Last week I revealed some images of my downstairs toilet transformation that I did using tile paint, and to say it was well received would be an understatement, with many of you not even knowing that painting tiles was possible! So I have put together a little step by step guide of how to use tile paint successfully, as well as some other tips for a budget room makeover, which will hopefully answer most of the questions I've had about it. As I didn’t intend to write this when I was decorating, I didn’t take many photos while it was being done unfortunately, so I’ll only be able to show what I have and there are minimal ‘before’ photos.
This transformation cost me less than £30 quid, which I'm pretty chuffed about considering I think its basically unrecognisable. The only cost was the paint and the roller and tray, as everything else used was leftovers that I already had. I styled the room with the accessories I already had in there, and added a couple more from around the house.
Choose your tile paint
I used Ronseal tile paint in Brilliant White Satin. Weirdly, it has pretty bad reviews online, but I disagree with them and found this product great, you just have to apply it properly. I used a mini foam roller which is advisable to use for gloss type paints rather than the microfibre type used for emulsion. Its definitely important to get the correct type of roller when painting to ensure you have a good finish, particularly on a surface as smooth as tiles. I also always buy a new roller when using it for white paint. I know this isn’t the most environmentally friendly option, but it guarantees your roller is perfectly clean and in great condition before you start and avoids any dry crispy bits of old paint scratching your new surface.
It’s all in the prep
I prepped the tiles by washing them down twice with warm soapy water, and let them thoroughly air dry. Try not to dry them with anything like a cloth as it’ll leave little fibres behind and you really don’t want these in your paint as you’ll spend an age picking them out! Masking tape up all your edges to make sure you have a nice sharp line (Frog tape is the BEST for a sharp edge), and then you’re ready to paint!
I did the cutting in with a brush, but I only did small sections at a time and then I rolled over it as closely to the edge as possible. Brush strokes are quite visible with a thick paint like this one, so keep your brush work thin! As it is very thick, when you’re rollering you need to keep it moving quite a bit, so load up your roller and then really work it and spread it out as far as it’ll go. Like most glossy products, if you do it too thickly it will run and you don’t want dribbles running down your tiles! If you see any of these, just go back over it with your roller and spread them out as best you can. You’ll probably notice little tiny bubbles by this point from the roller… don’t worry! These dry out flat and wont be visible when its dry!
This bit is important in order to achieve a great finish… let it dry! Ronseal recommends 24 hours for this product so make sure you stick to the drying times it advises. Gloss products are sticky and tacky when they aren’t properly dry, so if you attempt to roller over it again when it's still sticky, you’ll end up with an unsmooth finish and might tear the paint.
This particular tile paint claims to be ‘one coat’, however it does say on the back that darker coloured tiles may need a second coat, and my tiles were definitely on the dark side before, so I'm not going to hold the ‘one coat’ claim against them on this occasion. Do the second coat exactly like the first, making sure you repeat all of your edges and cutting in to ensure good colour consistency.
IMPORTANT - make sure you take off the masking tape while the paint is still wet! I learnt this the hard way. If you take it off when it's dry, it can really tear off chunks of the paint. Always, always remove your tape slowly, pulling it neatly back on itself. Touch up any imperfections with a steady hand a a small paint brush. Tip - I used an old make up brush to get in any awkward nooks.
I finished the room by reglossing all of the wood work for a really fresh look, and painted the rest of the walls in some left over Farrow and Ball Downpipe that we used in the dining room (you can read about that here). I should probably point out here that if you’re going to paint in a colour as dark as Downpipe, alway paint the dark colours first to avoid it splashing onto your pristine white woodwork and tiles afterwards!
Style the room with some greenery, (faux in my case as there aren’t windows), candles and diffusers (you always want a toilet smelling nice!) and luxury looking hand soaps (notice I said ‘looking’ only… mine are Aldi and theres nothing wrong with cheap and cheerful!) and you’ve got yourself a completely transformed room without any re-tiling!
Don't expect to be able to scrub your tiles with an abrasive sponge and harsh chemicals afterwards. Remember that you've gone from having a hardened, probably ceramic surface, to now having layers of paint as your top coat so you need to treat it a little differently. Wipe over the tiles with a soft cloth to clean them and a gentle cleaner if necessary, and also try to dry the area off if it's likely to get very wet. I wouldn't recommend painting tiles in a shower cubicle for example as they won't last against the water damage. However, if you follow these simple aftercare tips, your newly painted tiles can stay looking good for years and years!
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Remodel always delightful and also sorrowful. When it decor the house it brings delight, but increase the cost it becomes also sorrowful. By following your post I easily use tiles for my house.
"I did the cutting in with a brush" - what does that bit mean?
Thanks for the blog post. Painting my kitchen tiles and this helps a lot!
Glad it helped! cutting in is what you call doing all the edges, the bits you need to do super neatly!
Really enjoyed reading your instructions Karly. Very clear and concise.
Hi can I ask what you use to clean the roller/brushes when finished?
It will be water to clean them, as it's a water based paint.
It is oil based - not water. You will need white spirit or similar.
Hi there! Do you think this would work on floor tiles for the bathroom?
Hi, I haven’t tried it so can’t say for sure sorry! Perhaps have a read of some reviews and see if people have tried it x
Hi Karly! So did you just roll straight over the grouting too? Did you find the paint stuck more thickly in these areas, as they are indented, if that makes sense? Thank you for your great post!
yes I rolled straight over it all! it was absolutely fine
Hi did you sand down your tiles?
Did you do one tile at a time? Did you sand down first?
Hi, Was the smell really bad from the paint? How long until the smell subsided?
Hiya, quick question, you said take tape off when wet, would you re tape for second coat or leave it on and take it off when second cost is wet? Thanks
Hi, you leave it on for all the coats and take it off when the last coat is still wet! x