Ever since we moved into our house almost a year ago, my projects have been non-stop. I pretty much painted every square inch of this house – mostly because I couldn’t STAND the purpley-grey color the people before us had the entire place painted. Also, the bedrooms were all such bright colors that I just couldn’t live like that. There are only a few rooms left to do – my studio, the third bedroom, and the bathrooms. I think for now, I will be taking a bit of a break from painting (but probably not because I am crazy)…
Anyhow, before we moved in we painted the entire first floor except for the bathroom and foyer along with our bedrooms. We knew if we painted the foyer we would have to paint the stairwell and hallway upstairs as well since it’s all connected and we had already painted for an entire week so we figured we could wait to paint that until after we moved in. Months went by and we worked on painting other things around the house like the front door, the office, the china cabinet, and more.
Finally in September, I was annoyed enough at the mis-matched house that I sucked it up and painted the foyer and hallway one weekend. It was refreshing to finally have paint that was cohesive throughout the first floor of our house.
My excitement was short lived, however. Eventually, I started to become super annoyed by the tile in the foyer and the fact that now THAT didn’t match the rest of our house. It’s always something!
I am not much of a “tile” person to begin with, but the fact that this tile didn’t match anything and also that it was cracked in multiple places, the grout was stained, and it is completely uneven really pushed me over the edge. Originally, we wanted to replace the tile in the foyer and bath with the same laminate we put in the dining room and studio before we moved in, but my dad noticed that the sub-flooring would also need to be replaced if the tile was pulled up because it is so uneven. Since the cost to do this would be so high, we opted to just keep it for now.
Sooooo what to do? We could live with it the way it was, or we could try to cover it up with a rug or something. The second option was fine, but the bathroom door is too close to the tile so rugs don’t work in there and even when there is a rug in the foyer, you still saw the ugly tile in the hallway. I think the bathroom tile was the worst part. Whoever replaced the vanity and toilet in that room years ago did a shotty job and left glue all over the floor. Also, tile with dirty stained grout that looks like it is covered in a layer of filth even after you scrub it on your hands and knees is just…well…sad and depressing. See example A:
So, I began researching how to paint tile. I painted our kitchen backsplash (which was tile), but painting the floor seemed a little more risky. Granted, we don’t really come in the front door much so that helps, but I was still nervous about it chipping or scratching when Augie runs his shopping cart over it like a maniac.
There were a lot of blogs out there about painting tile. What to do, what not to do. This one was pretty helpful to me and is basically the same system I used when I painted our tile. I started by sanding the tiles, scrubbing them with Ajax, priming with this primer (different than the blog I linked to, but supposedly a really strong primer), and finishing with two layers of this Garage Floor Paint in black.
Overall, I am SO happy with the new look! So much better than the old crappy tile, seriously. Also, the overall feel of the foyer is so much warmer and welcoming than the old grey and white sterile look they had going on when we moved in.
We also bought a new rug to spice up the space. My husband has always wanted an oriental rug so I told him this was his chance! We actually found this rug a year ago, but didn’t buy it and then regretted it. After we had the floor painted, we decided it would be a perfect fit and when we went back to get the vent covers, we saw they still had it and bought it. Love it!
During my research phase, I actually decided I was going to use a different oil based paint and primer on the floor, but changed my mind once I went to the hardware store to get it and they didn’t carry it. The guy in the paint department told me about this epoxy paint and said that people normally use it to paint garage floors…so I figured it was probably durable enough to withstand shoes and shopping carts, right?
That being said, you DO have to follow the instructions about drying time. My floor has been drying for 2 weeks now. It is walkable after about 12 hours, but because it is an epoxy paint, the drying time is significantly longer than a water based product. This just means it will hold up better in the long run! It is definitely worth being patient so you don’t ruin your newly painted floors. I had some paper covering the high traffic areas on the foyer for about a week. Even now, I have yet to move our heavier pieces back into the foyer. I actually have made this mistake before after polyurethaning something and regretted it because later on I noticed that the clear coat had an indent on it because I didn’t wait for it to completely cure. Although the paint may say it takes 7 days to dry, it also will depend on the temperature and humidity in the room you have painted. A good test is to take your nail to an hidden spot of your tile (in my case it was the closet) and rub it against it. If the paint comes up or scuffs, you should probably wait a few more days.
As for the bathroom, it is probably a zillion times better than what it used to look like. The stains, glue and grime no longer show and Matthew is THRILLED that we no longer need a rug in there. (that is actually how I got him to agree to letting me paint the floor ;))
I will admit, having this freshly painted floor in the powder room does make me get the itch to paint the walls in there…sooooooo I will most likely be doing that sometime this month (if I am being honest). I have some leftover paint from Matt’s office that I think will work perfect in there!
Soooo, what have I learned here? Well, I have learned that painting is sometimes a good and cheap fix for problem areas in your home that you do not have the money to replace. Obviously, I already knew that since I have painted a lot of different things in our house instead of replacing them, but during this project I learned that even your floors can be painted :)! Always good to know.
Since I like to help others out in blog land with my own knowledge after doing a project, here is a list of steps for anyone who plans to tackle a project of this sort in the future:
Step 1 – Sand The Tiles
It’s best to sand your tiles with a rough type of sandpaper like 150 grit. The purpose is to prep the tile so the paint will stick better. This is especially important if your tiles are shiny or have some kind of gloss.
Step 2 – Clean Your Floors
I am not talking just put a mop to the floor and call it a day, I actually mean clean it well. Best way I found was some Ajax and a scrub brush. Make sure you get all the grime in the corners and that you rinse well.
Step 3 – Tape Off The Area You Are Going To Paint
Some people like to paint the grout and then paint the tiles separately. This is a much more extensive process…and since I didn’t really care to see the grout lines in the foyer I just used painter’s tape and taped off the trim and carpeted areas around the tiles. If you want, you could tape off the grout and paint that first and then after it dries, tape over the grout and paint the tiles as well. Either way works!
Step 4 – Fume Prevention (Optional)
The type of paint used to cover floors is a bit stronger than regular old house paint is. I was really concerned with the smell taking over my house for the weeks following (especially since we live with a 2 year old), so I read up online about how to prevent the smell from taking over and I got a few good tips that worked! One was to cut up onions and place them in bowls around the work space. Another was to cut up oranges and put them in vinegar and put that around the workspace. The third was to put an Ionic Breeze in the room you were painting. I did all three and, to my surprise, there were seriously no fumes (other than the smell of onions and vinegar). It was awesome! I would totally do this again. I won’t get all science on you cause I don’t even really know what I am talking about here, but there is some kind of chemical reaction that happens between smelly items one and two and your paint fumes that causes them to disappear! Horray for the internet!
Step 5 – Paint Your Primer On
Like I said earlier, I used B-I-N Primer which is supposed to be a heavy-duty primer. I have read different blogs stating different things that were used, that’s just the one I used. Behr also has a line of products they suggest using when you use their paint, but I went against the grain here and used what I thought would be good.
Step 6 – Paint On The Primer
You want to start painting with the primer. I found it was easiest to paint the trim and grout with a brush and then run over the tiles with the roller after to blend. It is a good idea to end your painting in an area that you will not get stuck in…like the corner of the room. Although it dries to the touch pretty quickly, I painted the primer and then let it dry for a few hours before I did the first coat of black paint just to be sure that it was completely cured. Basically, if you paint too soon, there is a higher chance of your paint chipping off because your bottom layer will still be wet even if your top layer is dry. SO it’s just better to wait it out. FYI – you will need some turpentine to clean off your brushes after using this primer.
Step 7 – Paint Your First Coat
And now for the exciting part! Apply your first coat of paint in the same manner as your primer. If you have to paint in a small confined area, make sure you wear a mask. I had to paint the powder room with the door closed so I borrowed a mask from a friend.
Step 8 – Wait 24 Hours
Just like with your primer, it’s important to let your first coat of the floor paint to dry completely before you apply a second. I waited a full 24 hours before putting the second coat on. Between coats, I covered the areas where we needed to walk with paper (easel paper on a roll was nice and easy!) once it was dry to the touch.
Step 9 – Paint Your Second Coat
Horray! It’s time for the final coat! Paint this coat just like the first.
Step 10 – Remove Tape
You don’t want to leave your tape on too long, so once the paint is dry and you can walk on it remove the tape from the baseboards.
Step 11 – Watch Paint Dry
Literally, for a whole week I left paper over the floor and we watched it dry. On the 7th day I decided it was fine enough to walk on the floor without shoes on.
Step 12 – Put Furniture Back
The instructions say after 7 days it’s safe to put cars/furniture on the floor. I waited 2 weeks almost. If you are a painter, you will know when the floor is dry. If you are not, my best advice is to do a scratch test in a place where no one will see to determine if the floor is dry enough. Basic rule of thumb is that when your floor is COMPLETELY dry, your socks will not stick to it – you will be able to slide across it like a regular tile floor. Today is the 14th day since I painted ours and it’s the first day it has felt this way. I think the 7 day rule is only if the conditions are PERFECT…which I am guessing is a rare occasion.
Step 13 – Wait 30 Days Before Washing
It’s clearly stated on the label of this product that washing it before the 30 day mark sets it up for failure. SO resist the wash! At least you have an excuse not to clean for 4 weeks…right?
And now, for a few more photos of this really pretty foyer that I love :).
* this blog post includes affiliate links for products I use and love.