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Can You Paint Countertops?

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on LawnStarter.

Short answer: Yes, you can paint countertops!

If you’re tired of seeing counters that are looking a little worse for wear but don’t want to break the bank on replacing them, painting your countertops might just be the answer!

There’s no doubt about it: Painting your countertops can help revive their look in an instant.

But is it really possible? Can you paint over surface materials like Formica, laminate, or ceramic tiles? Are there certain types of countertops that should be avoided when it comes to painting?

We’ll dive into all of these questions and look at how long painted countertops will last before needing touch-ups, as well as maintenance tips for keeping them in top shape for years to come.

Best and Worst Countertops for Painting

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If you’re planning on painting your countertops, it pays to do some research beforehand. Certain surface types will take to paint (and look great), while others are practically impossible to work with. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Formica, laminate, and ceramic tile: These countertops can all be painted successfully with the right supplies and preparation. Just remember to use a special primer designed for glossy surfaces like these, so your paint is able to adhere properly.
  • Granite, marble, and stainless steel: All of these countertop materials should not be painted, as trying to do so will likely cause more harm than good. That said, a faux finish that simulates the look of each material is still a viable option worth looking into.

How to Paint Laminate Countertops

Paint pan with roller and brush.
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So, now that you know it’s possible to paint over certain types of countertops, does this mean you can start painting yours? Only with the right supplies, a bit of resolution, and a free weekend.

Painting countertops is a budget-friendly, easy kitchen makeover tactic worth exploring. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • 9-inch paint roller
  • 9-inch foam roller cover
  • Primer for glossy surfaces
  • Water-based acrylic paint for countertops
  • High-gloss acrylic topcoat paint or a countertop paint kit
  • Mineral spirits (for cleaning up)
  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • High-quality trim brush

Step-by-Step Instructions for Painting Laminate Counters

Dirty paint tools.
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Here are the step-by-step instructions for successfully painting your laminate counters:

1. Sand the countertop surface with 220-grit sandpaper, then remove any dust left on the counters with a lint-free cotton cloth and mineral spirits.

2. Cover anything that won’t be painted with painter’s tape and plastic or newsprint to protect against splatters and spills.

3. Apply an even coat of primer over the entire surface in light strokes — make sure to keep a “wet edge” so that your strokes all overlap by at least an inch without drying before you reach them! Allow six hours for the primer to dry completely.

4. Paint using light coats in the same manner as you did with the primer. Keeping a “wet edge” is key here, as well. Paint around any tricky spots like sinks or backsplash areas using a trim brush. Let this layer dry fully for four hours before applying the second coat of paint.

5. Top off your newly painted surfaces with a water-based high-gloss acrylic topcoat for extra shine and protection. Wait four hours between the first coat and the second one, then allow 14 days for the paint to fully cure before using it.

With these five simple steps, you’ve now successfully painted your countertops. No doubt you have one beautiful kitchen or bathroom that’s ready to show off!

Prep Work Is Key for Long-Lasting Results

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No matter what type of surface material you’re working with, preparing it properly before beginning the painting process is absolutely essential.

Start by giving it a thorough cleaning with a mild cleanser, and then be sure to remove any caulk or glued-on backsplashes. If you’re working with a glossy surface, use sandpaper, preferably 220-grit, to rough up the texture before priming.

Tips for the Paint Job Process

Man with paint and paintbrushes
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First and foremost, make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area so that you don’t inhale chemical fumes from the process. You should also cover nearby areas with drop cloths to avoid any major messes.

When it comes time for the actual painting, apply your paint using light coats over each section instead of one thick coat, as this will ensure proper adhesion. And once all of your paint has dried, it’s always best practice to seal it off with an oil-based polyurethane finish.

Keep in mind that it will take several hours for the paint or finish to be dry enough to touch without leaving fingerprints behind.

Lifespan and Maintenance Tips

A couple selects paint colors for their home
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The lifespan of your newly painted countertop is ultimately dependent on how well you take care of it. Even though the paint job will help protect the top layer from daily wear and tear, it’s still important to be cautious when cutting items directly on its surface or placing hot dishes down on it.

Always use a cutting board and trivets/coasters to preserve its look. If done right, you can usually expect a lightly used bathroom or kitchen counter to last up to two years before needing a touch-up coat of paint.

6 Benefits of Painting Countertops

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Painting your own countertops can yield some great benefits for a small investment of time and money. Rather than breaking the bank on installing new kitchen countertops, this tactic can deliver fabulous results at a fraction of the cost.

Here are some additional advantages to painting your countertops.

1. It’s Customizable

Paint cans and a paint brush
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Do you love the idea of cool, black countertops but don’t want to spend a fortune on real marble or stone? No problem. You can easily paint your current surfaces any color you choose to customize their look completely.

Bonus points if you use a high-gloss finish to perk up the texture. This tactic gives you the chance to get creative and make your kitchen look unique. From blues to greys, sorbets, and whites — you really can’t go wrong.

2. It Can Instantly Update Your Kitchen

Parents cooking at home
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If your old countertops are looking less-than-inviting, painting them is an easy solution that can make a huge impact. No prep work is needed, and no removal or demolition is required. With just one coat of paint, you can instantly take things up a notch, depending on the color choice.

In a few hours’ time, you can take an outdated kitchen and make it completely modern with this simple method.

3. It Can Boost the Value of Your Home

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If you plan on selling your home in the near future, this idea is definitely worth considering, as painting your countertops can increase their value if done properly.

It won’t turn the space into a gourmet kitchen, but painted counters will give it that much more appeal when buyers come calling.

Whether you choose to do all countertops or just one, depending on what type of material you are working with, this can be a great solution for anyone looking to make their kitchen look its best for potential buyers.

4. It Is More Resistant to Stains Than Other Types of Countertops

Couple with new kitchen cabinets
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Painted countertops are often more resistant to staining than their uncoated counterparts. Especially with a boost from sealants or top coats, you can rest assured knowing minor spills won’t stay put for too long.

This can really help keep your kitchen looking and feeling as good as new for years to come.

5. You Don’t Have to Break the Bank

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Let’s face it: Replacing your countertops or doing a complete kitchen remodel comes with a hefty price tag, and that’s something few of us have time (or funds) for.

By painting your counters, you can save plenty of cash in the long run and also take all the time you need to understand what materials and products are most suitable for getting this job done right. It’s much less intimidating than starting a whole remodel from scratch!

6. Painted Countertops Are Low-Maintenance

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Truth is, painting your kitchen counters will require some light maintenance to keep them always looking fresh.

This includes giving them a good wipe-down every day with a sponge, water, and mild detergent to remove food debris or splashes. But, because painted countertops have better stain resistance, you won’t have to scrub as hard or as long as with bare counters.

Also, replacing the paint isn’t necessary unless you feel it looks too worn, which typically won’t happen for at least two years, depending on countertop usage.

Now let’s look at some FAQs about painting countertops.

Is Painting Kitchen Cabinets a Good Idea?

Woman painting kitchen cabinets
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Yes, painting kitchen cabinets is another great and cost-effective way to spruce up your kitchen without making a major overhaul. Just make sure you use the right type of paint for maximum durability.

Keep in mind that if the cabinets are chipped or badly stained, you’ll be better off replacing them instead of just painting over the existing material. The cost of new kitchen cabinets is worth it in the long run.

Will Painted Countertops Scratch?

kitchen modern wallpaper
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When you properly finish and paint over a smooth surface material like laminate or ceramic tile, painted countertops with a durable finish are known to be less prone to scratches than other types of surfaces.

How Do You Maintain Painted Countertops?

A woman cleans her kitchen countertops
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Maintaining painted countertops isn’t too complicated. A daily wipe-down with a mild cleaner is typically all you need to do to help keep them looking as beautiful as ever.

You should also use cutting boards and trivets when using hot items to prevent any damage from occurring.

In the rare event that you must touch up minor spots, just use 250-grit sandpaper and a brush to get rid of slight blemishes before applying a new coat of paint or topcoat finish.

Does Painting Kitchen Cabinets Devalue a Home?

Sherwin-Williams 2023 paint color of the year Redend Point
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Not usually. In fact, painting your kitchen cabinets can add value to your home in certain cases, as long as you do a good job and use quality materials.

Just keep in mind that this project requires some knowledge and preparation if you’re hoping to make the biggest impact possible.

Can You Paint a Marble Countertop?

Hand polishing marble
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No, it’s not recommended to paint a marble countertop, as painting this type of material can lead to discoloration and damage. Plus, it’s a beautiful natural material that should be allowed to shine through without modifications.

The best way to revitalize the look of your marble surfaces is to get them regularly sealed each year. This will help keep out stains and acidic materials, which are the usual culprits of discoloration.

Final Thoughts

woman standing by kitchen counter
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Painting countertops can be a great way to make your kitchen look new again without committing to a full home improvement project. Before deciding if this DIY project is right for you, think about the type of surface material you’re working with and what color option would best fit your current decor.

If you’re really up for the challenge, painting your countertops is a cheap and easy way to bring life and color into any kitchen or bathroom. With the right amount of prep and maintenance, your countertops will also have a significantly extended lifespan.

And, of course, if you don’t feel like taking on a paint job yourself, you can always hire a local contractor to ensure high-quality work.

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