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Old 07-13-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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Painting Plastic Tiles

My sister and I are getting ready to put our mother's house up for sale. It was built in the early fifties. The kitchen backsplash is about 18 inches high and about 10 feet long including behind the stove. The problem is that it’s the “dreaded” plastic tiles. And to make matters worse, they’re black. Not because they’re dirty but that’s the color. They look bad now and will look even worse after the rest of the walls and cabinets are repainted.

I want to paint the backsplash but I don’t think just painting over them would look right. I want it to look like a “regular” wall but it wouldn’t be smooth because of the faux grout lines. The rest of the walls are plaster not drywall so I’m assuming that’s what’s under the “tiles”. Is there anything that I could put on them to smooth it out so I can paint over it and make it look even? If I have to remove them, do I have to remove the adhesive also or can I just put a skim cost over the adhesive and sand that smooth?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks


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Old 07-13-2008, 08:50 PM   #2
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If you want to skim coat them, you'll still need to get a primer to stick...and that area would be to high to smooth out to the rest of the wall

My first/best suggestion would be to remove it
Though, not knowing how (well) it was attached, I can't say how easy/hard that will be

You'd still want to remove/sand any leftover adhesive before sealing anyway


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Old 07-13-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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My feeling is that it would be better to just paint them and let the new owner look after them considering they might intend to renovate anyhow.

Krylon makes a spray paint specifically meant for plastic called "Fusion". Maybe give that a try.

If you don't like the look of painted tiles, you could try removing them. My building was full of plastic tiles, and I found an effective way to remove the tiles and the adhesive.

First off, the tiles themselves are not hard to remove. The adhesive is another thing, and if you don' know what you're doing, it's near impossible.

What you do is get yourself an electric heat gun, and I recommend the Milwaukee Model #8978 for this because it belts out tons of heat and is light enough to hold in one hand while using a "Nestor Scraper" (named after it's inventor) in the other.

To make my scraper, simply grab onto a single edge razor blade with a pair of needle nose style locking pliers. The long jaws of the locking pliers will hold the razor at a shallow angle for effective "shaving", but you're likely to nick the wall more than a few times before you finish. I haven't tried it, but I think dulling the razor with some sandpaper would tend to prevent it from digging into the plaster as much. Heat the mastic to soften it, and run the razor under it to scrape it off the wall. The mastic will stay soft as long as it's hot, but will harden up again when it cools.

The scraper is gonna get pretty toasty, so wear a leather glove in your working hand to protect it from the heat.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-13-2008 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for your quick responses even though it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I was hoping not to have to go to all that trouble to remove the glue. You're right about any new owner wanting to renovate. Other than 2 coats of wallpaper nothing has really been done to the place since my dad died nearly 30 years ago. What a job it was getting that off!!

I guess I will try just painting them. Thanks again.
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