FOYER: Painted Vintage Slate Tile Floor How-to

Hi friends! After sharing my foyer reveal yesterday,  I received several messages inquiring about our foyer’s painted tile floor so I figured I’d write up a quick post outlining the process.  Painting a tile floor can be a great way to update old or outdated tiles without the expense and hassle of replacing them. The foyer tiles in our 1945 colonial were apparently very popular at one time based on the number of messages from folks telling me they have the same tile in their foyer!

So many of you wanted to know the process of how we painted them, and the truth is, it was very easy to do and it was meant to be a temporary fix when we first moved in.

At the time, we had planned on carrying the wood floors from the living room all the way through the foyer and into the kitchen (the whole main floor basically), but while we waited to reach that point, my husband decided to slap some paint on them so we didn’t cringe every time we saw them.

Before we bought the house

Unfortunately, my husband tackled the project to surprise me one day when I went out, so I wasn’t able to document the process properly.

vintage slate tile floors

But, here are the steps to take when painting tile floors:

  1. Clean the floor thoroughly:  Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor to remove any loose dirt and debris. Then, clean the floor with a solution of water and a mild cleaner, such as dish soap, to remove any dirt, grease, or stains. Allow it to dry completely.
  2. Sand the surface: Because he used Behr Deckover in Smooth (a thick wood decking paint we used to fill the cracked grout and loose tiles, more on this in the next step) we skipped sanding, but if you are not using Deckover, I’d recommend sanding the surface using a fine-grit sandpaper or sanding sponge, to create a rough surface that will help the paint adhere better. Be sure to wear a mask and protective eyewear while sanding.
  3. Apply Primer (or Deckover): Deckover is meant for – you guessed it, decks-and it works really great to fill in cracks in weathered wood etc. Since a few of the tiles were loose and some of the grout was dingy and cracked, he gave it a try. Deckover will give the tile and extremely matte and even rough appearance due to it’s no-slip properties, which is why I later went over it with paint (next step). If you are skipping the Deckover, I’d suggest using a good primer like Zinsser. Apply it to the entire floor, using a paintbrush or roller. We like to use these rollers. This will help the paint adhere better and ensure that the final color is even. Allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Apply paint: Once the primer dries, you can begin applying your paint. Because this was supposed to be a temporary solution, I used my favorite Onyx black paint by Walmart-Colorplace in Satin. And that’s it! It’s held up extremely well. I never even sealed it, but occasionally I touch it up as necessary.  You may want to use a high-quality paint designed for use on floors, such as porch paint or Rustoleum floor covering.  It is generally recommended to apply at least two coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
  5. Seal the surface: Once the final coat of paint has dried, apply a sealant to the surface to protect it from wear and tear. Choose a sealant designed for use on floors and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the sealant to dry completely before using the floor. In the past I’ve used Minwax Polycrylic in satin.

Note: It is important to choose the right type of paint for your specific tile floor. Certain types of tile, such as ceramic or porcelain, may require a specific type of paint or primer.

vintage slate tile floor

painted entryway tile floor

painted slate tile floor

I hope you find this post helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.

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