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How to Paint Any Backsplash

Are you stuck with a backsplash in your kitchen, laundry room or even your bathroom that you are not particularly fond of? Now isn't the time to tear it out and install a new tile surface is it? Most of us are so busy we just can even for-see the day when we will get around to major renovations. So what are we suppose to do in the mean time?? Just live with it the way it is, staring at that brown, multi coloured tile that makes you cringe every time you walk into your kitchen?? Well I am here to say NO! No you don't have to live with it! Within a matter of few hours of easy work you can have a beautifully painted back splash that covers up that old grungy look and instantly freshens up your surface to update and brighten your room with tried and tested results!

*All opinions of products are my own and I do not receive and compensation for items linked on my page.

So before we get started just know that this method works on all surfaces. If your back splash is travertine, porcelain, glass or metal, this will work. The key to having a paint job that will stick to your surface is all in the paint and prep. My favourite primer is Zinsser Cover Stain. As long as you have this as your base coat, it will be your insurance for a long lasting paint job. Also I recommend Benjamin Moore Advance paint. This is an incredibly durable self leveling enamel paint. I love that this paint once cured is very scrubbable. Its strong enough to take on your grease splatters and your scouring pads even!

Supplies Needed:

  • Zinsser Cover Stain Primer

  • 220 grit Sand paper

  • TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)

  • Scrub sponge and scrub brush

  • Benjamin Moore Advance High Gloss/Semi Gloss or Pearl Paint

  • 4" High Density Foam Roller and frame

  • Paint Tray

  • Angled Paint Brushes 1.5-2" - I like to use one brush for my oil based primer and another for my latex Advance paint.

  • Frog Painters Tape

So here's what I was starting with in my own kitchen. I lived with it like this for over a few years before I decided I couldn't handle it anymore and needed to give it a new look. I had never painted tiles before so had no idea what I was doing, but sometimes I don't even think before I dive into projects. I just jump into the deep end first and not care if I mess it up. I figured it couldn't get much worse and, well if I messed it up I could always tear it out and put new tile up?! I had also just finished painting out all of my kitchen cabinets and love the results there (you can read more about that process here) so I thought it couldn't be much different that doing that.....and well, I was right!

Step 1:

First thing you will need to do no matter what your back splash material is, is scrub down and clean your surface with your TSP until it's squeaky clean and completely removed of old dirt and grim. Don't skip this step or rush through it, use your bristle brush to get into any old grout and around the corners and seams of the counter tops. These are the areas that accumulate the most grime and act like a magnet to grease. TSP is a heavy duty cleaner, so be sure you wear gloves when you do this step. There is ready made TSP that comes in a spray bottle for easy application, or you can use the powder form which just needs to be added to warm water to form a cleaning solution. Be sure you rinse off with warm water to be certain no residue is remaining.

Step 2:

Now that your surface is all clean it's now time to sand. Grab your 220 grit sandpaper and scratch up your surface. You just need to etch it up a bit to help give the paint a surface to better adhere to. So don't spend too much time on this, just go over it quickly. Once you are finish give it all a wipe to remove and dust.

Step 3:

Using your Frog tape, tape off any areas you don't want to get paint on to, sides of walls, counter tops and cabinets.

Step 4:

Using your angled brush, paint some of your primer along all edges and seams., even over your old caulking if you think it's paintable. If you are unsure you could always scrape out the old caulking and apply a fresh coat of paintable caulk. Once you've finished all of your trim with the primer, take your 4" roller and role your primer onto your back splash. This product smells bad! It's an oil based product so that's why it might be a good idea to wear a respirator and keep your windows open with a fan going while you are using it. I would suggest applying 2 coats of this product. Wait a few hours before re-coating.

Step 5:

With a fresh new paint brush and roller ready, get your Advance Paint ready. Same as in step 4, you will trim in your paint first to all of your edges and corners, then role on your first coat. This paint needs a good 24 hours before you can apply another coat. I wouldn't rush this either, wait the fill 24 hours. Once your first coat has dried check up close for any obvious chunks of dirt or dust that may have gotten into your applied paint, if you see anything take your sand paper and give it a light sanding to ensure a smooth result. Now you are ready to apply your second coat.

*You can reapply a 3rd coat if you feel you need more coverage. On my back splash, I did 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.

Step 6:

I like to wait about an hour before I remove my painters tape. If you wait for your paint to fully dry then remove your painters tape it doesn't leave the same crisp line as it would if you removed it while it is slightly tacky (not wet but tacky).

Now you may be asking why I didn't apply a sealer on top?? Well because this is the good stuff guys! I picked out Benjamin Advance paint for a reason. It's strong enough on it's own that it doesn't require anything else. I chose the high gloss sheen for my paint cause I really wanted it to appear more glossy, and more like a true tile rather than a painted tile. Also I wanted my back splash to be shinnier than my kitchen cabinets so it all didn't blend together.

So what do you think of it now guys? I chose the colour Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace for my colour. My cabinets are White Dove and I didn't want them to all be the same whites.

What a difference from the before hey?? In total this took me about 3 days from start to finish. Most of the time is spent in waiting for the paint to dry. This was easy to do and if you can paint or use a paint roller than you can do this too!

I hope this has give you some guidance and confidence to try painting your own backsplash guys! I always say if you don't like it and think it's ugly, just paint it!

So are you now wondering how has it been holding up all these years? Well I'm happy to say It's been 3 years and it hasn't chipped in any areas on the tiles themselves. The only areas that I've had issues with, is where the caulking is cracking and pulling away from the counter tops. I think that's just related to the house shifting though and soon I will just add a fresh coat of caulk.

Thanks for stopping by today you guys! It's always so fun bringing inspiration ways to transform your homes on a budget and to empower those of you who feel nervous or apprehensive about trying DIY's. Let me be your guinea pig! I love getting my hands dirty and seeing what results I can achieve without spending a lot of money and better yet, asking the hubs help along the way. I'm proud to say the majority of this kitchen "reno" I did myself with a paint brush in hand and lots of hours of Netflix!

Have a wonderful day friends!



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Judith Hopwood
Judith Hopwood
Sep 20, 2021

Thank you so much sharing but for the sake of others who might choose to follow your instructions, I must share my experience. Do NOT use this primer on larger tiles as instruction in this post, make sure you really smooth it out and that it’s as even as possible during your first priming coat. I thought the self leveling would address the different textures of the brush and roller used during priming but you can very much see where I cut the seams and then rolled! The brush stokes (of my very stirred primer) are very thick and visible even after two coats of paint. pretty sad about it but can’t change it now. Just wanted to try to…


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