I have been giving our utility room a bit of a makeover for the last couple of weeks – and boy does it need it! It hasn’t been touched in the 5 years since we moved into the house and was looking pretty tired. So, having refreshed the wall and ceiling paint, the next thing to look at was the tile backsplash. I knew that it would be a big messy and expensive job to remove the tile, so I decided to explore how to paint the tile backsplash instead.
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Can You Paint Tile?
While I have seen other people paint tile (on Pinterest and Instagram) – I have never actually seen it done in real life. I have always been a little concerned that it might look terrible close-up. However, having done a little bit of research, I found that if you use the right paint and painting techniques, painting a tile backsplash is a totally do-able and easy DIY.
How To Prepare The Backsplash for Paint
The first step in preparing to paint the tile is to first give it a thorough clean. This is to make sure that all the dirt and grease is removed – otherwise you will just be painting the grease and dirt in!
Once you’re happy that the tiles are thoroughly clean, the next step is to give them a light sand, so that your paint has a rough surface to grip on to. My tiles were quite ‘rustic’ in style and already had quite a rough feel to them, so I didn’t think that sanding was necessary in this case.
If you do sand the surface of your tiles, don’t forget to wipe them all down again to remove the dust.
Finally, I used painters tape to tape off the areas where the tile met the worktop and also the cabinets. I am planning on re-vamping the worktops, so I wasn’t too worried about fully protecting them.
How To Choose Paint For Your Tile Backsplash
A tile backsplash generally has to work pretty hard, so the paint I chose had to be pretty robust. There are various specialist tile paints available, however I chose to use Frenchic’s ‘Dazzle Me’ paint from their Alfresco range. This is a chalk / mineral paint that is suitable for painting on all kinds of surfaces and doesn’t require a primer. It’s also waterproof once fully dry.
Painting The Tile
I wanted to get as good a finish as possible and avoid having brushstrokes on the tile, so I chose to use a small foam roller to apply the paint to my backsplash.
As I had used painters tape, I was able to paint right to the edges of all the tiles with the roller, without getting paint everywhere. In a few places where the space was too small for a roller, I did have to use a brush. In these spots I tried to make sure that I only applied the paint in one direction (i.e. up and down, or side to side). I also gave it lots of light brushes to try and even out the paint across the tile as much as possible. This is how the paint looked after 1 coat:
Don’t panic if you think it looks awful! If you have areas where brush strokes are particularly visible, you can give them a light sand before recoating. Actually though, once it had a second coat, the brush strokes largely became invisible. I didn’t worry about painting over the grout lines on my tiles – they were white anyway, but in any case you can use a grout pen to redefine them later if you want to.
This is how it looks after a second coat:
So much better! The yellow tones have gone – which makes it fit much better with the main kitchen. I am now definitely a tile painting convert!
If painting your backsplash isn’t your thing, you can also see how I previously used peel and stick tiles to refresh the backsplash in our house.