A Cautionary Tale About Stenciling Tile Floors

Replacing the floors in our bathroom is not in the budget and have recently fallen in love with all the fun patterned tiles on the market. This has been an update I have wanted to do for a long time and found several DIY stencil options but with 4 kids and a high traffic bathroom, I have been very concerned about the wear and tear and chipping of the paint. The article below confirmed all my suspicions and am gonna focus on some other ways to update our bathroom including artwork, wall color, or even wallpaper with a similar stencil pattern I was drawn to in the first place.

If you have attempted a stencil project with a different outcome, please share your story with us!


Courtesy of Lifeonshadylane.com

An update on our stenciled bathroom floor: How it’s holding up + why I wouldn’t recommend doing this project in your own home (without reading this post first)

Alright guys, several of you have asked for an update on our stenciled bathroom floor and how it is holding up, so you’re getting one today! I know it hasn’t even been that long since I finished the project, but when people ask “would you do it again?”….I say no. Or maybe I would do it a little differently.

Let me explain.

About two weeks ago, I noticed a tiny chip in the paint. It was in the corner of one of the tiles, so I thought that maybe it had something to do with being on the edge, or water being splashed from the bathtub into that spot…or something. We planned to fill in a little bit of grout and then go over the area with some more polyacrylic, but we didn’t get around to it.

Then, this past weekend I walked into the bathroom after Henry’s bathtime and realized that there were two good-sized spots where the paint had peeled off. In separate locations from the spot I mentioned above.

Insert eye-roll emoji here.

Photos of the stenciled bathroom floor and the peeling paint are below – I’m hoping you can see the spots where the paint has peeled. I took the pictures when it was really sunny out so it was hard to get great ones! Sigh.

I knew going into this project that it was risky. Painting a slick bathroom floor doesn’t exactly scream “low risk” for goodness sake. But I figured that the tile was already ugly – it was worth a shot to give it a makeover! And if it didn’t work out, then I promised myself I wouldn’t be TOO bummed.

But guys, that small bathroom floor took me a good 3-4 days and it looked so COOL! ALSO we only have a little over 4 weeks until baby gets here. So I’m in super-nesting mode and yes, I’m bummed that the paint is peeling.

We have lived in our home for over two years and have touched just about every single surface when it comes to “fixing up” this fixer upper. I’m talking floors to ceilings. And when I think back over those two years, there really hasn’t been anything that has gone majorly wrong with our DIY projects. So, I guess we were due for a project that didn’t really work out, right?



Now, if I were to attempt a stenciled bathroom floor again (or any tile floor for that matter) I would sand the tiles first. Roughing them up might make the paint grab on better and reduce the risk of peeling, but then again…I didn’t do it, so I’m not 100% sure if that would prevent it either!

I’m also not sure what exactly caused the paint to peel. It could have been the bathroom rug with its rubber backing that pulled it up, or it could have been the fact that bathrooms get a lot of moisture. It also could have been the fact that we have a toddler who likes to drive his trucks and tractors everywhere, including the bathroom. I really don’t know.

If you still want to go ahead and paint your tiled floor, more power to you! I have seen plenty of people do so and it works out just fine. Seriously! My guess is that those people had tiles that weren’t as slick as the ones in our bathroom, so that’s why I think that sanding first might be the key.

Also, painting a wood floor would definitely be easier, so if you’re thinking about a project like that (inside or on a porch or something), I’d say go for it. Just be sure to use a primer and seal it afterward! But if you are thinking about painting your bathroom tile, I would say “do as I say, not as I do.” OR I’d tell you to at least sand your tile before attempting!

As far as fixing the floor…I haven’t yet. I still have the stencil, so I could touch up those peeled spots and then go over the whole floor with another coat or two of polyacrylic. Or, we could completely tear out the old tile and put new in. However…like I mentioned, we have a baby coming in a little over a month, and we are working on the upstairs bathroom renovation right now (see more of that here). So new tile in this main floor bath is a ways off. For now…I threw a rug over the peeled spots and am calling it good. I call that preserving my sanity. 😉 I’ll let you know what we decide!

By Style Bestie

Super busy mom