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Have you been struggling to love your kitchen countertops but don’t have the budget to replace them? Our epoxy countertops DIY might be just what you’re looking for.
Here you sit, googling how to paint countertops, in hopes of there being an affordable solution. My friend, you’ve come to the right place!
Painting countertops with countertop epoxy was a hard one for me to commit to! Kitchen counters are a big deal, so obviously you don’t want to regret your decision. So I have to tell you right off the bat, I have zero regrets about painting our countertops and only wish I had done it sooner!
AND you can do this for less than $50. It just doesn’t get any better than that, folks.
**I get a lot of questions about our countertops and I’m not always able to respond here quickly. I no longer have a home instagram account, but you are welcome to message me at my photo business account @courtneysmithphoto if you have questions!
Let’s dive in.
I thought about painting our countertops for MONTHS and researched every possible article/post/video to be researched on the subject, debated way too much, and then finally just DID. THE. THING.
At the time that I DIY’ed these countertops, there was not much information about painting countertops. I really felt like I was going in blind, and I was terrified.
I drove to Home Depot and bought the supplies while I was still unsure if I was even going to do it.
I cleaned and prepped the kitchen and thought, I can still back out!
I poured the paint into the paint tray with shaky hands and sat with my uncertainty and a heart beating out of my chest for a good 10 minutes before I just put the roller to the counter so that I couldn’t back out!
PROS AND CONS OF OUR EPOXY COUNTERTOPS DIY:
To start, here is the pros and cons list I created for myself to help make this decision.
1) More care is required. It is not natural stone and will always have to have a hot pad under hot dishes and a cutting board down for food prep. This stuff is not indestructible.
2) Cannot leave food or beverage on the counter that could stain.
3) Occasional touch-ups will be necessary (no way around it). Let’s just get that one out there.
1) Bright, white countertops!
2) All paint and supplies for less than $50
3) Very strong, durable countertops
4) Touch-ups are easy!
5) In all of my research, everything points to those that have done this having NO regrets. All say that they would do it over again and again!
Let me say this. If you share this idea, there will be people that don’t want you to do this if you share.
You may even start to doubt yourself and decide that you’re just going to keep living with the countertops you currently have in favor of less maintenance.
This is a very personal decision, because it’s your home and you will be living with it. It’s a good idea to decide for YOURSELF if taking care of these countertops and making touch-ups when needed is something you are willing to do and is worth it to you.
The pros of our epoxy countertops DIY won out for me. And I do not regret it!
So hi 🙂 If you’re still here reading this, I’m guessing that you’re not a fan of your countertop surface and are wondering if painting them with epoxy could be a solution. My answer is — yes. Yes, it really is! BUT with this in mind —
If I planned to keep these countertops for years and years to come, I would really factor in upkeep and if it’s something you want for the long term.
**I’m adding this 2 years after completing our epoxy countertops DIY. These countertops are super sturdy and do not look painted on. However, they do chip a little here and there. Especially in high-use areas. Around the bottom of the faucet and the edges of the countertops. It’s easy to touch up, but it’s maintenance none-the-less.
WHY DID WE CHOOSE AN EPOXY COUNTERTOP DIY:
I haven’t been a fan of our brown countertops for a long time. They were leathered granite, so textured and not shiny.
We know for certain that we will replace them, but as always, it has to fit into our budget and timeline. We estimate 1 – 2 years to save enough to purchase new ones.
When I saw the appliance epoxy trend starting on bathroom countertops, I started wondering why it wouldn’t work the same on real granite and a larger surface.
I thought to myself, we are going to replace these in a couple of years. Why not love them in the mean time! And I guess you could say this is where it all began.
So let’s get to the heart of it, shall we?
what you’ll need TO PAINT YOUR COUNTERTOPS:
- 1 or 2 cans of Rustoleum Appliance Epoxy (I used 2 cans, but we have a lot of counter space and I did 4 coats)
I found that Home Depot doesn’t carry large stock of these, so check to see what your local hardware store has in stock before you head out to the store). I also do not believe that it comes in different colors (just white or black).
- High Density Roller Brush Kit / Foam Roller
- Extra High Density Foam Rollers
- Smooth Surface Paint Brush
- Painters Tape
- Drop Cloths
- 220 Grit Sandpaper (optional)
- Face mask (also optional)
- Stir Stick
HOW TO PAINT YOUR COUNTERTOPS WITH EPOXY:
1. Apply painter’s tape to walls, sink, cabinets, appliances (fridge, oven, etc.)
Anywhere that this stuff could possibly touch! It’s pretty sticky, so you don’t want it getting it anywhere except your countertops. We opted not to remove our faucet and just cover it with a bag and tape VERY precisely around the base. Worked out just fine for us. I recommend using your best judgement here.
2. Next step is to lay down drop cloths to cover the floor of the area where you will be painting.
3. (Optional) Give your countertops a light sanding.
This isn’t a NECESSARY step, but if you’re applying this to a real granite or stone countertop, this helps to open the pores of the stone.
If you’re applying this to laminate or wood, etc., this will help give the epoxy something to really stick to. I used our orbital sander with a 220 grit sandpaper disc and very lightly went over every bit of counter space. You could also do this with a piece of sandpaper and some elbow grease.
**EDITED TO ADD:
Some with laminate countertops that have done this DIY have messaged to say that they opted not to sand because it was creating scratches in the surface. So if you have laminate, for best results, test a small area of your countertop before you go to town with the sanding.
4. Clean the surface VERY well.
I gave our counters the scrubbing of a lifetime with some scour pads and dish soap/water. I wiped dry with a microfiber cloth and then allowed the counters to air dry a bit more while I prepped the rest of the kitchen.
You want your countertops COMPLETELY clean before applying the epoxy. Double and triple check to make sure you have no stuck on food or residue left behind.
5. Open windows and get the area you will be working in WELL ventilated!
This stuff is SO strong.
We had a fan in the window trying to blast fumes out of the kitchen. Wear a mask if you can (I was so hot with all the windows open and couldn’t breathe trying to wear it, but I had a big headache and paid for it later). If you have kiddos, I recommend having your spouse take them to the park or out of the house for a bit.
I did most of this during my kids’ naptime, so they were upstairs and away from direct fumes. Then we hung outside for a bit when they woke up.
6. Apply the first coat of epoxy with your roller brush.
This is the part where I started to panic. Do not panic! I repeat — DO NOT PANIC if you don’t like how this looks yet. Consider this a primer coat.
It will look better with every coat, I promise! I had a lot of tiny air bubbles showing up because of how porous our countertops area. Don’t freak out. These go away and are covered up with every coat. You won’t see them in the end.
The first coat is the most time consuming of all the coats. Every coat after this first will go SO much faster.
All of my research on this product pointed out that you want to apply the second coat while the first is still sticky. I’d say try to apply each coat anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour of each other.
By the time I finished the first coat (I think it took me 45 minutes to an hour for the first), I headed straight into the second.
Also, look out for paint lines as you go. I found that applying the paint to a small section, and then going back over any lines very gently with a semi-dry roller brush helped to really smooth them out.
You will use your paintbrush for tighter areas.
I used our paintbrush around our sink and faucet. And to get into the crease where our countertops meet our splash guard. Basically, you’ll use it anywhere that your roller brush can’t reach.
Don’t worry too much about it not being even on the first or second coat. Everything will really start to level out by the third coat!
I had to use a paintbrush for this whole area around and behind the sink.
NOTE: Make sure that you are paying attention to paint drippings, especially down the straight edge / front edge of your countertops while you are working on the surface.
I had a couple of spots that I missed this happening, and by the time I saw it, the drippings had hardened. You can take a piece of sandpaper and lightly sand this down, but it’s just a hassle. So keep an eye out for it!
7. Apply your second coat!
Roll in a different direction than your first coat.
This helps to even out any paint lines that may have happened. Again, this one will go much faster!
8. Paint the underside of your countertops if you haven’t already.
I only gave these one coat as they are not really visible. I did it at this point of the process because the second coat happened so much faster, and I knew that I had time to fit it in before having to start on the third coat for the surface.
9. Change to a new roller brush.
10. Apply third coat.
Again, change up the direction you’re rolling. By now, it’s really starting to solidify and blend!
11. Apply the fourth coat.
Change your roller brush again for this final coat!
Honestly, this coat is optional based on your countertops. I saw that some people only needed 3, but I found that our granite was so porous and textured that we needed a fourth coat.
Again, use your best judgement.
12. Let them fully dry!
I’d give these a full 24 – 48 hours before you sit anything on them. Patience is definitely a virtue here!
I finished ours around 4p.m. and when I woke up the next morning (a good 15 hours later) they still felt a bit sticky.
If you start putting things on the countertops before they fully dry, even if they do feel solid, it will leave little marks in the countertops. Take it from my impatient self that had to fix a spot because I did this.
WE ARE LOVING OUR EXPOXY COUNTERTOPS DIY:
These feel like brand new countertops!
I am not editing any of these photos, because I want you to see the true finish of them.
I wish you could feel how smooth and durable they feel!
Tips & Info for Painting Countertops with Epoxy:
- The whole process, start to finish (prep and all), took me around 4 1/2 hours.
- Ventilate your area as much as possible and wear a mask if you can! This product is CRAZY strong.
- Apply coats within 30 minutes to 1 hour of each other.
- Go a different direction with your roller with every coat. This helps to even out any paint lines. I also changed to a new roller for the third and fourth coat to help keep coverage as smooth and even as possible.
- After rolling the outside edges of the counter, go back over with your smooth finish paintbrush to get rid of the texture left behind by the roller.
- I found that applying the paint to a section, and then going back over any paint lines very gently with a semi-dry roller brush helped to really smooth them out.
- Make sure that you are paying attention to paint drippings, especially down the front of your countertops while you are working on the surface.
- Wait for them to fully dry before you put anything on them or touch them very much. If you start putting things on the countertops before they fully dry, even if they do feel solid, it will leave little marks in the countertop.
- It will be VERY glossy when you finish. It won’t be as glossy when it dries, but will still have lots of shine. No clear coat is needed.
- These can be cleaned with a spray bottle of
Honest thoughts and research on painting countertops:
- Immediately after finishing this DIY project, I started to worry that this was going to look SUPER painted on and not solid. As it dries, it starts to look way more solid and less glossy. So don’t panic if you’re unsure about it right after you apply the final coat. Get out of the house or go to bed and DO NOT WORRY about it.
- I just did this 4 days ago, so I can’t speak to long term durability (I will definitely be updating on this after some time has passed). I can say that this stuff dries really hard and durable. It’s incredibly smooth and glossy, and in my opinion, appears solid and not at all painted on. Dave, my husband, thinks it does look somewhat like a painted surface when up-close (not from far away, he wants me to clarify that). Just throwing that out there for complete transparency. Ultimately though, it’s SO much prettier than the brown, non-shiny granite that we had before!
- It’s a glossy finish. It looked a little less glossy to me in other people’s photos and videos, so I wasn’t expecting it. I do wish it was just a bit less glossy, but honestly, the ultimate end result is worth it to me.
- It’s not indestructible. After two days of drying, I tried to dig my nail into an area and I was able to. You’ll want to always have a cutting board underneath when cutting something.
- We had our 20-pound baby boy in a bumbo seat on the countertop this morning. No marks or indentations left behind. The seat could slide around easily and caused no scuffing or damage. We’ve used our plastic baby tub in the sink, propped on the counter and touching the insides of the sink edge. No damage done. Like I said, it really is solid!
- From my research, I was able to gather that you cannot put food or drink that will stain directly on the surface (i.e. strawberries).
- You cannot put hot pans directly onto the surface or it will burn. Always use a hot pad. My mother-in-law pointed out to me that you have to do this with real quartz countertops as well, so not a bad thing to start practicing as we save for our real quartz countertops!
- As I said before, if you have no plans of ever replacing your countertops, make sure that you consider long-term upkeep. I have talked with people who did this 1 – 2 years ago and say that it’s held up VERY well, but I cannot speak to long-term durability. Our plan is to have these last us 1 to 2 years before upgrading.
I hope this is helpful for some that are ready for a counter update but need to stick within budget. I’d honestly highly, highly recommend. This has changed my kitchen world, and I am so happy to share it with you!