Can you paint tile?
Just like 80’s hair, the color “almond” was BIG in the 1980s and early 1990s. Off-white, beige, buff…whatever you wanna call it, we liked it to tile our homes with. Preferably in a 4″x4″ square.
That was rad. What’s funny is that in a decade where neon was thought to be so awesome, we sure played it safe when choosing our tile, am I right? *Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy located here.*
Hey, things come, things go. But just like they said in that great 1994 SNL sketch, it’s now about time for us to be saying “buh – bye” to our outdated almond tile.
The thing about tile, and bathroom remodeling, in general, is that it’s EXPENSIVE. And we’re taking a serious hiatus this year on all things pricey. Like, for date night, I’m looking at restaurant reviews that say THIS: $ and DO NOT say THIS: $$$$ (and in all honesty, date night didn’t even make the final budget proposal this year…we’ll be date nighting it a casa con take-out while we DIY this bathroom to save some loot).
Same thing for this kids bath project we’re working on for the One Room Challenge. This is the 2nd week of this 6 week challenge, and this week, we’re taking on the bathtub and tile surround. Now, in an ideal world where I had enough cash-on-hand to start a foundation like Bill and Melinda Gates (who, sidenote…happen to be the epitomy of the word “hero”), then I would probably go for broke, rip all this outdated builder grade mess out and start anew.
But I need the OPPOSITE of going for broke. I need the million dollar look at rock bottom pricing, because I don’t need to be floating a loan in that bathtub in lieu of a rubber ducky.
SO, here’s my solution.
Painting tiles with this Rust-Oleum’s Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit.
To demolish, purchase and install a new tub and shower surround would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000-2000. With this kit, I can refinish the existing tub and surround, making it a clean white, for about $50 TOTAL. Since this tub and shower are always behind a shower curtain, and used by our children, who we’ve established prefer NOT to clean themselves in anyway, I feel like this is kind of a no-brainer.
Here again is another before of the almond surround. The lighting in this baño is pretty horrible (another item on our rehabilitation agenda).
I originally read about the use of this product on the fantastic blog, Petite Modern Life. Karisa writes a full tutorial on painting tiles using this product, so I would encourage you to read her post if you’re interested in using it. There’s a second online tutorial for this same product that I’ve read as well. Also super helpful. That one is over on Domestic Imperfection.
Here are the basics though, and all the stuff you’ll need.
SUPPLIES Needed for Painting Tiles:
Paintbrush, angled 2.5-3″ or so (not a super expensive one…you’ll have to throw it out after this)
fan (or two) for air circulation
paint roller (and tray) with foam nap
Cleaning supplies (as indicated on Rust-Oleum box)
Some Helpful Information for Painting Tiles:
** This stuff SERIOUSLY smells.
I would consider doing this on a Friday morning before you’re headed out of town for a weekend…a weekend in May when you can leave your windows open when you’re gone. No joke. Do not pass GO before you get yourself a GOOD project respirator mask to use while tackling this.
** This project calls for a lot of cleaning prep work…
Do it. If your surface is not completely clean, I don’t think your finish will last very long…just a hunch. The instructions also call for a light sanding of the surface before you begin. I did NOT do this step because our tiles are smooth porcelain and I did not think that I would be able to get a good uniform sanding job done on them with their slightly beveled edges, etc…plus, as you may already know, I’m prone to being a tad lazy.
The product is sticky, but goes on with a regular old paintbrush. I wish I could have simply rolled it on, but it wasn’t getting between the tiles that way, so I ended up painting the grids (vertical and horizontal grout lines) with a paintbrush. Took 2 coats, then rolled 2 coats over the whole surface after that.
Here you can see the progress! It’s coming along! Can you see where we’ve started on the tub in this shot? The tub was a bit tricky with all the angles. The roller worked well (mostly) but you’ll have a little bit of a challenge on some of the larger angles.
The original shower/tub faucet kit. Think I’m getting rid of it? No way. Gonna paint these suckers too. More on that maybe next week. For now, wanna see how the tub/surround is looking??
OK, so if you were expecting a miracle, you’re banging on the wrong bathroom door. It’s still 4×4 tile, folks. But there was no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, you know? It was a perfectly functional tub and shower. I just wanted a little bit of an update. And for $50, I think we done good.
Now, I have no illusions that this will be a lifetime fix. I think that within a couple years, this remedy will be showing some signs of wear and tear. I could be wrong. Good thing is that Rust-Oleum makes a patch kit for this product!! I’m going to buy some of this touch up paint now because I know that as we continue this reno project, the chance that this tub is going to be dinged during tile installation or something is exceedingly high.
Did you catch last week’s post with the plans for this room? If not, check it out HERE.
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