These painted checkerboard tile floors almost broke me during our budget kitchen makeover. But after pouring myself into the rest of this space, I wasn’t about to let the floors get in the way of the vision I had. Today, I’m breaking it all down for you and sharing the process that led to these beautiful floors we love so much.
Supplies and Tools
- Scrub Brush
- Soap and Water
- Towels and/or Paper Towels
- 3 Paint Rollers (I used 3/8″ nap rollers but I wish I would have used foam)
- Paint Tray
- Paint Tray Liners
- 2″ Paint Brush
- Painter’s Tape
- Fusion Mineral Paint (Coal Black, Algonquin, and Raw Silk)
- Floor Sealer
- Knee Pads (I didn’t use them and my knees still hurt.)
- Felt Pads (to protect your floors from furniture marks)
A Note About Paint
For this project, I chose Fusion Mineral Paint because it’s non-toxic and requires little to no prep work. I’ve worked with Fusion paint a lot, so I was comfortable using it on my floors. I’ll let you in on a little secret though; it doesn’t actually matter what type of paint you use on your floors. What’s important is applying a primer and choosing a durable, non-yellowing top coat. You can use any paint you like, as long as you prepare and seal your tiles correctly. Having said that, I can only speak to the success of the process and products I used, as this is the only floor I’ve painted.
If you’re thinking about painting your tile floors, read on for the step-by-step instructions…
1 | Clean the Floor
I used a sturdy scrub brush with soap and water and scrubbed each tile very well.
2 | Prep for Primer
Then it was time to tape off my base boards and cabinetry to prepare for Fusion’s Ultra Grip Primer. I tried a few different painter’s tapes during this project, and all of them had issues except for this one. It has a similar feel as electrical tape and doesn’t stick to tile as long as regular painter’s tape, but it was the only one that wouldn’t pull up paint when I peeled it back.
This tape was definitely my secret to crisp lines.
3 | Prime the Floors
You can use a paint brush to cut in around the base boards, but I just used my roller. I made sure to apply even pressure so I didn’t have any lines or build up. Fusion’s Ultra Grip primer is clear, so I had to cover the entire floor really well since I couldn’t see it like a white primer.
This is how my floor looked once the Fusion Ultra Grip primer was completely dry and ready for paint.
4 | Tape the Tiles
Taping the tiles was tedious work and hard on my knees, but necessary. For this step, you’ll need the Ultra Sharp Lines tape and a pair of scissors. You can’t tear this tape…you have to cut it.
I chose to tape off my grout lines because I wanted to preserve them for a more natural look. This made things more tedious, but I prefer the look of grout lines to just black and white squares with no grout. If you tape off your grout lines, make sure to use your finger to press the tape down into the grout so there’s no paint bleed underneath.
Note: If you have larger grout lines than this, that’s okay. It’ll still look good, and preserving the grout lines makes it look like you have black and white tiles, not just black and white painted floors.
You can see in the photo below how the tape covers the grout line, protecting it from paint.
At this point, all the base boards and cabinets were taped off. Plus, all of the squares for one color were taped off.
I had to be careful with my taping. It was surprisingly easy to tape off the wrong squares or lose track of my pattern. Double checking all my work before painting the checkerboard pattern was imperative.
5 | Paint White Squares
Before painting each square, I wiped them down with a damp paper towel. This helped clear away any dirt or dust that may have accumulated while taping.
At this point, it was finally time to get to the fun stuff…painting. The creamy white squares were pretty straightforward.
Two coats and I was done.
Once they were dry, I peeled up the tape and then started the process al over again with the black squares.
This is where the special tape really came in clutch. I tried using regular painter’s tape over the freshly painted white squares, and it peeled up the edges on a few squares. When I switched to using this tape, it came up with no peeling.
6 | Paint Black Squares
Painting the black squares was satisfying because each tile only required one coat of paint. At this point, the painted checkerboard tile floors came together quickly, and I began to see the fruits of my labor.
I wanted to achieve a marble effect on the black squares instead of just stark black, so I poured Algonquin into the tray (baking dish) and just swirled it around without mixing it together. Then, I dunked my roller into the paint but didn’t roll off any excess.
I simply smeared the paint around each square in hopes of achieving a marble look. Then I lightly rolled over the entire square to even out the paint.
What I ended up with wasn’t quite a marble effect, but I did like it. It wasn’t straight up black…it had movement and depth.
Once I finished painting the tiles, I let them fully dry overnight.
7 | Seal the Floors
My original plan was to use Fusion’s Tough Coat to seal the floors. At the last minute though, I decided to use garage floor sealer instead. I figured if it was good enough for cars to drive on, it would probably hold up to all the wear and tear a kitchen floor gets.
I was right. This stuff is incredible.
I laid down two coats with a roller and called it done.
We’ve been enjoying the painted checkerboard floors ever since.
Well, that’s a wrap on the painted checkerboard tile floors. Have you ever attempted to paint floors? Tell me how it went in the comments below. I need to know I’m not alone in my crazy ways.
How The Painted Checkerboard Tile Floors are Holding Up
We’ve been enjoying our painted floors for almost three years now, and I’m happy to report that we still love them better than the mottled brown tiles we had before. However, they are not perfect. There have been scratches and chips along the way, and I know what I would do differently to avoid those things if I could do this project over again.
To read the full update, visit this post, where I share photos and talk about what I would change about this project to ensure better durability than what we’ve had.
All in all, I’m so happy I painted my floors because even with a few scratches and chips, it looks better than the outdated brown tile. Nobody can tell in photos either (and that’s all that matter anyway right?).
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