Painting Tile Backsplash – One Year Update

Do you ever want to attempt a DIY project, but you’re not sure how it’ll stand the test of time?  That was my dilemma when I wanted to paint our kitchen tile backsplash.    One of my least favorite parts of the kitchen was the tile backsplash.  I researched it and a few years ago, I decided to just go for it.  So I thought it would be helpful to give an update about painting tile backsplash.

I’ve got an update for you in case you’re on the fence about painting tile. Especially in an area like the kitchen that gets used multiple times a day. Our painted tile backsplash is holding up beautifully and it’s still one of the most budget-friendly DIY projects we’ve done.

When we moved into our house, I knew eventually I would attempt to change our kitchen a bit.  Nothing drastic – no gut jobs or ripping stuff out because that’s just not in the budget right now.  Mainly cosmetic changes such as paint.

Painting Tile Backsplash

So, what do I think after a year?  Yes, yes, yes.  Do it!  I’ll be the first to cheer you on if you decide to paint!  It’s so worth it and so easy.  And the best part is, it’s holding up beautifully!  I would do it again in a second.  

It cleans up perfectly – lots of messes are made in this kitchen!  There are no chips or peeling spots.  It looks just like it did when I first painted.

In case you’re considering it, I’ll give you a rundown of what to do, what not to do, and the best kind of paint to use.  If you want to see the full tutorial, you can check it out here –Painting a Tiled Kitchen Backsplash

And since I painted the tile, I finally got the nerve to paint the cabinets too – I took part in a $100 Room Makeover Challenge and went for it.

Thrifty Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Reveal

Here’s the original photo of our kitchen from the real estate listing when we bought it:
painting tile backsplash before pic
And a few right before I painted:
tile backsplash before pic
tile backsplash before pic

And here’s what it looks like now!

painting tile backsplash after

Supplies Needed for a Painting Tile Backsplash

Affiliate links provided – see my full disclosure here

Painting Tile Backsplash Tips

  • The most important thing you can do is clean the surface like crazy before you start.  I used TSP cleaner.  Especially in a kitchen where you can have oily spots or caked-on gunk – it’s got to come off or your paint won’t adhere.  So clean, clean, and clean some more.  I use an old mop bucket and rags and follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Protect your counters.  I’ll say it again.  Protect your counters.  Because you know who didn’t do a good enough job of that?  This girl.  I still have tiny little specks of paint on my counters.  Cover all of it.  You don’t realize how much a roller splatters even when you’re super careful.  Here’s looking at you shiny silver cooktop with paint flecks on it now.  Oops.
  • Tape off the surfaces you don’t want paint on.  I taped around the appliances and the underside of the cabinets.
  • Prime your surface.  Especially in an area like a kitchen that gets tons of use – you’ve got to prime.  There’s a lot of projects I skip primer, but I wouldn’t with this.
  • Use good quality paint and brushes.  You don’t want a chippy mess in a few months.  Unless that’s the look you’re going for of course.
  • Allow for adequate drying time and ventilation.  Oil-based primer smells.  I know this and I use it anyway because I’ve found it to be the best thing out there for making sure your paint adheres.  Open windows and make sure the kids are gone that day.
  • Don’t overpaint the surface.  It’s tempting to go back and try to smooth out something or touch it up just one more time.  But with oil-based paint, you need to paint it and leave it.  I have a few noticeable spots (probably only to me) that I tried to just “fix” an area and it didn’t work.  Use a quality roller and a quality brush.
  • If you’re nervous like I was to even touch the brush to the tile, go to Lowes or Home Depot or any other hardware store and get one of those large inexpensive tiles and do a practice run.  This will let you see how the paint goes on and might make it a little less daunting.
  • You’ll need at least two coats of paint and you need to allow for adequate drying time.  I waited a full day before the second coat of paint.
  • The paint I chose didn’t require any sealer and it’s a gloss finish so it wipes clean like a champ.
painting tile backsplash
painting tile backsplash
painting tile backsplash
painting kitchen tile backsplash one year later
painting tile backsplash update one year later
painting tile backsplash
painting tile backsplash
painting tile backsplash update
painting tile backsplash update
painting tile backsplash update
painting tile backsplash after

If you want more details, definitely check out the original post click here

Hopefully, this helps if you’re on the fence about painting tile backsplash or not.  I spent about $30 total including paint and supplies and it was so worth it.  

And feel free to email me or comment with any questions you might have.  Shoot me an email if you do it – I’d love to know how it turns out!

2021 Update for our Painted Tile Backsplash

It’s now been several years since I painted the backsplash – almost 4 years actually.

I did the one year update, but how about 4 years later?

The short answer is amazing. That’s right – no problems at all! It’s super easy to clean and I finally got the first few chips in the paint.

The chips happened close to our dish drainer – I apparently don’t know how to be gentle when putting heavy pots or pans down and I banged into the tile one too many times and got a tiny chip.

However, it’s barely noticeable and I highly doubt anyone would even pick it out. It’s still shiny and pretty – I used gloss paint for painting the tile and it looks great. I don’t regret the finish or paint at all.

So after 4 years, would I still paint our tile kitchen backsplash?

YES!!! It’s seriously one of the most cost-effective changes we made to update our house on a budget. Along with the $100 kitchen cabinet painting, it completely changed the look of our kitchen for very little money.

How To Paint Tile Backsplash

How To Paint Tile Backsplash

A tutorial for how to paint tiled backsplash in the kitchen and also an update to show how it holds up to use and time.

Prep Time 1 hour
Active Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 1 hour
Difficulty Medium

Materials

  • PAINT
  • PRIMER
  • BRUSHES
  • PAINT TRAY, PAILS, AND LINERS
  • DROPCLOTH OR NEWSPAPERS
  • PAINTER'S TAPE
  • BUCKET/RAGS
  • GLOVES
  • MINERAL SPIRITS

Tools

  • PAINT BRUSH

Instructions

  1. Remove all outlet covers and switch covers
  2. Tape any area that you don't want to get paint/primer
  3. Protect counters with drop cloths or newspapers
  4. Clean tile thoroughly with TSP - make sure there is no residue or grease
  5. After the tile is clean and dry, apply a thin coat of oil-based primer
  6. Let dry completely
  7. Paint with oil-based paint in the color and sheen of your choice
  8. Let dry and paint a second coat if necessary
  9. Clean brushes with mineral spirits and dispose properly

Notes

Don't use soap and water to clean brushes after using oil-based paint. Use mineral spirits and be sure to dispose of them according to your county guidelines. They cannot be flushed or put down your sink.

Work quickly to avoid dragging the brush in the primer or paint. If you miss an area, get it on the second coat rather than risking messing up.

Cost varies depending on what supplies you already have on hand but a good guess is between $30 and $60

Pin for Later!

painting tile backsplash

48 thoughts on “Painting Tile Backsplash – One Year Update”

    1. Do you think I could do this on the tile in our tiny bathroom? ( It’s about as much tile you would have for a backsplash in a kitchen.)

    2. Kari,
      Loved your blogs on Painting Tile Blacksplash and Painting The Cabinets! This is exactly what I need to do! I was getting ready to Paint the kitchen first but liked your paint colors in your finished kitchen! It’s the hardest thing for me to decide. Would you mind sharing the shade used on your ceiling and walls as well as your shade of white? I love the look!
      Thank you.
      Nancy Hunziker
      Hunzin57@gmail.com

      1. Thank you so much for the kind words! The wall color we used is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. And the ceiling is a color I don’t have unfortunately. The builders used it before we moved in, but it’s a tan/beige color.
        The cabinets, tile and trim are all Panda White from Sherwin Williams. It’s an off white – definitely not bright white.

  1. It’s amazing what a little paint can do to a space. Every time I see your kitchen, it makes me want t get my paint brushes out and finally do something about mine!

    1. Not at all! Mine has held up beautifully and never gets sticky. We use the cooktop all the time with gas heat and no problems at all. Be sure to use an oil based paint and let it dry properly. Good luck!

        1. Thank you Brenda. We matched it to our trim color that was already in our house. It’s called Panda White from Sherwin Williams. It’s an off white.

  2. Looks beautiful! You did an amazing job. Did you paint your cabinets as well? If so do you have a tutorial or pointers on this?

  3. frances campbell

    Is this the same process I see (? professional} people do on homes that are to be renovated and then put up for sale……all over the tiles and bench tops etc. I have always wondered how those surfaces hold up, like particularly the bench tops.

    1. I’m not sure exactly Frances, but possibly. So far I’ve been 100% pleased with how well it’s holding up. No issues whatsoever and it gets a lot of abuse!

    1. Oh wow! I’d be afraid to do countertops but I know plenty of people have done it with much success. It would be hard to leave them alone to cure though. Please let me know if you do it. I’d love to see how it turns out!

  4. Did you wait the full 7 days for it to cure I did mine and I’m nervous if anything hard touches it it will scratch!

    1. I actually didn’t! I’m super impatient, but I did try to be super careful around it for at least a week. And it hasn’t had any issues at all! What kind of paint did you use?

  5. Did you do anything with the grout once you painted? Not sure if that’s a mad question. Thinking of doing my horrible multicoloured tiles white too

    1. Not a mad question at all Lisa! I didn’t do anything to the grout. I just painted right over it and it worked out perfectly. Send me a pic if you do it – I’d love to see it!

    1. Thanks Janine! We used Panda White on the cabinets and backsplash. It’s a Sherwin Williams color and we chose that because it’s what all of our trim was already painted in our house. It’s definitely not a bright white at all. The walls are Revere Pewter.

  6. I have a lot of white tile that hasn’t been installed yet. I was wondering what you thought about painting it before I install it. Don’t really want the plain white for a back splash but my budget isn’t big enough for those pretty hand painted tiles. Just wondering what you thought. Thanks and yours looks awesome.

    1. Thanks Karen! I appreciate the compliment! I think it depends on how big the tiles are. In my head, I think it would be easier to have it installed and then use a stencil to paint once it’s all installed and grouted. I think it would be too tedious to do individual tiles and then install in the correct pattern. I’ve never done that so I don’t have the experience, just an opinion. Let me know what you end up doing and good luck!

      1. Hello! I am prepping to paint my tile backspash. I was reading through the comments and saw that you said you used a liquid deglosser before painting.. is that the same thing as the TSP, or an extra step? I didn’t see it in the steps, so I wasn’t sure! Thanks

        1. Hey Lisa! That was apparently a mistake on my end. I did end up using a liquid deglosser on part of the tile after I cleaned with TSP, but it didn’t make that much of a difference. My paint adhered just perfectly on the parts I only used TSP. Thanks for pointing that out and I’ll certainly update the post.

  7. Love the job you did! Looks great. Quick ques..
    What kind of flooring is in your kitchen? That looks great too.

  8. Hi super job and going to do our kitchen tiles and cabinets soon… just wonder what you use to clean it the surfaces now ?

  9. Why did you choose oil based paint as compared to latex? A friend asked me to paint her tile wall in her living room. It surrounds her fireplace. I’m trying to find the best way 🙂 Thanks for your input.

  10. This seems to be the cheapest way to hide the lousy tile install I’ve had to live with. Uneven grout lines, sloppy grout, etc. Thanks.

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