This post containing FAQs about painting countertops was originally published on my old blog, Designing Dawn, in September of 2015, but since I still get a ton of questions on the project and process, I’m reposting here as well. Enjoy! 🙂
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One of our most popular posts by far has been this tutorial on how I painted my DIY glossy countertops. I painted these back in 2011, and I’ve had a lot of questions about the process as well as how they’ve held up, so I thought it was high-time to write a little 4-year update and also to answer some FAQs about painting the counters.
If you haven’t read that original counter post, you may be a little lost on some of these Q&A’s, so I definitely recommend clicking here for the original tutorial, and you can also click here to see the same technique done in my master bathroom. If you have already read the tutorial, hopefully I can answer some burning questions below, as well as giving you an update on how the counters have held up!
How have they held up? Any issues with wear and tear?
The counter has held up surprisingly well. We refinished them almost exactly 4 years ago, and I didn’t plan on it lasting forever, but so far so good. I have noticed that it has a slightly less glassy look to it now. I attribute this to just getting a tad scratched up from abrasive paper towels or cleaners as I’ve wiped it down several times a day for the past four years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very shiny and looks great in person… just not quite that ‘wet’ look that it had for about the first year after we refinished them. I supposed I could try to buff it to a high shine again, but I honestly don’t even notice it until I look back at the photos from immediately after it was finished, so it’s not a big deal to me at all.
We try to treat it well, not cutting directly on it and not placing hot pots or pans on it. I learned that heat can burn and discolor the resin- which isn’t a real issue if you use dark paint, but on my very light counters it shows a bit yellow in a spot where I held the torch too long during the curing process, so I’ve been extra careful about hot things touching the counter ever since.
The first few weeks, I did notice that heavy decorative items on the counter (like the glass jars we use to hold oatmeal, flour, etc.) left marks or indents, but if I moved them the marks worked themselves out and disappeared. Now though the counter has hardened even more and I rarely notice any dents anymore (we have a clip on high chair that does leave indents if left in place for several days, but again, I move it to a new spot and the indents totally disappear in a few hours). We haven’t had any major cracks or peeling areas. We have had a tiny bit of chipping on one corner where I didn’t get the resin on thick enough (you can see that on the rounded corner in the image below), and a mystery spot where it looks like someone dropped something that gouged the counter. (No one will fess up to that though.) Otherwise it looks almost exactly like the day I painted it!
Here is the photo from the original post showing what the counters looked like when we moved in, and what they looked like after painting:
And here is what the counters look like today:
What would you change?
I don’t think I would change a thing. I’ve been very happy with the look and finish for the past 4 years. For about $120 I got a completely new counter! If I were to make any recommendation I would probably say choose a darker base color. A few places where my hub has accidentally set something hot have shown a slight yellowing to the Envirotex, but I think if the base paint were darker, you wouldn’t notice at all. I love the look of light counters though, so I just have to be careful about hot pans!
Is there any maintenance or special cleaning techniques?
We haven’t done any extra maintenance at all. As far as cleaning, I’ve noticed that the counter does stain fairly easily (again, this may be due to the light paint color we used) and we have had several occasions where juice or sauce sits for too long and leaves a colored area on the counter. I’ve found that I can get out stains like that with a bleach pen and/or a magic eraser.
What colors of paint, and how many boxes of Envirotex did you use?
The base paint color for the counters was Gravity by Valspar (4005-1B) and we used 3 boxes of 32oz Envirotex Lite for our kitchen, which you can buy at Hobby Lobby or online from Amazon. I would recommend buying more than you think need if you can. You’ll want to make sure you get the whole counter finished in one go, and running out to grab more mid-project would not be ideal.
How did you deal with the horizontal surfaces and metal strips?
I get asked this a lot, and honestly it was trial and error. I painted right over the metal strips and you can hardly tell they’re there at all. As for the Envirotex on vertical surfaces, I covered the backsplashes by pouring extra resin near them and using a foam brush to sort of push it up onto the backslash and paint it onto them. For the edges of the counter, I made sure the floor was covered with plastic and let the resin run off the counter tops and, again, painted it on all the edges as best I could. The vertical surfaces were honestly the most difficult part of the process. Because the resin naturally tends to settle with gravity, I’m not sure there is any way to get a truly smooth surface on these areas. I tried to go back and smooth it out a couple times as it dried, but that is tough to do because the Envirotex becomes very sticky. In the end all the vertical surfaces still have a very shiny look, but appear slightly pebbled in finish. It doesn’t bother me, and I honestly never really notice it at all, but if you’re a true perfectionist, you might have trouble with that aspect of this technique.
Here’s a photo that shows the slightly pebbled look of the backsplash, how I painted right over the metal strips in the corner and at the top of the backsplash (I sealed around the top with white caulk) and one spot that I had to fix on the counter after the rest had dried (see below).
Did you have to fix any spots? How did that turn out?
I did touch up the few spots I missed in the initial application, but it didn’t turn out the best. There are raised patches where the fills are. One reader suggested wet-sanding and then polishing to get them all nice and smooth, so I may try that eventually, but they really don’t bother me because they’re in a hidden corner (which I why I missed them in the first place!).
What did you spread the Envirotex with?
We used foam brushes to spread it. I would definitely recommend using something without bristles that could become stuck in the resin, and something you don’t mind throwing away when you’re done. Inexpensive foam brushes worked great.
How did you handle the area around the sink?
I taped off the sink area when applying the Envirotex, then I went back and caulked around it once the resin had dried. That gave me a pretty clean look overall. When we redid the bathroom counter using this same technique (see below), I actually lifted the sink out to apply the resin, and I think that worked much better if you have the option to do it that way.
How did the tape come off?
I took the tape off once we were done spreading the resin and before it cured. I didn’t want it to get stuck once the Envirotex dried, and I didn’t have any issues with removing it.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely! In fact I HAVE done it again. I used the same technique in my guest bathroom with great results, and in my master bathroom when I changed things up and spraypainted the counter first. One thing I learned from the guest bathroom counter though, is not to skip the poly sealer step before applying the Envirotex resin unless you want the paint color to darken. I didn’t use poly on the bathroom counter and the paint color changed unexpectedly when the resin went on. Not sure that would happen with all colors, but just to be safe, I’d recommend sealing your paint job first!
So that’s the update on how the counters are holding up. I hope you’ve found these FAQs about painting countertops helpful. Let me know if I’ve missed anything that you really want to know about the counters, but I hope I’ve answered some questions you might have… and maybe made you brave enough to try this for yourself if you were on the fence. I’ve never regretted it!