The Modern Coastal Rental Bathroom makeover continues, and this week you’ll learn how to paint ugly shower tile with amazing results. With just a few supplies, you can easily paint a shower tile surround in your bathroom, or just about any tile surface!
HOW TO PAINT UGLY SHOWER TILE WITH AMAZING RESULTS
Now, you’ve heard me talk about a rental solution for how to cover
And I may have even recently shared how I updated my apartment’s
ugly yellow bathroom cabinets.
But today, friends… today we are going to look at what used to be the ugliest thing in My Wee Abode (notice I didn’t strike through ‘ugliest’ this time).
The tile shower surround… (please excuse the images, as I’m still learning to take photos in my wee bathroom)
Now, I’m not sure why anyone would choose this color for a tile shower surround… I don’t care what year it is!
But, this part of MWA has bothered me since day one… and, really, can you blame me?
Can You Paint Shower Tiles?
But look at it now!
Again, I’m still learning to take photos in this bathroom, but isn’t this SO much better? It’s even, dare I say, pretty!
So, yes Virginia, you can paint over shower tiles. At least a shower tile surround! And the paint makes the ugly tile look like it’s white ceramic tile (and, it’s actually a custom color white… keep reading!)
More before and after photos are at the end of the post, but let’s dig right into HOW to paint a tile shower surround to get the best results and a perfect finish!
This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my complete disclosure HERE.
What You’ll Need to PREP a Tile Shower Surround
To get great results when painting a tile surface, whether it’s a shower or tub surround or a kitchen tile backsplash, you first need to prep the surface.
Since the tile in my bathroom is not glossy, but has more of a porous finish, I opted to simply use TSP to clean the surface (follow the directions on the box). That’s all the prep needed (in my opinion) for this type of tile.
However, if you have more of a gloss on your tile, be sure to sand the tiles with 400 grit sandpaper AFTER using the TSP, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Additional products you might need:
What You’ll Need to PAINT a Shower Tile Surround
By the way, almost all of the products I’m sharing today can be purchased online at The Home Depot and conveniently picked up in-store, curbside delivery, or delivered to your home!
What Kind of Paint Do You Use for Shower Tile Surrounds?
Did you know Behr Paint now offers Cabinet and Trim Enamel? Well, they do!
Behr Cabinet and Trim Enamel has a semi-gloss finish which makes it perfect for cabinets, window and door trim, and YES, even tile! Plus you can have it mixed to your favorite color or even customize the color at the Home Depot paint counter! (Call your local store for details on custom paint for pick-up.)
Also, be sure to pick up a can of KILZ Primer! This will help bond the paint to the tile… don’t skip this step!
And don’t forget to pick-up the best paint brushes around… the amazing Zibra Paint Brushes!
Zibra Paint Brushes are made of high quality synthetic “smooth bristle” technology with more density (“high pack-out”) than your everyday paintbrush. This means more coverage, smoother finish, and less dips into the paint… and less dripping on the floor, too!
A few more items you will need to update your shower or tub tile surround:
- Frog tape (don’t even bother with the blue)
- 4-inch x 1/4 inch woven rollers
- 4-inch roller handle with one roller
- 7-inch plastic paint tray
- plastic wrap (optional, to wrap wet brushes and rollers in, in-between coats)
How Do I Update My Tile Without Removing It?
One of the great things about painting tile is that you don’t have to remove it. Kinda like my kitchen counter update that cost less than $50!
AND, if you live in an apartment or rental home like I do, chances are you CAN’T remove your shower tile surround! This is a great way to add your own style to your apartment!
And, REMEMBER, ALWAYS ask your landlord if you can make any changes to your apartment or rental home!
First, be sure to tape off the ceiling, shower edges, and top edge of the shower walls. On the walls, you may want to double the tape to be extra safe from accidental paint swipes.
If the temperature inside is higher than 77 degrees, you may want to do one section at a time, like I did. You don’t want the paint drying too fast, which will prevent a smooth paint finish.
Zibra Round Brush to the Rescue
I must confess… I forgot to use my Zibra Round Paintbrush on the grout until my second coat of primer. WOW! What a difference the Zibra Round Brush makes!
The Zibra Round Brush is specifically made for painting spindles and surfaces with hard to reach places, and it really did the job on this grout, too! Talk about speeding up the process! And it was so much easier on my hands!
The coverage was excellent and the paint goes on SO smooth with Zibra Paint Brushes.
Last Steps for Updating a Shower Tile Surround with Paint
When tile is dark, it may take several coats of primer and paint to get the color saturated.
With my tile shower surround, it took two coats of primer and 3.5 coats (about 1/2 quart) of the enamel paint (3 coats on the grout and four coats on the tile) to get the coverage that I was happy with. Behr Cabinet and Trim Paint is not an extra thick paint, but I actually think this makes the paint bond to the tile better. Plus, the custom color coordinates with my new wall paint, too!
By the way, the color of my tile is Behr’s “Beach House”. Go figure, right?
After you have painted the last coat of paint, immediately and carefully remove the Frog Tape. (I pull away and down. You may need to take a craft knife and cut any paint seal that may have been created. The nice thing is, if you accidentally take some paint off with the tape, it’s really easy to go back and touch up. 🙂 Guess how I know this!)
The Finished Tile Surround Update
And here are more photos of the finished tile shower surround.
The finished painted shower tile surround couldn’t be more perfect! At least, that’s what this apartment dweller thinks!
Oh, and by the way, the project cost less than $75 (for ALL the supplies) and took less then two day to finish (I let the primer bond overnight).
One more project down for the bathroom makeover! It will be so fun to be able to share the whole update when it’s finished!
Become a My Wee Abode Member for ALL the Things!
I would LOVE for you to join the My Wee Abode fam and get all the FREE PRINTABLES that are offered, along with priority notification of new DIY projects, small home improvements, and storage solutions!
So, do you have a paint project you are getting ready to start? A set of my fave Zibra Paint Brushes will make the project a breeze! Be sure to check out their site!