I really hope you know by now that one of my biggest goals with this blog is to inspire people to create a home they love at a price they can afford. I want to help you come up with ideas for ways to update or decorate your home without spending tons of money! Many times, that involves lower-cost, DIY versions of projects or updates. For example, in our recent One Room Challenge bathroom makeover, we chose to update our outdated brass shower doors by spray painting and adding trim to them rather than purchasing and installing new ones. I wanted the look of high-end, glass paneled shower doors, but didn’t have it in my budget to purchase new ones, so I created something similar in style at almost no cost. And that’s the beauty of DIY!
But to be honest with you, the fantastic world of DIY and low-cost creativity is often laced with imperfection. My shower doors look perfect from the outside, but from inside the shower you can see the superglue through the glass. If you get up close, you can see spots where the trim isn’t cut at exactly the right angle or it’s actually lifting up off the glass. Those imperfections don’t make the project any less fabulous, but they do differentiate the DIY from the new.
My biggest struggle with DIY blogging is that those imperfections or DIY failures are RARELY discussed. DIY bloggers always talk about how amazing their ideas and projects turn out but rarely address how well they hold up or give you close-up realistic looks at the results. Don’t get me wrong, I love DIY. I love creating something beautiful at a fraction of the cost.
But because I just want this blog to give you real information on how to IMPROVE your home, I’m going to be honest with you when my DIY ventures don’t turn out how I’d hoped. Or, at least you’ll have more information about the long-term credibility of a DIY improvement before you take on the project.
And so, today’s post is an honest review of our DIY, faux cement, painted tile floors.
When we chose to paint the tile in our master bathroom renovation, I did what the typical DIY’er does and I searched Pinterest for a tutorial. I knew someone out there had done it before and blogged about it – I just needed to learn from their experience! There were LOTS of tutorials to choose from, and most of them had reviews that the floors were still holding up great.
So, I ordered my stencil and then read every tutorial I could on the process to see what each person did. Many of the tutorials used chalk paint and a polyacrylic sealer, while some used garage floor epoxy paint. Since I was short on time (the ORC has a tight time-frame!) I had to choose the quickest method, which ended up being chalk paint and polyacrylic. I followed the tutorials to a T – two coats of base color, one coat of the stencil, touch-up paint, and 3 coats of sealer.
I probably spent about 15 total hours painting it, and it looked STUNNING.
I LOVED IT.
Then came the day for our bathroom photo-shoot. I had washed our bathroom rug in preparation for the photos but it wasn’t dry by the time we wanted to take pictures. I chose to lay the damp rug on the floor while we did the shoot – because there’s only so many hours of daylight and you can’t tell it’s wet in pictures – and had planned to finish drying it later that evening.
Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up that rug and put it back in the dryer. Instead it sat damp on the newly painted floor overnight and when I went to take a shower in the morning it had ruined the paint underneath it. The dampness had caused the paint and sealer to dry up and curl away from the tile, leaving me with a mess of paint debris to clean up and a terribly looking floor…
Here are a few pictures of the damage after I cleaned it up best I could:
This was on the first day of using the bathroom.
I was heartbroken. And embarrassed.
I didn’t want anyone to know my project had failed, so I hid it. Every time someone came over and wanted to see the bathroom, I would make sure I was first to walk in so I could stand on top of the rug and make sure it didn’t shift and expose my mistake.
To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement, and while I’m sure there are people that have had great success with their painted tile floors, we aren’t those people. I’m not saying we did it the absolute best way and treated it with perfect care, but I would have hoped that a bathroom floor could hold up to damp towels… Since then, we’ve not only dealt with more water damage (from small drips of water sitting on the tile) but also chips in the paint.
And so, I will be bold enough to say, I don’t recommend painting your tile. At least not with chalk paint and polyacrylic sealer.
I do plan on repairing ours by sanding down the damage, touching up the paint and resealing the entire bathroom with 3 more coats of polyacrylic. Hopefully it works out ok in the long run!
Do any of you have a DIY failure or project that didn’t turn out how you’d hoped? I can’t be the only one!