Can You Paint a Toilet? (And Steps to Paint it)

toilet-with-blue-wall

You might be looking to spruce up your bathroom or you just might want to cover up some old stains, either way, the situation has got you asking if you can paint a toilet?

The simple answer is Yes. You can paint a toilet, but you will need to follow a few steps. First and foremost, you need to clean your toilet (preferably with some WD-40 and some toilet cleaner), then drain it of all water, and next Sand the surface. Then you can now apply a primer before, you can apply your paint. Usually, an acrylic latex primer is used which is then followed by an appliance epoxy paint or spray paint and an epoxy sealer.

What Kind of Paint do you use on a Toilet?

There is a vast array of different types of paint you could use for your toilet. First and foremost, you will want to use an acrylic latex primer and then after an epoxy paint for the chief coat. Epoxy paint is mainly used to touch up or just provide an additional coat to your toilet. However, this means that epoxy paints in truth only come in shades of three colors; white, grey, and black.

However, if you do not like their color options then you can as well just use some regular spray paint. This is a very good and favorite option because of its easy of application and it gives you a very wide range of color choices. If you decide on going with the epoxy paint, then that will be all you need.

But then again, if you decide on going with spray paint, you will also need to get a clear epoxy topcoat. This helps to make your toilet water-resistant and more long-lasting while still keeping the color you decide on.

Irrespective of which paint you decide on, you need to make sure that the space you are working in is well ventilated particularly if you are making use of spray paint. If you are at work inside, make sure to open a window, switch on the bathroom fan if there is one, and leave the bathroom door open.

If you make use of spray paint, it is highly recommended that you get a face mask in order to keep you from breathing in any of the paint constituent parts. This is exceptionally vital. Just for the reason that you are only painting a toilet does not mean that you should not be safe.

Now that that’s all covered, let’s dive into the guide for painting a toilet.

6 Simple Steps to Paint a Toilet

Things You Need to Paint a Toilet

This is just an ephemeral summary, and there are loads of little but very significant details you need to be acquainted with before getting in the full swing of things. So let’s dive into the fine points, and get your porcelain throne painted!

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Before you start the draining of your toilet and thereby make it unavailable for a few hours, you might want to make sure that you have all the materials you need to finish the assignment. Below is a short list;

  • Eye protection and face mask
  • 120 – 160 grit sandpaper
  • Acrylic latex primer/basecoat paint
  • Paint of your desired color
  • Painters tape
  • Plastic drop cloth or newspaper
  • Clear topcoat/sealant (if using spray paint)

Now, right before we dive into the whole procedure, there are a couple of details you need to know about paints.

Step 1. Clean Your Toilet

In advance before you do anything to the toilet, you need to give it a good scrubbing because the paint will not stick to the surface of the toilet if there is any dirt and grim. Clean the interior and exterior with whatsoever you usually use to clean your toilet. Then flush the toilet to give it a worthy rinse. It is for this reason that you do not drain the toilet of water first.

You can also use some WD-40 to break down any tough lime stains or hard water lines that could be in the toilet bowl. Initially, spray a minute quantity of WD-40 into the bowl, let it stand for a small number of minutes like 15, and then brush the stains or water lines with your toilet brush. After flushing your toilet, the stains should disappear.

While you clean your toilet, ensure that you remove your toilet seat. This can be done by unscrewing the bolts that hold the seat in place. You could be able to do this with just your fingers, but then again if not, a pair of pliers or a wrench can help you get them off. This is also a great opportunity to also contemplate on whether it’s time to get a new toilet seat.

Once you have the seat removed, ensure you clean all over the holes where the bolts were and get rid of any rust or mineral deposits that built up.

Step 2. Drain the Water

In order for the paint to stick, the toilet has to be absolutely dry. This means that you have to drain the toilet of any water. This can be done in a few ways;

Turning Off the Water

One way to ensure the toilet is dry and stays dry is to turn off the water to the toilet tank. Look for the water pipe that goes to your toilet tank and on it you should see a valve that will cut off the water to your toilet. This will prevent the toilet tank from refilling with water and keep it dry while you paint.

Next, Remove the lid on your toilet tank so you can see inside, flush the toilet, and make sure that it is not refilling. If it is, you could have spun the valve the wrong way. This should remove the water in the tank and bowl at the same time.

Flushing the toilet might not get all the water out of the toilet, if there is still some water left in the tank, try flushing it again. If there is only a little water, try getting rid of it with some towels.

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Raising the Tank Float

If you cannot find the toilet shut off valve or you do not want to touch it, there is a different way you can keep your toilet from refilling.

When you lift the lid off your toilet tank, you’ll most likely see a jumble of things, but all you have to do is take hold of the float, it is the ball-shaped object (most likely plastic) on the end of a pole, then you raise it out of the water, and keep it secure there.

You can secure the toilet float by raising its level with the top of the tank and then sliding something under it to keep it secure there. Do not worry yourself about coming into contact with the water in the toilet tank, its clean tap water.

Once the float is secure, flush the toilet once or twice to remove the water. As with the first method, it may not get rid of all the water, so you might have to mop up some of the water with a towel.

Step 3. Sand Your Toilet

As soon as you’ve drained the toilet, the real work can begin. For the reason that porcelain is so slick, no paint can stick to it unless it has been roughed up a bit. This is where the sanding comes in. Before you start sanding, it is recommended that you wear a face mask to avert any of the small porcelain bits from getting into your lungs. You should also make sure that the area you work in is well ventilated. Open a window, turn on a fan, and keep the door open.

Grab some sandpaper, anywhere from 120-160 grit, and roughen the surface of your toilet so that the paint will stick. However, don’t go too crazy, a pair of strokes with the sandpaper is you need. When you sand, your toilet will be covered in porcelain dust. Therefore, before priming, you need to clean the toilet again.

Step 4. Apply Primer

Now you get to the fun part. Before priming, wait until the surface of the toilet is completely dry. To get started right away, you might try using a hairdryer or a space heater to speed the drying process and while the toilet is drying, you start getting ready to paint.

Cover anything you do not want painted with a painter’s tape and newspaper or some plastic. This should include walls, floors, any cabinetry that is close to the toilet, the toilet handle, the bolts that hold it to the floor, and the plumbing pipes going into the tank. You could also remove the toilet and paint it outside. If you choose to paint inside, remember ventilation is important.

Once you are done preparing and the toilet is dry, just paint on the primer. Ensure you cover the whole toilet.

Step 5. Paint Your Toilet

Now that the toilet is primed and ready, it is time to paint on the main coat. Once again, make sure the toilet is completely dry before you paint and you can either be using epoxy paint or spray paint. Notwithstanding of what kind of paint you select, just like with all painting projects, you will need more than one coat. Always make sure the toilet is completely dry before putting on the next coat.

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If you are using spray paint, wear a face mask to keep any paint particles out of your lungs. If the paint requires a clear epoxy topcoat, ensure it is completely dry before applying it. This is because no paint will stick right if everything is not dry.

Step 6. Refill the Toilet with Water and Enjoy

At this point you have turned your boring, plain-Jane toilet into a masterpiece. Now there is only one thing left to do. Before refilling it with water, give the paint plenty of time to dry, particularly if you had to supplement with an epoxy topcoat. Letting the toilet dry overnight before refilling it would be the best option.

Or else, try and leave if for at least a couple of hours. As soon as it is totally dry, undo whatever you did to shut off the water, refill the tank, then flush it, and enjoy your new (looking) toilet.

Can You Paint a Stained Toilet Bowl?

A usual issue that most people have with toilets is that the toilet bowl gets stained. There are lots of cleaning products out there that claim to get the stain out of your toilet bowl. But then again, if you have tried everything and it is still stained, then, yes, you can repaint the toilet bowl to make it look shiny and new.

The steps to painting a stained toilet bowl are pretty much the same as for painting the whole toilet, with just less painting involved. Let’s go through them real quick;

1. Clean the Toilet thoroughly

2. Drain the Water

3. Sand Your Toilet Bowl

4. Apply Primer

5. Paint Your Toilet

To paint over a stain, you will want to use epoxy paint also called epoxy appliance paint. Because most toilets are the same shade of white, you can get the default white color for the paint. Also, because this paint is epoxy-based, there is no need to use an epoxy topcoat.

When you’re painting the inside of the bowl, be careful painting around the small holes under the rim that allow water to trickle down from the tank.

Can You Paint a Toilet Seat?

Yes, you can and how you paint a toilet seat will depend on what it is made out of. A porcelain seat needs to be cleaned, sanded, primed, before being painted. A plastic or enamel seat, can just be painted and then add a clear epoxy topcoat. However, a wood toilet seat, is not recommend for painting.

Can You Paint a Toilet Cistern?

Yes, you can, using the same methods outlined above.

Sarah Walker
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