There are a lot of great products out there, as you wander the aisles of the hardware store. But how do you know if they will do what they claim they will do? I’m always glad to find someone who has tried it and can say what worked and what didn’t. Plus — a painted bathroom sink and countertop, no sealer required? That sounds like a perfect makeover! Come learn from today’s holiday guest, Kelli, about how she used tub and tile paint to give her 90’s integral cultured marble sinks a completely new, modern look (and then keep reading for more ideas for how to update an integral sink and how to use tile refinishing paint) —
Interested in how Kelli’s painted countertop is holding up? Read hers and others’ follow-up reports here.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read our full disclosure policy.
Painted Bathroom Sink and Countertop How-To
by Kelli from I’m Flying South
Luckily, our new home was fairly turn-key aside from needing a few appliances. Built in the 1990s, the house is full of cultured marble and shiny, yellow brass. It was a foreclosure that the bank came in and fixed up a bit with new carpet and fresh peachy-beige paint on every square inch of the walls, making it clean and very livable. While the colors and fixtures are not aesthetically our taste, we have been able to take our time making it our own. If you want to check out my first big victory over the peachy-beige paint, feel free to wander over to my blog.
One of very favorite projects so far is our Bathroom Sink & Counter Makeover. It was a fairly quick, easy, inexpensive update that made a HUGE difference in the feel of the rooms. After a little water leak incident in the basement, we decided that the old, swiveling, shiny yellow brass faucets in both our half bath and the boys’ bathroom had to go. And while we had the faucets off of the counters, we might as well paint the counters like I’d been planning!
So let’s walk through the process of refinishing the half bathroom sink and counter, shall we? The half bath counter was a beige marble-ish. Nothing terrible, but just not our style either. And after painting the walls (Pantone Illusion Blue – Valspar) and the cabinet (Blue Coal – Valspar) and changing out the cabinet hardware, the counter was just screamin’ for a makeover.
First up, supplies:
Affiliate links are included in this list for your convenience. See our full disclosure here.
- Rustoleum Tub & Tile kit
- 4-inch paint roller (& tray if desired)
- fine-bristled paint brush
- craft sponge brushes
- Lime Away
- abrasive sponge
- tack cloth
- 400-600 wet/dry sandpaper
- lots of elbow grease!
Remove your faucet and any old caulk from the counter. Scrub the sink and counter with comet and a sponge and rinse well. Then scrub with Lime-Away and an abrasive sponge; rinse well. Next up, sanding. Sanding is pretty important, as this is how you’re going to get your surface nice and grabby for the paint. I’ll be honest, 400 grit sandpaper felt like I was just caressing the surface of the tile. So I went rogue and grabbed some 320 from the garage. The 320 felt like I was actually sanding something rather than giving the tile a nice massage.
Sand, sand, sand till your arm feels like it might fall off. The sanding creates a really fine white powder all over the surface, so wipe with a damp cloth a few times, then wipe with a dry one. Finally, I let the surface air dry a bit to be sure that it was completely dry. Tape any surfaces that you might not want to get the tile paint onto (walls, vanity, etc).
Now it’s time for some epoxy! I’ll admit that sometimes I’m not the best at following directions. Sure I read on the box and from several websites that this stuff was stinky, but I wasn’t prepared for just how stinky it actually is. I now have no nose hairs left. (Kidding. Kind of.) I had windows open and fans on and the kids were shipped off to Grammy’s house for a sleepover, but I just figured that an N95 mask would dothe trick. Um, no. I lasted approximately 3 minutes until I sent my husband to Lowe’s for a respirator! Apparently it takes more than the manufacturer and several testimonials to convince me to save my brain cells.
Painting the countertop is actually pretty easy. The sink was a bit more tricky, but still not terrible. The Rustoleum box recommends using a 4 inch roller with foam cover and a very fine bristled brush for the edges. First, I used the fine bristled brush to cut in around the edges of the counter. I actually did the entire first coat with a brush instead of a roller. I found it much easier to get a nice thin coat on with a brush.
The above photos are actually of the first coat in the boys’ bathroom, because it’s the one I started … and it’s just … better. My husband and I each started one sink and someone got kicked off of his project because **cough**PAINT BUBBLES**cough**. The man just doesn’t believe in the whole tried-and-true “multiple, thin coats” method. But he is insanely handy and awesome to have around, so I’ll keep him.
So while I was brushing on my nice thin first coat, Brian went straight for the roller. No brush, just a nice, thick coat with a roller. You know what happens when coats of paint are too thick? Bubbles, my friends. Bubbles.
Don’t do that! By the time I saw it, they were half dry. So, I let it dry, sanded the bubbles down, and went back for the brush! Brush for the edges, roller for the rest. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The trick with this stuff is not to get a super thick layer on there, but not too thin either. Too thick = bubbles and drips. Too thin = weird texture and marks. I started with a thin layer and worked up from there. We let each coat dry for about an hour before starting another coat. The third coat was when I really started to get serious about texture.
Certain areas of the counter and sink were a bit more challenging to achieve a smooth finish – namely the corner behind the faucet and the bottom curve of the sink. For behind the faucet and the tops of the pieces that crawl up the wall, I found that using the foam brush to kind of dab the paint on was pretty effective. The sink just took a lot of smoothing with the roller. Random little bubbles would form and even the thinnest layer seemed to want to drip a bit. After rolling out the imperfections for awhile, we just called it good and decided to let it cure.
The prepping and painting process took roughly 3 hours – 30 minutes for prep, 10 minutes of painting per coat (maybe closer to 20 minutes for the last coat), plus one hour drying time between each of the 3 coats. Rustoleum recommends 24 hours of curing before touching the surface and 72 hours of curing before getting the surface wet. After the third day, in went with this pretty lady
Isn’t she gorgeous??? It’s the English Country Double Handle Centerset Faucet (in Oil-Rubbed Bronze) by Kingston Brass. Words cannot express how much I love her. It’s probably unhealthy to be this in love with a faucet. I’m fine with it!
- Rustoleum Tub & Tile – $25.97 at Amazon (and enough for 2 counters & sinks!)
- 4-inch roller and cover – $0 (from our stash)
- Brushes – $0 (from our stash)
- 400 grit sandpaper – $3.97 at Lowe’s
- 320 grit sandpaper – $0 (from our stash)
- Comet – $0 (from our stash)
- Lime Away – $3.99 at Meijer
- Sponge – $0 (from our stash)
- Abrasive sponge – $2.99 at Meijer (we used Scotchbrite)
- Tack Cloth – $2.09 at Lowe’s
Kelli, thank you so much for sharing with us! Such a nice budget-friendly update to those 90’s sinks!
You can also follow along on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | Twitter | Pinterest