Even though my home is only a year and a half old, I was never a fan of the tiles. I knew when we were building and were told that we didn’t have the option of changing the flooring that I would eventually be changing the flooring out. Ever since seeing Joanna Gaines use pattern tiles, I fell in love. They can cost an arm and a leg so I thought what better way to get the look than to paint on my existing tiles! Doing a painted stenciled floor was pretty intimidating but I went for it and I’m so glad I did!
DIY Painted Stenciled Floor
I choose the laundry room since I was already in the process of giving it a refresh. All the tile in my home is beige and very… blah. Definitely not my favorite and it clashes with my decor style.
- Bonding primer
- Stencil paint color
- Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in your choice of finish – I used Matte (Polyacrylic doesn’t yellow the way polyurethane does)
- Foam rollers (the extra fine type for cupboards)
- 2 – Paint trays
- Paper or newspaper to roll excess paint off
- Painters tape
- Scrub brush or putty knife
- Simple Green degreaser
- Electric sander
- 220 sandpaper
2. PRIME your floors: I primed my floors using the Valspar Bonding White Primer. It is designed to stick to all surfaces without sanding, blocks stains, and dries within 1 hour. Use a foam roller to apply a thin coat onto your floor. Pictured above is after two coats. Don’t worry, it will look like garbage, I can’t lie haha. I promise you it’ll be okay just stick with it. Don’t apply thick coats because this will not only increase drying time but also prevent a proper bond. I applied three thin coats following these same steps, waiting an hour between each coat. The darker the floor, the more coats you will need to apply to seal out the color. My laundry room does not have a window or air vents so between coats I positioned a box fan on the floor to speed up the drying time and circulate the air.
3. STENCIL your floors: You can really use any brand of paint you like and in any finish so don’t let that part stress you out. I used Sherwin Willians Black Tricorn since I already had a quart of it on hand. My tiles are large 17.5 x 17.5″ squares so I had a custom stencil made. I would not recommend the stencil company so I’m not going to link them here. Unfortunately, my stencil broke in several places even though I was being as delicate as I could. To start your project, start at the furthest tile away from the door. Only do the full tiles first then we’ll come back to the half and corner pieces.
- Place your stencil down on the floor, lining it up with the grout lines.
- Using a small foam roller, get a little bit of paint then roll the excess off on newspaper. Gently apply a thin coat of paint across your stencil. Having to much paint on your roller can cause the paint to bleed outside of the stencil lines.
- Carefully lift up your stencil. You do not have to wait for the paint to dry before moving on. But do make sure the back of your stencil is dry and doesn’t have any residual wet paint before placing it onto the next area. If so, clean it off before painting a new tile. I used baby wipes to clean between tiles and it worked well.
- Line your stencil up again and repeat the process.
- *Optional* Once all tiles are painted and dry, lightly sand the floor using an electric sander using 220 sandpaper.
- If you must stop before the project is complete, be sure to gently clean your stencil with dish soap and allow it to fully dry.
When it comes time to do half tiles or corners, simply bend your stencil. Because my stencil was already broken in so many places I opted to cut the stencil after my full tiles were painted. I wasn’t trying to get perfectly crisp lines but if you are, don’t panic. It will take some extra time and patience but go back through with your primer and a small paintbrush to paint over any bleeding and/or use your stencil color to fill in any spots.
4. TOPCOAT SEALER: If you sanded your floor, make sure to vacuum or sweep up all the dust. Do not forget this step! Step 4 is very important because you will be sealing in all your hard work. I didn’t want shiny floors so I used Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in a Matte Finish but you can use any finish you want but make sure it’s Polycrylic. I applied 4 thin coats waiting an hour between coats (with the box fan on), and also lightly sanding then vacuuming between coats. Even if you don’t want a rustic, old look to your tiles, I still recommend you lightly sand between coats of Polycrylic. Sanding helps each layer have something rough to stick to so just be very gentle with your hand if you’re wanting that perfect look. After applying the 4 coats of Polycrylic you will have a nice smooth finish that lasts.
I waited about 48 hours before putting the room back together. I waited 4 months to write this post so I could write it in confidence to say the floor has held up! My laundry room also doubles as the restroom for our cats so I can 100% tell you that the floor has to deal with some pretty insane traffic and cat accidents. My kids drag their laundry baskets in and out and so far the tiles clean up perfectly, hasn’t stained, haven’t chipped, and we’re still loving it.