Do-It-Yourself Faux Cement Tiles

How I Updated My Guest Bathroom Tile for Less than $50


It’s time! I’ve completely transformed my kids’/guest bathroom floors. For the past year or so, I’ve been OBSESSED with cement tiles. These tiles are gorgeous but they are SO expensive. Even for a small space like this, they’re just too much so I brainstormed a way to get the look for less. So much less.

At first, I thought about making a stencil and painting them but I don’t have the attention span for that and it just sounded too messy. I wanted something that I could do in spurts that wouldn’t involve a lot of cleanup.

Then I thought, why can’t I just cut out vinyl decals and put them over the existing tiles? I tried to research this method and came up completely empty handed. Surely someone has done this before but I can’t find anything about it anywhere.

I tested this out by covering two tiles. I left the vinyl one for a few months. They didn’t budge. And the way you could see the texture of the tile under them made my heart pitter-patter. I knew this was the way to go.

A lot of what I used, I already had laying around and some I had to buy.

This is what you’ll need:

Chalk paint (for your base coat)
And angled paint brush
Paint tray (I like the disposable ones)
Sponge roller (with at least two NEW rollers)
A cutting machine
Transfer tape
A burnishing tool (or a credit card would work in a pinch)
Polycrylic sealant
Painter’s tape

How to Transform Your ugly Existing Tile

Step 1: Clean. Your. Floors. I can’t stress this enough. Clean them three or four times if you have to. This is crucial. You want the paint to stick and not have little specs of dirt (or hair) in your dried paint. This is obviously the most boring part of this whole process but you’ll be sorry if you don’t do it. I swept. Then vacuumed. Then mopped. Then steam mopped. And repeated. Twice.

Step 2: Tape any edges of things you don’t want painted. For me, I didn’t have to tape the baseboards because we are replacing ours (and I took the old ones off) but needed to tape around the tub, toilet and cabinets. I also added some tape where the bathroom tile meets the tile in the hallway, just in case.

Step 3: Take a deep breath. You can do this.

Step 4: Cut in the edges. And paint the grout lines. Do this with an angled brush. Just a light coat is fine. If you have some tight spaces, go ahead and paint them now. I did this around the back and sides of my toilet and under the cabinets. (I was also dying to see what it would look like completely painted so I went with it!)

Step 5: Roll on your first coat. Chalk paint is very forgiving so don’t worry if you see any roller marks. They’ll go away when it dries. I let each coat dry and then added another. And another. I did three coats. Then I let it all dry overnight.

Step 6: Apply your vinyl. This is a bit tedious, but a lot easier than you’d expect. If you’re not familiar with applying vinyl, that is another tutorial for another day.

You want to make sure that each decal is straight and lined up properly. Take your time. Have a glass of wine if you need to. Turn on some music. It’s going to take you a while. Apply the whole pieces first. This will give you an idea of what your final project will look like. And it will give you the motivation to finish!

After your whole pieces are down, move on to the straight pieces around the edges. Save the trickiest pieces for last. In my case, I used the back of a butter knife to push some edges under the toilet (because it isn’t caulked yet). If you have caulking around your toilet, your cuts will need to be more precise. I won’t pretend to be an expert on this topic but you could remove the existing caulk, use my method and then re-caulk after for a perfectly finished look! (I’m also re-caulking the edge where my tub meets my floor so it’s kind of the same concept there. For the edges on the walls, I cut the pieces wider than the actual tile. I did this because I wanted the new baseboards to lay on top and didn’t want to have unnecessary cuts there. I just pushed the excess under the drywall.

Step 7: Using a new roller, apply your polycrylic. After it dries, add an another coat. I added a total of four coats and then let it cure for 72 hours. I added a childproof clip over our door handle so little feet couldn’t get anywhere near the floors until they were ready.  I’m not here to teach you how to paint a floor so just follow the directions on the can!  I chose a matte finish to mimic the look of cement tiles.  It also comes in glossy.

Step 8: Pour yourself some more wine and keep staring at your faux cement tiles that cost you a fraction of the real deal.

Step 9: (Optional) Start picking our your next pattern and figure out where you’ll add some more tiles. Choosing your pattern is the hardest part!

This took me a total of 6 days because I was working around my kids’ schedules. It was mostly completed at night after they went to bed. If you have a little more free time, it can totally be done in half of that time (minus the curing time for the sealant!)

Here is a breakdown of the supplies (minus the things I already had)*
Chalk paint $15
Polycrylic $14
Vinyl $19

New floors for under $50? Yes, please.

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*Your prices may vary by a couple of dollars, depending on where you decide to purchase!

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