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hand painting tiles

Listed under Blog, cleaning, hand-painted kitchen, krudkutter, Lee Simone, tikkurila Posted Jan 25 2018

Lee Simone, Traditional Painter Yorkshire, sheds some light on hand painting tiles. It was part of a commission to update the look of a kitchen in the village of Goldsborough, located between Harrogate and York.

Before updating the kitchen

The original kitchen was looking a bit dated

The original kitchen was looking a bit dated

After updating the kitchen and hand painting tiles

The new, more contemporary looking kitchen hand painting tiles

The new, more contemporary looking kitchen

Close up of the smooth even finish on the units

Close up of the smooth even finish on the units

Over the years I have written various pieces about repainting kitchens – emphasising the do’s and don’ts and importance of preparation and application – but for this Blog I thought I’d concentrate on how I went about hand painting tiles.

What to do with tired ceramic tiles?

During the consultation we went over the plans for the room and discussed the tiles; the feature that most dated the room, the feature most in need of a makeover.

The original tiles

The original tiles

The clients’ initial plan was to have the whole area re-tiled. They were a bit concerned though about potential damage to the worktops, walls, units etc, so I put forward the suggestion of hand painting them. It was a solution that would work out a lot cheaper, it would be mess free and importantly, we could get the colour just right.

Oh, painting tiles, are you sure?

For many people, the mention of “hand painted tiles ” conjures up a generally dire image of public areas and pub loos, where the paint is either peeling off, or there are brush strokes aplenty. My clients were no exception and they were skeptical about whether my solution would look the part or would even be durable enough for everyday use.

I explained that with a bit of time, and the right combination of preparation, painting and products, their tiles would not only look amazing but would also be super durable, well up to the rigors of everyday kitchen use.

After looking through various colour cards we decided on the Little Greene Company’s ‘French Grey’ for the units and ‘French Grey Dark’ for the tiles.

Hand painting tiles – the process

Below is a list of the stages I went through to achieve the transformation you can see in the pictures.

(1) Clean/degrease (I used KrudKutter)

(2) Lightly sand with 180 grit sanding pads.

(3) Apply a coat of Zinsser B-I-N primer, wait till dry and sand smooth.

(4) Apply a coat of Tikurilla Otex Primer and ‘lay off’ with a soft brush. Once dry lightly sand with 320 grit.

(5) Apply two coats of Tikurilla Empire paint using and ‘laying off’ with a soft brush. Lightly sand between coats.

(6) Re-establish grout lines with a grout pen. Top Tip – make sure the grout pen you buy says it can be used over paint, not all of them can. I used Ronseal ones.

(7) Apply 2 coats of Osmo Polyx Oil Varnish (Satin) if required.

End result of hand painting tiles

As you can see it’s pretty labour intensive with a fair few stages, but I think you’ll agree that the results speak for themselves. Brand new quality looking tiles without all the faff, mess and expense of re-tiling… result! :-). Once again, before…

The original tiles

The original tiles

…and after

The new look painted tiles

The new look painted tiles

Grout lines reestablished

Grout lines re-established


My clients were absolutely thrilled (and a little amazed) with everything, especially the hand painted tiles, and actually had friends saying they couldn’t believe they’d been painted. They were also were kind enough to email this lovely testimonial after the project was completed –

Lee finished the job of hand-painting our solid-wood kitchen cabinets and ceramic tiles within the time frame and budget agreed.

Although the time-frame and consequent disruption to our living conditions was lengthy Lee was meticulous in his preparation and the finished job was excellent.

The transformation of the tiles through painting and lacquering was particularly impressive – you wouldn’t believe they are not newly glazed tiles and without the mess and hassle of replacing them.

Lee is not the cheapest nor the quickest but he ensures excellent quality and value for money.

R M, Goldsborough

Thanks for reading this Blog. You can see the whole kitchen refurbishment project here.

Lee has a lot more testimonials too, which give a good idea of how his customers perceive his service. Consistent and meticulous are probably the first two words that will spring to mind.

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