You CAN Paint Tile

Before our second child was born, we realized that our bathroom, shown above, needed some serious TLC. After three years of time warping every time we needed to tinkle and one genetic byproduct underfoot as it was, we needed our only(!) bathroom to not just become more functional, but be a space we liked spending time in, because between bath time, potty training, and regular hygiene, we were going to be spending A LOT of our time in the tiny space.
After a great deal of consideration, we headed to the home improvement store to see what our quick-fix options were for the biggest eyesore in the room — the tile.
We had been told that due to the slick surface of tile plus its porosity, it was not a paintable surface. Besides that, we knew regular wall paint wouldn’t hold up to regular water exposure, but luckily for us we have tile everywhere EXCEPT the shower.

After asking an employee their opinion on painting tile (and being redirected to a porcelain refinishing kit that was very little product for a lot of money) we had given up hope for a quick fix when a Glidden representative overheard our conversation.
He directed us to Glidden’s Gripper Primer, which was supposed to cling to nearly any clean surface. We read over the label, asked a few questions, and after having the no-constant-water-exposure reiterated, we decided to give it a shot.
Some regular bathroom cleaner later, the tile was primed, and those ugly brown dandelion tiles didn’t peek through in the least. We picked an off-white, high-gloss interior paint and painstakingly applied thin layers, hoping to achieve the look of white tile — and sure enough, no under-layer peek through, and wipeable white tile to boot.
Our bathroom has been this way for a little over seven months, and the high humidity of both the room and the Ohio weather haven’t affected it one bit. Neither have the far-reaching splashes of a bath-loving toddler. We now have a bathroom we don’t mind spending time in, and best of all, we have another space crossed off our to-do list very inexpensively.
Have you ever tried to paint tile? Let us know your stories in the comments below!

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