How to Turn Your Tile Counter Top in to Faux Sandstone Without Removal

Oh how I hated this counter top! The previous owner had tiled it in white (and did a "not so great" job of tiling) and used GREEN grout! Why green you ask? I have NO clue! But none the less, it had to go! As did those icky green tiles in the back splash. But I didn't want to replace the tile so I opted for a DIY make over instead!
I first super cleaned the entire area, and applied painters tape around the sink and on the wall.
Next came the application of Aqua Stone to the counter top. This is a product sold by Faux Effects (you can get it on line) that is a thick paste-like material. With a gloved hand, I smeared the Aqua Stone over the entire surface including the back splash.
Just prior to the product reaching the "dry" stage, I took a 4" wide plastic scraper and smoothed all bumps and ridges to become more "flat". This technique is commonly called a "knock down" texture. Though the outward surface becomes more smooth, indentations are left to create "texture". I didn't want to have a completely smooth surface since I wanted it to appear like real sandstone.
What I learned from this project is that I had to "re-fill" the grout areas because the product shrunk just a little. Solution: if I had smoothed the Aqua Stone over and in to the grout areas and let it set up first, then applied it over the entire counter top, I would not have had this issue.
The next step was to begin adding color. I first painted the entire counter top with light cream colored acrylic paint. Once dry, I blotted light brown acrylic paint with a brush, here and there over the surface.
Using an old terry towel, I then blotted the paint to blend it.
Once the first color was dry, I dabbed a different tone of light brown paint.
Again, it was blotted to blend. When blotting, don't try to be perfect. You want to see bits of all three colors.
Three coats of clear, non-yellowing polyurethane were applied to seal the new finish. It is not recommended that you place heavy items on to the surface for long periods of time for the first few weeks as they may leave indentations you don't want. The surface needs to completely oxidize to become the rock hard surface you will enjoy.
Years later, the counter top is still as fantastic as the day I did it.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 13 questions
  • Caroline Curtis-Street
    on Apr 27, 2019

    Can I paint over the old laminate on my kitchen and bathroom countertops? What would I use?

    • Victoria Larsen Stencils
      on Apr 27, 2019

      Absolutely! I've done that in two homes now.

      First, clean the counters with vinegar and rinse. Scuff them just a hint with sand paper, then apply two coats of Premium Primer by Zinser (the one in the gold can).

      Once that's dry, simply start sponging three different colors of craft acrylic paint. I used brown, gray and black. Sponge lightly or heavily depending on your tastes (I like trying my technique out on card board first so I know what the finished counter will look like). When you're happy with the sponging, let it dry then mix just a little water with a few drops of black paint. Get an old toothbrush, dip it in the mixture then flick the bristles over the entire counter top (be sure to protect walls and floors!). This will give it that look of real granite.

      Now, give it 4 coats of gloss polycrylic varnish. That will make it shiny and protect it. Here's a photo of how mine came out.

      Hope that helps!


  • Christy
    on Jun 27, 2019

    How long did it need to set between adding more aqua stone and then painting?

  • JoeandSherri Horton
    on Sep 23, 2019

    Would this work for a tiled kitchen counter?

    • Victoria Larsen
      on Sep 24, 2019

      Certainly, tile is tile whether it's in the bathroom or the kitchen so no worries there.

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