Painting Tile!

Today’s bathroom post is all about my absolute favorite part of the upgrade:

paint tile, how to paint tile

I have hated our bathroom tile for 2 years. It was a fiery hate. But I was so, so scared to paint it because I didn’t want to make things worse. The biggest factor in my decision to finally take the plunge: the shower is not tiled, only the walls outside of it. So none of the painted tile will ever get wet.

There are about a million tutorials to painting tile, but here’s what I did:

  • Spackled all the areas where the grout and/or tile was cracked (our grout was only about 1/8 inch thick, had it been thicker I probably would have opted to touch up with actual grout instead of spackle)
  • Sand the spackle and paint drips, no need to sand all the tile
  • Scrub clean with CLR, wipe with damp towel, dry with a dry tile
  • Use a small foam roller to roll on 2 coats of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer (it notes on the container that it’s good for slick surfaces). Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Tip: On the first coat, I cut in with a brush and then just rolled on the paint, like you would in any other room. For the second coat I loaded up my brush with paint and literally shoved the paint into the grout, then rolled it smooth. Work in small sections and take your time.

  • Use a small foam roller to roll on 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Super Paint + Primer. Follow the same process as above: let dry completely between coats, focus on shoving paint into the grout
I am not affiliated with any of these products, I just used them and they were awesome.

I am not affiliated with any of these products, I just used them and they were awesome.

The paint will all dry to the touch within an hour or two of being done, but you should really be very careful and go easy on it for about a week so it has time to fully harden.

The absolute most difficult part was getting coverage on the grout, I destroyed my brush doing this so don’t use a brush you ever want to use again.

I am debating whether to go over it with a coat of poly, because I’m so so nervous that it’ll chip. So far my verdict is to at least poly the toilet paper roller because it gets touched a lot, but to leave the rest of the wall unless it looks like it really needs it. What do you think?

painted tile

I’m also debating whether or not to paint that wood trim white. The first level of our house has all white trim and the second level has all wood toned, so it could go either way.

I’m extremely glad I decided to go for it and paint. The flaws in the tile are gone, the weird places where they tiled brown tiles on top of  beige tiles (??!!) blend a bit more now that it’s all one color, and it is endlessly brighter in there.

painted bathroom tile how to




18 thoughts on “Painting Tile!

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  8. Nice! Did you use bathroom paint? The previous owner did not in our house & it’s peeling & molding 😦
    Yet another thing to fix 😛

    • On the walls I used mold and mildew resistant paint (haven’t posted about that yet), on the tile I used the Zinsser brand primer. The Zinsser I bought was designed for tile so that makes me feel pretty good about it, and that none of the tile gets wet (we have a surround wall in the shower) helps a bit. I do think I’m going to go back and coat it with polycrylic seal though so it’s easier to wipe down and keep clean.

  9. Looks great, was wondering can you clean it with spray cleaner like before you painted it? having kids and grandkids it will need to be scrubable to keep up with them! LOL Really looks amazing!

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