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How well do painted tile floors hold up? Our one year review

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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If you’re stumbling upon this, you’ve probably thought about painting your bland tiles and turning them into something amazing. But you’re wondering if they could possibly hold up. I mean, it’s just paint and there’s a lot of traffic on your bathroom floors every day.

Or maybe you’re like I was. You’re inspired and wanted to start painting 5 minutes ago, but your reasonable husband insisted that you do a bit more research to find out if you’re just going to have to repaint them in a month.

Whatever your reason, I’ve got you covered. Here’s our honest one year review of how our painted tiles are holding up.

DIY Painted Tile Floors Durability - a real review

So how are the floors holding up? Any chips? 

We have exactly 2 chips in our floor, but I can confirm that those were both there before we sealed our floors. I rubbed an area of our floor after the first coat of paint to see how it was going to hold up and a couple of pieces chipped (this is why you trust the process and don’t test things before the paint is cured and sealed).

Other than these chips, we haven’t had any issues with the floors not holding up, despite a puppy running on them often. We followed the care instructions on our sealer and didn’t use any harsh chemicals on the floors for the first 3 months.

Since the 3 months passed, we haven’t tested any truly harsh chemicals–just a few Swiffer Wet Jet pads and Dawn soap + water. The floors clean up really easily, so we haven’t had to scrub too hard on it.

How well do DIY painted tile floors actually hold up?

Why I think our floors are holding up so well

I can’t speak for tile floors painted with chalk paint, but I think the durability of our floors is thanks to the paint that we chose.

We started with a strong concrete and masonry bonding primer so that we wouldn’t have to sand first. Then we used porch and patio paint for the main color and stencil.

Porch and patio paint is very durable since it generally has to stand up to harsh outdoor conditions and high traffic. It’s also water and mildew resistant which is great in case you accidentally miss a spot when you go to seal it.

Finally, we chose a water-based polyurethane to protect the floors further.

What You’ll Need

If you’re interested in exactly how we prepped and painted our tile floors, you can find the painted tile tutorial here

Putting our painted floors to the test

Since we haven’t had any major issues with our floors, I felt like I couldn’t give a comprehensive review with putting our floors to the test.

The first test I wanted to try was scratching the floors with a coin. I scratched the floors with a lot of pressure for about 10 seconds. The result? No chips or scratches! You can head to my Instagram to see a video of me putting this to the test.

For the next test, I wanted to do something a little more extreme. I took a flathead screwdriver to the floor (with some decent pressure) and they did get a few scratches on them.

It didn’t scratch all the way through to the original floors on the first go around, but that being said, I wouldn’t recommend placing metal baskets on the floor that you might slide in/out often. See below for the close-up of the scratches. Honestly, I was impressed that the damage was still pretty minimal.

Finally, I scrubbed scrubbed scrubbed the floors with both a sponge and the scrubber part of a Swiffer Wet Jet pad. This experiment wasn’t too wild, so I didn’t expect to see any damage. Luckily I was right! These floors stand up to intense scrubbing!

But I will caveat this by saying that you should avoid scrubbing as much as possible for the first 3 months (or whatever is recommended on your sealer).

Chips from scratching painted tiles with a screwdriver

The bad?

Okay, nothing is 100% amazing and perfect and we want this review to be helpful, so here’s the ugly truth. These floors attract so much hair and dust. I don’t know if it’s the sealer we used or if it’s just a fact for black and white floors, but I have to Swiffer constantly. They clean up super easily, but you’re going to have to spend 30s with your Swiffer often.

Would I paint my tile floors again?

In a heartbeat. In fact, I already created the stencil designs for our next 2 rooms. You can download all three tile stencils at the bottom of this page to use on your own stenciling project!

If you’re hesitant about painting your floors, my advice to you is to JUST DO IT! It’s a labor of love and takes a bit of time, but it’s so worth it. Plus, painting can be relaxing, right?

2 Year Update

Our floors have been painted for two years now and I’m happy to report that I don’t have much to update on.

We have gotten a couple of chips in the paint recently when I’ve dropped heavier items on the floor, which I think is likely due to the sealer wearing down from water and constant use.

It’s very normal for a sealer to wear down over time, so I’m not terribly surprised.

It’s on my to-do list to go back over the floors with a few more coats of sealer to keep the floor nice and protected.

I will say, the floor really is holding up well adding the extra coats of sealer are really out of an abundance of caution, not necessity. It’s on my to-do list, but definitely not near the top 😉

If you want to prolong the life of your floors and prevent resealing them later, I’d recommend adding 2-3 additional coats of sealer beyond what’s already recommended on the can.

What questions do you have about painted floors?

How do painted tile floors hold up after a year?
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  1. Chris says:

    Are the floors slick after all is done?

  2. Ruby says:

    I know you mentioned that you used mold and mildew resistant products but it wasn’t mentioned how well that worked in the review portion. I live in Guam and it’s crazy humid here. Does it hold up after steamy showers with possibly low to no ventilation? We have a dog so we tend to keep the doors closed a lot.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Ruby! We can’t speak much about low ventilation areas because we keep our doors for the majority of the day. We’ve had zero mildew or mold problems with the floor, but we don’t have the actual shower painted and the space has plenty of ventilation. Sorry we don’t have more insight for your situation!

    • Jo says:

      Ruby – we are in South Africa and I’m also wondering about humidity. Have you done it yet? If so, how is it? Thanks Jo

    • Christina says:

      Hi! We are moving into a new home and I’d love to paint the tile in the 1/2 bath. My question is- have you used or have you herd anything about how the paint holds up to steam moping ( I may or may not be obsessed with a steam mop..) ?

      Thanks!

  3. Stephanie Bybee says:

    Do you think this work on the small one inch tiles? Also, how many colors are available for this type of paints?

  4. Kehila Vazquez says:

    I’m planning on painting all my floors. From living space to kitchen to dinning room. I am most concerned about the dinning room. Do you think the paint will hold up to moving the chairs almost every day?

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Kehila! That’s a valid concern and we don’t have experience with a similar level of wear and tear. My friend Danielle at The Mindful Haven (https://www.instagram.com/themindfulhaven/) has painted floors in her dining room. I would recommend reaching out to her to see how hers are holding up and what specific materials she used. Hope that helps!

  5. Erin says:

    Hi! Why did you use water base polyurethane? Curious bc I’m going to do our bathrooms and wondered about the moisture. Yours look amazing!

  6. Rachel says:

    Love your tutorial! How have your floors held up to a few hours of water droplets sitting there? I’ve read a couple of blog posts of paint chips and bubbling after water sat on the floor for a few hours. I’m going to paint the tile in my plant room this weekend and was debating with the polyurethane or something that is more waterproof.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Rachel! We haven’t had any issues with bubbling or chipping after water has sat on our floor for hours, but there are a lot of factors that could lead to different results for different people. We were very cautious the first 30 days after painting our tiles while the poly fully cured, which I think likely played a role in how well it’s holding up now. Hope that helps!

  7. Beamer says:

    Do you think this same method would work well for an entry way? There will be a lot of traffic with shoes, and I noticed you did not sand the tile before you painted. I’m thinking about using your method but also sanding my tile beforehand. My Husband is just concerned I will be disappointed because he believes it will peel up right away, but I just need it to be durable enough to handle shoes, not moisture as much.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Beamer! I think the same method would work well for an entryway. Sanding in addition is a great way to try to make it even more durable — paint and primer tend to adhere a lot better to sanded surfaces! The key is to be cautious for the first few weeks after painting to allow the paint and poly to fully cure.

  8. Riva says:

    I should have read your notes first and painted my floors without priming. Duh! I am now ready to seal the floors. It was so much work , Could I try the sealant and hope for the best or go back and wash off all the work and start at the beginning again and prime first. Where did you get the primer. Many thanks for your answer.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Riva! It all depends on your risk tolerance. If I were in your shoes, I’m not sure what I would do! If you’re hoping the tiles will last for years and years to come, it might be worth it, but if you’re hoping they will just last a year or two, you might find it better to just risk it!

    • Amyk says:

      You could always paint again a few years later. I did this 20years ago in my kitchen dining room combo room. I think I used 2 coats of regular wall paint that was in the house.when I bought it. I didn’t even seal it. I covered a 70,s lenolium floor. It lasted years. I wasn’t easy on it at all. I figured if it got messed up I would paint it again. I never had to. We finally put new flooring in but it’s not like we did it cause the floor wore at all. We just wanted regular flooring. Don’t worry so much.

      • Zoe Hunt says:

        That’s wonderful that you had such great results! We have the same philosophy with paint. It’s easy enough to use that you might as well go for it. Worst case scenario, you don’t love it or it doesn’t hold up and you can paint it again to your liking!

  9. lavanya says:

    Your tiles look gorgeous. Great job and thank you for such a detailed post. I am planning to paint my backsplach tiles. Would you recommend using the same exterior porch paint. I am considering that because the kitchen tiles will have to withstand regular cleaning, splashes of grease and hot liquid etc.
    Thank you.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi there! I’m glad you found the post helpful! I would recommend using the same paint that I used on the floors. I’m sure there are plenty of options that would work, but this method is tried and true for me. Just remember that you’ll have to be gentle with the cleaning for the first little bit!

  10. Melissa says:

    Hi! Was you primer clear of white? I can only find a clear version of the concrete and masonry primer. Wondering if this is what you used 🙂

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Melissa! We have the exact products we used linked in the blog post for your convenience if you want to use those. The primer was clear and the first coat of paint was white. Hope that helps 🙂

  11. Kristine says:

    HI – I painted my floors much like you did with a bonding paint first and then using porch and patio paint. I did not put on a sealer, however. I felt that would be too much if I ever wanted to paint it again. The mistake I made was to paint during a heatwave with tons of humidity. I also have animals and have already noticed some scratch marks, but I think that is mainly due to the fact that we were walking on it before it was really dry due to the humidity. I’m waiting now until the weather cools down to do another coat in the areas where there have been scratches. I’m just wondering what you think about all this. I would love to hear your advice and thoughts. Thanks! Even with the scratches, I absolutely LOVE IT!

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Kristine! I’m so glad that you love it!!

      Humidity and heat always make things so difficult for paint! I think going back to do an extra coat when it cools down is a great idea. I would also recommend the top-coat. I think it’s the best defense against scratches and protecting your beautiful “new” floors. It shouldn’t cause too much of an issue if you decide to repaint down the road too. The topcoat will wear down over time and you can always lightly sand if needed.

  12. Tiffany says:

    How do the floors hold up to water? We have 2 young children so our floors are often wet.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Tiffany! We haven’t explicitly put ours to the test with water. Some does get on the floors here and there. We don’t wipe it up and haven’t had any issues with ours.

      If there is a lot of water on the floor, it might wear down the topcoat over time, so you might need to reseal it every year or two to keep the paint from chipping.

  13. Michelle says:

    I am considering painting the tile on my backsplash, it is very shiny subway tile and I would simply be covering SOME of the tiles, as I made a mistake just using 1 color. Would the painted tiles be as shiny as the tiles we left unpainted?

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Michelle! If you use a gloss sealer at the end, you will probably be able to achieve a similar shine. However, the tiles you paint won’t be perfectly smooth like the subway tile. You will be able to see the brush/roller texture, especially if you use a gloss finish. The shinier the finish, the more you can see the texture come through. Hope that helps!

  14. Barbara says:

    Hi Michelle, Does the sealant have any fumes? I have some lung issues that I’m concerned about. Yours looks amazing

  15. Jill kane says:

    I just did my entry and I LOVE It! I have a wool rug I want to use. Have you used a rug or rug pad. I can’t find anything telling me what type of pad to use. I am afraid it will wear away the paint or stick or discolor it. Help!

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Jill! So glad you’re loving your painted floors 🙂 I’ve only had a bath mat on mine, so I don’t have much advice on rugs or rug pads. The bath mat hasn’t caused any issues for us

  16. Morgan says:

    Hi! I’m considering painting my bathroom floors but I’m curious if I did do it if eventually I could remove the paint and go back to the original tile? I live in a rental and I know they won’t care as long as they’d be able to go back to the original flooring when I move out if they don’t like it

  17. Roxy Caldwell says:

    Hi
    I have a plain white bathroom tile. I am only wanting to use a stencil and paint a design. Do you think i should still prime? If so, do I need to prime entire floor?

  18. Lindsey says:

    Hi! How did you convince your husband that painting the floor was a brilliant plan? 😀

  19. Cerrie L DeBos says:

    If I were going to paint a floor in a pool house is there a paint you would recommend that isn’t so slippery? I am thinking with regular paint it could be dangerous.

  20. Stefan Robert says:

    I will do our washrooms and pondered about the dampness. Yours look astounding!

  21. Abi says:

    I’m pretty convinced to do the bathrooms and kitchen but I also want to do the laundry. I’m a bit concerned as it will require moving the washing machine and a small fridge back into place, and then moving them periodically to vacuum and mop under and behind them. Do you think the paint would hold up to that?

  22. Andrea says:

    I’m excited to read how well your floors have held up. Thanks for the tip about extra coats of poly.. I’m getting ready to paint a hallway, or considering it. Your feedback makes me feel comfortable moving forward. Thanks!

  23. Sarah Nicholls says:

    Hello! Thanks for this blog post. I’m considering painting our bathroom floor but we have a wetroom. Do you think this would be suitable or would the constant moisture would ruin it?

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Sarah! Great question. I probably wouldn’t recommend this in a bathroom with a wetroom. We haven’t had issues with water, but ours isn’t wet often. I’ve heard horror stories of people painting their tiles and it peeling right off after water sits on it for too long!

  24. Ralph says:

    I have an old style faux stone looking ceramic tile. I was thinking of using a tile stencil but with no base to let the faux stone look come through. Im also considering sponging the stencil to have a worn effect. I would finish up with a good seal.

    Thoughts?

  25. Danielle Rolfes says:

    Hello! Your post was just in time! Have you used a steamer on painted floors yet? I am wondering if it would be okay.

    • Zoe Hunt says:

      Hi Danielle, we clean our floors with Dawn soap and water. We haven’t tried and steamer and would not recommend it. My thought is that it would cause the paint to bubble and peel. Again, I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure that would happen, but personally I would not risk it.

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