How To Paint Bathroom Countertops In 8 Steps

Whether you or someone who likes to paint for the fun of it or you're looking to save money on a contractor, you may find that painting your bathroom countertops can give it a boost of character. If you have never painted a countertop before, or anything for that matter, you may be wondering what method is best to use. Well, you're in luck. We've put together the steps to follow.  

Here are the basic steps to paint bathroom countertops:

  1. Remove all items from the countertops
  2. Remove the countertop
  3. Clean the countertops
  4. Sand the countertops twice
  5. Apply painter's tape
  6. Apply a primer
  7. Paint the countertops
  8. Apply a top coat

Painting your bathroom countertops doesn't have to be a chore. It's also a great way to give your bathroom a completely new look and minimal time and without the need for a paid contractor. Continue reading as we break down how to paint your bathroom countertops step by step.

Contemporary bathroom with brown cabinets, white double sink and towels on countertop, How To Paint Bathroom Countertops In 8 Steps

Steps To Paint Bathroom Countertops

Contemporary bathroom with brown cabinets, white double sink and towels on countertop

Things you'll need:

  • Paint tray
  • Painter's tape
  • Microfiber cloths
  • 4-Inch foam roller (a high-density roller is best)
  • 210- and 310-grit sandpaper
  • Appliance epoxy
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Polyurethane
  • Dust mask
  • Rubber gloves

1. Remove All Items From the Countertops

Remove any personal items from the top of the counter. This includes any soap bars, shampoos, hand soap hair products, etc. Next, lay a drop cloth on the floor around the counter.

2. Remove the Countertops

Many experts will recommend that you remove your countertop. However, in many cases, this simply isn't possible without the help of a contractor. If you are unable to remove your countertop or your faucet, don't worry. You can still paint the countertops without this step.

If you can remove the countertops, make sure to lay down a drop cloth before setting them on the floor, as you don't want to scratch the counters or the floor.

3. Clean the Countertops

Take an all-purpose cleaner and thoroughly clean the countertops. Make sure to scrub in between any crevices and areas around the faucet--these are areas where dirt and debris may accumulate heavily. After you have cleaned the countertops, wipe them down with a damp rag. Next, buff them dry with a dry towel.

See this Mr. Clean all-purpose cleaner on Amazon.

4. Sand the Countertops Twice

Your countertops must be well-sanded before you paint them, as this will allow the paint to adhere perfectly to their smooth surface. Take your orbital sander or 220-grit sanding sheets and scuff up the countertops as much as possible. You want to create a porous surface that is paint-ready. 

Wipe off the countertop periodically using one of your rags or a microfiber cloth. After you wipe down the counter, take your 310-grit sandpaper and sand the countertops again. Wipe off the dust after you sand the countertops for the second time. Afterward, run your hand over the top of them to inspect your work. The countertops should feel clean and smooth.

View these sandpaper sheets set on Amazon.

5. Apply Painter's Tape

Next, take your painter's tape and apply it to the edges of the countertops and around any hardware on the countertops that you don't want to paint.

6. Apply a Primer

Now that you have sanded your countertops, it is time to apply your primer. It may be best to go with a water-based primer, as it will leave a hard surface once it dries, making it perfect for countertops that have heavy traffic.

Apply the primer starting with your paintbrush, and then use your roller if you need to. Make sure to apply the primer using thin and even strokes. Next, take your sandpaper and gently sand the surface after the first coat of primer has dried.

Check out this acrylic primer on Amazon.

7. Paint the Countertop

It's best to use a fine bristle paintbrush when painting your countertops so that you can easily reach in between the cracks and crevices on the countertops. Start by using your brush to cut in around the edges of the countertop. Make sure to apply a thin and even coat. Or, if you are using spray paint on the countertops, be sure to only use a light coat.

Apply 4 or 5 additional coats of paint on the countertops. Be sure to wait for the prior coat to completely dry before applying a follow-up coat. Remember, applying heavy coats of paint will cause the paint to take longer to dry, and it will often result in air bubbles appearing on your finish. On the opposite end, if the paint coats are too thin, you will discover that the finish has a strange texture and swirly marks.

It's always better to start with thin coats and then go up from there. If your countertops are on the larger side, you can also apply the cut-in and initial coats with a paintbrush, and follow up using a roller.

If you are painting countertops for the first time, you may find that there are areas that are more challenging to paint. This is especially true for the area behind the faucet and above the bottom curve of the countertop sink. It may be easier to use a foam brush to gently dab the areas on the back of the countertop and behind the faucet.

You can purchase small one-inch foam brushes from Home Depot or online for about $2. If you notice any bubbles appearing after you apply the paint, try applying a thinner coat. Be sure to do a little life sanding after every one or two coats. Use the 310-grit sandpaper for this.

Check out this Rust-Oleum paint on Amazon.

8. Apply a Top Coat

Applying a quality, resin-based top coat is the key to making your countertop paint job last for a long time-- especially if you don't use a primer. After you have applied your last coat of paint, spray the countertops down with clear polyurethane.

Give the poly a few hours to dry and cure, and then apply another coat. Be sure to do some light sanding before applying the second coat of poly to the countertop. This will help to eliminate bubbles. Let your countertops dry completely for the next 24 hours, and boom, you're all set!

Check the current price for this poly-coat on Amazon.

What kind of paint do you use on countertops?

Contemporary bathroom with brown cabinets, white double sink and towels on countertop

There are no hard-and-fast rules for the type of paint that you can use on your countertops. It really depends on the material of your countertops and your personal preference. Many people often go with water-based paint, as it is easy to clean up, works wonderfully on heavy-use areas, and is fairly odorless.

Check out this acrylic paint on Amazon.

Can you paint countertops with chalk paint?

Yes. You can paint your countertops with chalk paint. However, you want to make sure that you properly prepare the countertops when using chalk paint, as it can flake off within a few days if you don't. Here are a few tips to follow when painting countertops with chalk paint:

  • Chalk paint is very thick. Make sure that you get between every small crevice and line on the countertops. To do this, start your paint job with a small paintbrush and then use a sponge roller to give it full and even coverage. You can also use the paintbrush for the entire paint job.
  • Be sure to seal your countertops with a clear layer of polyurethane and let them dry for at least 2 hours. You can also let them dry overnight as well. Be sure to apply an additional layer once the first coat has dried.
  • If your countertops are made of bare wood, you can apply the chalk paint directly to the surface without applying primer. However, it's helpful to sand the countertops beforehand.
  • Before painting your countertops, be sure to remove any hardware, ornamental pieces, or other items from the countertops that you don't want to paint. If you can't remove these items, place masking tape over them. Once the chalk paint adheres to these items, it can be very difficult to remove.
  • Use thin and short brush strokes when applying the chalk paint to your countertops. If you lay it on too heavily, it will peel off and the finish will look blotchy and uneven.

Can You Paint Over Formica Counters?

Yes, you can paint over Formica countertops. However, it can be a bit time-consuming. Not difficult, but time-consuming. It's best to do a thorough prep job, or you may have issues with the paint not binding properly and ultimately peeling.

You'll want to use a bonding acrylic-based primer to help the paint stick to the slick surface of the material. This way you are sure to achieve finished results that last for years on in.

Here are a few quick tips to consider when painting Formica countertops:

  • It's recommended that you use a bonding primer when painting Formica, as the surface is extremely smooth. You can apply the primer using a foam roller or a brush.
  • Before painting your countertops, be sure to open up a window and place a portable fan in the room as possible. Bonding primer can be particularly strong, and if you combine it with the paint and the dust particles from sanding you'll create a whirlwind of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
  • Be sure to use a dust mask before starting this project.

How do you seal painted countertops?

You can seal your painted countertops in a matter of minutes. Continue reading to learn more about the tools you'll need and the steps to do so.

Things you'll need:

  • 320-Grit sandpaper
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Tacky cloth
  • 4-Inch paintbrush
  • Clean and Clear the countertops

If you have just painted your countertops, they should already be free of dirt, grime, and personal items. However, if you are sealing countertops that have not been recently painted, be sure to thoroughly clean them first. This means removing any personal items from them as well as getting rid of any dirt or grime that they may harbor. You can use an all-purpose cleaner or a degreaser for this task.

1. Apply Painter's Tape

Take your painter's tape and apply it to any areas or around hardware that you don't want to paint accidentally.

Check out this painter's tape on Amazon.

2. Sand the countertops

Take your orbital sander or your sanding sheets and lightly sand the surface of your countertops. Not only will this smooth out any snags that you may have missed during your paint job, but it will also help the sealer to stick to the surface better. After sanding the countertop, take your tacky cloth and wipe it down to remove any dust and residue.

3. Apply The Sealer

Take your paintbrush and apply a thin layer of poly to the countertop--if you aren't using a spray-on poly. Allow the poly to dry for the recommended time according to the manufacturer's instructions, and then apply a second coat. Apply up to 4 or 5 additional coats. Allow the countertop to dry 24 to 48 hours before touching it again. This will help you to avoid accidentally smudging it.

Can you paint faux marble countertops?

Yes, you can paint them. Cultured marble countertops are typically made with plastic resin or fiberglass. This means that you can paint over the surface if you want to change the color of your countertops. For optimal results, it's best to thoroughly sand their surface beforehand.

Wrapping Things Up

As you can see, painting your countertops is a pretty easy DIY project to take on. Now that you know the layout of the process, you should be able to get your countertops painted in just a few hours.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

How To Paint A Roll Up Garage Door [9 Simple Steps]

Can You Paint Laminate Furniture?

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