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.
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!
This is my original painted bathroom post with the complete tutorials and videos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overall though, the shower looks so much better than before and is actually holding up better than I thought after daily showers!
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
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!
60 thoughts on “Nitpicky 6-month painted tile update”
you are a painting genius!
Haha! Thanks ;)
It turned out so pretty!
Thank you! I’m always blown away by what paint can do.
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.
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 :)
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!
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! :)
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.
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.
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.
Congrats on your new home! Black and white sounds pretty and classic :)
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.
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?
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: https://www.housemixblog.com/2020/03/05/how-to-paint-bathroom-tile-floor-shower-backsplash/
Hoping you find success! :)
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
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.
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.
So glad I happened upon your blog. Great detail… pros and cons.
Can you use this same process on kitchen backsplash tiles?
Absolutely! And it holds up even better because it’s not always bombarded with water. I did that in this kitchen (and I didn’t even prime!): https://www.housemixblog.com/2014/07/24/how-i-transformed-my-kitchen-with-paint/
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!!
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?
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?
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.
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! :)
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!
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!
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
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
Hi Marjie! They actually make tile repair kits! I haven’t tried one yet, but here’s an example: https://amzn.to/3BNaDNp
Hi Krystal. I know it’s a little scary to paint tile. I was warned not to do it also by a Home Depot guy. All I can say is it worked for me, but it does depend on the tile and use. I did clean the floor well before I primed, but that was it. I tried sanding the tile but it made little to no difference so I skipped it. Maybe you’d feel more comfortable using a Rustoleum kit like this?? https://amzn.to/3vhUuNq It has almost 12,000 ratings!
I just love your bathroom! May I ask where you purchased the stencil?
Thanks! Not sure which one you’d like because I used two, so here’s both! :)
I was wondering if the tile was slippery when wet..I would love to have the look you created. It’s beautiful!
Hi Yvonne. The painted tile is more slippery than normal tile, but I haven’t had a problem. It’s probably not best for small children or elderly.
Ok, I painted the shower and LOVE it but before I allow it to start getting used I am wondering if you did a polyuric coat over the entire shower or just where you did stencil? Wondering if I need to put a protective coat over the tile. Thank you!
I would say yes, go ahead and do a coat of polycrylic on the floor as well. It goes on super fast and the extra layer can’t hurt! So excited for you!!
Can you do the same process over previously painted tile walls?
I would say yes, unless it is currently peeling or chipping. You would have to remove that first.
Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me what paint you would recommend for stenciling a bathroom tile floor. I can do the base paint with the primer and an oil based enamel but then what should I use for the stencil itself and would I polyurethane the floor afterwards to protect the stencil? Thanks so much. I think your project is absolutely beautiful!
Hi Kate! Your bathroom update is gorgeous! Wondering if I have some areas where the grout in my shower is chipped out, should I re-grout the entire shower before priming and painting?
Hi Amy! You could probably just fill in where it is chipped. I bought a small tube of filler on Amazon not to long ago to patch in my dining room.
Awesome post. My first bathroom tile project was failed because of poor selection of paint. But you mentioned oil based enamel paint, so I will give it a try with paint sprayer. Thanks for sharing
Hi. Thanks for these updates. One question – Did you sand the tiles beforehand?
I did not. I tried with a mediocre sander and it didn’t seem to make a difference, so I skipped it :)
Hi! I was wondering how long to wait between each step and until the bathroom is usable?
What stencil did you use in that beautiful shower stall?
Hello! Your article is so inspiring and gives me some faith until I can do a remodel! Wondering, how is the cleaning (deep cleaning) coming along? Mainly curious about any soap scum buildup and how it’s coming up in those various areas.
It looks brilliant! I’ll bet it was a ton of work and you’re obviously a talented DIYer. The woman who owned my house before me… painted every surface of every room. No exaggeration. Lots of faux finishes that have left the surfaces with texture and looking, at best, shabby. Not in a chic way.
I can’t afford to redo my bathroom the way it needs to be but at this point there’s more old tile showing that paint covering it.
The floor is the thing I hate the most. It’s not peeling but every little fleck of dust and pet hair clings to the floor. I can never have that ‘clean’ feeling that you need in a bathroom.
I’m sure there isn’t a fast way to remedy this but what can I cover the paint with that will not become magnetic for dirt. Is it possible to put a coating over the existing floor but maybe in a color so that I only have to do one coat. ?. I should mention I have lots of pets and two kids one who is home all the time so not having a bathroom for longer than a day is a big problem)
Sorry for the long post.
Oh my gosh! We have been wanting to spruce up both the kitchen and bath for so long now, but money always seems to be an issue. This post, and the one where you did the actual painting has me so, so excited to give this a try! Our tile is a very ugly pinky brownish color that doesn’t match with anything—not beige, or pink, or brown—there’s not a color out there that will work with it and I’ve been trying to figure out an accent color at the very least, with no success at all. The desperation was increasing, and then, out of the blue, for some reason I typed in ‘can you paint shower tile’ (I didn’t think it was possible!) on duck duck go and here’s the answer to my troubles!
Thank you so much for giving an honest update at the six month mark; I think that touch-ups every now and then will be just fine. I’m so very excited and have all sorts of ideas for both baths! Your design is absolutely lovely, I adore the sort of Moorish feel and the beautiful leaves in the shower itself. Just a wonderful, peaceful space you’ve made for yourself! Thanks again!
Hello! Thank you for sharing this! Quick question- when you did the touch up did you re-prime, paint, and seal again or did you just put paint alone? Did you redo the whole tile over the spot that had chipped? Thanks so much in advance! I am painting my bathroom floor tile (did all the prep and using the stinky oil based enamel!) and trying to prepare for the it seems inevitable touch ups given that this is a kids bathroom with a tub!
I’m trying to remember! I think I used an artist’s brush with primer and then also a nice thick coat with the oil enamel. I did not redo the whole tile. And you are right, it does stink!
I’m so glad I found this via google. Saw your original post and now the follow up is super helpful. Shower floor in new build has really not done well in two years, seriously considering a solid color paint over it as you did. Great blog!
Only two years!? That’s not fair. I’m sorry to hear that. Paint might just be the way to go!
would like an update as to how the paint is holding after 2 yrs
Well, it’s holding up great … but we’re not even using it right now! About 8 months ago I started hearing slow dripping after the shower is done behind the wall, so eventually we’ll have to call someone to open up the wall and see what’s going on back there 😖 But over all it held up well before this. I think the dark color helped to avoid stains or discoloring.
I am so glad I found this. I’m a huge DIYer. Selling my home soon but I have to update the master bath from 1998. Including the tile counter top. I have hope now I can make it lovely. Thank you girl!
I’m sorry to say this but I’m being honest, even though I know nobody has asked for my opinion but I think the painted times look awful. They look so cheap and ugly. You can see the strokes all over and the floor was the worse. Looks cheap and ugly, but if you’re happy with it that’s all that matters. I would do this to my bathrooms. I would be embarrassed to show people. Gross.
Well, painted tiles aren’t my favorite either. I’d like to have the real thing! But this was a fun experiment while we save for the big reno, which is coming up! Fortunately my friends are kind and either really like the tile or they’re excellent liars ;)