Wall Tile Woes
Gone Away

Is your wall tile chipped or cracked? Does it have a dated motif? If so, these quick fixes will conceal those problems and eliminate the hassle of replacing the tile.

Old tile, depending on its condition, doesn't always have to be replaced. Sometimes it just need to be "hidden" or helped. These examples deal with the typical 4.5 inch square, ceramic tiles reminiscent of grandma's house. Remember those tiled bathroom walls from the 1950's, often in a checkerboard of black and white? If you are blessed with these relics, fear not. Check out my easy fixes below.


COVER IT

Before

Fruit Motif Tiles

This kitchen was an interesting melange of color (plum and teal) and the random tile motif (fruits) were not overly appealing. The paint colors were an easy fix but what about the tiles? My mother must have realized my dilemma and found some great metal tiles which came to the rescue.


After

Metal Wall Tile Covers

What was a quick fix became a permanent solution.

Four different finishes were chosen to tie in with the various, related colors and accessories throughout the room. (Black, Copper, Brushed Aluminum and Chrome)

The addition of these tile covers took a country kitchen to sleek and modern. The metallic colors, coupled with black and chrome accents, really punch up the style in this space. The white ceramic tile really "sings" now.


PAINT IT

Before

Vintage Ceramic Tile

This bathroom tile was a bit overwhelming, especially since it ran the length of the room like wainscotting. The interesting thing is that the remaining walls did have wainscotting. To unify the two elements, both were painted the same color of deep navy blue. People never seem to realize that the vertical strips of the wainscotting switch to 4.5 inch squares on the main focal wall.

Note: This image is to show the original look of the wall tile in this bathroom. Do not paint a shower surround.

After

Painted Wall Tile

The distinction between the two materials making up the lower wall are noticeable from this straight-on perspective, otherwise the tile fades into the background quite nicely. I personally love this variation of materials which adds interest to the space.

There are paints specifically designed for tile, however I used regular, semi-gloss latex paint. The same used for all the other trim in the room. Prior to painting tile you want to make sure it is free of any residue, oil, dirt or grease. Clean it thoroughly with a degreasing agent if necessary and consider spraying it lightly with rubbing alcohol and wiping it off with a dry cloth to produce an even better prepped surface for paint adhesion.

I've had no issues with this process at all; no peeling or otherwise. The semi-gloss painted tile is easily wiped clean with a damp rag too.

Note: Both of the applications above are for dry locations and wall tile only. Do not paint or use tile covers in shower surrounds or on tile flooring. Both applications can be used as a sink backsplash. The covers are used as one in the below example.

Tile Covers as Backsplash

So, don't run away if you are purchasing a home and find a room with scary wall tile. Everything can be changed, sometimes more easily than one would expect. And remember, many of these retro bathroom looks are gaining popularity again. If you have one in relatively good condition, consider restoring it to retain the original appeal. This is especially recommended when dealing with a distinctive style home containing "style-appropriate" charm, detail and character.








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