If you’re looking for a budget solution for your kitchen makeover, you’ve probably stumbled across the topic of painted countertops. It might seem too good to be true – for only the cost of a primer, some acrylic paints, and a sealer, you could have a brand new look for your old countertops. Is it possible that this DIY renovation will last in a busy kitchen?
Painted countertops are exceptionally durable. By correctly applying a strong topcoat sealant to your project, your countertops will be protected from wear and tear and can retain their beauty even years after the initial renovation.
However, in order to maximize the durability of the new countertops, it is important to follow each step of the process to completion. The rest of this article will look at how to follow the steps most effectively and provide some tips for the upkeep and maintenance of your stunning new countertops.
How to Paint Countertops for Greater Durability
Usually, the thought of new countertops would come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, you can purchase all the materials you will need for this project on a tight budget. Additionally, everything can be purchased at your local hardware store or online. Let’s take a look at the three essentials you will need.
Primer: Laying the Foundation
The first step is to prepare your existing counters. Any area you are planning on painting must first be thoroughly scrubbed, wiped, and dried. Additionally, it is a good idea to tape off any surface you don’t want to paint on, like the stovetop or sink edges. Once the preparation is complete, it’s time for the first material: a primer.
By applying a primer coat to your surface, you are doing two things at once: preparing the paint to stick effectively and using an appropriate base color. It is possible to choose a primer at your local hardware store and get it tinted to a different color than white.
If you’re looking for a light marble-like finish, a dark grey tint is the best choice. This provides the darkest tones that you can then build upon with lighter paints in the second step of the process.
A paintbrush or roller can be used for applying your primer. By completing this step and letting it dry completely, you have created an excellent foundation and are ready for the next phase: painting!
To get a visual idea of what this process will look like, you can watch the priming process as well as the next steps in this video:
Paint: Types and Colors
Luckily, you have many options for paints that will work beautifully for your countertops and won’t hurt your budget. If you have some leftover wall paint from other projects, that will work fine here. Low-cost acrylics are a great choice as well. These are available at your local craft store in many colors and shades.
There are brands of specific countertop paint that you can purchase, but these are unnecessary and won’t entitle your countertops to extraordinary durability or longevity. If you prefer countertop paints or sets, you will have many to choose from. However, you can achieve the same effect without spending extra on a brand.
When choosing your paint colors, think about what range of colors you want to be present on your countertop. If you want a solid color finish, this step will be easy since you only need an adequate amount of one color paint.
If you are thinking about a light-marble style, some whites and greys will be an excellent choice to give you the full range of colors you need to achieve the desired effect.
To create the marble-like effect, applying paint with a crumpled paper or plastic bag and lightly blot the colors on in a non-uniform way can mimic the natural look of a cut of marble. Plus, you can use the bag from buying the paint without using any of your budget on this material.
If you are going for a single color look, applying the paint with a paintbrush or roller will do the trick. If you’re still not sure what style you prefer, you can check out this video that showcases a marble-style finish for inspiration:
Sealant: Key to Durability
Finally, and most importantly, you will need a high-quality sealant. Choose a thick and protective topcoat to keep your countertops protected and shiny for years to come. This type of product is incredibly thick, and you need to pour it out onto your countertop, gradually smoothing it around. I recommend these two options that you can choose from, depending on your preference:
Environmental Technology High Gloss Finish
This high gloss finish resin acts like 60 coats of varnish when dry and can be purchased on Amazon. It will offer excellent protection and will behave similarly to a professionally installed countertop. However, it is important to follow its dry time: it needs an initial 8 hours to dry and at least 48 hours to set completely.
Minwax Semi-Gloss One Coat Polyurethane
If you prefer a more traditional polyurethane, you can try this semi-gloss by Miniwax. The formula is still thick and will equal three traditional coats but will dry in about two hours. Depending on your desired level of protection, more than one coat of this product may be required.
One note before applying your sealant: the contrast of colors you have painted will slightly soften once the sealant is applied. Make sure your color contrast is strong enough to endure a bit of the smoothing that will occur.
Follow the instructions carefully with each of the different materials. One common, important factor for all steps of this project is patience. It is necessary to let each material fully dry before moving on to the next.
This is especially true for the final step. Because the sealants are so thick, you must give them their full dry time without interference. Make sure to let it dry completely to have the smooth, shiny, and protective exterior you desire.
Maintain Your Painted Countertops to Maximize the Life
It’s no secret that the kitchen can be one of the busiest places in the house. With hot pans, knives, and chopping to be done, your countertops will certainly endure a lot of activity. Here are some tips to keep in mind to maximize the life of your new countertops.
Take Simple Precautions
By following a few simple practices in the kitchen, you can save your new counters from a lot of unnecessary wear and tear. First, use a cutting board every time you cut your ingredients. This will prevent knives from directly striking your surface and potentially leaving marks.
Second, avoid placing hot pots and pans directly on the surface. By placing these hot objects on some buffer (perhaps a cloth, potholder, or coaster), you are prolonging the life of your countertops through prevention.
Keep Them Clean
It’s important to note here what is appropriate for cleaning these types of surfaces. Only use sponges, clothes, water, soap, and general mild cleaners on your new countertops. Using any harsh, abrasive cleaning pad or detergent (especially ones that contain bleach) can damage the topcoat you worked so hard to create.
Look Out for the Edges and Corners
Keep an eye on the edges and corners of your new countertops. Especially if you have square edges as opposed to rounded ones, they are the most likely area to suffer from some chips. If chips do occur, you can easily touch it up with some paint and seal it once again.
Reseal Them to Restore Shine
If time passes and you start to notice the countertops don’t produce the same sheen they once did, you can quickly correct this by resealing them. Be sure to properly clean them first and apply another layer of topcoat to restore their luster.
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Painted countertops can give your kitchen a fresh look on a budget. It’s a project you can easily complete yourself without needing experience or expertise. You may have hesitated in the past, thinking that they couldn’t possibly stand up to the activity your kitchen sees every day.
However, as we have seen here, by taking care to perform each step correctly and following some basic care guidelines, you can easily maintain that new kitchen looks for years to come.