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Bathroom Mini-Renovation {Part 4: Painting Tile Board}

As mentioned in earlier posts about my bathroom, the plastic tile wallboard was the big thing keeping me from updating the room. I was nervous to paint because the wall is plastic, so I didn’t know how well paint would stick especially since it has to withstand a lot of humidity. But, after some research and after staring at the gray/blue scattered floral wall tile, I decided to go ahead and paint – consequences be damned. I wanted a space that was more modern and felt larger. With that in mind, I chose to paint wide horizontal stripes in two neutral complementary colors. When working with plastic tile board, there is a lot of prep work – here’s how I did it.

before and after horizontal stripes

1. Pick your colors.

Barefoot Beach                             Tattered Sail

2. Clean the walls, thoroughly.

Tub and Tile Cleaner

2. Lightly sand the tile board. Be sure to wear a dust mask – you don’t want to breathe in any of those weird little plastic particles!

sanding walls

3. Wipe down the walls with a damp towel to remove any dust. Let them dry.

Drying walls

4. Apply the first coat of primer.  Wait an hour and apply your second coat.  Let the primer dry for at least four hours before applying any paint. Back when I did this, I used Glidden Gripper, but now a kilz version (with good reviews) is available.

glidden gripper

5. Plan out how large your stripes are going to be. I chose to do five stripes of differing sizes, with the larger bands in the lighter color. Once you have it planned, you can paint the lighter stripes without using any painter’s tape (which makes this a lot less tedious). I did two coats. Then, I let the paint dry and waited until the next day to put tape up for the darker stripes.

paint and primer

6. Paint the darker colored stripes. Once you have two coats on, remove the painter’s tape as quickly as possible so that you can see if you had any drips or missed spots in time to fix them.

Final walls

The bathroom is 95% complete, but a few final touches are still needed before I post the before and after pictures. I’m hoping for next week!

Has anyone else out there had to deal with less than conventional wall treatments? How did you work around it?

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love the neutral horizontal stripes…
    really changes the look…
    very nice~

    July 21, 2013
  2. Kathy #

    What type of paint do you recommend for this project?

    June 23, 2015
    • Hey Kathy! The glidden gripper was a great base and I picked a semi-gloss interior paint so I can wipe it down easily, while still hiding some of the wall’s imperfections. Are you getting ready for a bathroom or kitchen tile board project?

      July 22, 2015
  3. abby #

    Hi, I am attempting to do something similar at my house – thanks for the tutorial! Did you use latex or oil paint on top of the primer? And how has it held up?

    February 11, 2016
    • Hi Abby –

      I used latex and it has held up remarkably well, no scratches or peeling in a high humidity zone. (Wish I could say the same for my flooring, which is sadly starting to buckle.h

      Good luck with your project – I’d love to see how it turns out!

      February 11, 2016
  4. Lisa Weir #

    Did you use any type of sealer over the paint and if so what sealer? Thank you

    March 7, 2016
    • Hi Lisa, I didn’t need to use any type of sealant on the paint I just did 2-3 coats. I think the glidden gripper primer helped the paint stick so much it didn’t need anything else. And, it’s still holding up beautifully. Thanks for your note -I’d love to see how your project turns out!

      March 9, 2016
      • Lisa Weir #

        Thank you!

        March 9, 2016
  5. Janet Ridgeway #

    Great tutorial & glad to know this can be done. Moving into new to us house in 2 weeks & the Plastic tile board in the main bathroom is somewhere between Royal & aquamarine blue. Then mix in flowered wallpaper! Aaarrrggg.

    June 29, 2017
    • Congrats on your new house! Painting the tile board has been such a great stop gap until we can do a complete reno (and who knows when that’ll happen 🤷‍♀️). Good luck with yours, I’d love to see pictures!

      July 7, 2017
  6. WHY is the printing so tiny only an insect can read it? Obviously this article was only meant to be read by a minor minor few with perfect eyesight. Very horrible print size for most people.

    December 3, 2017
    • Hi Marvin,

      I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with the text size. Can you use CTRL + to increase the size of the text? If not, maybe we can figure something else out.

      Let me know and thanks for stopping by!

      December 3, 2017

    Love this! Needing to do this in our upstairs bathroom. I would have never thought of painting stripes. Is is possible to see a larger photo to see how it all looks together? Thanks for sharing =)

    October 9, 2018
  8. Hi there! I have the exact same walls in my bathroom and I am thinking about painting them. I’ve noticed it’s been a few years since you painted your bathroom and I’m wondering how it’s holding up. Please let me know when you have a chance! Thank you so much!

    June 13, 2020
    • Sorry for the delay – but yes, they are holding up perfectly and are super easy to wash and care for. Glidden Gripper is the best product I’ve come across for this kind of project.

      January 16, 2021
  9. Shayna #

    Hey there! Is the paint still holding up well? Considering doing this in a rental property, but I don’t want to leave a mess for the owners if it doesn’t last…

    August 6, 2020

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