Friday, June 26, 2015

Faux Granite? Faux sho! (How to PAINT Your Counters to Look Like Granite)

I knew when we first purchased our home the PINK counter tops had a VERY short life span with The Millers. (See full kitchen before and after pictures here.) Initially we looked into replacing them with Granite or Marble. My heart almost stopped when I received the quote...second mortgage anyone?! Then we looked into replacing them with a solid surface material and while that was muuuuch more affordable it was still out of our price range. I didn't really want to go down the laminate road and although concrete counters look so great in many homes it just wasn't our style. I had seen several posts online about painting counter tops with those refinishing kits you can by at any major box store but I wasn't 100% sold on the look. The results did not look horrible by ANY fact they would be a major improvement from the pink but it didn't look like granite to me. It looked...well, painted. BOO.

So theeen I found a local company that specializes in refinishing counter tops. Professionals? BINGO! I asked them to come out and give me an estimate for all the counters in the kitchen (including my built-in desk area) and it was pretty reasonable. For $700 they would come in and clean, prep, paint and seal all surfaces. It was guaranteed to last and they assured me it would look great. I looked at what seemed like a million before and after pictures on their website and the results were awesome! So, I picked my "color" and scheduled my appointment for two weeks later. I have to say they were METICULOUS about the prep and they really seemed to know what they were doing while spraying on the cover. When they finished I was so happy. It looked a lot like the counter in the picture below with less shine. Best part of all the pink was GONE!

As the weeks went on the counters started bugging me a little but I didn't DARE tell the hubs. We had just had them fixed and he wouldn't be too happy hearing me say I wasn't 100% thrilled with the results.  I initially thought it was because they were too matte so I started researching online and briefly thought about putting a coat of high gloss polyurethane or polyacrylic to make them shinier but that idea faded quickly as I realized that it probably wouldn't hold up to all that chopping, mixing and baking I wanted to do. 

Finally after a few months I came across a blog about painting kitchen counters with regular old acrylic craft paint and sealing with a high gloss pour on epoxy that was MADE for bar tops. The results were absolutely AMAZING! I.was.sold.

So one night I gathered all the information I had obtained from countless hours of research and was ready to make my case to Mr. Miller on why we should yet again change the counters. I was all ready for battle and prepared with come-backs for when he would most definitely try to shoot this idea down. I have to be honest even I was worried a little bit and if I ruined the counters I'd be SO mad at myself. I'm pretty sure my opening statement was something like "I want to paint the counters again because I hate them, ok?". Real subtle Megan. So much for easing the idea out there.  I was (and still am) in shock with how he was to the tune of something like: "Ok, whatever you think. You know what will look good". Wait, what? No all night discussion? No begging and pleading that would surely end in tears over my first world problems? Awesome! I really DO have a keeper! I was so excited that the very next day I gathered supplies:
  • Acrylic paints in the following colors: Apple Barrel "Khaki", FolkArt "Antique Gold", Apple Barrel "Pewter Grey", Apple Barrel "Burnt Umber" and Apple Barrel "Black"
  • Small sea sponges (purchased at Wal-Mart)
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Envirotex lite pour on epoxy (The box looks like the one below)

  • Small handheld blowtorch (for epoxy)
  • 2 plastic buckets (for epoxy)
  • Plastic sheeting (for epoxy)
  • Paper floor cover (for epoxy)
  • Bottle of red wine (for sanity and liquid courage)
Because my counters were matte like I mentioned and already a nice neutral beige I decided to just sponge the colors right on top. If I didn't have a base I was happy with I would have just put a neutral colored base coat on in a flat matte paint and sponged over that.

For the sake of showing you exactly how I accomplished this I repeated the process on a scrap tile we had laying around.

I began sponging (very lightly) with black and switched my direction and the amount of pressure I pushed with so a "pattern" wouldn't appear.

Then I went in with the dark brown "Burnt Umber". I was a little more light handed with this one
Looking good already!
Then was the "Pewter Grey"

The "Khaki" was next

Finally I used "Antique Gold". I sort of applied this so it would look like veining

The EnviroTex Lite was applied after the paint had dried overnight. I just followed the directions on the box for that step (don't be intimidated by the blow torch step it's really much less scary than it sounds).  

Some helpful tips:
  • Use a damp sponge when applying the paint
  • To vary the intensity of the sponged paint use a paper towel to blot
  • When switching paint colors try to fill in the empty spaces with the new color.
  • Because acrylic craft paint is not permanent if you are not happy with how you started sponging just get a wet paper towel or sponge and remove it with soap and water
  • WEAR GLOVES. Even though its acrylic craft paint the paint dried on my hands the first go around and it took a bit of scrubbing that could have been avoided with a pair of gloves.
  • If doing your kitchen work in "stages" so you still have usable counters in the interim. *The epoxy takes a few weeks to cure rock solid 
  • Pick up a sample piece of granite that you can take with you to buy the paint colors. You'll get a more realistic look that way.
  • We bought our epoxy at Hobby Lobby using their weekly 40% off coupons. One box is about $20 (after the coupon) and it covered approximately 8 sq. ft. Doing the kitchen in stages also helped with cost since we had A LOT of counters to cover!
  • Try and be pretty diligent about removing all of the bubbles that will emerge after pouring the epoxy. They will not go away.
And that's it! You get better and better at it as you continue on but it really was a simple process! We used our counters very lightly for about a month just to be sure it was all the way cured and a year later they are holding up great! The awesome thing about the epoxy is it's SUPER high gloss and made for bar tops so its 100% food safe and hard as nails once its cured!

I'm SO HAPPY with the results and the Mr. can be rest assured I won't be cornering him anytime soon propositioning him with a new counter project!


  1. That is incredible!! You did a fantastic job, and it looks especially great in the third phot. I'll bookmark your blog :)

    1. Thank you so much! It really improved the look of our kitchen and is holding up GREAT!

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