Faux Marble Countertop & Mistakes to AVOID!
With a little ~** bippity boppity boop **~, our countertops went from laminate to marble!
Well... I wish it went like that. Let me show you how to paint your countertops and how to AVOID the mistakes I made!
Before photo & supplies needed
Here's what our countertop originally looked like. I really like the white base and sink, but the colour of the counter wasn't my favourite. Also, let's replace that lightbulb!
Here are the supplies you will need:
- White tub & tile spray paint
- White and black (or 2 shades of grey) paint
- Water-based Varathane
- White bathroom & kitchen caulking
Tools for this project:
- Palm sander
- 2 feathers (I got mine from the chicken coop!)
- Dry paint brush
- Makeup or painting sponges
Here was my 1st mistake:
I read so many blog posts of ladies successfully redoing their counters with contact paper and I was hopeful I could do the same. I purchased this roll at Home Depot and spent at least an hour trying to get this to work. When I finally had the first strip down and stuck to the counter, it ripped with the slightest bump from my ring. I figured I would just take the loss on this one... it was a cheap enough trial and error!
Option 2: Painting the counter
These are the products I used to successfully paint our counter!
- Tub & tile spray (or regular) paint in white
- A black and white paint to make grey (or just a light and dark grey paint)
- Water-based clear Varathane
A product to NOT use:
- Oil-based clear Varathane- this will dry yellow and ruin all your hard work!
Clean & sand
Give your counters a good clean and when dry, a light sand. I'm using a 100 grit sandpaper here and went over the whole counter, trying to dull down the shine a bit.
I used a wire brush attachment here to get in the corners and spots the palm sander couldn't reach.
Base coat paint
Tape off your sink and walls and take out the Tub & Tile spray paint.
I did 3 thin coats to get the old colour completely covered. This paint dries fairly quickly, so I waited about 1 to 2 hours between each coat.
This is the counter after 2 of the 3 coats of white.
Mix together the black and white paint to make 2 shades of grey- 1 being very light and the other a little bit darker.
Spray leftover white paint (base colour) on another plate. In this case, I just ran out of spray paint but the white paint I used for mixing was the exact same colour. This is to blend out the veining and will match the base colour.
Marble veining- a demonstration
Generally, marble veining runs in the same direction across the slab. Think about where you want the veins to be and in which direction. I opted for less veining because I was nervous it wouldn't look very good and if I had to paint it over, there wouldn't be too much to cover.
- Using your feather dipped in the light grey paint, gently drag it across the counter, swirling in your fingers. This will give it a random cracking look.
- Use another feather in the darker grey and go over the same line, but with a few less strokes.
- Take a dry bush and gently stroke the paint in one direction. Be sure to use this same direction across the whole counter- this gives it a consistent look of how the stone would've been "cut".
- Dab a sponge in a bit of water to give some spots a water colour affect if it looks too harsh.
- Dab another sponge in the white paint to fade out the veining. Continue to do this until you've achieved the look you like.
Here's what the counter looked like after the veining was done. I let this sit for 24 hours to completely dry before putting on the top coat.
Here was my 2nd mistake:
I had a can of oil-based Varathane in the garage and thought I would use this as a top coat before buying another product. DO NOT USE THIS! After a super thin coat of this product and letting it dry for 24 hours, it started to YELLOW! I couldn't believe such a small amount would completely discolour the counter. It wasn't too horribly yellow though, and I thought that I could still salvage my work and use another product for the next few layers of top coats.
...and my 3rd mistake:
I went out and bought a can of clear coat spray paint to finish the job. The oil-based Varathane was dry to the touch and had been at least 24 hours since I put it on. I started spraying this clear paint all over the counter when it started to bubble! I could have cried... I thought maybe it was some sort of chemical reaction between the products? I'm not a chemist, so how should I know?! It was obvious that the areas that has a thicker layer of the oil-based Varathane were bubbling more, which was around the edges and sink. I was going to let this disaster dry and considered stripping it and starting over. My husband suggested giving the bubbled areas a sand first and seeing if that might take a bit of it off. That was a great idea and did help, so I didn't have to start all over again! I couldn't get all of it off without starting to sand down the actual paint, so there are a few spots that have a bubbly look to them. To fix this, I just dabbed on more white paint, touched up the veining, and let it dry out again.
The final top coat & caulking
While recovering from the PTSD of all that, I did some research. Turns out that oil-based Varathane takes a lot longer than 24 hours to dry, even if it feels dry to the touch. When I sprayed on the second clear coat, it made it all ''wet" again. I'm not sure if there's a proper term for this, or if its just called a lack of patience.
This counter got a good time-out of about a week before I put the final and proper top coat on. I picked up a small can of water-based Varathane (which DOES NOT yellow over time). This product also dries quicker than the oil-based one, but I still gave each of the 3 coats a few days to dry.
Our counter needed some fresh caulking, so I went around the sink and counter with a white bathroom & kitchen caulking to finish the project off.
As you can see, there's a bit of yellowing, but it's okay with me. This is just our upstairs bathroom that most people won't see.
Avoid the mistakes I made and this project could be easy-peasy!
Enjoy your new fancy marble countertop!
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