Granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops, but over the years, it may begin to look worn. Some homeowners opt to paint the surface over the expense of replacing it. Granite is a solid material that holds up for years. It establishes a solid base, but if it’s not as beautiful as when it was first installed, or if the owner gets tired and wants a change, painting is an option. It’s not as simple as one might think, however. Not just any paint will adhere to the surface. There are a few tricks involved in painting granite if you want to achieve a lasting finish. We offer a complete guide on how to paint granite to help you through the steps to reach your goals.
Can you even paint granite?
Home Stratosphere advises that you absolutely can paint granite. When countertops, backsplashes, coffee bars, or fireplace surroundings need a new look, painting is the less expensive option to replace, but it’s not a simple task. Before you commit to the job, it’s essential to understand that painting granite requires a lot of additional prep work to make sure that the paint will stick. If you have the time to invest, it’s a straightforward process that involves multiple steps, but in the end, it will be worth the effort and save you money. You can paint granite and it will turn out beautifully if you follow each step carefully and avoid taking shortcuts.
What steps are involved in painting granite?
There are a few things that need to be done before you start your project. The first step is to determine what kind of finish you desire in your finished project. You can find granite painting kits, or buy the supplies you need to achieve certain effects. Do you want a single color surface or are you going for a marbled appearance? The marbled look will take a little more time and effort to accomplish, but it is doable. You can maintain the granite look with a different color scheme as well. After you’ve decided what look and texture you want, it’s time to start buying the tools and supplies that you’ll need to complete the project. this is a job that can be completed in a day if you have all day to spend. There will be waiting periods for the surfaces to adequately dry in between the steps, so you may want to dedicate two days of your time to the project to avoid taking shortcuts.
Gather your tools and supplies
You will need to have 600 grit sandpaper and a sanding block to sand the granite to a rough surface. Roughing the surface helps the primer and paint to adhere better. You will also need a mild detergent, sponges with abrasive scrubbing pads, 2-inch foam brushes, a bucket for the cleaning solution, Kilz primer, paint, and sealer. You’ll also need brushes, a paint roller, and refills, to apply the primer, paint, and sealer. You will also need painter’s tape, rubber gloves, scissors, a utility knife, clear caulk, and paint trays. Throw in a thin-tipped artist’s paintbrush for getting in small crevices.
Granite countertops need a lot of prep work. Start by sanding the entire area to be painted. It’s best to use medium-grit sandpaper and a sanding block. You may also use a power sander to make the job go faster, but be careful not to go too deep or create an uneven surface. It takes a lot of concentration to rough the surface without making grooves or indentations. Kitchen Seer also recommends removing any old caulking during this process. Use the utility knife to complete this process and scrape away all remnants of the old caulk. After you’ve created a rough surface by sanding, the material needs to be scrubbed clean. After you’ve finished sanding and scrubbing, clean up the surrounding area to remove all debris so it doesn’t drift into the paint and contaminate the surface of the granite. Tiny granite particles can become airborne and land on painted surfaces, ruining your paint job, so it’s vital to work in a clean environment that is free of debris. Allow the freshly cleaned granite surfaces to air dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Tape adjacent surfaces
Apply painter’s tape around the outside portions of the granite you plan to paint. The tape should be placed up to the surface of the granite to protect walls and floors that you don’t want to get paint on. Painter’s tape is easy to work with, but it must be applied firmly and pressed down to prevent paint leaks from getting on the adjacent wall and floor surfaces. It will pull off easily once the painting project is completed. In addition to taping, you may also wish to put down a plastic drop cloth or newspapers to catch any paint splatters that may happen during painting. It makes the cleanup go faster with less effort. You can also tape plastic or newspapers to nearby cabinets if they’re close to the surfaces to be painted for extra protection.
Primer the surface
When the surface of the granite is dry, it’s time to apply a coat of primer. The primer helps the paint to better adhere to the surface and it prevents chipping or peeling of the paint, which is a common problem when painting granite surfaces. You can reduce the chance of future damage by doing a thorough prep job. You may use the primer as it comes in white, or have it tinted to match the color of the finished project. It’s best to start at the backside of the counter, then work your way forward. You can use a paint roller to cover larger portions of the surface faster, but make sure that you get even coverage. Use long strokes with the roller to apply the primer. Roll in the same direction throughout the entire painting process. Use the foam brush to get into tight areas for good coverage and saturation. Allow the primer to dry for at least eight hours before moving to the painting step.
Painting the surface of the prepared granite
There are two ways to paint the surface of the granite once you have prepared the surface and allowed the primer to dry. Now you’re at the point of no return and getting ready to lay down the paint colors that will be with you for years to come. The best methods to use depend on the type of finish you’ve chosen. We’ve included the steps for achieving a solid color, and for a marble finish, and separated them. We start with the solid color first. If you’ve elected for the marbled finish, skip over the first set of steps and move on to the section for painting a marbled finish.
Painting a solid color
Choose a paint that is either latex, acrylic, or epoxy. These paints are the most durable for painting granite. With the proper preparation and sealant, any of these types will hold up well over time. Acrylic paint is best for granite exposed to excessive amounts of heat, such as a fireplace or kitchen counters, or near water sources, in bathrooms. It is the most durable and resilient choice. The best method for applying a solid color to granite is to use a roller. Start at the backend of the countertop or other surface and work your way forward. Keep the strokes unidirectional and long for the best results. Use plenty of paint but avoid leaving paint lines. Go over the surface a few times until you have achieved a uniform coverage that has a clean and even appearance. Use the foam brushes to get into any tight places to ensure that all parts of the granite surface are covered. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly. If necessary, go over it with a second coat to ensure that you get the finish you desire. It’s essential to wait for the first coat to dry completely to avoid making flaws in the surface. Latex is the fastest drying of the three recommended paint types. After a few hours, test the area. If it is still tacky, allow it to continue to air dry. You may turn on exhaust fans or use a small fan to help speed the drying process. It’s not wise to open a window because of the risk of debris blowing in on your wet paint surfaces.
Seal the painted surface
The last step in the process is sealing the painted surface. Sealers are useful for preventing stains, scratches, and scuff marks. It’s best to use a masonry sealer when working with granite surfaces. The sealer will also help prevent the development of mold or mildew. The sealant is applied after the paint has dried completely. Apply the sealer with a roller. You can also use a brush, but make sure that you don’t leave streaks. Get into all the hard-to-reach places to ensure that every part of the painted surface is covered evenly. Start at the back and work your way forward. Use plenty of sealer on the surface. Allow the sealer to dry completely before touching the surface or placing any items on it. It usually takes about 24 hours for most sealants to dry. Refer to the label on the can for precise drying times as they may vary from one brand to another. After the sealer dries completely, you’re ready to remove the painter’s tape and use the surfaces as you would normally. Apply clear caulking to replace the old caulk you removed and allow it to dry completely.
Painting a marbled surface
It’s best to purchase a DIY marbling kit for this step. The kit comes with everything you need to achieve a beautiful marbled surface on granite. After completing all the steps to the primer stage, cut the sponge in the paint kit, place it in cool water and wring it out until it is damp. Cut the sponge with the scissors to 1-inch wide and 3 inches long. The sponge gets into tight corners in 2-inch sizes. The 3-inch piece is for doing larger sections.
Apply mineral paint
Use a medium-sized sponge found in the kit. Use the practice sheet with a paint tray to practice your technique before going live. Use dabbing motions and place them randomly until you get the method down for the design you want on the countertop. Apply the first coat of mineral paint to the surface, creating different patterns of your choosing. There is no need to wait for drying. Apply a second coat of mineral paint using the second paint shade. Use the same methods, dabbing the sponge in patterns that create the appearance of granite. Move to the third coat of mineral paint, applying the third shade in the kit. Use the same methods and apply it randomly, dabbing the surface. If the shades blend slightly or overlap, it’s perfectly okay. It creates a realistic aesthetic.
Create the veins
Use the artist’s paintbrush and the appropriate paint color to create the appearance of veins with the lighter colors. After completing the vein placement, let the countertop dry for four hours.
Sand the painted areas
The next step is to use 600 grit sandpaper and gently sand the painted areas to remove uneven surfaces. You create a slightly rougher surface that helps the topcoat adhere better. After sanding, clean away the dust. Apply light pressure only.
Apply the topcoat
Use a foam brush to apply a coat of clear topcoat to the finished surface. The first layer should be light in the tight spots first. Use a different roller for the larger surface areas. Topcoat dries fast, so work quickly to cover the entire surface. Allow four hours for the first layer to dry, then give the surface a second light sanding. Wipe away the dust with a damp cloth. Apply the second layer of topcoat, starting at the back and moving toward the front, with the same methods. Apply even strokes for even coverage and remove any lap lines for a smooth coating. Allow the top coat to dry completely, then remove the painter’s tape. You may wish to score the painter’s tape with your utility knife. It can help to avoid pulling any paint loose.
Apply a new layer of clear caulking around the areas where you removed the old caulk in a continuous bead around the seam. Be prepared for the marbled paint project to take a full 14 days to dry completely and cure. Avoid placing heavy objects on the surface until it has had this long to set.