Let’s talk paint. Specifically, painting your tile backsplash. With all of the surfaces I have painted over the years like furniture,walls,and floors, I had never painted tile. My plan to brighten the kitchen was painting the cabinets white and replacing the microwave with a range hood. The tumbled marble backsplash was just going to stay as is until I replaced it down the road. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I painted the cabinets and realized how dark the tiles made the kitchen look that I decided to paint the tiles.
When you see the two tiles together it is clear how fresh the primed tiles looks. It immediately made the kitchen brighter. I am loving it!!
Even though my son says that I have “never met a surface I didn’t want to paint” painting the marble backsplash was not part of my plan for the kitchen update. But once the cabinets got their first coat of white paint I knew that the sandy colored tile would not work anymore. The fresh white cabinets made the tumbled tile look grungy. That was definitely not the look I was going for.
Once we made the decision to paint the tiles we got started. First, the tiles got a thorough cleaning with a de-greaser. I used Mean Green. One of the challenges of cleaning and painting tumbled tile is the rough, pitted surface.
Of course, you know every project will have problems. Be prepared to run into unwelcome surprises when doing any remodel. When we took down the over-the-stove microwave, we found broken tiles behind it. The tiles also did not extend all the way up to the cabinet. In the photo above, we had already removed the broken off tiles. Finding part of the tiles broken helped with our decision to paint them.
Before moving forward we had to decide how much tile we wanted to replace. We were replacing the microwave with a range hood, but the hood would not fill the entire space where the microwave had once been. We also knew that in the future we wanted to install a stainless steel plate behind the stove. In the end, we replaced the missing tiles and left the rest of the wall empty.
I found the same size tiles at a home improvement store. I used a combo adhesive and grout product to put up the tiles. Color matching wasn’t important because the tiles and grout would be painted.
To make grouting easier, I squeezed the grout into the cracks using a small pastry bag with a hole cut at the end. I just used my finger to smooth it out. While waiting for the grout to dry I removed all of the caulk between the tile and the countertops. I did not want to trap any old grease or dirt under the new paint.
With the tile replaced and the caulk removed it was time to paint. We taped everything off to make it easier to paint the tiles all the way to the rough edges.
All of the tile were given two coats of primer. I already had the primer for cabinets so I used that. The first coat was applied thickly because it kept soaking in to the grout and the porous tiles. I was also careful to fill in the pitted areas with primer. Though it was an option, we decided not to spackle all of the tiles smooth because we wanted the texture of the tiles to show.
The primed tiles were painted with two coats of Sherwin-Williams Pure White in a semi-gloss finish. I already had the paint so for this project the only expense was replacing the broken tile, which were less than $1 each. After painting the tile, we decided to go back and paint the window trim white also. When the tape was removed, I re-caulked between the tile and the countertop.
After we finished painting I could not believe how much cleaner and brighter the whole kitchen looked. When friends come into the kitchen one of the first things they tell me is that they love the painted tile backsplash. Who knew? See my kitchen update details HERE.