Tile Time

Last time I told you about the self-induced nightmare of prepping our tub surround tile to be painted.  It was an activity that should have taken hours, but took us over a week.  We went so far beyond the manufacture’s recommendations for surface prep that by the end we were questioning our own sanity, and wondering if it was all worthwhile.

 Near the End of our Tile Prep Nightmare.

Near the End of our Tile Prep Nightmare.

The painting portion of this project didn’t take that long, but it wasn’t a lot of fun.  With our Rust-oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing kit Firebeard was able to do 3 coats of paint on the tile during the course of several hours while I was at work, and I am still thanking him for saving me from this.  The paint smelled so badly and so strongly that when I got home I could smell it feet from our front door.  Even with windows open and fans on It was truly, overwhelmingly bad.  Firebeard had been wearing a pretty high quality respirator while painting all day, and was still feeling pretty sick from the fumes when I got home.  We actually left the house for several hours that evening to give the paint smell a bit more time to dissipate, and it was JUST bearable by the time we got home.  Fortunately The Boy and The Girl were on a sleepover, so they were not subjected to the worst of the smell, but it took an additional 2 days for the lingering paint smell to leave the house, and even now, about a week later, the bathroom still smells unpleasantly odd.

Per Firebeard the actual painting was not as easy as a typical painting project.  The epoxy paint dried quickly, so there was very little time to fix mistakes.  The paint also seemed to eat the foam paint brushes and rollers he was using, and a new one had to be used for each coat, or he risked pieces of foam being embedded in the paint.  Combine that with the brain killing fumes, and this was not one of his favorite projects.  However, even given all of the brilliance of hindsight, he is considering getting another kit and doing one more round of painting before we caulk because a few spots did not get as thoroughly covered as he would have liked.  I guess it couldn’t have been that bad if he is willing to do it again.

 Before - Pink Tile

Before - Pink Tile

 After - Bright White Tile

After - Bright White Tile

There is no denying that the overall look of the tile now is a tremendous improvement.  It looks clean and fresh, and surprisingly shinny.  It does have a slightly odd texture now though, a bit like orange peel texture but more subtle.  We also have a few spots that are a less perfect than others as is pretty typical when painting by hand rather than with a sprayer.  This doesn’t really bother me, but it is worth knowing if you decide to do it yourself.  The paint also perfectly covered the patched holes left behind after removing the sliding shower doors which was a big plus (I will tell you how I patched those next time).

 Close up of the tile's new texture.

Close up of the tile's new texture.

 One of the less perfect Spots.

One of the less perfect Spots.

So was all of the prep work worth it?  At this point it is hard to tell.  Bad prep work usually doesn’t become obvious until something has been used for a while and all of the paint suddenly starts peeling off, and good prep work usually goes unnoticed.  What I can say for sure is that we did not experience the peeling or puckering paint that some Amazon reviewers said they experienced.  So far our paint seems VERY securely attached, whether that is from our obsessive prep work or not, I don’t know.

Bottom Line, Knowing what we know now would we do it over again?

I think we probably would.  The improvement in the tile’s appearance was worth the effort we put in, but if we were going to do it again, I think we would put in less effort.    The instructions on the box are there for a reason.  They have been tested, and if they didn’t work they wouldn’t be on the box.  We went totally overboard on the prep work, making this project much harder than it should have been, and I think we have learned our lesson. 

In conclusion, painting the tile was worth it, follow the directions on the box, and for god’s sake ventilate, ventilate, ventilate.