Painted countertops can easily change the look of a kitchen or bathroom counter on a budget. But, is painting kitchen countertops a good idea? We’ve gathered research to share painted countertops durability in multiple cases, whether you use a kit or regular paint.
After you’ve painted your countertops, consider adding a banquette bench to your kitchen and dining nook. Or add functionality with these IKEA kitchen hacks. And add a custom touch to your kitchen island.
Is painting kitchen countertops a good idea?
When it comes to DIY countertops, painting can be a great option. If your countertops are still structurally sound but just a dated or unpleasant color — a couple coats of paint and sealant can give you new countertops on a small budget!
But, just like with concrete countertops, wood countertops, or even painted cabinetry — you want to make sure that you do your research and know what you’re getting into. And like we say with all our projects — don’t skip the prep! Preparation is so important.
Read on to get the how-to and all the details about painting kitchen couttertops from experienced DIYers in their DIY painted countertop reviews.
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What kind of paint do you use on countertops?
As you’ll read below, some DIYers purchase their materials separately and use acrylic or latex paint; others use pre-assembled countertop paint kits like Rustoleum or Giani.
How much does it cost to paint countertops?
It costs much less to paint countertops than to replace them! A large countertop painting kit will cost $100-200 typically. Buying the painting materials separately gives you more color choices and will save you a little bit of money depending on your choices of paint, sealer, and brush / roller quality.
DIY Painted Countertop Reviews
If you’ve ever wondered how do you paint over existing countertops, or how do you paint laminate countertops — this is the post for you! We have experienced DIYer accounts of painting kitchen countertops, and all of them are ready to share their experience and advice, in full disclosure! Plus, they each rate their painted countertop durability on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).
Read on to see if this DIY project is the right fit for your kitchen.
Dawn’s Glossy Quartz Painted Laminate Countertops
Dawn (one of our beloved contributors from Designing Dawn) painted her laminate kitchen countertops to look like quartz 4 years ago, and they’re one of the most popular countertops on our site (featured here). The process, in a nutshell: clean/sand, and “faux” paint in layers to resemble stone countertops (including adding glitter!), then seal with Envirotex Lite for a glossy finish.
So, Dawn — is painting laminate countertops durable?
“The counter has held up surprisingly well. We refinished them almost exactly 4 years ago, and I didn’t plan on it lasting forever, but so far so good. We try to treat it well, not cutting directly on it and not placing hot pots or pans on it. I learned that heat can burn and discolor the resin- which isn’t a real issue if you use dark paint, but on my very light counters it shows a bit yellow in a spot where I held the torch too long during the curing process, so I’ve been extra careful about hot things touching the counter ever since.
As far as cleaning, I don’t do anything special. Just wipe them down as needed with Clorox wipes or a vinegar/water mixture. Any stains we’ve had have buffed right out with a magic eraser.”
Dawn says YES she would use this again and recommend it to a friend: “Absolutely! I actually have used it again on my bathroom counters and have been just as happy with that result. I’ve also had several people try it after reading my tutorial who have reported back that they were very pleased with the results.”
She rates it as a 4 (Great. It has lasted well and longer than I had anticipated). “I didn’t expect it to last as long as it has and I expect that we can get several more years of use out of it. I don’t think it’s as durable as real stone, but we are careful and it has held up beautifully for four years now.”
Tracy’s Faux Granite Painted Countertops
“The countertops have held up remarkably well! Even I am a bit surprised. It was just going to be a quick temporary fix but since I am so happy with the look and performance, I decided to re-decorate around them. I recently added a stone backsplash and added a stone backsplash to update the kitchen but I kept the counters as is. If they get a bit dull, the glossy shine can be instantly restored by wiping them down with furniture polish.”
Tracy says YES, “I would most definitely use this technique again and I have recommended it to many friends. It is a great alternative to full counter replacement and is VERY cost effective! I am so pleased with the results.” She rates the durability as “most definitely a 5!” (Amazing!)
Kristy’s Painted Granite Counters
Kristy from Castle DIY redid her kitchen counters about a year ago, using “some Pinterest inspiration, acrylic paints, a natural sea sponge, a handful of painting tools and the best stuff ever: Envirotex Lite!” Full details here.
“My counters are still in good shape! I never put anything hot directly on them, and I did get a bit of food color on them that I’m still figuring how to get out – but everyone says the look just like granite, but for a fraction of the cost. I can’t wait to employ the same method in both of my bathrooms, too. It was definitely easier than I thought it would be!”
YES she would use this method for painting kitchen countertops again and she rates it as a 5 (Amazing. I expect this to last for many years.)
Kristy’s tips: Make sure you’ve got a second set of hands, sturdy gloves, and some time to spare. It takes three days for the counters to cure before you can use them. Also, check and recheck for spots where the resin didn’t reach. I have a few little spots near the edges of my counters where we didn’t “push” the resin – I haven’t attempted to go back and fix these spots yet (but only because unless you lived with me, you’d never notice they were there).
Lauren’s Painted Quartz Countertops
Reader Lauren painted the countertops in her kitchen about a year ago. (She also painted her cabinets, so read about that here.)
“I originally wanted to do a faux marble, but during one trip to the hardware store I saw a quartz countertop sample that was a sparkly black and I decided to try and recreate it. I found some sparkle paint additive at Lowes (the name escapes me, but it was part of their Valspar line). I got a dark charcoal paint and added a good bit of the sparkle dust to give it a shimmer. The countertops are just laminate, so I sanded and cleaned them before priming as well. I gave it 2 coats of the dark paint, and then I sprinkled some shredded iridescent glitter from the craft store into the wet paint, pressing them into it as I went.
The final step was covering the painted countertops with a high gloss Polyurethane (water based so it wouldn’t yellow). Before this I was afraid I added way too much of the shredded glitter, but ended up glad I did because a lot of it came off as I painted the coats of poly (sanding between each coat of course!) I believe I ended with 3 coats of poly.
The countertops have stood up well enough for being a quick redo, but I definitely want to replace them with quartz eventually. Some of the paint got scraped when we installed our new stove and I wasn’t able to patch it, so it’s a tiny eye sore. And the poly tends to get cloudy any time there is water on it even for a short time (it does return to clear after cleaning up the spill, but it’s a kitchen so liquids aren’t exactly uncommon).”
Lauren would MAYBE try this method again for painting kitchen countertops, and she rates it as a 3 (Good. It did the job.)
Jenna’s Faux Soapstone Counter
About 6 months ago, Jenna took a different approach to making her laminate countertops look like stone, for just $15 and some chalkboard paint! Read the full details here at Rain on a Tin Roof.
“So far, so good! It is important to note that this countertop is not in the kitchen. Its part of a built-in unit in my husband’s man cave, so it doesn’t see as much action as kitchen counters do.”
Jenna says YES, she would do this again, “Absolutely! It was very easy to do and extremely affordable. If it were going to be done in a kitchen, I would recommend using a more durable sealant other than wax, such as a satin polycrylic.” She rates the durability and wear as a 4 (Great. It has lasted well and longer than I had anticipated).
Countertop Painting Kit Reviews
Korrie’s Giani Countertop Paint Kit
“We moved from our home almost exactly a year after using the Giani Granite countertop makeover kit on our kitchen counters. I’m sorry to say it–but I was NOT impressed with how well the countertops held up during that time. They were fine with regular wiping/cleaning, but some of the everyday wear-and-tear that countertops are exposed to was too hard on them. A pot lid, set on the counter, pulled up the top layer of paint. There were a few chips on the edges and the upper surface. We are a family of eight, and we use our kitchen hard…but I expected better durability.”
Korrie would MAYBE use this again or recommend it when painting kitchen countertops: “With reservations, I might recommend it for use in a guest bathroom or something that didn’t get a lot of use. I wouldn’t recommend it for a kitchen.” She rates the finish as a 2 (Poor. It didn’t last, had problems, etc.) “It didn’t last even a year!”
Emily’s Giani Granite Paint Kit
“I referenced Gail’s tutorial from My Repurposed Life a lot as well as the DVD from the kit. I used the primer and then layered different colors from the kit using a sea sponge. I sanded in between layers and sealed with the protective coat in kit. It was really quite fun and made a big impact in a short period of time.”
“Some problems I encountered
- If there was anything wet or sticky on the counter top (and there often was) and anything paper or cardboard was put on top, it adhered to the counter like glue. I would sometimes peel off paint when trying to rip and scrub the paper off.
- Messes need to be cleaned up immediately or they are challenging to get off.
- The paint wore off around the corners and around the sink. I did attempt to patch it in a few places, but it wasn’t a perfect solution.
- Even though the top protective layer hardened nicely, after a year or so, I could never get it to feel clean. No matter how much I washed and wiped, it still sort of felt sticky.
My final recommendation: I think it makes a good short term solution to upgrade your countertops, but after a few years it will probably need to be replaced with something else.”
Emily would MAYBE use this countertop painting kit again, and she rates it as a 3 (Good. It did the job.)
- Search the internet for images of real granite to get an idea of patterns you’d like to replicate and what it really looks like.
- Make sure to seal the corners and the area around the sink really well with the protective coat. It will wear down more quickly than other areas.
- It’s a good idea to do right before vacation or when you know you’ll be gone a lot since you have to wait 2 weeks for it to cure before you can use your countertop or sink.
Kelli’s Rustoleum Tub & Tile Painted Countertop
“The countertop is holding up BEAUTIFULLY! When I decided to go with this method, I had read several horror stories about peeling and chipping paint. But I really didn’t want to live with them the way that they were for the next few years until we could afford a remodel, so was desperate enough to give it a try. I am SO glad that we went with this method. After a year of use, we don’t have a single chipped or peeling spot. On cleaning days, we use a gentle cleaner, but with 3 little boys, Clorox wipes are also used on the regular. I really could not be any happier with our decision to paint with Rustoleum Tub & Tile! There is a very faint orange ring on the counter that I can’t get out. I blame myself for not wiping up water underneath a candle soon enough. It’s really faint, and I usually keep a candle in that spot anyway, so it doesn’t bother me!”
YES, Kelli would use this method again — with some additional tips: “I would absolutely recommend this technique to a friend, but with a few disclaimers.
First, you have to follow the directions, fully and completely. Some steps seem redundant, but I have to believe that they’re listed for a reason. We followed them and have had beautiful, lasting results!
Second, I think that this product is best used on a sink or countertop. Many of the mishaps I’ve read about were in tubs and showers, which leads me to believe that this paint just doesn’t stand up well in really “wet” areas. While our sink and counter get a lot of use, I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the amount of water a tub and shower do!”
Kelli rates her countertop as a 4 (Great. It has lasted well and longer than I had anticipated.) “The only reason I’m going with 4 instead of 5 is that I’m not sure how many years it’ll last. I just know that I’m thrilled it lasted one year and hope it lasts many more!”
More experiences painting kitchen countertops
FAQs: Painting Kitchen Countertops
What is the best way to paint laminate countertops?
As discussed above, you can use a kit or buy latex paint and food-safe epoxy resin — but the biggest and BEST way to paint laminate countertops is with lots of patience! Do NOT skip the prep work, and give the thin paint layers plenty of time to dry. The DIYers we surveyed reported better results buying paint and epoxy sealer separately vs a kit, but results vary.
How do you paint over existing countertops?
- Latex or acrylic paint in multiple colors
- Food-safe epoxy sealer
- Foam paint roller
- Paint brushes
- Sponge, rags, or other texture paint tools
- Clean and prep the countertop. Since you’ll be painting anyway, you can repair any major damage. You’ll also remove the caulking. Be sure to scrub well and rinse off any cleaners. Use painter’s tape to mask off any areas around the countertop.
- Sand the entire surface lightly with a rough grit sandpaper or sanding sponge. (An electric sander will be too powerful and take off too much of the finish.) Formica and laminate need a light sanding; granite and other stone surfaces will need a little more sanding to rough up the surface. Wipe the surface well after sanding.
- Apply one coat of primer to the countertop. We recommend using smooth foam roller when painting kitchen countertops.
- Apply the first coat of paint in the base color, again with a smooth paint roller and small paint brush. This will be the main color of your painted countertop. Apply a second coat, and a third if needed to cover the original countertop.
- Use a painting sponge or other tool to apply the additional paint colors in random patterns. The number of colors will depend on your kit and/or preferences.
- DIYers have used everything from an old rag and grocery bags for a quartz or granite patterned counter, to a small paint brush or even a feather for veins in a painted faux marble countertop.
- Apply the sealer/poly/topcoat to your countertops. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and especially for curing time.
Does countertop paint need to be sealed? How do you seal painted laminate countertops?
Yes, countertop paint needs to be sealed. Sealing is the most important step in painting kitchen countertops! Epoxy is better for painted countertops than polyurethane, and more durable. Use a food-safe epoxy resin and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
To seal painted countertops, you’ll mix the 2-part epoxy together, pour the mixture over your countertops, and then spread a thin layer over the entire countertop. You’ll need to work quickly to spread the epoxy resin and also to take care of any bubbles, drips, of flaws. Then, be patient and give the countertop sealer plenty of time to cure before replacing appliances and using the countertop.
Is painting laminate countertops durable?
Generally, yes. The durability of your painted kitchen countertop will depend on the sealer that you used, so don’t skimp on the resin and don’t try to cut corners. Painted countertops won’t last decades like a solid stone countertop, but painting kitchen countertops can extend the life of an dated or damaged laminate countertop for years.
Do painted countertops scratch?
Generally, no, once the countertop sealer has cured well, painted countertops are as durable as laminate countertops with average or careful use. The DIYers we surveyed reported occasional dents and dings from moving large appliances.
How do you maintain painted countertops?
Once countertops are painted, they will need to be maintained more like laminate countertops (even if it was granite or stone beneath the paint). That means cleaning them regularly with a light-duty cleanser, no rough scrubbing pads, and protecting them from knives by using cutting board and from hot pans by using a hot pad or trivet.
Is it OK to paint countertops?
It’s your house, so if you want to do it — then YES, it’s okay!
Obviously we do not recommend painting cabinets when you are renting a home, as this is a big permanent change. If you’re renting, try peel and stick countertop film instead, with the property owner’s permission.
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Originally Posted 10.01.2015 // Updated 05.06.2020
Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.