By Naomi Findlay
It’s no secret that kitchens and bathrooms are the highlights of the modern home. A tacky blue tile in the shower or 70s floral design can make your home look tired and dated. Before you take out a second loan and throw a sledgehammer at those eyesores, there is a quick and easy way to freshen up your bathroom – without leaving you shower-less for a month or hurting the hip pocket.
The budget-friendly fix? Tile paint. If your bathroom tiles are free from chips, cracks and other major damage, a simple refinish with White Knight tile paint can quickly turn your bathroom from drab to “va-va-voom” (as Neale Whitaker would say). Not only will you give your tiles a new lease on life, you will also help the environment by keeping them from becoming landfill.
Clean, repair and prepare
Before you crack open that tin of paint, remember: preparation is the key to success. A DIY refinish can quickly turn into a DIY disaster if you decide to skimp on the pre-painting steps. Think of this as an essential ingredient to the perfect cake – miss it, and the whole cake won’t turn out.
As clean as your tiles may look, a thorough spray and scrub using White Knight’s tile and laminate cleaner will ensure your tiles are squeaky clean and ready for their grand makeover (think residual soap scum or bath oils). Zap away any pesky mould with bleach, and fill in any grout or tile cracks with fresh grout or poly filler. If a tile is badly damaged, replace it with a tile of the same size – you don’t have to worry about matching the colour as it will be painted over anyway!
Use tape (you can go fancy with painter’s tape or use any masking tape you may have lying around) to protect non-tiled walls and taps, and lay down drop sheets (old blankets and rugs will work) in the bath tub and floor. The goal is to protect these parts from an accidental paint makeover.
Before you can begin sprucing up your bathroom tiles, you need to calculate the amount of paint required for your DIY. Since everybody’s bathroom (and the amount of tiles in it) is different, buying a tin and hoping for the best is probably not the right way to go. Luckily, there is an easy way to determine how much paint you will actually need to use. Just multiply the length and height of the tiled walls, divide everything by 12 and voila! The final number is the amount (in litres) of paint that you will need.
Once your tiles are clean and any cracks and gaps have been filled in, it is time to prime. White Knight’s tile and laminate primer provides a base coat that helps your final coat of paint stick to the tiles and prevents peeling and scratching (ensuring your DIY efforts aren’t wasted when the kids knock the tiles during bath time). It also contains an anti-mould ingredient to further protect your refreshed tiles.
Use a roller to zig-zag the primer across your tiles, finishing off corners and edges with a paint brush. Avoid painting straight from the tin, otherwise you will ruin the primer for future use – use a rolling tray instead. The key here is to focus on small sections at a time to ensure good coverage. Just two coats of primer four hours apart, a light sand after each (wait for the coat to dry first!), and you are ready to paint.
The beauty of White Knight’s tile paint is that you can tint it to whatever colour you want, as well as enjoy either a traditional glossy finish, or opt for a satin effect (with their laminate paint option). Apply your paint in the same manner as your primer: use a roller and tray, and paint brush for corners and edges. Zig-zag your first coat, leave to dry for six hours, then finish off with a light sand before applying the second coat using long strokes. Stir your paint every now and then – it will prevent streaks and help you achieve a smooth finish. And remember: two thin coats are better than one thick one!
Your beautiful new tiles will be fully cured in a week, so take extra care to avoid bumps or harsh cleaners. If you would like to create a little contrast between your tiles and grout, simply apply White Knight’s grout pen to the grout.
With so much focus on preparing your tiles and bathroom, it can be easy to forget about the actual equipment you use. Paint brushes, rollers, sponges and trays should be washed as soon as you are finished with them – unless you don’t mind throwing them out after one use! However, after your bathroom revamp, you might just get itching to make over your kitchen tiles next!
–Naomi Findlay is Australia’s rapid renovation expert, an internationally renowned renovator, award-winning property stylist and speaker.She’s an industry leader in creating healthy wealthy spaces and creating wealth and profit from renovating property. Naomi is CEO of staging company Silk Home and founder and principal of education provider, the International Institute of Home Staging (IIHS).