Oh what to to do with a fireplace with outdated tile that doesn’t match your style or color scheme at all? If it’s brick, easy, white wash it and enjoy the new lighter tones. But tile does present its own challenge. In our case, our new house has faux marble tile surrounded by a gorgeous hearth. I knew I wanted to cover it with a look that was a little more chic and feminie but I wasn’t sure what.
The Photo above shows what we were starting with (a photo that I was able to steal from the listing from when we purchased the house). Bland walls that allowed the amazing hearth blend in and drew the eye to the earth toned marble tile. So first thing first we spruced the walls by adding a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams Wet Pavement paint to add contrast between the walls and trim, while also allowing for a cooler color pallet that I tend to favor.
Step One: Tape and Prime
This is a really important step, I love the way my hearth looks in white so I wanted to make sure a did a really good job taping off the edges. Because tile is very tricky to paint, as it is a glossy smooth surface, you need to start with a primer that will give the paint a surface to stick to. If you weren’t to do this it would get very streaky and probably start peeling immediately.
I used a small 4-inch roller (my new favorite thing) to apply Zinsser Cover Stain – Primer-Stain Blocker and Bond Coat. I did multiple coats until I was happy with the texture and cover and let it dry for a couple hours. Bone-headed moment warning — I typically set up fans when painting to get rid of the nasty smell (especially when using a strong primer). However I decied to point my fan directly the fire place, which of course stirred soot everywhere. Including the freshly primed surfaces. This was a 15 minute delay as I had to quickly remove the soot and repaint the effected areas. So please do not point fans directly at the fireplace while working!
Step 2: Painting
I utilized the same 4-inch roller to apply white semi-gloss paint to the entire surface of the tile, waited for it to dry and applied a second coat. At his point the next step is taping off for the stripes, which means the underlying white needs to be COMPLETELY dry before applying the tape. This is incredibly important, if the white paint is still tacky, the tape when removed will pull at the paint and primer and you will make a mess that requires a lot of touch up.
Step 3: Stripes!
I measured the width of the painters tape, I so happened to buy, at 1 3/4 inches and used that as the spacing. Starting with the very bottom, I placed the bottom pieces flush against the corner of the angle, making sure that the tape was long enough to extend beyond the painting surface. Measuring up from there, I used a sharpie to mark every 1 3/4 inches. Once the marks were made, I applied the tape every other space all the way up in the most level manner possible. After each tape placement I verified with a small level that they were even.
Step 4: More Painting
Next using a combonation of a small foam paint brush and 4-inch roller I applied the black paint to the spaces inbetween the tape. This was tricky as it was easy to see streaks of white through the black. In total there was at least 2-3 coats of black paint and inbetween each I allowed them to dry a little, this helped prevent additional streaking.
Once the black was done I allowed it to partially dry. Now this may be up to some debate but I like to remove my painters tape before the paint is completely dry, this prevents the paint pulling up when it’s removed. However if you do it too soon, and the paint is too wet you can get dripping or smudges.
Step 5: Touch ups
Inevitably there will be some bleeding or smudging along the way. But resist the urge to try to touch it up immediately. Wait until the black dries completely then using a small foam brush or other paint brush touch up the errors. With waiting until the paint is completely dry, you avoid mixing paints that may still be wet and getting odd gray tones.
TA-DA the finished product!