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Can You Paint Bathroom Grout? [And How To]

Tile flooring is one of the bigger investments in your bathroom's appearance you can make. But tile is only one part of the floor; what about the grout? Do you have former grout choices that no longer match new color schemes? What about grout that's become permanently discolored? Can you paint it instead of completely redoing the floor, and if so, how? We've researched how to go about painting bathroom floor grout for you here.

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There are actually specialty paints just for redoing your grout if it's gotten too stained or you want a change. The steps to going about painting your grout are simple. 

  1. Clean your floor completely beforehand.
  2. Patch and fill in any cracks or damage in your grout if necessary.
  3. Purchase your desired shade of grout paint and brushes.
  4. Apply your paint thoroughly along the grout lines, allowing for drying time between coats if need be.
  5. Remove any excess paint off the tile after drying. 

Now, the process is a bit more detailed than just those four bullet points, so feel free to continue reading on as we go into more depth on what grout painting entails. It's a very doable project if you go into it prepared and informed. 

A hand holding a paint brush and painting with green paint. Tile in background. Can You Paint Bathroom Grout [And How To]

How Do You Make Grout Look New?

A fresh coat of paint and a new color palette is a great way to make your grout look new and fresh. Patching up cracks and small damage, cleaning up grime and minor stains are steps to grout painting that will make your grout look totally different. An alternative to complete replacement and retiling, following the following steps below will make your grout look completely new. 

1. Cleaning your floor beforehand

Hand of man wearing orange rubber gloves is used to convert scrub cleaning on the tile floor.

There are some obvious and less obvious reasons why it's important to clean your floor before embarking on a grouting project. You're going to be on your hands and knees in your bathroom the whole time you're working; it likely behooves you to have a clean floor. Not only that, but grout by design is where a lot of dust, grime, and detritus congregate. It isn't fun, but cleaning your floor beforehand will do you a huge favor. 

Beyond mere sanitation, however, a clean floor is necessary for the actual process of painting grout. Dirt and grime collected in your grout lines will prevent fresh paint from adhering properly. It will stick on your brushes and get in your paint; it will cause you problems all over. Do yourself a favor and clean your floor completely before beginning to paint. 

Read more at Home Decor Bliss "4 Easy Ways to Clean Grout Without Scrubbing."

2. Patching up your grout

Although this project serves as an alternative to full-on regrouting, you may still need to do some minor patching up beforehand. If your grout has cracks or chips in it, take care of those before starting anything else. Covering them with paint will not solve the problems and only waste your time. 

How Do You Fill Gaps In Grout?

If your grouting has minor cracks, you can fix these by running and pressing in latex caulking material along the entire crack. Then top with some sprinkled dry grout and blend with water, using your finger to mix alongside the crack. This should form a suitable adhesive that will stretch with the tile should it move again. Cracks are likely the most common problem facing older grout so you might run into one or two. 

Square plain gray bathroom tiles wall sample

Any pinholes in your grout can be fixed by dampening the holes with water and pushing grout into them gently. This should be enough to patch up small pinholes. Bigger holes might require more advanced work and a complete regrout. 

It's up to you to assess if your grout needs a full rework or just minor patch-ups. But making a solid foundation for your floor's new look is definitely important. 

Can You Change Your Tile Grout?

If you realize that your grout may be too damaged for simple patch-up work after assessing it, you can completely remove and replace your grout. Safely use a utility knife to remove all old damaged grout and replace it with freshly mixed grout according to its specifications. Follow all rules and instructions or inquire into professional help should you so need it. You can make this grout in the desired color if you can or continue with your painting afterward.

3. Getting your materials

Now that your floor is clean, the next step is assembling the materials you'll need. The obvious first requirement is your desired shade of grout paint. Grout paints are latex-based pigments that can restore or completely change up your grout coloration. It only requires a simple brush-on technique before seeping in and tinting your grout. Keep in mind that the shade you see in the bottle is likely not the shade your dried paint will appear, so do swatches beforehand. 

You can purchase several kinds of brushes specifically for grout painting, but we've found that one of the best tools is the humble toothbrush. The bristles are strong and can easily get well into the grooves and divets of your grout. They're a cheap and highly effective alternative to pricier brushes. 

You'll also likely want a plate to put your grout paint on so you aren't dipping your used brush into your paint bottle. One bottle of paint should last for more than one project if your bathroom isn't too large, so keeping your unused portion of paint untouched makes sense. 

4. Applying your grout paint

Before starting, it's important to wear chemical-resistant gloves to protect your hands, as you'll be down and dirty when you begin painting. Make sure to shake your paint up thoroughly before starting to mix it properly. When starting, apply a narrow dollop of paint into the middle of each grout line. Using your toothbrush, use short back and forth strokes to work the paint into the grout. Evenly distribute the paint in a thin coat.

If making darker grout lighter, allow your first coat of paint to dry completely and add a second evenly distributed coat. This will ensure your color looks consistent and bright. If going from lighter to darker, one properly applied coat will suffice.

Read more at Home Decor Bliss: "Should floor and wall grout match?"

How Well Do Grout Pens Work?

Grout pens are a tempting tool to bring into your project, sounding like the perfect shortcut to the painting process. Grout pens do have their place as touch-up tools, but their use is limited. It's recommended you don't see these tools as anything more than just that. A means to touch up any mistakes or lackluster areas you find after your painting is finished or if your paint sustains minor damage. 

How Long Does Grout Paint Last?

Now that you've put in the effort of painting your floor, you want to know how long it'll last. Grout paint is specifically made for this purpose, unlike regular paints. If properly applied and cured, it should last for up to 15 years, with only minor touch-ups required. Clean your bathroom and grout regularly, and take care not to allow grime to accumulate and stain. If you put effort into this, both your paint and your grout should last ten to fifteen years in good quality. 

5. Clean up

Since the toothbrush is an effective but imprecise tool, paint is likely to get on your tiles along with your grout. Don't worry. Scrubbing the tile with a rag and warm water will remove any errant paint fairly easily. Grout paint won't stain your tiles or cause challenging problems if it needs to be removed. Let your grout dry completely before attempting to remove errant paint so as not to remove any of your grout paint from your grout accidentally. Your tile won't suffer for it. 

Keep moisture away from your freshly painted grout for the next 24 hours to allow the grout to dry completely and reduce the chance of impact on your floor. Your grout will look cleaner and smoother for it. 

In Closing 

It's up to you to decide if regrouting completely is necessary or if grout repainting is the way to go. If you decide on the latter, however, the project is more than doable and very affordable. Grout paint provides not only an easy way to spruce your grout up it can also tie new color schemes together wonderfully. Don't be afraid to go for it and enjoy your entirely new bathroom look.