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If you’re like me and this summer’s (crazy!) record-breaking high temps have you looking for a weekend project that won’t cause you to break a sweat, then I have just the project for you: reviving your bathroom’s stained grout. Don’t worry, this is WAY easier than it sounds, costs less than $20 and no grinder or chisel is needed.

bathroom tile before

My sad bathroom floor before. This is the original 1950′s tile and, although you can’t tell, is a beautiful Robin’s egg blue.

Start with a trip to your local hardware store for cleaning supplies like a scrubby sponge, non-abrasive cleanser (such as Bon Ami or Comet) and a grout paint pen — these are in the tile department typically right next to the grout and cost around $6. Tip: Don’t trust the manufacturers’ coverage estimates; my bathroom floor is only 5′ x 8′ and I needed 2 pens.

First, clean the tile and grout, making sure to remove all powdery cleanser residue and allow it to thoroughly dry.

painting bathroom grout

If you’ve used a paint pen before, then you know the drill: Shake it for about 2 minutes to mix the paint, then press the tip down until paint begins to flow. I started working in the corner furthest from the door which, for me, was around the toilet base. Keep a damp paper towel handy to clean up any errant smears but, honestly, I found that with a little pressure the pen easily stayed in the grout lines. Also, some grout lines needed 2 or 3 coats of paint to achieve a consistent white color; just give them another pass while wet — no waiting between coats necessary. The paint begins to set up in just a few minutes but allow 3 hours dry time before any heavy foot traffic.

bathroom tile after painting grout

And…voila! Just a few hours later, my 50-year-old bathroom floor looks (almost!) like new.

UPDATE: Several of you asked about my paint colors so here you go. Both the bathroom and bedroom paints are Valspar which is available at Lowe’s. The bathroom paint is High Noon in a semi-gloss and the bedroom paint (visible in the after photo) is Nostalgia in a satin. Happy Painting!

Ready to tackle your own summer project? Check out our features: bathroom fast fixes and summer design ideas at hgtv.com.

54 Responses

  1. Dianne says:

    This sounds pretty easy. May try.

  2. Cindy says:

    Very nice bathroom; love the decor.

  3. LLR says:

    I have 1960's tiles with gold specks on my bathroom walls. I was considering painting those and wondering if I could use this same method for the grout. Any suggestions for painting over the tile? Also, I need to somehow replace or spackle a few spots where tiles are missing. Any suggestions there?

    • VPC says:

      I have not had any luck painting over bathroom tile. I have used the rustoleum paint for the tile and it turned out so bad that the tiles had to be replaced. I would suggest getting an spare piece of tile and trying it out on that while trying to replicate normal wear before I attempted the entire room.

    • LBS says:

      If it is not in the shower, Sherwin Williams has an adhesion primer that you put on first and then paint with a latex paint in your favorite color. Seems to work pretty well.

    • tile lady says:

      Your tile is glazed and you can not paint over it. There are companies out there who can reglaze the tiles, but make sure to look at how long the warranty is specially in a wet area!!! I do design work and have sold tile for 27 yrs. You might also want to retile which if there is nothing wrong with the tiles now except the colors you can tile over them which would cost you a lot less. Good luck

  4. skippy says:

    I have the same tile in my bathroom, and have been trying to figure out what color to paint the golden tan walls. All of the cabinets and molding is white., so that color is out. What color is the blue on your walls?

  5. rosemary says:

    I have been trying to bring the white back on my bathroom floor grout` for ages…didnt know there was such a thing as grout paint…will definitely try to find this….

  6. terrymcclary says:

    I really like the soft blues and greys in your bathroom. The nice white grout freshens up the whole room.

  7. flavia says:

    fantastica essa caneta ! pena que aqui no brasil ainda não tem dessa. bjus !!!

  8. Dana says:

    Lovely colors! Could you identify the wall color in your bathroom, and (not sure it's different than what you used in the bathroom, but looks suspiciously like my bedroom color) on the small portion of exterior wall in the last picture? Thanks!

  9. Decorator Lady says:

    My favorite way to decorate with photos is to place them in a cluster using one color for all of the frames which enhances the decor of the room.

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H. Camille SmithCamille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors...

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