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How to Paint Countertops

Kitchen countertops

Table of contents

Are you ready to move on to your next home improvement task, or are you determined to learn how to paint countertops? Some DIY tasks are challenging, but you can get the job done with the right tools and tricks.

Whether you want to paint countertops to look like granite, quartz, or Carrara marble, following a few simples steps and gathering the right equipment will allow you to get the job done in a flash. 

This article aims to give you a quick guide on How to Paint Countertops, so let’s get started!

Also, painting indoors can be a time-consuming task so knowing when is best to paint can save you a few hours! Check our article which explains in more detail.

Materials and Equipment:

180 -220-grit sandpaper

180–220 grit is mainly used for finishing the surface or sanding in between applications of paint.

While you can rough up a piece before painting with 180 to 220-grit sandpaper, you are more likely to use this grit after the first coat of paint has dried.

Painter’s tape

The purpose of painter’s tape is to provide a crisp, clean paint line free of residue during the painting process. Despite having the same level of adhesion as painter’s tape, masking tape leaves no clear paint line or residue behind when it is peeled from the surface.

Paint roller

9-inch rollers are the most common size for most home improvement jobs. First, the 5-gallon paint bucket will fit these paint rollers without difficulty.

It’s also convenient that these are big enough to cover a considerable portion of the wall in one roll but not so long that they’re difficult to handle around trim and other details.

Foam roller cover

Because latex paint is thinner, foam roller coverings work best with it. Using a foam roller on a smooth surface is also a good idea.

When it comes to rough surfaces, the consistent thickness of foam means that they aren’t ideal.

Paint tray

We recommend using paint trays for ease of use, portability, and accessibility. By using a tray, you can pour out a decent amount of paint and then cover the can, which increases the lifespan of your paint.

Pour a tiny amount of color into a paint tray instead of dipping a brush into the can.

Water-based acrylic paint for countertops

A water-based acrylic primer, paint, and topcoat are commonly recommended. Unlike acrylic paint, water-based acrylic paint is easy to clean and doesn’t leave behind any unpleasant scents, making it ideal for counters.

High-gloss acrylic topcoat paint

It’s still a good idea to add a top coat when discovering how to paint countertops or other high-traffic areas such as cabinets.

Top Tip: Topcoats aren’t as effective on their own, so use the base coat first, followed by the topcoat or color, regardless of the application.

Latex or nitrile gloves

Compared to Latex, nitrile gloves are more robust and more durable. Due to its lack of chemical and puncture resistance, Latex is a more affordable solution for people who do not need it.

How to Paint Countertops in Seven Steps:

A handyman painting countertops, for article, how to paint countertops

Once you’ve gathered all your equipment, it’s time to prepare and paint your countertops.

Use painter’s tape around the corners of the countertop so that only the area you wish to paint is exposed. The work area should have a drop cloth in place.

Key Insight: If necessary, tape down a drop cloth to cabinets below the counters for added protection from paint drips.

As some of the items in your equipment list release VOCs and are harmful to health, you should also run fans and open all of your windows to ensure that you have enough fresh air.

Step One: Clean the laminated surface to the fullest extent possible.

A cleaning cloth and dish soap are all that’s needed to get the job done. Using a mixture of two parts water and one part vinegar can help remove water stains and other oily residues from the surface.

Allow the solution to rest on the problem for a few minutes before scrubbing it away.

Step Two: Lightly sand the laminate.

Using sandpaper is essential to create the best surface

While some professionals may say sanding is not essential, we advise sanding all surfaces, whether baseboards or garages, before you begin. Using fine 200-220 grit sandpaper will smoothen the rough patches on your countertops.

If you own an electric sander, this will speed up the process.

Step Three: Apply your primer in two layers.

A water-based acrylic primer, paint, and topcoat are commonly recommended. This type of primer will create a firm surface needed for high-traffic areas like counters. Acrylic paint dries and hardens; water-based acrylic paint cleans up with water and doesn’t have a strong smell.

Step Four: Apply two coats of paint.

Ensure that your primer has completely dried, then it’s time to paint. To achieve a smooth, even finish, you should use a paint roller and roll the paint in one direction.

Step Five: Apply a few more coats as necessary.

Colors that need more coats of paint are darker than those that don’t, so apply additional coats based on your countertop’s color.

Remember: Each layer of paint needs time to dry properly before applying further coats.

Step Six: To complete the job, apply a sealant.

Sealing the stone surfaces in your kitchen or bathroom may be necessary to prevent them from being permanently damaged. If you apply it prematurely, the protective coating might give your granite surfaces a glazed appearance.

Spray the countertop with a generous amount of sealer and allow it to dry. Check the instructions on the bottle for an accurate time.

How to Paint Countertops: Top Seven Mistakes

Mistakes happen, right? But when learning how to paint countertops, a few errors may cause you to start all over, or the worst outcomes, your countertops could be ruined.

So below, we’ve prepared a list of the most common mistakes made and the ways you can prevent these from happening:

Inadequate Preparation

Preparing the surface for painting is time-consuming, but skipping it will do no good. When the surface isn’t adequately prepared, paint won’t adhere well. Typically, this is the leading cause of paint failures.

Early peeling of the paint layer is caused by insufficient adhesion to the surface. Before applying a paint coat, the surface must be thoroughly cleaned and prepped.

Ideally, the surface should be level and smooth. The paint can’t cling correctly to the surface if there are any flaws or holes.

You are choosing the wrong tools for the job.

Make sure your brushes are the right size for the job, whether you’re painting inside or outside. Cover huge areas using large brushes and small ones for tinier ones.

Make sure you select the right brush for the task to get the best possible finish. Use a natural bristle brush while working with oil-based paint.

Key Insight: You can also achieve the best results with high-quality materials. Spend a little more money on a nice brush if you’re going to buy quality paint


It takes time to paint counters. At the very least, you’ll need at least a week to accomplish this project; it’s also an excellent opportunity to arrange a trip after that so you can let it cure well for 4-7 days before using it.

You need to wait at least 24 to 48 hours for each coat before moving on. Most experts recommend three coats of paint and four coats of sealant for a total of seven painting days.

Using the wrong paint

Painting over a previous job is now a doable task. What you’re dealing with is critical. Are there any oil-based products on the surface? It will peel and crack if you try to paint over it with latex paint.

So, your first step is to determine whether an oil-based paint was previously on your countertops.

Take a basic cotton pad or swab and make it slightly damp with some denatured alcohol. You’ll then want to rub the cotton pad or swab on a small area on your countertops.

If you find no paint on your pad, there is oil-based paint on your surface, so it will need to be sanded and primed. If the paint is on your cotton swab, you know it’s water-based paint; you can paint the surface as usual.

Don’t Forget: There’s always someone who can help you, so pop to your DIY or home improvement store where an employee should be able to give you some advice.

Add a drop of white paint to lighten the hue and a drop of black to deepen it. Add a different shade of the same color to alter the color subtly. Adding a bit of deep crimson or even purple to a red that’s a little too bright is one example.

Leaving painter’s tape up too long

Preparing to use painters tape to achieve the most seamless finish

Peeling it off too soon could result in paint pouring outside the paint area; leaving it on too long could result in the paint peeling away. The end effect is a sticky mess, no matter how you look at it. No one wants that at all!

Blue flatback masking tape with low tack and excellent adhesion properties can be left on for up to 60 days.

At least an hour after the paint is dry to the touch; it’s time to remove the tape off freshly painted projects. If the color is still gooey, don’t remove the tape until the paint has hardened and dried overnight.


After painting, a smooth finish is what most people are looking for: a good color without any brush traces.

To do this, you should avoid overbrushing or utilizing too many back-and-forth strokes.

Use the bare minimum of strokes to get the paint down, level it, and avoid going over it again, especially as it dries. Use the tipping-off approach, including applying light brushstrokes to create an even finish.

Comparing samples in the wrong light

Colors appear differently depending on the lighting in a room. Natural light enters and exits the room throughout the day, which may alter the color of the walls. As a result, a high gloss paint’s appearance will be heavily influenced by the amount of light it receives.

Once you have painted a surface, the color should remain consistent if the paint is mixed correctly.


What sort of countertop paint should I use?

Oil-based enamels can be applied to countertops after they have been primed. The majority of countertop paints are acceptable for food preparation, but you should check with the paint dealer to make sure.

Can you use spray paint on countertops?

Yes, you can paint your countertops using spray paints. You can give your laminate countertops a fresh look for a fraction of the cost of epoxy paint by spaying them. To give your countertops a facelift, you need to remove them and replace them.

How long durable are painted countertops?

Choosing an epoxy coating to be applied over the paint is the only thing that will keep our painted counters looking good for a long time. To apply resin, you must pour it on rather than brushing it on. Finishing with a glossy, three-dimensional look more closely resembles the look and feel of a solid countertop.

What type of countertops does not require sealing?

Quartz is a popular choice for a new kitchen counter due to its long-lasting beauty. Compared to granite, quartz does not require regular sealing to avoid discoloration. In terms of food preparation and cleaning, a nonporous surface is preferable.

How can I change the color of a Corian countertop?

Yes, and it can be helpful. Because Corian is constructed of resins and pigment, it must first be mixed in a thick liquid solution before it can be mold-cast. Applying high-quality epoxy paint to the countertop is the best option.

How can I paint a Formica countertop?

Choose an enamel paint with a semi- or high-gloss sheen. It will withstand everyday use without chipping, denting, or scratching.

Over time, people have employed latex paint, epoxies, and even cans of enamel spray paint to decorate Formica countertops. There’s no better way to refinish your kitchen countertop than using the ‘Miracle Method’, which is far superior to any DIY refinishing package.

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