It has been one year since I painted my kitchen countertops with a DIY countertop paint kit and they still look great. Here’s how I did it along with the best tips I’d give anyone looking to do the same.
Ever since we moved into our house, I had plans to spruce up the kitchen. The floor was a deep pink tile, the Formica counters were pink, and the cabinetry, which was well-made and relatively new, was a light oak.
First, we replaced all of the floors in the entire house with new hardwood. Second, I hired someone to paint the cabinets a fresh, crisp white. Third, I rolled up my sleeves and painted the countertops.
Why did I paint my kitchen countertops?
For one, cost. We had already spent a TON of money on floors, furniture, and the house itself. But another reason is that, while I do like our kitchen as is, I’m not entirely sure that someday we won’t redo it (knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room to make one larger kitchen), which would mean changing the placement of the counters completely.
I had heard of people painting their counters with good results, so I researched it—mostly by reading the Giani Granite website and watching YouTube videos of folks applying it. It seemed like something I could do.
What did I use to paint my counters?
I used the Giani White Diamond Countertop Paint Kit. The kits come in multiple colors and styles but this Whtie Diamond shade that I chose is bright, light, and cool-toned with flecks of silvery white and gray. You can buy it directly on the Giani site or here on Amazon for a slightly cheaper price (Amazon affiliate link). The kit includes almost everything you need to paint your counters and very detailed instructions on how to do it (read the instructions here too). I’d highly recommend it.
Here’s what it looks like on your countertop:
Here are the contents of the kit:
How long does it take to paint your kitchen countertops?
With prep, priming, sponging each mineral, applying epoxy, and drying times, the whole project probably took 3 days, with 4-6 of those being active application (this amount of “active” time will vary from person to person).
How are your painted countertops holding up?
Very well. The final step of painting counters is applying a thin, protective layer of shiny epoxy. It effectively seals the paint and makes the counters more durable (less prone to chipping). In the past year, I have put these counters to the test—prepping and cooking hundreds of meals, entertaining friends and family, placing all kinds of appliances on them, spilling thousands of things on them, and I’ve cleaned them a million times with all kinds of products (most of which Giani would not recommend). Through all of that, they still look great. There are only a few minor knicks and dings and they’re from times when I’ve dropped something relatively heavy and sharp and the paint very slightly chipped (and when I say “chip” I mean there’s a mark the size of the tip of a ball point pen. I haven’t had any actual lifting of paint). And even in these instances, since the look of the counter is a faux granite (meaning it’s dimensional and includes several shades of color), it all blends right in.
Prepping the counters
I used a box cutter to remove the caulking around my sink and then wiped clean any sticky residue with rubbing alcohol. This step allowed me to paint as closely to the sink as possible (around and under any lips or seams). Note: You can re-caulk the area once the countertops are painted and dried.
Clean the Counters
I scrubbed the counters with an SOS pad to remove any and all grease and grime. Once the area was completely scoured, I used a wet washcloth (just water on it!) to wipe down the countertops and remove any lasting residue. I wrung out the washcloth, re-wet it, and wiped every surface twice.
Patch Any Cracks
My formica had light cracks in two places so I used wood filler to patch them and fill in the area. Since the cracks I filled were fairly superficial I didn’t need to sand the patched area afterward, but you may want to use a fine-grit sandpaper if your seams aren’t smooth. (If you use sandpaper, be sure to wipe away any fine dust with a wet washcloth).
Remove Switch Plates and Apply Painter’s Tape
I removed any switch plates and applied painter’s tape along the edges and sides of the countertops where they intersect with cabinets and above the backsplash. Note: Use two rows of tape (one on top of another) to create an extra wide tape border on your backsplash.
Apply the Primer
One important tip for painting countertops is to paint in 2-foot wide sections at a time, which felt a little counterintuitive to me at first. I figured I’d paint around the border of the countertops (along the backsplash and the front ledges) and then fill in the centers of the counters with paint. But I’ve learned that doing this would have meant the paint dried unevenly, something you don’t want when you’re going for a smooth, professional finish. This will be especially important when it comes time to sponge on the mineral paint).
So, to begin working on ONE 2-foot section at a time, use the foam brush to paint a thin line of primer along the top and bottom of your backsplash, then roll a thin layer of primer onto the backsplash, then roll onto the counters. Move onto the next 2-foot section immediately before the paint completely dries on the previous section.
Once all of the countertop is primed, let it dry for 8 hours.
Tips on Applying the Mineral Paint
- The best tip I can offer you when it comes to using the sponge to apply mineral paint is to use a light touch. If you press the sponge too firmly on the counter, you’ll end up with a big blob of paint. You’ll get the hang of it when you practice your technique on the black cardstock they provide in the kit.
- Remember to work on one 2-foot section of counter at a time. DO NOT sponge the whole countertop with one color and allow it to dry before adding the next color. You want each layer of sponged mineral paint to be wet while applying the next color so that they blend well.
- Allow some of the primer to peek through (to provide depth of color), but you want each sponge print to gently overlap the other to create a layered, softly blended, sort of blurred look.
- For tough to reach spaces, creases, and the backsplash, you’ll need two tools: a small, fine tipped paint brush and a small piece of sponge attached to the tip of a pencil (cut a tiny piece of sponge off of the large piece and tape it or glue it to a pencil or any long instrument). The creases are tricky. Take your time and remember it’s easier to apply more than it is take color away.