are limited to neutrals, but there’s still a sufficient choice of greys from the barely there Pale Grey we tested, to a deeper shade called Flintstone. The paint is, unsurprisingly, fairly thick and a bit tricky to spread, so it’s best to use a brush rather than a mini roller. It also had a slight solvent smell, but it wasn’t overpowering.

We found it dried to a fairly smooth, glossy finish, with only a few minor brush strokes still visible. It covered the pattern on our tile with just one coat, but there’s the option for a second if the surface needs it. Wilko’s One Coat Tile Paint is moisture-resistant – you’d be able to use it in a bathroom – but not heat-resistant. So you’ll be able to paint a kitchen splashback behind a sink, but not behind a cooker or hob.

Key specs – Colours: 7; Available finish: Gloss; Also suitable for: N/A; Clean tools with: White spirit/brush cleaner

Buy now from Wilko

5. V33 Renovation Wall Tile & Panelling: Best paint for tiles in shower areas

Price: £40 for 2l (£20 per litre) | Buy now from B&Q

This thick, creamy paint is the answer to the question: “How can I make my tiled shower enclosure more appealing?” That’s because once painted on to wall tiles, it forms a waterproof, washable barrier that can withstand everyday cleaning products and temperature variations. It doesn’t require a primer, and there’s even a small roller tray inside the pack. Colour choices are mostly neutrals, ranging from White and Cotton to Anthracite, as well as the pale Soft Grey we tested, although there is a more exciting Lagoon Blue available.

Something to be aware of is the requirement of an additive that needs to be mixed in before you start painting. Once the additive has been combined with the paint, it has a limited lifespan of just 10 days, so you’ll need to get your painting done within that timeframe for the best results. It’s possible that our additive wasn’t mixed in well enough, as the paint was still slightly tacky after a couple of days, so make sure it’s thoroughly distributed. It also showed visible brushstrokes, so it’s best to opt for roller application.

Key specs – Colours: 6; Available finish: Satin; Also suitable for: Glass bricks, PVC panelling, varnished, painted and bare wood; Clean tools with: Water

Buy now from B&Q

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