Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (2022)

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (1)

If you’re unhappy with your ceramic tiles, you might be feeling like your options are limited. Fortunately, painting over tiles and getting beautiful results is an option. To do this properly, one of the things you’ll need is a quality primer.

With the amount of options, finding a primer that will work on tiles can be overwhelming. This article will help you find the best primer for painting tile floors and walls by covering the following:

  • 8 best primers for painting tile floors
  • How to pick the right floor tile primer
  • Best way to prime ceramic tiles
  • Top 7 mistakes to avoid while painting over tiles

Before we get into how to prime your ceramic tiles, let’s dive into some options for tile primers. If you’re renovating your bathroom, check out our guide to the best primers for cabinets.

8 best primers for painting tile floors

There are a lot of primers on the market, but only some will work as a floor tile primer. Here are our recommendations for the best primers for painting ceramic tile.

1. KILZ Adhesion Interior/Exterior Primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (2)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $78.48

Size: 946 ml

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: Versatile

If adhesion is your top concern, KILZ Adhesion Interior/Exterior Primer is your best choice. This approved tile primer is specially made to bond to tough surfaces and allows for a variety of topcoats to be used over it. It can even be used under epoxies and lacquers.

2. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (3)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $22.99

Size: 946 ml

(Video) How to apply Nippon Paint Tile Primer – A Fresh New Look for Your Tiles

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: High hiding

Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer is an ideal choice for any project, including tile. This primer sticks to almost all surfaces and offers great stain blocking technology. It’s mold and mildew resistant and is ready for a topcoat in an hour.

3. KILZ 2 All-Purpose Interior/Exterior Primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (4)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $22.70

Size: 946 ml

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: Blocks stains

If you want a primer that you can’t go wrong with, try KILZ 2 All-Purpose Interior/Exterior Primer. A multi-surface primer, it can be used anywhere to seal the surface and block stains. It’s great at hiding the previous colour and has great adhesion.

4. INSL-X STIX Waterborne Bonding Primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (5)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $32.99

Size: 946 ml

(Video) How to Paint Tile Floor | Painting Tile Floors Before and After

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Semi-gloss

Type: Urethane acrylic

Best Feature: Strong adhesion

For a popular option for tiles, use INSL-X STIX Waterborne Bonding Primer. This bonding primer for tile is strong enough to coat difficult surfaces and offers great adhesion and sealing qualities. It also works with a variety of topcoats and works in a variety of temperatures.

5. KILZ Restoration Interior Primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (6)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $90.99

Size: 1 gallon

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: Blocks pet odours

Also from KILZ, their Restoration Interior Primer is great for surfaces that have been damaged. Approved as a ceramic tile primer, it’s been designed with the qualities of an oil-based or shellac-based primer, despite being water-based. It also can block difficult stains and odours while being easy to sand.

6. Zinsser Bondz Maximum Adhesion Primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (7)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $29.19

Size: 946 ml

(Video) Epoxy Primer - 5 Good Reasons (Why you should Apply)

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: Health-conscious

Another great option from Zinsser is their Bondz Maximum Adhesion Primer. This primer offers great adhesion to the most difficult of surfaces and has a low VOC and odour for health-conscious painters. It’s easy to use and can be paired with all paints.

7. KILZ Premium Primer/Sealer/Stainblocker

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (8)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $25.92

Size: 946 ml

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: Durability

For all your priming needs, opt for KILZ Premium Primer/Sealer/Stainblocker. This 3-in-1 solution bonds well to a variety of surfaces and is super durable. It also has low VOC, making it one of the safest options.

8. XIM UMA Bonder Primer/Sealer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (9)

(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $34.97

Size: 946 ml

(Video) How to Paint Bathroom Tiles the Right Way

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft./gal.

Finish: Flat

Type: Water-based

Best Feature: Versatile

XIM UMA Bonder Primer/Sealer is a great option for tough surfaces, including tile. This primer offers great adhesion and can be used with any topcoat. It offers great coverage and versatile usage.

How to pick the right floor tile primer

With the amount of options available, it can be hard to select a primer that will work best for your tile floors. Follow these guidelines to help you choose the best primer for painting tile in your home.

How to choose the right primer finish

The finish of your primer will determine how reflective your finished project will be, as well as how well it will work with the ceramic surface and your paint. These are your choices for primer finish:

  • Clear: Primer that dries clear; used primarily for protection and durability.
  • Flat/matte: White or grey in colour with no shine; works with most paints for full coverage.
  • Semi-gloss: Somewhat reflective; can enhance the look of your paint.
  • Glossy: Shiniest primer; helps achieve a smooth, glossy finish with approved paints.

How to choose the right primer colour

Although it will be under your paint, the colour of your primer will have an effect on the coverage and final look of your paint. Below are the common colour choice you’ll have to choose between for your tiles:

  • Clear: Might apply coloured but dries clear as to not interfere with the original and/or new colour.
  • White: Most popular choice for full coverage; helps bring out light paint colours.
  • Grey: Great for providing full coverage under dark paint colours.
  • Neutral: Some primers are available in colours that more closely match your paint.

How to choose the right type of primer

The type of primer you use will determine how effective it is when used on the surface and combined with your paint. Here are the different types of primer you’re likely to encounter:

  • Oil-based: Incredibly versatile and stain resistant; can be used in various weather conditions.
  • Latex: A quality, health-conscious option; works well with wood, drywall, plaster, masonry, and metal.
  • Shellac-based: Works best with interior projects; often dries fast and offers ideal coverage.
  • Water-based: A healthier option to the previous three; often versatile.
  • Urethane acrylic: Good option for surfaces that pose difficulties with adhesion.

Best way to prime ceramic tiles

Using the right primer is only one part of the process. To get the best results, follow these tips when priming your tiles:

  • Protect the surrounding area – Use painter’s tape to protect the edges of your trim, walls, doors, etc. while working with your tiles.
  • Clean your tiles – Combine a gallon of water with a half-cup of TSP and scrub the tiles to remove grime, then mop your floors and towel dry to fully clean the surface.
  • Sand the surface – Use sandpaper to remove the previous finishes from your tiles and buff up the surface.
  • Use a roller – A paint roller will work best to help you distribute the primer evenly and avoid buildup that will show through your paint.
  • Apply multiple coats – If needed, apply two or more coats to help you achieve your desired level of coverage.
  • Let each coat dry – Allow each coat to fully dry for the primer’s specified amount of time to prevent lifting the primer and creating an unsmooth finish.
  • Plan ahead – To avoid damage, create a plan to make sure you have enough time to complete your project, and create a strategy to prevent yourself from walking over or touching your work while it’s drying.

Top 7 mistakes to avoid while painting over tiles

We all make mistakes, but some of the most common ones while working with tiles are easy to avoid. These are the top mistakes to avoid while painting your tiles:

1. Not cleaning beforehand

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (10)

You might think your tiles are clean, but you need to be sure. Take the time to properly clean your tiles so you can remove any dirt, debris, and grime. Anything left behind can show in your finished results, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Not sanding before priming

This is another step many like to skip. Sanding is an incredibly important step as it allows you to remove any old materials and create a more adhesive surface. Not sanding could result in some less than flattering results.

3. Not using primer

As tempting as it might be to go straight for the paint, this would be a big mistake. Applying prime first increases the durability of your paint and will help improve the coverage.

4. Using the wrong primer

Best Primers for Painting Tile Floors + Tips for Priming (11)

Just as bad as not using a primer is using the wrong primer. Be sure that you’re using a primer that is approved for use on ceramic tiles. Otherwise you’ll encounter issues with adhesion and the overall look of your work.

5. Using an incompatible paint

As much as you might like a paint colour, you also need to be sure it’s approved for ceramic flooring and compatible with your primer. Using an incompatible paint can create poor results and might even be more susceptible to damage over time.

(Video) How to paint tiles

6. Not letting each coat dry

Even if you think you’re ready to apply another coat, you need to wait the proper amount of time. Applying another coat of primer or paint over a coat that hasn’t dried can lift the previous coat and cause buildup and rough patches on your tiles.

7. Not giving yourself enough time

Projects like this are supposed to take a fair amount of time. Be sure to plan accordingly so you and your family will be able to avoid walking on or touching the tiles for the duration of the project. Trying to rush or even skip steps will most likely result in unfavourable results.

Now that you know everything about priming your tiles, it’s time to get started. If you’re feeling unsure and think you might prefer to hire a professional, the City Painters are here to help. Contact us here or give us a call for a free quote.

FAQs

What kind of primer do you use to paint tile? ›

For a popular option for tiles, use INSL-X STIX Waterborne Bonding Primer. This bonding primer for tile is strong enough to coat difficult surfaces and offers great adhesion and sealing qualities.

Do you have to Prime ceramic tiles before painting? ›

Surface preparation entails sanding, vacuuming, and then scrubbing the tile and grout lines to remove dirt and grime. Priming the tile is essential to making the tile more receptive to paint.

Can I use regular primer on tile? ›

Important note: not any regular primer will do. You need a primer that is specifically up to the task of priming tile and slick surfaces.

Does Kilz primer work on tile? ›

Its advanced chemistry provides a sound anchor for topcoats while reducing or potentially eliminating the need for sanding dense, glossy surfaces including Kynar®, PVC, vinyl, Formica®, glass, tile, glazed brick, chalky paints, glossy finishes, fiberglass and metals.

How many coats of primer do you need for tile? ›

Primers hide any unwanted colors and designs and will help the new paint adhere better to your tiles. Roll the primer on evenly. Use two coats if necessary. Let primer dry before moving to the next step.

What to put on tiles before painting? ›

Primer. Our experts would always recommend you use an adhesion primer before painting bathroom tiles. A primer creates a layer on the bathroom tiles that allows the paint to stick to the surface.

How do you prime ceramic tile for painting? ›

How to Paint Ceramic Tiles - YouTube

How do you prime ceramic before painting? ›

Apply 1-2 light coats of spray primer.

If the ceramic isn't already white, choose a ceramic-safe primer. Shake the can for 15-30 seconds before spraying the surface of the ceramic with a light coat. Then, let the coat dry for 2-3 hours, and then apply an additional coating of primer for more coverage.

What kind of paint do you use to paint a tile floor? ›

Latex, acrylic latex and enamel paints will all perform well on the ceramic tile if you have used a quality high-adhesion primer to prepare the surface. Apply two to three even coats, as needed, until you achieve full coverage.

What kind of primer do you use on ceramic tile? ›

Having successfully readied the tile, move on to coat it with an application of epoxy bonding primer. You can use either a brush or roller, depending on the size of the area you are planning to paint. Resist the temptation to skip the primer; you really need it for the paint to adhere in a lasting way.

What do you prime tiles with? ›

Priming. Prime all bare ceramic tiles with one full coat of Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 Primer Sealer in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Allow a minimum drying time of 1 hour in normal drying conditions.

What is floor tile primer? ›

A tile primer is a liquid tiling product which is used during the surface preparation phase. It is primarily based on latex, polyurethane or epoxy and has the general viscosity of plain water, depending on the type. It can be applied with a broom, paint brush or roller – depending on the type.

Can I use Zinsser primer on ceramic tile? ›

With conventional paints ineffective on unprimed ceramic tiles, Zinsser products are a quick and cost-effective way to prime and finish tiled surfaces at home or in the workplace, in as little as a day.

Will Kilz primer stick to ceramic tile? ›

Perhaps you're painting a surface that ordinary paint might not stick to, such as a slick glossy surface, aluminum, vinyl, ceramic tile or glass. In that case, KILZ® Adhesion Interior/Exterior Primer is an excellent choice.

Do you need primer for floor tiles? ›

Primer is absolutely necessary if you have an anhydrite screed (aka calcium sulphate). This is a liquid screed pumped onto the sub-floor that self-levels. It's quite common in modern construction and has many benefits over sand and cement screeds, but you can't tile straight onto it with standard adhesives.

How long does primer need to dry on tile? ›

Primer takes between one and four hours to dry on average. However, the exact drying time depends on the primer type, room temperature, humidity, and the surface you're painting. Most manufacturers advise waiting at least 60 minutes before painting over the coat of primer.

Can you use water based primer on tiles? ›

But by prepping and priming first, interior eggshell water-based paint will work just fine when painting over kitchen tiles or bathroom tiles.

What's the best primer for porcelain tiles? ›

As a single coat fast application, ProJoint™ Porcelain™ Primer promotes adhesion and control suction on difficult substrates such as porcelain, concrete, ceramic tiles, paving slabs or setts. Using the ProJoint™ Porcelain™ Primer enables the porcelain slabs or setts to be laid on a sand and cement bedding.

Do you need to prep tiles before painting? ›

Making sure the tiles are clean before you even pick up a brush is key. Dirt, dust and grease can stop the paint from adhering properly, so spend some time cleaning the tiles with sugar soap or a detergent solution and a scourer.

What do you seal tiles with after painting? ›

Give the paint at least two or three days to dry. Then seal the tile with two or three coats of a clear, water-based urethane sealer—not an oil-based sealer, which can yellow your colors—allowing the first coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Do I need to sand tiles before painting? ›

Sanding tile is essential, otherwise, the smooth finish that resists moisture and prevents dirt from sticking to the surface also prevents the paint from adhering. Before you paint glazed tiles, their surfaces must be roughed up to create a scratched, pitted and porous surface to which paint can adhere.

Do ceramic tiles need a primer? ›

Before tiling or levelling, certain wall and floor substrates must be primed for a number of reasons including: to reduce the porosity (absorbency) of substrates or bases to prevent the formation of air bubbles or pinholes. to minimise the risk of a chemical reaction with cement-based adhesives.

Can I use Zinsser 123 on tile? ›

Paint Tiles with ZINSSER Bulls Eye 123 - YouTube

How do you professionally paint a tile floor? ›

How to Paint Tile Floor | Painting Tile Floors Before and After - YouTube

How do you paint ceramic without brush strokes? ›

How to Avoid Brush Strokes With Acrylic
  1. Start with a pre-gessoed smooth panel, or apply your own gesso and wet sand between coats.
  2. Use a soft brush, like a synthetic squirrel tail. ...
  3. Soft brush still too brushy? ...
  4. Try Golden fluid acrylics instead of heavy body paints.
  5. Choose colors that are opaque, not transparent.
2 Oct 2016

How do you get paint to stay on ceramic? ›

What is this? To seal acrylic paint to a ceramic surface, you need to heat cure the paint. Instead of letting it air dry, you want to bake the painted piece, then seal the paint with a water-based polyurethane varnish, clear acrylic coat, or modge podge. A kiln is the best option to make food-safe dishware.

Do you have to prime everything before painting? ›

Most projects where you're going over a previously-painted surface do not require the use of a primer. In many cases all you'll need to do is spot-prime any bare areas that need to be addressed before applying your finish.

Can you paint over old tile floors? ›

' The answer is yes! If you're looking to freshen up your bathroom or kitchen tiles, but don't have the time or budget for a full re-tiling, then painting your floor tiles may be a great option. Offering full design flexibility, you can choose any paint colour, pattern and finish you like.

Does painting floor tiles really work? ›

The short answer is that yes painting floor tiles does last, even with excessive amounts of floor traffic! However, there are definitely some issues to consider! Overall, when standing and looking at the room as a whole, the painted floor tile looks good and you can't see any major problems.

Can you successfully paint floor tiles? ›

"To achieve the best results, I recommend working with professional painters that are specialized and equipped to properly paint ceramic tiled floors and walls, and leave the area unused for several days to allow the paint to dry once the project is completed," Macfarlane says.

Which Zinsser primer should I use? ›

Summing up: All three Zinsser primers are very high quality, you just need to know which one to use for which application. Zinsser 123 is great for surfaces that are easier to adhere to and has low odour. Zinsser Cover Stain provides durability and adhesion on glossy glossy surfaces.

What is acrylic primer for tiles? ›

Acrylic Primer is a ready to use primer for use on porous and difficult substrates prior to tiling or screeding, or to seal gypsum plasters or screeds prior to the addition of cement based adhesives. It can be used neat when sealing substrates or diluted with an equal quantity of water for general priming.

Why do you need a primer for tiles? ›

Primer ensures water resistance and makes the adhesion of tiles to the adhesive powerful, therefore increasing the integrity of the wall and help tiles last longer. There can be many questions regarding priming, like what kind of primer to use or are all surfaces suitable for priming.

Is floor primer necessary? ›

A floor primer provides a plethora of benefits for the finished floor. If you want the very best adhesion and endurance of your flooring in the years to come, then you must consider the use of a floor primer. The floor primer pierces the substrate and enables the bonding of the floor overlay to the substrate.

How do you apply floor primer? ›

Applying adhesion primer when installing floors using ComforTec

What's the best primer for tiles? ›

What is the Best Primer for Tile? I highly recommend INSL-X Waterborne Bonding Primer STIX because it adheres to hard to coat surfaces and is very durable.

Can you use primer paint on tiles? ›

Prime The Tiles

If you're using tile paint, you won't need to unless the product specifies it. But if you're using water-based paint (like COAT's interior eggshell), you will need to add a tile paint primer.

Is tile primer necessary? ›

Tiling primer is an important component in tile installation as it improves the bonding of the tileto the substrate. It can also improve the working characteristics of the tile adhesive. Tiling primer is important to ensure a long lasting guaranteed tiling system.

What kind of paint do you use to paint a tile floor? ›

Latex, acrylic latex and enamel paints will all perform well on the ceramic tile if you have used a quality high-adhesion primer to prepare the surface. Apply two to three even coats, as needed, until you achieve full coverage.

Do you need primer for floor tiles? ›

Primer is absolutely necessary if you have an anhydrite screed (aka calcium sulphate). This is a liquid screed pumped onto the sub-floor that self-levels. It's quite common in modern construction and has many benefits over sand and cement screeds, but you can't tile straight onto it with standard adhesives.

What is floor tile primer? ›

A tile primer is a liquid tiling product which is used during the surface preparation phase. It is primarily based on latex, polyurethane or epoxy and has the general viscosity of plain water, depending on the type. It can be applied with a broom, paint brush or roller – depending on the type.

What do you prime tiles with? ›

Priming. Prime all bare ceramic tiles with one full coat of Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 Primer Sealer in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Allow a minimum drying time of 1 hour in normal drying conditions.

Can you use Zinsser primer on tile? ›

Priming

Use one full coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer Sealer, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, to prime all bare and prepared ceramic tiles for decoration. Allow a minimum of an hour for the primer to dry, in normal conditions.

Which Zinsser primer should I use? ›

Summing up: All three Zinsser primers are very high quality, you just need to know which one to use for which application. Zinsser 123 is great for surfaces that are easier to adhere to and has low odour. Zinsser Cover Stain provides durability and adhesion on glossy glossy surfaces.

What do you seal tiles with after painting? ›

Give the paint at least two or three days to dry. Then seal the tile with two or three coats of a clear, water-based urethane sealer—not an oil-based sealer, which can yellow your colors—allowing the first coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Can you just paint over tiles? ›

Yes, you can paint bathroom wall tiles! Most paints will only work on ceramic tiles, although natural stone should not be painted as it will sink into the surface of the tile. Painting your bathroom tiles used to be the personification of a bodge job, but not any more.

Can I paint straight onto tiles? ›

You can paint over tiles yourself, whether they are porcelain, ceramic or glass. You just need to equip yourself with the right tile paint, tools and equipment which we have listed below in our everything you need section.

What is acrylic primer for tiles? ›

Acrylic Primer is a ready to use primer for use on porous and difficult substrates prior to tiling or screeding, or to seal gypsum plasters or screeds prior to the addition of cement based adhesives. It can be used neat when sealing substrates or diluted with an equal quantity of water for general priming.

How long do you leave primer before tiling? ›

Depending on the atmospheric conditions, most applications are thoroughly dry after 30 minutes. Make sure the primer is completely dry before applying adhesive.

How do you apply floor primer? ›

Learn Why and How to Use a Floor Primer Prior to Applying Self ...

Videos

1. INSL-X® Stix® Waterborne Bonding Primer
(Benjamin Moore Paints)
2. This Primer Works On Tile! | Stix Waterborne Bonding Primer
(The Paint People)
3. Kilz 2 Primer Review - Why We Like It and When You Should Use It
(DIY Painting and Refinishing)
4. Painting tile floor and grout lines... a success!
(Katherine Forbes)
5. Choosing The Correct Primer | Floor Paint Product Guide | Resincoat
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6. How To Apply The Primer | Floor Paint Product Guide | Resincoat
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