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Painting Kitchen Tile Backsplash with Homax Tough as Tile

This is a full review of the Homax Tough as Tile refinishing kit in the spray paint form and paint can form. I’ve shared all my thoughts on this product as I paint my kitchen tile backsplash and transform it with a beautiful new white gloss finish.

I’m in the process of giving my kitchen a mini makeover. Our plan (shortly after we moved in four years ago) was to gut the old 1980’s kitchen and install a brand new one.

Fast forward four years, a global pandemic, crazy inflation and mass shortages. Let’s just say that brand new kitchen is on hold…possibly indefinitely.

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I’ve already done some quick functional renovations on this kitchen:

I recently did a lot of research about the best tile paint for a beautiful long lasting finish. I even searched out a handful of bloggers who shared their awesome painted tile tutorials.

Of all of these products I decided to choose the Homax tough as tile product to paint our tile kitchen backsplash.

One quick note; I went back and forth about using a tub and tile paint vs. regular old paint. Ultimately, I wanted a long lasting super durable finish. I knew my best bet would be a paint designed specifically for the kitchen and bath. Would it have been easier to go with a regular old paint and primer product? Yes probably. Like I said though, I wanted durability. So here we go…

I chose this product for a few reasons;

  • Great for glazed tile
  • Leaves a high gloss finish
  • Kit comes with all supplies needed to clean and prepare the tile
  • easy aerosol cans
  • affordable
Homax Tough as tile

The kitchen before the painted tile

Here is a quick look at what our kitchen looked like before the painted tile.

1980's kitchen
Kitchen tile's unpainted
kitchen with gray tile

I’ve never been a fan of the gray tile with gray grout. I decided a while ago that I wanted to paint it all white.

How to prepare the kitchen tile backsplash for Homax tile paint

A lot of the Homax Tough as Tile kits come with gloves, steel wool and surface prep cleaner. Surface preparation (for any project) is key to giving it that long lasting finish.

For those that didn’t buy a kit, follow the instructions from Homax on how to properly prepare the surface.

Note; Before you begin preparing the surface you need to remove any existing caulk. Luckily, we didn’t have any caulk applied anywhere so I didn’t have to worry about that.

This is what I used to clean our kitchen tile before applying the Homax product:

Here is how I prepared the tile surface;

  1. Cleaned the tile with a regular non oily cleaner
  2. Rinsed the area thoroughly with water
  3. Used a steel wool pad and an abrasive cleaner and applied to the entire area
  4. Cleaned the surface twice with steel wool pad and cleaner
  5. Used a lint free cloth and Isopropyl alcohol to wipe the surface clean and dry
  6. Once the surface was clean and dry I taped off the area with Frog Tape

1st coat of Homax Tough As Tile spray paint on glazed kitchen tiles

I’m going to be honest; the first coat of paint did not go as planned. The paint is much thinner and runnier than I expected.

1st Coat with Homax Tough as Tile on glazed tile

You can see how blotchy it looks and in some areas runny. I didn’t expect it to look good, but I’m almost embarrassed to show you these.

1st Coat with Homax Tough as Tile on glazed tile

You can see around the outlet and the window where the paint didn’t adhere well and created a splotchy finish.

When you see these areas that didn’t spray evenly, my best guess is that that is an area I didn’t clean well with the alcohol. Ugh. My bad.

1st Coat with Homax Tough as Tile on glazed tile

I could be wrong because I thought I cleaned it well enough, but maybe not.

I will have to do some light sanding and then more cleaning before the second coat.

1st Coat with Homax Tough as Tile on glazed tile

After living with the fumes, overspray and white chalky dust for a day or so, I made an executive decision. I decided NOT to continue with the spray paint product but purchase the Homax tile paint kit instead.

By the way, speaking of painting tile. Looking to paint your tile floor? I’ve got you covered with the best floor tile product.

Homax Tough as Tile Spray kit thoughts

The spray paint will probably leave a more even finish than the paint product, but the odor (and probably toxicity) was overwhelming. Because our kitchen is in the middle of our house, I had no way of “sectioning” it off to let the fumes die down.

Also, the dust from the overspray, or should I say, just the dust in general was a wee bit too much for me.

I would imagine the spray paint would be good to use in a bathroom with a large window that you could open up and shut the door to keep the fumes out. In our case, I just couldn’t get around the entire house smelling like a paint factory for days.

So now what?

Homax tough as tile paint also comes in a paint form. I opted to purchase this.

Before I talk about applying the second coat, I wanted to let you know that I did lightly sand the areas that had a lot of “bubbles” (pictured above). It did help remove them but not totally. After I sanded them with a very fine grit sanding block, I cleaned the surface and used the tack cloth to ensure there was no dust.

Second coat with Homax Tough as Tile Paint Kit using a synthetic brush

The instructions said to stir (NOT SHAKE) the paint can before use. After I stirred it real well, I grabbed my gloves, 2″ synthetic brush (the paint kit comes with the wrong type of brush FYI), N95 mask, and opened the window and let the fan full blast. Here we go again…

The paint is still very thin and runny like the spray paint and man oh man does it dry fast!

The brush did a good job of covering the grout lines but it left a few (or a lot) of brush strokes.

Check out my video for all the specifics, but below I’ve attached a few pictures after the second coat was complete.

Homax Tile paint second coat
Homax Tile paint second coat

I’m still not real happy with the way the faux tiles are looking with the paint, but the paint is looking great on the glazed tiles.

Homax Tile paint second coat

The second coat went on really well with the paint brush, but like I said I could still see paint strokes and I knew it needed a third coat.

Third coat with Homax Tough as Tile paint using a 1/4″ nap roller

This time I got smart and decided that the brush was creating an uneven finish and it was time to smooth things out.

Homax recommends applying the paint two ways; using a synthetic brush OR a 1/4 nap roller.

Since I wasn’t 100% happy with the synthetic brush, I decided to try the nap roller. They say NOT TO USE A FOAM ROLLER.

After immediately using the roller, I knew I should have gone that route for the second coat. The roller created a smooth even finish where the brush did create brush strokes.

Using the brush is key in the grout lines, but the rest of the paint is best applied with the nap roller.

I’ve shared a few pictures below after the third coat was dry.

painting kitchen tile backsplash with Homax tough as tile

Eeek it’s starting to look finished!

Quick tip: make sure to remove the painters tape before everything is fully cured. Unless you are a super pro painter, you will have touch ups. It’s better to touch up while the paint isn’t fully dry than wait.

After you have completed your touch ups, proceed with caulking around the tile. This is the final step to making your painted kitchen tile backsplash look finished.

Caulking around the tile to give the painted kitchen backsplash a finished look

One key step in making this entire paint job look finished is adding white caulk around the tile. I used this ceramic tile caulk product.

Make sure to check out my video tutorial to see all the details and more before and after pictures.

painted kitchen tile backsplash with Homax tough as tile paint

Final thoughts

Overall, I’m so pleased with how my painted tile backsplash turned out. Even though I hit a few bumps along the way (don’t all DIY’s?) I feel like the finished product was exactly what I wanted.

That being said, if I were to use this product again there are a couple things I would do differently.

  1. Apply the first coat with a synthetic brush making sure to cover the grout lines really well
  2. Apply the second and third coat with a 1/4″ nap roller to ensure even coverage

The Homax tile spray paint fumes were just too strong. It also left a white dust covering everywhere.

Word to the wise; I would suggest using the spray paint product only if you are working outside or in an area you can section off from the rest of the house.

painting kitchen tile backsplash with Homax tough as tile

Even though this space is still unfinished, it’s looking sooo much better!

I’m hoping to wrap up this budget friendly kitchen update soon. Stay tuned for the final post!

painting kitchen tile backsplash with Homax tough as tile

Thanks for following along. Make sure to check out more paint reviews here.



Friday 4th of August 2023

How did you get the white overspray off of your surfaces?

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Sunday 6th of August 2023

I wiped it up immediately with a paper towel and some cleaning spray. As long as it wasn't dry it wiped away pretty easily. The few areas that had dried on the granite I had to use a sharp edge to scrape it off.


Friday 5th of August 2022

This is awesome and JUST what I needed to see right now! Thank you so much! It looks fantastic, and I too have a house I can't stand but can't afford to move so...paint and inexpensive fixes it is! I really appreciate your many photos. It's great!

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Sunday 7th of August 2022

You are so welcome! I'm glad you found this useful!


Wednesday 29th of June 2022

The kitchen looks great!

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Thursday 30th of June 2022

Thank you!


Wednesday 29th of June 2022

The tiles looks fantastic- really brightens things up!


Tuesday 28th of June 2022

White is just so perfect, after all, we all have colorful friends! And that's what makes a house a home! MIc

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Tuesday 28th of June 2022

LOL I love that!