Painting kitchen countertops is an excellent way to transform the look of your kitchen without investing in expensive new countertop materials. It offers a fast and affordable option to upgrade cabinets and revive a dull or dated space. With the right prep work and painting techniques, you can create a fresh new countertop surface with professional results.

In this complete guide, we cover everything you need to know to successfully paint your kitchen counters and achieve a beautiful, long-lasting finish. We’ll discuss proper cleaning and preparation, top paint and primer options, specialty painting tools, application techniques, sealing the finish, and tips for troubleshooting problems. With the help of this guide, you can gain the knowledge and confidence to tackle a kitchen countertop painting project. Let’s get started!

Benefits of Painting Kitchen Countertops

Before we dive into the how-to, let’s look at some of the great benefits of painting your kitchen countertops:

  • Cost savings – Painting is exponentially cheaper than replacement. You can revive counters for less than $100 in supplies.
  • Quick project – Prepping and painting counters takes 2-3 days total. Much faster than waiting weeks for new countertop installation.
  • Easy upgrades – You can switch colors whenever you want without huge expenses. Great for updating seasonal looks.
  • Cover damage – Paint adheres well to laminate and hides stains, scratches, burns, and marks.
  • Creativity – Paint opens up endless color options not available with replacement materials. Get creative with patterns, textures, and paint techniques.
  • Adds value – A fresh painted surface makes the entire kitchen look new again. Great for increasing home value before selling.

Painting the countertops is an easy DIY project with the right approach. The key is proper prep work and using specialty painting products designed for high-traffic surfaces. Let’s look at how to ensure success.

Preparing Your Countertops for Painting

Proper prep work is crucial for getting a smooth, long-lasting painted finish on countertops. Here are the key steps:


The surface must be squeaky clean before anything else. Give counters a good wash with an abrasive cleaner or degreaser to remove built-up grime, oil residue, waxes, etc. Heavy-duty cleansers like Comet or a mix of TSP and water work very well to cut through grease.

Use a soft plastic scrub pad or scrub brush to agitate and remove stubborn spots or stains after letting cleaner sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse well and allow to fully dry. Address any remaining sticky spots with alcohol or acetone applied to a rag.

Remove all items from the counters and thoroughly clean the walls and backsplash around the workspace too. This prevents dust and grime from settling on newly painted surfaces.


Lightly sanding the existing countertop gives the paint something to adhere to. Use 150-220 grit sandpaper to scuff up the surface. Just a quick pass over to create some tooth is adequate.

Tape off the edges along the wall and any adjacent cabinets or appliances to keep sanding dust contained. Wipe down with a dry rag afterwards.


Primer creates a uniform porous surface for the paint to bond to. Use a high-adhesion primer specifically made for laminate, such as Giani’s Countertop Transformation Primer. Apply a thin coat using a small foam roller. Let the primer dry completely according to manufacturer directions before painting.


Fill any cracks, gaps, or seams with caulk after priming. Smooth the caulk completely flush with the surrounding surface. Once dry, you can lightly sand any caulk ridges if needed before painting.


Use painter’s tape to mask off the edges and any hard-to-paint areas like the lip of a sink. Remove tape as soon as the final coat of paint has dried. Leaving tape on too long can cause the paint to peel up when removed.

Choosing the Right Paint and Supplies

Painting kitchen countertops requires specialty paints and tools to withstand heat, moisture, impact, and everyday wear and tear. Here’s an overview of what you need:


A high-quality, durable acrylic latex paint is best for adhering to laminate countertops. Look for kitchen and bath paints like Giani’s Countertop Paint Kit. The thick formula resists chipping, fading, and common kitchen stains.

Semi-gloss or gloss sheens offer the most durable finish. Make sure the paint is non-toxic and VOC-free. You can find paint formulated for countertops at most hardware stores.

Rollers and brushes

A good quality mini foam roller gives the smoothest finish. It evenly distributes the paint without leaving distinct brush strokes. Use a small trim or tapered brush for cutting in corners and edges.

Adhesion promoter

Adding a bonding agent like XIM 360o Adhesion Promoter helps the paint cling tightly. Stir a small amount into the topcoat paint according to package directions.


Protect the painted finish with a water-based polyurethane sealant. Multiple thin coats prevent moisture penetration and add extra durability. Giani Countertop Sealer offers maximum protection.

Drop cloths

Protect surrounding surfaces from drips and splatters with plastic drop cloths or an inexpensive shower curtain liner. Tape down the edges.

Step-By-Step Painting Process

Once you have prepped the surface and gathered your supplies, you’re ready to start painting. Follow these steps closely for best results:

1. Apply base coat

Use a mini foam roller to apply the first coat evenly across the entire surface, including edges and sides. Roll in different directions to cover completely. Let the base coat dry fully before moving to step 2.

2. Second coat

For maximum durability, apply a second coat just like the first across the full counter. Let dry fully before continuing.

3. Detail work

Use a small angled paintbrush to carefully paint around faucets, sink edges, appliance corners, and any tight areas. Blend evenly.

4. Optional step

At this point, you can add any additional decorative details if desired, like freehand shapes or patterns. Let dry fully before sealing.

5. Sealing

Roll on two coats of sealing topcoat per manufacturer instructions, letting dry in between. This gives a protective finish that lets you wipe up spills easily.

6. Replace items

Allow the paint to cure for several days before placing items back on the counters. Avoid abrasive pots and pans at first to prevent scratching.

Common Questions About Painting Countertops

Many first-timers have additional questions about the process. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What types of countertops can be painted?

Paint adheres well to most solid surfaces including laminate, cultured marble, tile, concrete, wood, and more. It doesn’t work as well on porous natural stone that absorbs paint unevenly. Always test first.

Does the paint hold up over time?

Yes, when using the right kitchen-grade paint and clear sealer, the finish remains intact for many years. Follow all product instructions for long-lasting durability.

Can I paint over an existing backsplash?

It is possible to paint ceramic tile, but the grout lines often show through. It’s best to remove the tile and replace with new coordinating tile after painting the countertops.

How do I avoid brush strokes in the finish?

Use a short nap foam roller instead of a brush whenever possible. Roll slowly and evenly while slightly overlapping passes. Finish the entire counter before stopping to prevent lap marks at intersections.

What’s the best way to prep tile countertops?

Glazed tile needs to be sanded thoroughly with 100-grit paper to rough up the surface so paint can adhere. Clean extremely well and apply bonding primer before painting.

Should I paint the countertop underside?

Yes, for longevity, paint the underside edges and surface to seal entirely. Use a small foam brush to reach tight corners. Let dry completely before flipping upright.

Troubleshooting Common Painting Problems

Painting counter surfaces does take some finesse. Here are solutions to a few of the most common problems:

Brush stroke marks – Roll paint on slowly with light pressure and smooth passes. If marks occur, lightly sand and reapply another coat.

Paint chipping or peeling – Ensure you cleaned and sanded the surface thoroughly before priming. Always use primer and paint designed for high-traffic surfaces.

Bubbles in finish – Bubbles mean there is contamination interfering with adhesion. Wipe area with denatured alcohol, let dry fully, then recoat.

Yellowing over time – Certain lower-quality paints can yellow with age and sun exposure. Use a bleaching cleaner and 220-grit sandpaper to restore.

Streaks – Overlap roller passes to evenly blend. Work in small sections and maintain a wet edge. Streaks mean paint is drying too fast.

Cracking or crazing – If the paint cracks, the surface was not properly primed. Sand down any cracks, clean, prime and repaint.

Proper surface prep is key to avoiding most of these finish flaws. Carefully following all paint and primer directions also minimizes issues. Taking your time leads to the best looking DIY painted countertop.

Transform Your Kitchen With Painted Counters

Painting the countertops is an easy, affordable way to rejuvenate your entire kitchen. With the right prep work and application techniques, even first-timers can achieve smooth, flawless results. There are so many gorgeous paint colors to explore beyond basic white and black.

Revive dull laminate, update dated tile, or give vintage counters a fresh look again. Painting allows you to reimagine your kitchen simply and inexpensively. With this complete guide, you have all the information needed to take on a countertop painting project with confidence. Soon you can enjoy renewed counters that bring new life into your home.