So, I painted tile this weekend…

Finally!

This project’s been on my mind for a while. In fact, it was the only project that I mentioned in detail in my very first post. The delay? Well, this stuff is fumey. Really fumey, according to what I’d heard. So, I needed to do it on a Saturday that we didn’t have plans. With mild weather so that I could keep the windows open. On a day when I had a babysitter to keep Lucas away from the fumes. And that, my friends, has been a challenge. But, it finally happened this weekend.

Let me show you the reason why I felt inclined to paint our tile….

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Yes. Sadly, I chose this tile when our house was being built. I’m not sure why. Even the designer at our builder’s design gallery tried to warn me against it… but I persisted. I guess I had an idea in my head of what it would look like… And I was wrong. Waaaay wrong. I realized this fact the second I saw the tile after installation. Then, I experienced that “what was I thinking??!” moment. And I’ve relived it every day since. That’s the thing about having a house built. It’s fun to choose all the surfaces. Sure is. Super fun! Until you choose poorly. Then, you have no one to blame but yourself. Ill tell you this much, the yellowy tan puke tile goes with NOTHING. Believe me, I’ve tried to choose paint colors to tone it down, but all the swatches I’ve brought home clashed. I’ve painted samples on the wall behind the towel rod… To no avail. The tile is just such a weird hue. We considered replacing the tub surround entirely since the builder left us almost enough leftover tile and grout from the master bath to complete the job.

Then, I researched some alternate courses of action. I had seen various tutorials for painting tile, but sort of cast off the idea. I figured it would look cheap and not last. Then, my mother-in-law informed me that she’d painted their tile in the upstairs bathroom several years ago. I literally just sat there and blinked at her in disbelief. I mean, I’d taken a shower in that bathroom before and never noticed. I just thought the tile was white with white grout. Apparently, it had started off green. Needless to say, I was impressed. Plus, she said that the paint had lasted really well with no problems. So, I decided to buy this twenty-five dollar tile painting kit from Homedepot.com and give it a go….

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I completed all the prep work the day before since the grout needed to dry thoroughly before painting. I simply followed the instructions on the kit.

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Clean the tile, use an abrasive cleaner like Comet (I used Bar Keepers Friend since that’s what I had). Then, follow that up with Lime Away and an abrasive sponge, sand with fine grit sandpaper and rinse thoroughly. Then, immediately before painting wipe down with tack cloth. Done and done.

The next day, after Lucas had left the building, I opened every window in the house and turned on all exhaust and ceiling fans. Then, I donned my sexy respirator face….

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And assembled my materials….

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Can you tell I was nervous? Heehee! I set up my “surgical tray” with every brush and roller I thought suitable. I had no idea what would work best. I grabbed the small black paintbrush and foam roller, crossed my fingers that I wasn’t gonna screw it up, and got to work. Fortunately, my first choice of brush and roller worked fine. Woohoo! Turns out that the product is self-leveling so it’s somewhat forgiving when it comes to brush strokes and such.

Anyways, the two part kit had a small can of activator and a can of epoxy paint that needed to be mixed together.

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I stirred them thoroughly, then brushed the paint into the grout lines and crevices…

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and rolled the paint on in between….

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I didn’t worry about thick coverage since I knew it would take at least two coats, I just focused more on avoiding drips.  I painted only a few tiles at a time since the paint became tacky pretty quickly and I wanted to be able to smooth over my brush strokes with the roller.  There were a few areas where the paint didn’t adhere well, but I hoped that another coat would do the job. Supposedly, this paint would stick to anything. After the first coat dried, I applied a second coat. And then realized that I was in a bit of a pickle. All of the reviews I’d read about this product said how great the coverage was and how two coats was more than enough. They also expressed that there was plenty of paint to last in the kit. Well surprise to me…

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… As suggested here (you can see the unevenness of coverage), I needed a third coat. And was out of paint. And no local stores carried these particular kits on the shelf. Believe me, I tried to find them. Note to self: Order more paint than you think you need. You can always return it later.

Luckily, Mac, my awesome mother-in-law (wait for it…) happened to have an extra tile refinishing kit (the very same one that I was using) at her house. Seriously. Is that not completely kick butt?? I drove over there mid-project and picked it up, while giving profuse thanks. While I was there, I asked her about the areas of tile that were misbehaving. After two coats, they still looked like this…

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I had called Rustoleum’s customer service line to ask for troubleshooting advice, but (wait for it again…) THEYRE CLOSED ON WEEKENDS. Ya know, when the majority of the DIY community actually uses their products. Jeepers. Mac suggested trying a bit of shellac primer on those areas, so when I got home I gave it a go….

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After waiting the 45 minutes suggested on the can, I applied a third coat of epoxy paint. The primer definitely helped with adhesion, but since it’s a yellower tone, it showed through my third coat. So, I applied a fourth. Yup. Four was my lucky number. Four coats. But they sure did the trick. Check it out…

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And the before…

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The tile came out glossy and porceline-like. And beautifully, miraculously white. So fresh and bright.  The room has so much less of a yellow cast now.  Even our “biscuit” tub, toilet and counters look less yellow now.

Because the tiles are so big, you can see some roller marks, but it almost looks like the natural texture in the tile. All in all, for a fifty dollar improvement, it makes a huge impact and was totally worth it.  Now, I can choose ANY paint color I want for the walls! Woo hoo! A planning post is in the works for this room to show you what I’m thinking, so, stay tuned.  I just can’t wait to move forward and personalize this space now that the pukey yellow elephant has left the room.  You might notice that I got some of the paint on the walls… I really wasn’t too careful since I knew I’d be painting the walls anyways.  I’ll just hit the larger spots with a bit of primer before I paint.  No biggie.

I will say that as far as fumey goes, this stuff definitely takes the cake. The respirator helped a ton. I couldn’t even smell the fumes with it on, but the second I took the mask off they practically knocked me over. I got out of the house as fast as I could (and went to Homegoods. Surprise!). After a few hours the fumes were drastically better and after about a day, they’d calmed down enough to where I felt comfortable bringing Lucas back into the house. I can still smell them, especially in the bathroom, but it’s a lot better now. We haven’t used the shower yet since the kit recommends waiting 72 hours before exposing the paint to moisture. I think we’re gonna wait a week to be safe. After four coats I ain’t taking any chances. I’ll let y’all know how the paint wears as time goes on, though. If there’s any chipping or peeling, it will be said.

So, what projects do y’all have going on? Anybody painting lately?

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6 thoughts on “So, I painted tile this weekend…

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