Stone Coat Countertops (epoxy!)
There’s tons of info out there on countertop epoxy, but when I decided this was something I wanted to do in our kitchen as a much more cost effective alternative to real stone, I struggled to find an exact tutorial for the subtle marble look we wanted as many tutorials are bright colors or had a lot going on, so I hope this helps someone else looking for the same thing!
We we’re looking at a cost of almost $3000 to replace our counters with marble but this isn’t our forever home so I took to google and found “Stone Coat Countertops” and figured I’d be the Guinea pig for all of you wanting to do this! This project cost $300 and according to the company and thousands of reviews, it will last for years.
I learnt A LOT during the process and this is a lengthy tutorial to explain everything so you don’t need to make the mistakes that I did. So stick with me if you’re thinking of epoxy as a countertop refresh.
If you keep up on my Instagram you’ll know I’ve done a couple different things to my countertops in the last 4 years. The first was an Amazon countertop kit from Givani which was very fake looking and then I tried the trend that swept us last year of marble contact paper which I don’t recommend either. So to start with, I had to remove the contact paper and then strip the old paint.
Once the surface is clean and wiped with mineral spirits you need to prepare your area super well to ensure everything is covered and sealed as this gets very messy. I worked in 2 sections over 2 weekends so that I still had a kitchen surface available to prepare food each week since the epoxy has to cure before light use is allowed.
Then sand your counters a little to rough them up and give the next step something to grab onto. Make sure you get all the dust off once done with a tack cloth or damp paper towels and prime your surface with a bonding primer.
Once the bonding primer has dried you can prime again with Behr paint and primer in one, I just used the white it comes in, I didn’t tint it.
I incorporated some metallics and color powders so I mixed my epoxy ratio 1:1 based on 3oz of epoxy per sqft then distributed it between smaller cups and added a powder to each individually and mixed well. Here is where I got my first lesson, mix a little more than that to ensure you’ve got a good amount to work with when it starts flowing, I did struggle getting it to flow over the ends effectively on my first piece.
Then pour the smaller cups back into the big tub in a random sequence, spraying your spray paints in between every couple. You don’t need to do it this way, you can choose to just mix your epoxy together and add the initial base color of white and then pour straight to your surface and add color in as you go but I wanted to get the glitters distributed evenly throughout the whole thing rather than sprinkling on as I went.
Roll the edges of your countertop with some mixed epoxy and a foam roller to get an initial coat which will help the pour glide over the sides evenly. I didn’t do this on the first piece, and it didn’t come out as good as the second time when I rolled first.
Then I poured all of my mixed epoxy over the middle of the first counter, staying away from the edges. Then take your 1/8th square notch trowel and spread the material. At this point it will look awful because you’ll see all the trowel marks in the pattern but that’s why we take a clean paint brush and start “chopping” the surface. This breaks the surface tension and starts melding the colors together and because of the way I mixed the colors first before pouring it already halfway looked like I wanted it to!
To get veins you can spray paint onto a piece of cardboard and then use your brush to chop it into the surface of the epoxy. The darker greys are from where I did this with silver spray paint, and the main white vein that runs through the middle was created as I poured the epoxy out.
As you continue chopping your colors, just be sure to be very random rather than moving methodically left to right or up and down, this will make it look more natural. You can also use a heat gun to further mellow the colors together where you feel it needs it.
Once you’re happy, you need to run a blow torch over the surface which removes all of the bubbles, then come back in 10 minutes and do it again. Repeat this step so that you’ll torch it a total of 3 times. Then, DON’T TOUCH IT. Just back away and let it do it’s thing. It will stretch and run for hours, pulling your design out slightly which all just adds to the natural flow of stone. After around 2 hours you can return and wipe the drips underneath with a wooden paint stick before they get too hard.
I will tell you, that no matter how much you clean, wrap and cover your work area you will end up with lint in the epoxy. I was fighting against two cats running around with a case of the zoomies so I got a few hairs in it too. What I did for these hairs was pluck them out with a pair of tweezers and then blast the blow torch on the area for a second until it smoothes again.
Remove any tape that is physically stuck in the epoxy underneath otherwise it will set in there and remain forever. I did a double layer of prep so I removed my top layer before I went to bed as that was covered in runs and drips, leaving my clean layer below to catch any extra drips that happen.
You can choose to do a second flood coat of totally clear epoxy which is recommended if you add your glitters and sprays after pouring to the counter but I premixed since I knew I wouldn’t have enough product left to do a second flood coat and my first coat is pretty thick so it’s not necessary. I can always go back in later if I decide to buy more product.
Remove the rest of your plastic in the morning when the epoxy has really started to set. Lint can no longer stick in it at this point you just can’t touch it or put anything on it as you’ll indent it.
Let it set for 5 days before light use. It will continue to cure for 30 days, after which you can put your countertop appliances like toaster or a kettle on it.
you absolutely can do this! It takes time and a lot of patience but now that it’s finished it’s worth every penny and I am thoroughly impressed.
It really does look like marble and will easily fool your visitors into thinking so. It feels very substantial also, it’s been curing for a week and I cannot even mark it. I tried a fork on an inconspicuous area as an experiment and nope, no marks!
please note that the additives are not correct on the materials list (I have no control over that), but the correct additives are available from stone coat countertops and I used diamond dust, bright silver powder, pearl metallic powder, white metallic powder, alumidust light yellow and alumilite white dye. the drill attachment is also incorrect, you need a helix paint mixer (looks like a propeller).