I know what you’re thinking, sure we can paint walls and furniture (and even our children sometimes!) but paint on tile? Who knew? That was my exact reaction when I was dreaming up ways to remodel a bathroom in our 1973 house.
It was one of those rooms that you just KNOW you will have to gut and completely remodel to even be an acceptable part of your house!! But, you also know that you don’t have the $20,000 to gut it to the studs, expand it so it isn’t so cramped, maybe add a double vanity (I mean it’s supposed to be your Master Bathroom right?)! So after two years of using this horror show of a bathroom daily and dreaming of the day when you can use your trusty sledgehammer, my hubby said, “let’s just change the knobs on the vanity.” One small change since the old handles had that funny little feature where they perfectly grab your pants pockets when you walk by!!
Of course, the way my brain works, I said, well, if we’re going to replace the knobs, we should just sand down the entire vanity and use some paint we have on hand to give it a little face lift. AND if we are going to paint the vanity, we should paint the walls (yeah, we hadn’t even painted this small room, that is how much I hated it and avoided any mention of it in my life). AND if we’re going to paint the walls, we should just switch out the brass switch plates with white, and on and on, until I said, “If I have to look at these pink tiles for ONE MORE MINUTE, I WILL MURDER SOMEONE!” Okay that was an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
These tiles were the beginning and the end of why this bathroom just had to be redone! No I could NOT jump on the recent bandwagon that pink is back and I should just embrace it! NO THANK YOU! I have never been afraid of a little paint, so I jumped on the Google and searched for ways to update my tile without utilizing a sledgehammer. Lo and behold . . . Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit!! This amazing 2 part-epoxy kit was made to calm the nerves of all homeowners of pink tile! For less than $30 for the kit, I knew this was going to be my answer. If it didn’t work I was still right where I started, a bathroom that needed a gut job!!
With out further ado, let’s get started!!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Kit (I purchased 2 because I wanted to make sure it would completely cover ALL of my pink tiles)
Respirator Mask (so important since epoxy paint fumes are strong!!) This is the one that I have had and used for years, it is a comfortable fit and easy to keep clean and change filters if needed.
Protective eye glasses
Plastic drop cloth
4 inch Foam Paint Roller (with 2-3 refills as the epoxy can wear the foam out) or short-nap roller. https://amzn.to/37fo2h3
Paint Brush or Foam brush
400/600 Grit Sandpaper (and sander if you have one, but can be done by hand)
Industrial strength bathroom cleaner
(Besides the Tub & Tile kit, I had all of the other needed items on hand so cost was kept down)
Now for the fun part!
CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! This is an easy step but as always the most important. If your surface is dirty and has soap scum or build up, the paint will not get a proper grip and will wear more quickly or require more coats (which equals more time and money!). So get out that elbow grease and get to work! Clean all surfaces with an industrial strength cleaner and scrubber. This will get the majority of the dirt and scum off of the surface. Remove any caulking that may be present at this time. For us we wanted to remove the old brass shower door and replace it with a shower curtain, so we made sure to remove that first and scrap away any caulking that was present.
Time to grab that sandpaper. This step is part of the prep and cleaning, by sanding the tile we are removing more of the soap scum and dirt from the tiles as well as removing some of the shine from the porcelain. We are not looking to remove all of the shine (you would be here for days), so just some pressure and sanding will get it to where you want it. After you sand, wipe down all the tiles with either a tack cloth or water and dry completely.
Use painters tape to mask around the area you will be painting so no paint will get on the area’s you do not want paint on. Tape around any fixtures as well (we removed ours so that I could spray paint them, more about that on another post).
Open any and all windows you can before you start mixing the 2 part epoxy. This is so important, most bathrooms are small spaces and the fumes from this can get really strong. BE SAFE! Put on your mask, safety goggles and disposable gloves.
Open Part A and Part B and stir each one separately to ensure all paint pigments are distributed. Add Part A to Part B and stir together for 2 minutes. All paint needs to be used within 6 hours. Time to get rollin’! Use light even strokes and don’t over apply. You will see bubbles as you apply the paint, but do not worry, this product has a self-leveling property so those bubbles will be gone before you are ready to start your next coat. After you apply one coat, depending on the color of your original tile, you may still see some of the shade. Wait 1 hour and apply your next coat. Most of the time, you will only need 2 coats, but if your tile is a particularly heinous shade of pink (like mine was) there were spots that I went over a third time since I still had some of the paint left and didn’t want to waste it.
Just a note: If this is your Master Bathroom, as it was for us, make plans to sleep in another room for the first night as the fumes can still be strong and may give you a slight headache or belly ache.
WAIT! This is the hardest part! You will want to use your amazing bathroom right away, but don’t! Make sure to follow the recommended guidelines and wait 72 hours before exposing your new shower or tub to water! Reapply any caulking as needed after the 72 hours as well.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor and the enjoyment that comes from turning an eyesore into something beautiful and amazing!
I love how clean and fresh the new tile looks. It feels like we just walked into a brand new bathroom, plus, bonus! After removing the pink tile and awful heat bulb (more on that in my Master Bath Remodel post) my makeup looks much nicer! Apparently the color of the tile reflected on the mirror can cause bad blend jobs!!
Of course, once I had finished painting our vanity top and shower stall, the floor tile was still the hideous pink as before. I knew I could try to use the same Tub & Tile on the floor, but was worried about the durability over time with us walking on it daily. Look for my upcoming post on my entire Master Bathroom remodel and I will share how I decided to remedy this issue (again without my sledgehammer!)