Monday, February 15, 2010

Painting Tile

I want to preface this post by saying, I would not recommend painting tile as a permanent solution (or at least not using my process!). We just ran into this problem when we first moved in, in our upstairs bathroom. It's a temporary thing until we have the cash to renovate the whole bathroom (it needs it). SO, in the spirit of freshening up the kitchen (again until we have the money for a complete reno) - I find myself once again painting tile, and this time, I decided to share the process with you.

First things first - clean those tiles. Give 'em a good scrub. Different online articles that I found suggested different types of cleaner. We were lucky enough to stumble across this "Krud Kutter" at Home Depot on clearance not too long ago.

For about $7 we picked it up, knowing we would be using it for a variety of projects around the house. The best part - is that it's non-toxic and biodegradable!! Made me feel a little better about using this to clean. So I grabbed an old cloth we had laying around (or in this case, one of B's old socks) and got to town scrubbing all those tiles.  

After the tiles were scrubbed, I used some warm water to wash off any residue left behind by the cleaner and then let them dry. Once dry, I used some fine sand paper to rough up the tiles. Not only did this rough up the tiles a bit to help the primer stick better, but it also helped to clean the tougher clumps of grime or build-up that the cleaner couldn't get. Once this process was done, I used a warm damp cloth again to wipe up any dust from the tiles - don't want any dust or dirt getting caught in the primer.

After cleaning and sanding the tiles, it was time to pull out the primer.

Simple step here - just get that primer on the tile. This will give your final paint something to adhere to. I was able to just use some KILZ Latex Primer that we already had laying around the house. I got that on and it's suggested to let it dry for at least 24 hours. In my case it was a little longer... as I let the kitchen sit like this for almost a week before the final step:

After a week of staring at this, I woke up Friday morning and decided it was time to finish up this project. I pulled out the paint colour I had picked, and after two coats of paint, our kitchen now looks like this!

My kitchen re-fresh project isn't completely finished yet, so I don't want to share a complete look - but you can already see what a difference just a change of the backsplash makes.

So what do you think? Do you like the new look to our kitchen backsplash? Have you ever had to, or thought about painting tile? If so - what was your experience like? Would love to hear what other people think about this little project. So share away!


  1. Nice post Kerry. We are renovating our kitchen soon and also planned to paint over the ugly tile that is currently there so it was good to read about the products and process you used. How many coats of tile paint were needed? Also, did you refinish the cabinets and install a new countertop, or is that different tinting on the image?

  2. @Josh - Glad my little post could help! Since painting the tile isn't a permanent solution, we just used a regular Valspar glossy interior/exterior paint. It was not tile paint. But I only needed two coats to cover it completely!

    It's the same cabinets and counter - the first picture was just taken a night with our kitchen lighting, and the second was during the day with only natural sunlight.

    I'll be giving the cabinets a freshening up in the coming weeks, but we'll have to live with the counter until we're ready to rip everything out. (Unless of course I can find a creative solution for that as well)

  3. That looks great. Good choice to go black.

  4. Looks great - painting tile is a good quick fix for sure. Love the colour choice!

  5. Looks great! I love that you choose black.

  6. It looks awesome Kerry! I think that the black was a very nice choice.

    My sis wants to paint the tiles in her bathroom (the whole thing is tiled an ugly pink and green), but she is not sure how paint will stand up since it is a high traffic area (water, scrubbing, children!). Did you look into refinishing (might be called reglazing) at all? Any suggestions?

  7. Thank you everyone!

    @Pink Peacok Designs - thanks so much. I'm so happy with the black! I didn't looking into reglazing the tile - mainly because we plan to eventually gut the kitchen and work from scratch. But I found this "How To" over at that may provide a helpful starting point for your sister! If she goes ahead with a project like this - would love if you covered it in your blog!

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