How to Paint a Toilet

If you have an old toilet in your home, one that has seen better days and just doesn’t look all that nice anymore, then something you might consider doing is painting it. Now, doing so is not the easiest task in the world, because you do need to have the right tools, plus you also need to follow the proper steps.

Today, not only are we here to teach you how to paint a toilet but also why you would do so in the first place, as well as what the right type of paint for this job is.

How to Paint a Toilet

Can You Paint Your Toilet Tank, Bowl, and Seat?

For those of you who are wondering whether or not it is possible to paint your toilet, mainly the bowl, tank, and seat, the good news is that it is totally possible to do so. With that being said, you will first have to prepare the surface of the toilet via sanding and priming in order to allow the new paint to adhere to the toilet.

The plastic of the toilet seat, as well as the porcelain or enamel on the tank and bowl, are extremely smooth and slick, and therefore won’t allow the paint to adhere without first preparing them, which is, of course, something that we will teach you in our step by step guide further below.

The bottom line here is that yes, as long as you follow the right steps and use the right kind of paint, it is possible to paint your toilet.

Why Would You Want to Paint Your Toilet?

There are a couple of different reasons as to why you may want to paint your toilet. First and foremost, some people might just not like the way their toilet looks. After all, the vast majority of toilets out there are white or some shade of off-white, which might be fine, but not ideal if you are looking to achieve a certain aesthetic appeal in your bathroom, or in other words, you might want your toilet to be a bit more colorful.

The other reason why you might want to paint your toilet is that the coating on it has started to wear off. If the enamel coating on your toilet wears down, it can cause some serious problems, mainly in terms of water absorption, cracking, and leaking. Painting your toilet with a new layer of the appropriate paint can actually help reverse some of this damage, as well as prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Black Painted Toilet

What Is the Best Type of Paint to Use on Your Toilet?

Before we can talk about the actual process of painting your toilet, it’s probably a good idea for you to know what kind of paint that you need to use. Well, what you need to be aware of here is that you need paint that for one, is going to be able to adhere to the surface of your toilet, and moreover, you also need long-lasting paint that is waterproof and cannot be removed by water, urine, and other such fluids.

The fact that you first need to sand and prime the toilet is a given, but after that, you’ve got two choices at your disposal, with one being spray paint, and the other being acrylic latex paint. Spray paint is going to be much easier to apply to the toilet than acrylic paint, mainly because you can just point and shoot, but that being said, you might not be able to achieve even coverage with it, and you will definitely make quite a mess. Acrylic latex paint may take longer to apply, but the results will be much better than if you use spray paint.

Toilet Spray Paint

How to Paint a Toilet: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know that it is possible to paint a toilet, as well as what the best kind of paint for the job is, let’s go through a step-by-step instructional so you can turn that toilet into a work of art.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

First off, you are going to need to purchase all of the materials that you need to complete this task. You will need to have a face mask, eye protection, 120 grit sandpaper, acrylic latex primer, acrylic latex paint, painter’s tape, and a drop cloth or newspaper.

Now, we recommend using acrylic latex paint, not spray paint, but if you do decide to use spray paint, you will also need a sealant or clear topcoat to help protect the layer of spray paint from damage and erosion.

Step 2: Prepare the Toilet

Before you start painting the bowl and tank of your toilet, you will first need to prepare it.

First off, this means draining it of all water, because you obviously cannot paint a surface that is submerged underwater. All you really have to do here is to shut off the water valve leading to your toilet so it can no longer refill after flushing. Once that valve has been shut off, flush the toilet a couple of times to drain all water out of it. If there is any remaining water, you will want to soak it up with some towels.

After you have done this, you will also need to clean the toilet. You can use a basic household toilet cleaner and some sponges or cloths to clean the toilet. You want to remove any and all dirt, debris, waste, and anything in between. Dry the toilet with a towel or cloths afterward. Your toilet needs to be 100% clean and dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Prepare the Area

Next, you now want to cover the surrounding area, especially the floor and the walls around the toilet, with drop cloths, tarps, plastic sheets, or whatever else, and then secure them with painter’s tape. You definitely want to cover the surrounding area to prevent you from getting paint on the floor or walls. Once you have completed this, the fun can start.

Step 4: Sand the Toilet

To allow the new layer of primer and paint to adhere to the enamel in the toilet tank and bowl, you will first need to sand everything down. Enamel or porcelain is too smooth for the paint to adhere to, so roughing it up first is required. Before you start using that sandpaper to sand everything down, it is strongly recommended to wear a face mask, because you don’t want to inhale any of that poisonous porcelain dust.

Once you have sanded all areas of the toilet that you plan to paint, you will need to use a wet cloth to thoroughly wipe everything down. There will be porcelain dust everywhere, and this needs to be removed before applying the primer.

Step 5: Apply the Primer

Acrylic PrimerWith the toilet sanded and clean, you need to apply the primer. Now, this is where it really pays to have the surrounding area covered, but if you don’t want to do that, and you live in a house, you can always remove the toilet and do the painting in your garage or outdoors. However, most people will want to just paint the toilet where it stands. If painting inside, do remember to open some windows and turn on a fan because ventilation is key.

All you really need to do for this step is to use that paintbrush of yours to apply the acrylic latex primer to all desired surfaces. It can be a bit hard to get it right, especially when it comes to visible brush strokes, but that said, practice is the solution. Apply the primer as needed and wait for it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Step 6: Apply the Paint

Once you have primed the toilet, and the primer is 100% dry, take a damp cloth and wipe everything down, just to ensure that there is no debris present, and then make sure that everything is 100% bone dry.

All you need to do now is to use that paintbrush apply a coat of your paint of choice to the toilet as needed. As is often the case, you will probably need to apply a second coat. Make sure that the first coat is dry before applying a second. Once again, achieving a totally smooth finish with no visible brush strokes is going to be a bit difficult, but not impossible.

Of course, if you want everything to look even and you don’t want to risk seeing brush strokes, then spray paint is the way to go. Although, remember that if you use spray paint, you will need to apply a sealant or clear topcoat once the spray paint is dry.

Step 7: Refill and Enjoy

All that is left to be done now is to turn the water to your toilet back on, give it a quick wipe down with a damp rag, and it is good to go.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

To close things off, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go through the process:

  • Remember to keep those windows open. Acrylic latex paint and primer both produce strong fumes.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can work neat enough to not get any paint on anything but your toilet. It never works that way. Use drop cloths to cover anything you don’t want getting painted, or else you will end up with quite the cleanup job.
  • Don’t think that you can get around the sanding process and skip right to priming, and don’t think that you can skip the primer before painting either. Both are required for this process to be successful.

Summary

There you have it folks, everything you need to know about how to paint your toilet so it not only looks brand new but also matches the décor in your bathroom.