Do you have some old slate tile that is starting to fall apart? Let me show you how to paint exterior slate tile and make it look brand new again!
Slate tile is pretty classic. It has always been a fairly popular building material, but like all things, its popularity has come and gone in waves over the past century.
I believe that it was pretty trendy as a flooring tile during the 80s and 90s. Our house was built in 1987, and our front entryway had been done with slate tile. Slate has an uneven surface and is duller than other natural stones, so it is more slip resistant. It is also stain resistant and water tolerant. These are all great characteristics for outdoor entry tile.
Unfortunately, slate can also flake. Over the years, the tile, as well as the grout, in our entryway had become incredibly chipped, flaky, and uneven. Combined with the naturally varying color of slate, it was not a pretty site.
Here’s what we started with.
I really didn’t want to go to the trouble (or the expense) of replacing it all. So, I decided to try a relatively quick and inexpensive fix. I decided to fill in the grout and paint the tile and see what happened. I figured, if it was an epic fail, we could just replace the tile. Or, at the very least, it would buy us some time before we needed to replace it all.
Luckily for me, it was a fairly easy fix and has held up incredibly well for about 5 months now. Let me show you how I did it.
But first, it’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I am teaming up with some blogger friends to bring you even more inspiration! Our theme for this month was “Before and After,” so be sure to check out their posts at the end of this one.
How to Paint Exterior Slate Tile
(This post contains affiliate links. To see my full disclosure, go here.)
1. Clean Tile Surface
The first thing you want to do is clean the tile and remove any debris. I simply swept the entryway out and used a shop vac to suck up some of the tile and grout chunks. I then went over the tile with a little soapy water and scrub brush.
Last, I let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.
2. Fill in Missing Grout (optional)
The grout in our entryway was falling apart. There were huge chunks and sections missing throughout the entry space. So, I filled it in before painting. If your grout is in good condition, you can skip right over this step.
I have never done grout before and was a bit nervous about it. After a bit of research, I decided to purchase the Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA All-in-One Grout. It fit all the specifications I needed – worked with slate, exterior use, proper joint width, etc. Plus, it came in a small container, which is all I needed. I got the gray, as the slate and grout was gray, but I wasn’t concerned about color matching since I knew I would be painting over it anyway.
I simply followed the instructions on the container to fill in the gaps. I didn’t go over all of the entry grout, just the areas that needed it. It was difficult to get it fully cleaned off of the slate tile, but again, I wasn’t too concerned since I knew I would be painting over it.
3. Prime and Paint
I have also never painted exterior tile before. So, I bought what was recommended by my local Sherwin Williams store. They directed me to the Multi-Purpose Latex Primer for both interior and exterior surfaces.
I swept and cleaned the tile once again, and then put one coat of primer on the entire entryway.
I used a brush for the edges and a roller for the middle. The primer went on easily and dried quickly.
They had also recommended the Resilience acrylic latex paint for exterior surfaces. And although I generally love Sherwin Williams paint, I wasn’t thrilled with this recommendation.
It went on easily enough, as all Sherwin Williams paint does, but it never would dry fully. It remained tacky even after 48 hours. I painted during the spring, so it was definitely warm, but not blisteringly hot yet. And as I was waiting for the second coat to “cure,” my son rode his bike up on it and left tire tracks in the paint. Every single footprint also left a mark, so I had to put a third coat on before sealing it.
If you choose to use this paint, you will likely need to seal it, as well. Also, you will want to plan to seal shortly after it dries, so as not to mess the paint up if it’s not fully set.
Once sealed, it will be fine.
4. Seal the Paint
Once again, make sure you have swept all the leaves and debris off of your tile.
For the sealant, I went with Seal-Krete Clear-Seal Satin. It is technically a concrete sealant, but it was one of the only exterior sealants I could find that was labeled for use over painted surfaces.
I put two coats on with no issues, and let dry.
So. Much. Better.
Let me remind you where we started.
Quite an improvement, huh?
And as I said earlier, we did this in the spring (about 5 months ago), and it has held up incredibly well. It is also very easy to clean – even the skid marks come off, although they do take a bit of elbow grease.
One word of caution, this will cause the tile to repel water. Therefore, it may take a while to dry, and it may also be somewhat slick. So, be sure to have a rug or mat down.
And there you have it – how to paint exterior slate tile. What do you think? Have you ever painted exterior tile before?
Don’t forget to pin this for later, and follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration.
Also, be sure to check out my talented blogger friends “Before and After” projects.
Deck Staircase Makeover from Grandmas House DIY
Updating the Morning Room from Thrifting Wonderland
DIY Front Door Basket from The House on Silverado
Easy DIY Ceramic Teapot Refresh from Darling and Dapper Life
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