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Update Your Bathroom Shower Tile With Paint

Updated on September 29, 2012

Steps to Update Tile Without Hiring a Contractor

Do you have a shower that is decades old? Are your tiles in good shape but they need an update from the 60s, 70s or 80s? Do you dream of a crisp, spa like white shower instead of mellow yellow, cucumber green or tired pink tiles?

Is a contractor out of your budget?

Paint Them! Most people think it is impossible to paint shower tile however it has worked for me. I will show you what to use and offer some tips on how best to do it.

This painting technique works well on small tile. I do not know how well it will work on larger tile.

First examine exhibit A: My tile. It was groovy and hip while Nixon was president. We washed our hair enclosed in it's mellow yellow maddening dots while we tried to style it like Farrah Fawcett or David Cassidy. However, it had to go.

Maddening yellow dot 70s shower tile
Maddening yellow dot 70s shower tile | Source

Prep Your Bathroom and Yourself

There is some required prep work for this project. The paint you will be using has a very strong odor. Some people may get a headache. Your best bet is to have lots of ventilation in your bathroom. Open windows. Open doors and bring in your fans.

Another tip would be to paint and then go away for a few days or at least a night to get away from the smell for awhile. ROADTRIP!

  • Empty everything out of your bathroom. I mean everything! From towels to toenail clippers to toilet paper. Do not leave anything in there. Fabric will smell like the paint.
  • Clean your bathroom. Go to town and give it a thorough scrub. Pretend you have the Queen of England visiting. You don't want her seeing your soap scum.
  • Sand the tiles which will be painted. A sander works best with this. Make sure you wait till all is dry first. Hey, don't worry though. If you left soap residue from your cleaning, the Queen won't see it after you sand it off.
  • Put on old clothes.

Queen of England in the 1970s?

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Valspar Anti Rust Armor Paint

Supplies Needed

  • Paint rollers
  • Foam brush
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint Tray

Now let me introduce you to the paint you will use. Valspar Anti-Rust Armor Paint. Interior/Exterior. Oil-Based Enamel! We used a gloss pastel base. Our color is Ultra White.

  1. Pour your paint into your paint tray.
  2. Use a roller, start at the top.
  3. Use small foam brushes and paint brushes for corners and grout areas if needed.

Work quickly and take frequent breaks! Breaks should be outside or at least away from the bathroom.

When you are finished, use another place to shower off in. Give it at least 24hrs to dry. Then do another coat if needed.

Tip: For my small shower, I bought a gallon of paint. I have half a gallon left for touch ups.

Tip: I only recommend painting tile for a shower where the tiles are in very good shape, just ugly or need an update.

Tip: Oil based paints will stain any clothing.

Finished Updated Shower Photo

My updated looking shower,  using paint instead of ripping out my old tile.
My updated looking shower, using paint instead of ripping out my old tile. | Source


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