Breathe New Life Into Your Outdated Tile Countertops With This DIY

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If you're living in an older house that still has many of its original features, you might have tile countertops in your kitchen or bath areas. Even though they are coming back into style again, there is a good chance your current ones look dated. If you've thought about having your countertops replaced, but have balked at the high cost of new ones, there's a way to repaint the tile to make it look brand new and much more stylish. It's a simple three-step process that will cost less than $100 at the outset, and can be done in a single day with little to no DIY home improvement experience.

Tile countertops first came into vogue in the early twentieth century, when people were concerned with sanitation. They began to use tile with tight grouting to better see and eradicate dirt, and tile could be seen on walls, the tops of furniture pieces, and in kitchens. It remained the most-used countertop material until formica and laminate came around in the post-WWII boom, though tile became popular yet again in the '70s, and stayed until about the '90s. Today, not only could repainting your tile countertops be an inexpensive way to make them look new again, it could also give your whole kitchen a fashionable update.

Prepping your tile countertops for repainting

Before you start repainting your tile countertops, you need to protect your cabinetry from any damage, either with plastic sheeting, tarps, or even old bed linens, securing them with painter's tape. You'll also need to use the painter's tape to protect your walls. Once you do this, sand the tiles down with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the sheen and leave a surface that will accept the paint more easily. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth to prevent yourself from breathing in the dust particles, then use an electric sander for the bulk of the job, going over the corners manually to make sure you get every nooky and cranny so they're fully prepped.

Use a vacuum or damp cloth to wipe up the sanding dust, then thoroughly clean the tile with a trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner. This is a heavy duty alkaline cleaning solution, perfect for prepping a shiny surface for new paint. Available on Amazon or at home improvement stores, a full pound of the crystalline powder can be purchased for just over $10. Be sure to wear gloves and other protective gear and follow the product directions exactly. Once this process is done, you're ready to paint.

Applying new paint to your old tile countertops

To refinish tile, you need to use a specialty paint like Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit, which you can purchase on Amazon for around $55. You'll also want a small standard paintbrush and a 4-inch low-nap paint roller. The fumes from the refinishing paint are very strong, so open all your windows and doors. If you have fans, use them to disperse the fumes quicker.

The kit comes with two cans — A and B — that need to be mixed together. First open can B and stir it well, then pour can A into can B and mix the two thoroughly. Do this on a piece of cardboard or in a box to prevent spills. Once they're mixed, all coats (you will likely need to do two) need to be applied within six hours, so make sure you are all prepared and good to go before you mix the paint.

Pour some out in your paint tray and use your brush to cut in all your edges and corners, then use your roller to cover the rest. Press down slightly over the grout lines, then use long strokes to create a uniform look. Let the first coat dry for at least one hour before applying the second. Once this is done, simply allow your painted tile to dry completely and your kitchen counters will have a bright, new, sparkling look.