Painting the Counter – Faux Granite

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Hey y’all! When I posted about our bathroom makeover, I told you that there was a major transformation that took place that I would have to address in a separate post. So here it is – I painted the counter!

Let’s be really honest for a minute – I realize that if an objective third party was looking at the counter, they probably wouldn’t say “Oh wow! Look at that awesome granite that you have!” I did have a friend initially think that I had replaced the counter, but I’m not going to say that nobody believes that it’s painted or that it is perfect. What I do know is that it definitely changes the look of the bathroom and it was worth the time and little bit of money.

When I did this project about a year and a half ago, I had no idea that I would eventually write a blog post about it, so I’m going to be piecing the process together based on some pictures that I took and the blog posts that I found most helpful – Pretty lil Posies’ Kitchen Makeover (and her follow-up Q&A) and Creative Kristi’s video.

Here are a few pictures of the counter before I painted it -

Sink Before Paint

Sink Before Paint

These are the supplies that I used:

  • Water based primer (I used extra trim paint in an off-white color)
  • A roller to apply the above primer
  • Acrylic paint in a variety of shades (I bought 5 bottles from Michael’s and mixed them to make even more shades)

Paint

  • Sea Sponge (I bought it at Michael’s with a coupon)
  • A lot of paper towels
  • A few different small paint brushes (I got a cheap variety pack from Michael’s for a few dollars)

Paintbrushes

  • A few pieces of cardboard to use like a painter’s palette
  • Resin (Envirotex Lite)

Here’s a quick rundown on the process that I went through – First, I cleaned off the counter and lightly sanded it. After the surface was roughed-up, I washed and dried the counter. I skipped taping off the edges of the counter and backsplash, but normally that should be done at this point; I just have trouble with painters’ tape and I knew I had to touch up the wall paint anyway. Then I rolled the counter as a base coat; I used a regular-sized roller and leftover trim paint in an off-white color. If you have a small trim roller, that may be easier to maneuver…but as you can tell from the pictures below, this step doesn’t need to be perfect.

Sink Redo

Sink Redo

Once the base coat dried (I think I let it sit overnight just to be safe), I started dabbing the acrylic paint onto the counter. I applied the acrylic paint over the next week or two. Yeah…it was not a quick process. I realized that I needed to wait for each layer of acrylic paint to dry so that I wasn’t swirling wet paint, which meant that I got in a couple of layers of paint each night (at most). I also found that it helped me to step away for a while and come back, seeing the counter with fresh eyes. That being said, though, it wasn’t very time-consuming. Each layer of paint would only take 10-15 minutes, so even an evening where I did 3 coats would only take 30-45 minutes or so.

Based on my experience, there isn’t a right or wrong way to apply the acrylic paint – I just kept making different shapes with different colors. I looked at pictures of granite throughout the process to keep the goal in mind. I used paper towels scrunched and re-scrunched, a sea sponge, and a few different paint brushes to get unique shapes for the application; I tried to keep myself from repeating any shape/pattern too much. I was using at least 5 different brown acrylic paints and I mixed them to make new colors.

Sink Redo

Sink RedoAt this point the application is too similar and circular, so I started making different shapes.

Sink Redo

I think that the key to painting faux granite is to have a lot of layers – more layers than I ever dreamed. I think it made it look more natural because the layers really do show through.

Sink Redo

Sink Redo

Sink Redo

Sink Redo

Once I was satisfied with the coloring and had gotten the seal of approval from my brother, sister, Mom, then-boyfriend (now awesome husband!), and anyone else who would look at the counter, it was time to finish. Based on the Pretty lil Posies post, I planned on using several coats of Polyacrylic to protect it. As I started applying it, though, I found that it left the surface very bumpy. The many layers of paint had left the surface uneven, and the polyacrylic only highlighted that. I tried using heavy coats in hopes that with a thick application it would level itself out, but you can tell from the shiny spots in the pictures below that the polyacrylic just didn’t look right.

Sink Redo

Sink Redo

Undeterred, I went back to Google and Pinterest to find a better way to protect the counter. I found several bloggers who used resin rather than polyacrylic. The posts that I found most helpful were from Designing Dawn and Pretty Handy Girl (not a counter tutorial, but still helpful). I don’t want to bore you guys with specific instructions that you can read online (the instructions for the resin that I used can be found here) but here are a few things I want to highlight in case any of y’all want to do this for yourself -

  • I used Envirotex Lite and I would definitely use it again.
  • This part of the process requires more than 2 hands – get someone to help. I enlisted my brother to help and it only took 15-30 minutes of his time.
  • I didn’t have to throw my clothes away afterwards but some other bloggers mentioned that they did, so dress accordingly.
  • Use mixing containers that you don’t mind throwing away.
  • Cover the floor and cabinets with rags that you don’t mind throwing away.
  • Keep garbage bags nearby because this will make a big mess!
  • I used rubber gloves, but not goggles and I was fine without them.
  • Use the bathroom exhaust fan (or borrow a portable fan) to get some air flow.
  • Follow the directions that come with the resin exactly. The Envirotex instructions can be found here, and I would highly recommend reading the carefully several times before starting the process.
  • Pour the resin onto the counter a little bit at a time, but make sure to liberally cover the entire surface. Gently spread it around on the counter. It will level itself out as it dries.
  • To get the vertical parts of the counter (backsplash and front lip) covered, you need to spread the resin onto it. Make sure to have cardboard ready to keep the resin from dripping onto the cabinets.
  • Definitely use a lighter or hair dryer to pop the air bubbles that will form.
  • You can use rubbing alcohol to get resin off of your hands

While it was messy to work with, the Envirotex definitely left me with the glassy finished that I wanted!

Bathroom: After

I let the counters sit for a few days (the instructions said to wait 48-72 hours) and I was nervous using it for a few weeks but it’s hard as a rock! Water wipes right up and nothing has left any marks or indentations as long as I’ve been using it.

Overall, this was an inexpensive and relatively easy project. Anyone can do it – the most important thing is to be patient! The hardest part for me was not being able to use my counter for a few weeks; that inconvenience is the only thing keeping me from painting my the counters in the other bathroom and the kitchen!

What do y’all think? If you have any questions about what I did, I’ll be glad to answer them! Or have any of y’all painted your counters? Please leave a comment with the link – I’d love to see them! :-)

I’m linking up with Domestically Speaking,  Tatertots and JelloGlued to My CraftsRemodelaholic and A Bowl Full of Lemons.

  • http://www.carriethishome.com Carrie This Home

    Wow! I’m seriously impressed! The painting you did and the gloss on top really plays a trick on the eyes and makes it look like granite! I just replaced my bathroom countertop with granite and honestly this is a great & frugal option I didn’t know was out there!
    I’m stopping by from Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z (#16 Budget Bathroom Makeover and 18 Bowl Licking Good Guacamole)

    • http://www.mrsbomb.com Helen

      Thank you so much, Carrie! That means a lot! :-) I love your bathroom makeover – what a transformation!

  • http://www.tenjuneblog.com Michelle @ Ten June

    Awesome job! I’ve always wanted to paint laminate countertops… this is a great way to do it! I think I like the glossy finish the best- it totally gives the look of granite. Love it! Hey… you’re the bomb ; )

    • http://www.mrsbomb.com Helen

      Thanks, Michelle! :-) That made my day! Oh and I’m not the bomb…I’m just married to him! ;-)

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