Today, I’m so excited to finally share the details of how I painted our tile fireplace surround!
It’s actually a project I completed a few months ago, but I never got around to pulling together a post with all the details because I jumped right into holiday decorating (so you might have actually noticed the painted fireplace surround in my Christmas home tour).
When we bought this place, the living room was an empty, very beige box:
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I brought our furniture in and slowly found myself embracing the neutral walls, but I still held a bit of a grudge against the off-white tile surrounding the fireplace. The proportions bothered me and the tiles just felt so very dated and early-90’s to me.
But still, I was a little hesitant to take the drastic step of painting over the tile… Even though I painted the brick fireplace surround in our last home black and loved it, for some reason the fact that this surround was tile was really shaking my confidence.
Honestly, I was worried that if the paint didn’t adhere well, I would end up with a big mess on my hands and then have to deal with ripping the tile out and replacing it… something I wasn’t quite ready to do, or I wouldn’t be considering painting it in the first place, right?
When I came across this post from The Makerista, and saw how fabulous her black painted tile fireplace surround looked, I was 99% convinced to finally take the leap.
So I turned to Photoshop (I have a Creative Cloud subscription for $10/month, but you could also try this out in any similar photo editing program) and virtually “painted” the tile to make sure I was committed to the idea:
Once I saw the visualization, I was completely sold!
Thankfully, I still had some of my quart of “Basic Black” left over – and I’m telling you, it’s the quart that keeps on going… sometimes I wonder if it’s just miraculously refilling when I’m not looking!
You can read more tips for working with Amy Howard One Step Paint in this blog post (I’ll send you there for a more in-depth tutorial) but here are some basic points:
1. Make sure the paint is mixed very well. When it sits on the shelf, it has a tendency to separate and you might need to spend a little extra time and elbow grease than you’d expect to get it all thoroughly mixed up.
2. Make sure the surface to be painted is very clean. Use a de-greaser like Simple Green, and follow up with a clean water rinse. Allow it to dry thoroughly before proceeding.
Next, I used painter’s tape to protect the surrounding molding and floor. I have to say – I was disappointed to discover that it didn’t do a very good job.
Usually, my trick for extremely clean paint lines is to paint a little bit of the base color (in this case, the molding color) OVER the tape to seal it. That way, if any paint leaks underneath the tape, it’s the correct color and you won’t see it. This makes for extremely crisp paint lines every time!
Trick for clean paint lines:
Step 1. Apply painters tape.
Step 2. Whatever paint color is UNDER the tape, use a little bit along the edge on TOP of the tape. In my case, this would have been the trim color and I would have painted a little on top of the tape where it meets the tile. This way, if any paint bleeds under the tape, it blends right in. This also helps seal the tape against leaks. Allow to dry.
Step 3. Now, you can paint with your new color and it won’t bleed under the tape!
Step 4. Remove tape while the last coat of paint is still drying. This helps prevent peeling up your paint along the edges!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any trim paint on hand, so I decided to do my best to get a firm seal with the tape. I might as well have free-handed my straight edges, because that’s exactly what I ended up needing to do after I peeled off the tape!
Then, it was a simple matter of applying two coats of the Amy Howard One Step paint…
… And peeling off the tape while the paint was still a little damp. (Another trick for crisp paint lines.)
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done this project sooner! The fireplace has so much more presence in the room, and the details look so classic and architectural now.
As far as how the painted tile is holding up, I did end up with some scuffs and chips recently while dragging something over it. I’m kind of suspicious that it had to do with how well I made sure the tile was rinsed after the Simple Green (hint: maybe not as well as I should have because I was anxious to get started painting).
But I don’t think I would try painting tile that sees a lot of use or traffic. Also, note that our fireplace is a gas fireplace and the tile surround doesn’t heat up when it’s in use – which is something to consider if you’re thinking of tackling something like this in your own home.
All things considered, I’ll spend a few minutes touching up the tile, and I’m still so very happy with its dark new look. I have some exciting things planned for this room here in 2017, so you can definitely expect to see more of it soon!