How to Refinish Bathroom Tile: The ‘De-pinkified’ Bathroom

QUINOA

Okay, I know it’s been quite a while since my last post; however, a lot has happened in the last few weeks: summer came to an end, we put a fence in (more on that later), and I got a new job! Nevertheless, I’m back and ready to share my latest tutorial on our newly ‘de-pinkified’ bathroom! If there was one part of this makeover that was key to staying within our $500 budget, it was to find to a way to keep the tub and tile that covered 75% of the room intact…no easy task!

After some avid online searching, I came across this product by Rust-oleum called ‘Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit’. The reviews were mixed; some people praised its easy application, while others called it a piece of junk. With a full tank of optimism (and the realization that the bathroom really couldn’t look much worse!), I forged ahead and purchased the four kits it would take to refinish the tile!  To see the before and after photos of the entire process, check out the full $500 pink bathroom makeover.

The untouched pink bathroom

The untouched pink bathroom

This is how our bathroom looks today!

This is how our bathroom looks today!

What You Will Need

  • Rust-oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit (1 kit covers 70-110 sq ft)
  • 4″ High quality, short nap kitchen & bathroom roller brush & frame (buy extra roller brushes as they deteriorate quickly!)
  • Foam brush
  • Paint tray
  • Bleach
  • Abrasive cleaner: Comet or comparable cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Caulk remover
  • Bucket
  • #400-600 Grit sand paper or sanding block
  • Tub and Tile Caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s tape
  • Stir sticks
  • Rags
  • Ventilation mask with new filters
  • Safety goggles
  • Box fan (multiple if you have them)

1.) Remove Any Existing Caulk
Using either a caulk remover or utility knife, scrape away any existing caulk that surrounds the work surface. It’s important that all the caulk is fully removed, as the epoxy will not bond to the surface.

When I began to remove the caulk, I learned that our tub and sink used to be teal?!

When I began to remove the caulk, I learned that our tub and sink used to be teal?!

2.) Bleach the Tile
I followed the steps on the kit exactly as directed, and highly recommend you do the same. Start by filling a bucket with one part bleach to two parts water. Wearing rubber gloves, use a sponge to rigorously clean the surface each tile that you will be painting. I found it easiest to switch between the sponge and a tooth brush in order to fully clean out the grout lines. Wash everything down with water when you are finished, and let dry completely.

My first step in our bathroom was to remove the pink wallpaper that was glued near the tile. I found three kinds of pink paper behind the mirror!!

My first step in our bathroom was to remove the pink wallpaper that was glued near the tile. I found three kinds of pink paper behind the mirror!!

3.) Scrub the Tile
The Tub and Tile kit recommended Comet for this step, so that’s what I used. Wet the surface of the tile and sprinkle with comet.  Let sit for 15 seconds, and then scrub with a scrub brush or sponge. Rinse and let dry completely.

4.) Sand the Tile
For this step, I alternated between a sanding block and an electric sander. You do not need to have an electric sander, but depending on how large of an area you’re refinishing, it definitely speeds up the process! Using #400-600 wet grit sandpaper, sand the area, and rinse to remove any residue.

This is how the kit appears when you purchase it.

This is how the kit appears when you purchase it.

5.) Paint the Surface
Lay down drop cloths and use painter’s tape to mask the coverage area, especially and faucets or drain covers. Place fans in the room for ventilation, and open up any windows. The kit didn’t say anything about a ventilation mask, but let me tell you, you need one!! This stuff is strong, and dangerous to inhale!! Save your brain cells, and use one. Following the directions on the kit, mix part A (activator) in with part B (base) separately, then pour part A into part B, and stir with a stir stick for a full two minutes. The kit says the product is good for six hours once combined, but I found it lasted less time than that, as it thickens so quickly that it becomes difficult to use. Work fast!! Alternating between the roller brush and foam brush, apply a thin even coat to the surface. Let dry for two hours, and then follow with second coat. Since we had such a large surface to cover, I used two kits to complete the first coat, and then let it dry overnight before following-up with the second coat. The kit recommends letting it dry for three days, but I would recommend letting it cure longer if possible. We waited seven days before using the bathroom.

No joke about the ventilation mask!! This stuff is strong!! Please make sure to take the necessary precautions.

No joke about the ventilation mask!! This stuff is strong!! Please make sure to take the necessary precautions.

This is how the tile looks prior to re-caulking the edges.

This is how the tile looks prior to re-caulking the edges.

6.) Apply Caulk
After the surface has dried completely, re-caulk with tub and tile caulk, and reattached any fixtures that were removed.

You’re done! ‘Finally’!

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This is the tutorial video from Rust-oleum. I found it very helpful to visualize the process.

Some things that the website won’t tell you about tile epoxy:

Does It Work? Yes!! It worked amazingly; however, you MUST follow all the prep instructions thoroughly.

Is It Easy? NO…I want to reiterate that again. It is NOT easy. This is not a weekend project (unless perhaps, you were only planning to paint the tub). You may cry before it’s over (I did haha). Your home will smell like toxic chemicals for a week!

Does It Only Take Two Coats? Sort of….Some areas were fine with only two coats of paint, while others needed three to get the finished look. It really depends on what stage the paint is at when you apply it. If you’re applying the paint right after it’s mixed, it will be watery; however, the longer it sits after being mixed, the thicker is gets, and the fewer coasts it requires.

Would You Do It Again? Hopefully never. Although this product does what it says it’s going to do, the amount of coverage that was required, combined with the severity of the chemical smell (it really is that bad!), and steps required, got to be a little too much. I would do this again if I had a smaller surface area to work with.

I hope this give you a better idea of how to work with epoxy, as well as a budget friendly alternative to update the pink, avocado, or teal tile of 50s/60s homes. Good luck!

I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experience with this or similar products! 🙂

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