Painting countertops can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom by providing an easy and affordable makeover. With the right preparation and materials, you can paint countertops—including quartz—to get an updated, custom look. Here’s how to paint countertops, plus what you need to know about painting quartz specifically.
Should You Paint Your Countertops?
Painting can rejuvenate old, dated countertops or give inexpensive new countertops a fresh, high-end look. The process is budget-friendly and achieves results fast compared to replacing countertops entirely.
- Inexpensive way to update the look of countertops
- Wide range of paint colors and finishes available
- Faster and easier than replacing countertops
- Can cover flaws, damage, or discoloration
- Doesn’t last as long as new countertops
- Doesn’t work well for high-use areas
- Dark colors show scratches more
- Risk of visible brush strokes in finish
Paint is best for low-to-medium use areas or for temporary makeovers. It may not stand up to heavy daily use or last as long as new countertops. Make sure painting is a good option for your space and needs.
What Kind of Paint Adheres to Countertops?
Choosing the right countertop paint is crucial for proper adhesion and durability. Specialty countertop paints are formulated to stick to slick, non-porous surfaces like quartz and laminate.
Look for these key features when selecting countertop paint:
- Designed specifically for countertops
- Bonds to glossy, non-porous materials
- Contains adhesive primer for extra grip
- Provides a durable, water-resistant finish
- Available in various sheens like matte or gloss
Avoid latex wall paints—they won’t adhere well. Epoxy paint kits provide extra protection for heavily used counters.
How to Prepare Countertops for Painting
Proper prep work helps paint properly adhere to countertops. Here are the key steps:
- Clean surfaces: Use soap and water or degreaser to remove dirt, grease, wax and cleaning product residue.
- Sand for adhesion: Lightly scuff glossy surfaces with 120-150 grit sandpaper. Avoid polishing compounds.
- Fill any holes/gaps: Use caulk to fill cracks, seams and laminate joints.
- Remove hardware: Take off sink, faucet and any attached accessories.
- Tape off edges: Use painters tape to mask off walls, cabinets and borders.
- Cover surroundings: Lay drop cloths to protect floors and other surfaces.
Thorough prep removes any barriers between the paint and countertop material for optimal adhesion.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Painting Countertops
Follow these key steps for a smooth, even painted finish:
1. Apply Primer
Use a thin, even layer of specialty countertop primer. Allow to fully dry per product directions. Primer enhances paint adhesion.
2. Sand Primed Surface
Gently sand the primer coat with fine 220 grit sandpaper to help the topcoat bind. Remove dust.
3. Paint Countertops
Apply two thin, even coats of countertop paint using a small foam roller and angled brush. Allow each coat to dry completely before adding another.
4. Seal with Protective Clear Coat
Once paint is fully cured, apply one or two coats of clear acrylic sealer for added protection.
5. Reinstall Hardware
Screw sink, faucet and other accessories back into place through the painted surface. Avoid overtightening.
Work in sections for easier application and to prevent lap marks. Maintain a wet edge and move quickly to spread paint evenly.
Tips for a Smooth Painted Countertop Finish
Follow these tips for the best looking, most durable painted countertop finish:
- Work in a dust-free space with adequate ventilation
- Avoid painting in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces
- Apply thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat
- Always follow product dry times between coats
- Overlap edges slightly for an even appearance
- Finish with protective sealer for easier cleaning
- Use mild cleaners and avoid abrasive pads to prevent wear
Patience leads to the best results. Allowing proper dry times creates a hard, sleek finish.
Can You Paint Quartz Countertops?
Quartz counters are non-porous, making them a great candidate for painting. However, the slick surface requires extra prep work for paint to properly bond. Here’s how to paint quartz:
- Clean and scuff the quartz with 150 grit sandpaper
- Apply a hydroxymethyl cellulose-based primer to help paint grip
- Allow primer to fully cure per manufacturer’s directions
- Lightly sand primed surface and remove dust
- Apply specialty countertop paint in thin, even coats
- Allow paint to fully cure 2-3 days before use
- Seal painted quartz with water-based polyurethane for protection
Quartz lacks pores for paint to key into. Primer, light sanding, and curing times are essential for creating a durable bond that won’t easily scratch or chip.
Maintaining Painted Quartz Countertops
Painted quartz requires some maintenance to look its best. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads that can wear down the finish. Instead:
- Use mild soap and water for daily cleaning
- Blot spills quickly to avoid staining
- Reseal occasionally with clear polyurethane
- Hand wash only—no running dishwasher cycles
- Use cutting boards and hot pads rather than directly cutting on surface
- Apply wax occasionally for added protection
- Touch up paint chips quickly to prevent moisture damage
With proper care, painted quartz can look freshly updated for years before needing to re-paint.
FAQs About Painting Countertops
Should I paint my granite, marble, or concrete countertops?
Painting natural stone or concrete counters is not usually recommended. These porous surfaces require different preparation and specialized paints to avoid trapping moisture beneath the paint.
Can I paint my tile countertops?
Yes, tile countertops can be painted but the grout lines may show through the paint. Using a grout pen first can help prevent this. Be sure to use paint formulated for slick, non-porous tile.
Do I need to seal my painted countertops?
Sealing painted counters with a clear acrylic sealer or polyurethane adds protection against scratches, stains, and moisture. This helps maintain the finish.
How long does painted countertop paint last?
With proper prep and application, painted counters can last 3-5 years or more before needing touch ups or re-painting. High-use areas may show wear sooner.
Should I hire a professional or can I paint my countertops myself?
With patience and attention to detail, painting countertops is a DIY-friendly project. No special skills are required, just proper materials and preparation.
Painting offers an easy, affordable way to give countertops an updated, high-end look without the cost of replacement. With the right paint and prep, even quartz counters can be painted for a fresh, custom finish. Pay attention to preparing the surface, applying thin even coats, and curing times for a durable, long-lasting painted finish that saves you money over new countertops.