Nitpicky 6-month painted tile update

A little over six months ago I finished painting my ENTIRE bathroom — the tile floors, grout, shower, stenciled the walls, even painted the side of the tub and backsplash. I promised an honest 6-month update, so here we are, the good bad and ugly! Here’s what worked and what didn’t.

I painted my entire bathroom - walls, ceiling, tub panel, floor, shower tile-1-1

Overall, this project was a great success, but I’m getting nitpicky here and will share all the little details most DIYers would like to skip over. Nothing has been sponsored so I have nothing to hide!

Painting bathroom tile - how to paint tile floors, grout, shower, plastic bathtub panel and backsplash - Kendall Charcoal paint

This is my original painted bathroom post with the complete tutorials and videos.

How to paint bathroom floor tile and grout

Floor tile

Project: Let’s start with the floor. I painted every other tile with bonding primer and then oil based enamel in Behr Light French Gray. I sealed it with polycrylic.

I also painted the grout with watered down floor and porch paint in the same color.

Painted tile 6 month update - how long does painted tile last
Painted tile 6 month update - how long does painted tile last

6 months later: I couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome. It is the exact same after daily traffic as it was since I first painted it. The only minor, minor detail are these slight scuffs (above) where I stand every morning and every night to get ready and wash my face.

Bathtub side panel & backsplash

Project: I used oil based enamel in Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal on the (yellowing) plastic tub side panel and on the tile backsplash. I didn’t use primer as kids don’t use it and it doesn’t get touched often.

Painted tile 6 month update - how long does painted tile last
Painted tile 6 month update - how long does painted tile last

6 month update: This held up perfectly. And I am a bath person, so many a bath has been taken since!

I did the same thing in my 5-year-old daughter’s bathroom (in ombré coral!) and hers has held up great too, minus a few scratches from plastic toys. I did prime hers with bonding primer first though.

Stenciled shower wall - Painting shower tile - floors and walls with bonding primer and oil base enamel

Shower tile

Project: I primed the entire shower with bonding primer and then painted the walls with white oil based enamel and the floor with Kendall Charcoal oil based enamel. Next I stenciled the walls with various paints on hand and put a clear coat of polycrylic over the walls to protect the stencil.

6 month update: Here’s where where things aren’t as glamorous and what I should have done differently.

Painted tile 6 month update - how long does painted tile last

There is a small spot on the floor what peeled away. I remember seeing that little spot not coated heavily enough with bonding primer after my paint was put away. I was tired of painting and let it go. That was a mistake! The good news is that it shows no sign of peeling farther and that means that the bonding primer, where applied properly!, is doing its job. The rest of the floor is good to go.

Secondly, the shelf couldn’t hold up to soapy residue from product bottles and sitting wet. There are various peels. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t have painted the top of the shelf.

yellowing polycrylic

And this is very nitpicky, but I still want to mention it. The polycrylic over the stencil ever so slightly yellowed where too many coats were applied or not coated evenly. You know when you press down on a sponge roller and the ends have slight lines where the paint is thicker? That’s what I’m talking about.

Can you paint a tile shower?

Overall though, the shower looks so much better than before and is actually holding up better than I thought after daily showers!

6 month bathroom tile update


In conclusion, I am still so happy with this project! It completely transformed this bathroom and gave it a new life and personality. This buys us several years to save for a remodel. Remember, painting tile is not the same as factory tile. It won’t last forever, but it is such a great temporary solution for very little money!

If I were doing it again, I would make sure the bonding primer was coated evenly and well. And I would skip painting the top of shower shelf. Other than that, that is project is holding up very well!

I used a sponge brush and patched up the marks on the shower floor and they’re good as new!


Oh, one more word about cleaning! I simply use a small amount of dish soap and soft sponge or microfiber cloth for cleaning the painted tile. The finish is glossy and cleans up easily.

Update on my update

Painted tile update

I used a sponge brush to paint the two nicks, and three months later, you can’t even see where they were!

Let me know if you have any questions or if you’ve painted tile yourself. I’d love to hear how it went and any tips you might have!

6 months painted tile update - how to paint floor and shower tile
6 months painted tile update - how to paint floor and shower tile
6 months painted tile update - and what I should have done differently - how to paint bathroom shower tile

30 thoughts on “Nitpicky 6-month painted tile update

  1. Hi Kate
    Your bathroom looks absolutely amazing. In your shower have you noticed any of the paint fading? I squeegee my walls after our showers so the water doesn’t sit and add moisture to the room. Do you know if the paint would hold up? We have terra cotta tile and it’s not flat but has a rough surface (like stamped concrete) will it still work? Every room has been updated except our masterbath. I painted and stencilled my guest bathroom floor with rustoleum and it turned out beautiful.

  2. I haven’t noticed any fading at all. We have hard water so I’ve noticed the shower floor isn’t as shiny as it was, but it’s the same color. I think it would work great on terra cotta tile. The rough surface will help the paint stick. Glad to meet another stenciling girl! Haha! Hope your project turns out great :)

  3. I am soo happy I came across your blog. Well done, and thanks for the detailed instructions and for giving an update. I have had ideas to do this and everyone tells me I need to remodel (no funds for that). I am definitely inspired as my bathroom was the same tiles and layout. Thank you!

  4. Same! No funds to remodel, but honestly now I don’t even want to because I like the painted so much! Good luck painting. Send me a picture when you’re done if you think about it! :)

  5. Thank you and will do! One quick question, why did you use regular oil paint inside the shower and deck paint on the bathroom floors. Would it be best to use the deck paint inside the shower? Thank you so much.

  6. I used oil-based enamel on the shower floor tile and bathroom tile floors :) I actually tried porch and floor paint on the regular bathroom tile and it did NOT work. It chipped right off.

  7. Great article!! I just moved and will be jumping in to paint plenty of tile flooring black and white! Really appreciate the details and honesty.

  8. Hi Kate,
    So glad I came across your article!! It is so very helpful and informative. I wanted to ask if you thought an outdoor covered porch tile could still be painted? It does get wet with blowback rain and has one spot that the water will drain to. What would be your advice on paint choices and grout paint? Would you use poly on top of the enamel afterwards? Thank you for your help.

  9. Before seeing this, I followed another person’s àdvice about painting floor tile. Ours is highly glossed, and I was told to sand it. We tried, but nothing even touched the surface. So i painted with 2 coats of floor and porch paint from Dutch boy. Several days later, we scratched the floor and it peeled up like dry glue on your hand. Soooooooo disappointed. We had to scrape up all the paint. Wasted. Now, we bought Rust-Oleum brand Home floor paint with a 2 step process which includes a clear coat at the end. The instructions do not include sanding or bonding primer.
    1. What brands are you using?
    2. We have latex. You have oil. Is it because you did the bathroom?
    3. Your opinion, please, about the bonding primer. We were told by an employee of Lowes NOT TO prime, and another employee of Home Depot insisted we prime with Zinser.

    What do you recommend?

  10. I’m so sorry for your frustration, Selena! I tried floor and porch paint at first and it peeled right off as well. It did work on my concrete patio though, it’s just not for tile. I also tried sanding, but my little sander essentially did nothing so I skipped it. There’s no one right way to paint tile so everyone has different advice. I’ve heard good things about rust-oleum tile paint kits, I just haven’t tried it so I can’t compare. Is it possible to try one tile and see if it works? If not, bonding primer sticks to everything! Just make sure it’s a thick, even coat. I have used Stix and Bull’s Eye 123. Then I used Behr oil-based enamel. It stinks and it takes a long time to cure, but it repels the water better than latex. My full tutorial is in this post:

    Hoping you find success! :)

  11. Did you have any silicone in corners or between wall and floor tile, I’m wondering because I have silicone which you usually can’t paint over because paint doesn’t stick to it. So does the primer stick well to silicone , or do I need to remove silicone prior to priming. Thanks

  12. That’s a good question. This shower did not have silicone. I bet you can paint silicone but I’m not sure how long it would be before it cracked, like any expandable filler. I guess you could play it risky and paint over it. Or take it out and replace it afterward, which of course is more work.

  13. I wish I would have seen your site before I did my bathroom. A lot of big box stores (Loews) do not know how to paint tile. They have us us terrible instructions. It turned out ok after a lot of mistakes Thanks for the great info.

  14. Love your after tub area! So classy and chic. I also love the walls around the tub. Is that a stencil? Do you have any sort of tutorial or reference for the bathroom walls to recreate? Definitely will be giving this a go in my master bathroom:). Thanks!!

  15. Your bathroom looks fabulous! I just put in luxury vinyl plank throughout my house including the bathroom and now the tile halfway up the wall and on the floor and shower does not match. Can I just paint over the grout with the same enamel paint?

  16. Isn’t it crazy how one project leads to another! That’s what I did, paint over the grout in my shower. They tiles were too small to paint the tiles and grout individually. I’m afraid it would have looked sloppy. But the tiles on my floor, on the other hand, were large so I did keep the grout. I just painted it with watered down porch paint. Does that make sense?

  17. Awesome tutorial. I have all my tools ready except for the final paint. Why did you go for satin instead of semi-gloss? I was wondering if the semi-gloss would be a better choice to “imitate” the tile?

    Your answer would be greatly appreciated! My current 1984 bath is cream/skin tone, ew.

  18. I went with satin because painted tile can be more slippery and I was hoping satin might be slightly less slippery than semi-gloss. Good luck! I’m so excited for you! :)

  19. Thank you so much for the updates and full disclosure. Anyone can post a freshly painted project but it still leaves one wondering if it stood the test of time. So, thank you!

  20. That’s true! It’s been almost even a year later than this 6-month update and it’s all holding up well. The shower isn’t used every day, but the floor is and I’m still impressed with it!

  21. Hi, I’m thinking of painting my ceramic tile, but is there anything I can do to even out cracks and a few chips in my tile first? Thanks

  22. Did you do anything to prep before using the primer? I got excited to paint our bathroom tile and give our bathroom a little update. Went to Home Depot tonight so excited but then a lady overheard me asking an employee about painting tile and she shared a nightmare story with me. Still on the fence about this project

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