Thursday, February 6, 2014

Saying Goodbye To An Ugly Back Splash...

And HELLO to a fabulously bright and clean one!
Our house was built in the early 60's but remodeled in the dreaded 90's.  So much oak and hurts us.  Anyway, the previous owners of our home fancied themselves as do-it-yourselfers though they seemingly had no idea as to what they were doing!  My home is full of half-ass-handyman work and we've been fixing it since we got here.  Anyway, the back splash they put in is this drab looking faux slate ceramic tile.  They did a terrible job installing it.  TERRIBLE!  Did I say terrible, because that's what it is.   Some places have too much grout, others not enough and the spacing is so all over the place.  No grout line here, an inch of grout over there...I'm sure you're smelling what I'm cooking.  BAD!
Anyway, I really wanted a change, but didn't want to replace it entirely since we are hoping to one day do a big kitchen remodel and I didn't want to spend a lot of money (that crap is always putting a kink in my plans).  Still saving my pennies!  So I decided the best and most economical way to put a pretty yet temporary band aid over it was to paint it.  After lots of research, this is what I did:
Step 1:  Degrease the tile.  I used Simple Green and a sponge and went to town.
Step 2:  Remove all the switch plates and outlet covers and tape everything off.
Step 3:  Prep the surface.  I choose to use this fabulous stuff.
It was really easy to use.  Just apply it with a cloth, let it sit for five minutes and then wipe off the excess.  The surface is ready to paint in two hours and will stay active for 7 days.  It cleans the tile and gives it some microscopic magic for the paint to hang on to.  Plus it didn't stink too bad and was super easy to clean up.   I bought if from Amazon.
Step 4: Paint!  I went to Home Depot and asked for the best, toughest oil paint they had and this is what they suggested.  I went with oil paint mostly because of it's durability.  It also has a great self leveling quality that I like.  Brush strokes bug me!   I had them tint it a color called Minted Ice from Behr.  Isn't it lovely?!  

These are the colors I'm going for in the kitchen, in case you were wondering.  I found this palette on Pinterest
Apply one thin coat of paint at a time with a good natural bristle brush, allowing 24 hours dry time in between coats.  That's important!  It will gum up like old nail polish if you don't give it time to cure.   
I started by painting only the tile and leaving the grout grey.  Let me tell you guys, that was a pain in the ass!  So hard! this point I was starting to panic.  I wasn't in love with the dark grout and my paint color.  Want to know what I really thought?  "Sh*t!!!  It looks awful, I'm in so much trouble!"  I kept going because, really, what choice did I have?   
Still trying to be optimistic and convince myself it wasn't that bad.  It was ok, but not what I wanted.  I went ahead and dry brushed the grout with the same paint color.  I just did a light dry coat so I could retain the texture of the grout.
There we go, that's the ticket!  
It's so much fun to decorate with my thrifted vintage goodies!  
Step 5:  Enjoy!  So bright!  So clean!  Yup, this project is a win in my book.  I know it wasn't the ideal way to redo a back splash, but it is what was right for us at this point in the game.  And honestly, it was so EASY!  Plus, it only took five days working just a few hours a day.  I was able to do this in the morning before everyone woke up and in the evenings when The Husband and The Little Dude were playing.  I could have done it faster, but I stuck to the long drying time.  And best of was CHEAP!

Lets add it up:

The paint was $24, but I only used about a quart.  They only sell it in gallons.  : (
The ESP was $30, and again, I didn't use all of it and I used a gift card. 
The brush was $14 and another Amazon gift card purchase.  
And everything else I had on hand.
Ok, so that adds up too... $68, $24 if you only count our out of pocket cost and I have lots of supplies left over for other projects.  That puts such a big smile on my face!!!  

So what do you guys think?  Are you inspired to maybe slap some paint on your ugly tiles?

Next step - new island!

Even though I didn't find any goods at the thrifts, this was a super thrifty project so I'm still joining the parties at  Sir Thrift A Lot,  Mod Vintage LifeThe Thrifty GrooveA Living SpaceIvy And ElephantsThe Cottage MarketWe Call It Junkin'The Colorado Lady and a new to me party at Living Well, Spending Less. Have a great week everyone!

A before and after just for fun.


  1. Well haven't you just been the crafty DIY'ing beast lately? First the pj pants and now this? Definitely inspired. We only have a small section of backsplash above our range but I'm still pretty sure Brian would murder me if he saw me going at it with a paint brush. Our house is still pretty newly built but I am already tired of things. We have already started remodeling and the kitchen is the last piece of the puzzle because it is going to be SO DAMN EXPENSIVE!!! Keep up the good work! It looks awesome.

    Oh yeah, I am LOVING the chalkboard above your oven. So cool!


  2. You did a very nice job on the cabinet back splash. I like the green much better. a lot of work that paid off.

  3. SUCH an improvement! I love it!

  4. It looks great! I think those guys who lived in your house owned ours first! Ten years and we're still fixing things. Just like you, painted the kitchen tile when we moved in, and thankfully did a total redo...keep saving those pennies.

    Love the color you chose, so pretty and really brightens the space. You did a great job, and painting that mishappen grout was the only way to go. Ah, super vintage nailed it! :)

  5. My house was built in the 90s (mega yuck)! I redid the back splash in my kitchen 1 year ago. It no longer matches the grey-blue counter tops and nasty oak cabinets. I'm going to try and paint them both (eventually). I want the cabinets the same white color as the trim throughout my house. The counter is still up in the air. Thanks for the inspiration. I have been thinking of painting the pinkish colored tile around my fireplace, because a complete redo would be too much of a pain!

  6. A huge improvement, it looks great! So bright and fresh, and I don't think it looks like you just painted old tile, it looks like it could have been installed that way on purpose, it looks that good! I want to paint my wood-grain cabinets white but OH how much work that will be.... Thanks so much for sharing this at my History & Home link party this week - my party is for anything home related in addition to vintage stuff, so this was perfect! -Dawn @ We Call It

  7. I think it looks really fabulous! It kind of makes the tile just disappear visually, which I'm sure is what you wanted since you don't like it anyway. I think painting the grout was totally the right way to go. Yay for taking a leap and having it turn out the way you hoped!

    PS--I'm so glad you showed that final shot with your whole kitchen because ever since you posted on IG I've been wondering how on earth you manage to cook and wash dishes in your kitchen with only that tiny sink? LOL


Thanks for stopping by! Your advice, tips and comments are sincerely appreciated!!! I need all the help I can get...