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Guide to Painting Tile

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I am so sorry that I have been MIA for a week, but I’ve been in my own world with this kitchen update! I’m so excited that the project is almost complete and I can share it with you. I told you all that I was preparing to paint the tile to save some money and I in fact followed through! The results are better than I ever imagined, so I thought I would share the wealth and provide a short tutorial.

Here’s what you’ll need:


Supplies include: Zinsser Cover Stain Oil Based Primer with Bonder, Rust-Oleum Oil Based Protective Enamel Gloss Finish, bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a 2in paint brush. Spend a little extra on the brush to get one that is soft and high quality. The paint can be tinted to whatever color you like!

Total Cost: About $30.00

Here's a before shot of our tile just to give you an idea!


Step 1: Cleaning

Using warm soapy water, clean your tile. Once you have done a decent scrubbing, spray down your tile with alcohol and wipe off using a paper towel. The alcohol acts as a degreaser and really gets any residue still hanging out. Clean until there is absolutely no dirt or residue left on your paper towel. That’s when you know you've done an adequate job. I know no one likes to clean, but DO NOT skimp on this step. Put in the extra elbow grease to get the best results.

After you clean, you have to let your tile dry for 24 hours. This is very important! Any moisture in the tile will prevent the primer from correctly adhering, so don’t cheat!


Add a spray bottle top to your alcohol bottle for easy application.

If you have tile that already has a smooth texture you might want to do a light sanding with a medium grit sand paper prior to cleaning. This will help the primer adhere. My tile did not have a smooth texture so this was not necessary.

Step 2: Primer

Apply a light coat of oil based primer using a paint brush. Be sure to really get the grout. Let the first coat of primer set for 24 hours before applying the next coat.


Oil based paint has to be cleaned with paint thinner not water. In order to avoid nightly cleaning, wrap your brush in a plastic bag and store in your fridge. This will save time. Just grab your brush and start painting again.

Step 3: More Primer

I really suggest doing two coats of primer so that you last coat goes on perfectly smooth and with even coverage! Let the primer set for 24 hours before applying the final coat.


Before putting your brush in the fridge, wipe down excess paint with a paper towel. Full cleaning is not necessary. It will be just fine for the final coat.

Step 4: Apply your final coat of glossy oil based enamel paint. Apply one even coat! Since you were patient and did two coats of primer this last layer should go on super easy and won’t need a second coat.

The number one thing you need in order to complete this project…patience! Since there is a lot of waiting between steps, be sure you have a full four days to do this project. I suggest doing it over a weekend and making meal plans ahead of time. You can use your kitchen, but be very careful not to dirty or wet your tile during the process. This is the perfect time to plan a family picnic or catch up with friends over dinner.



I hope you find my tutorial helpful! If you end up embarking on this project, be sure to take before and after pictures. I would love to share your stories on the blog! Stay tuned for the full kitchen update reveal!

Happy Painting


Amber J.

#design #diy

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