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Hi all! I’m back again to share the details of my DIY paint and epoxy resin countertops with you! Since moving into this house 8 years ago, I have hated the look of my kitchen. It has always had the brown faux granite look. I always knew that I wanted a different color but after pricing quartz countertops at $6500 for my small kitchen, decided against replacing it. I was at a party at my friend’s house last summer and noticed that their countertops were painted. After talking to them about it, the only real problem that they had was the sealer. The previous owners that painted it didn’t remove the sink during prep. The sealer around the sink didn’t last and started chipping away. I loved the look of the countertops, and the price of painting kits, but didn’t want to use the sealer that comes with it. After some research, I found Stone Coat Countertops Epoxy Resin. It is a bit more pricey than other epoxy resins, but looked like it was worth it. And so, the plan was formed. After accidentally leaving a permanent stain on my counters from sanitization solution, I decided there was no time like the present.
- Orbital sander with 120 grit paper
- Router with 1/8th-ince roundover bit
- plastic putty knife (disposable)
- rags to clean
- painters tape
- primer (I used Giani marble step 1 white primer)
- small paint roller with extra foam rollers (I used five)
- at least 3 paintbrushes (two new for the epoxy)
- laminate paint (I used Rust-oleum Stone Effects spray paint in Gray Stone)
- sanding block 120 grit
- 3 mill thickness plastic sheeting 3’x50′
- a roll of paper to cover floor and backsplash
- masking tape
- Stone Coat Epoxy Clear Resin (2.5 gallons)
- Small disposable measuring containers
- disposable gloves
- paint mixer drill attachment
- butane or propane torch
- trowel with 1/8-inch square sides
- paint stick
- metal putty knife
The whole process of redoing the countertops on the cheap took about a month. I started with a faux marble look in mind. I researched how to paint faux marble, ordered the supplies and colors needed for the technique and got started (note- the supplies are not listed in the martials list).
The first step was prep. I had the Mr. remove the sink. I used Bondo and a plastic putty knife to fill in any gaps between the countertops and wall. Then used the router on the edges of the countertops with an eighth inch round over bit. This process allowed the epoxy to flow over the edge of the countertop. I had never used a router before so I didn’t have one. I borrowed the router from my father-in-law and watched a ton of videos on how to use it. After I felt confident that I could operate the router, I practiced on some scrap wood before tackling the countertops. After that, I sanded the countertops with an orbital sander. I didn’t need to get the finish off, just rough it up enough that the paint would adhere. I used 120 grit and made sure to scuff all of the finish, even on the sides. Then I vacuumed up all of the dust and wiped the countertops with a rag and acetone. At this point, if you feel the need to tape off the backsplash or wall, do so. I have been painting for years and didn’t feel like this step was necessary for me.
Next, I was ready for the primer. I rolled it on the whole countertop and, brushed it on the edges and against the wall or backsplash. I only did one coat a day and let it dry completely between coats. I ended up doing a total of three coats before moving on to painting. I originally wanted to do a marble look on the countertops. You can see my attempt looked decent from afar, but up close it was another story. As hard as I tried (over eight hours of effort) it still looked fake. There was no way of getting around it in my opinion. Neither the Mr. or I were happy with the results and decided to go a different way. So, I painted the countertops with two more coats of primer.
Changing my mind added an extra week on the project. We decided that it would look better to go with a faux granite look. Stone Coat Epoxy had a video on how to do this with spray paint. We tried their way at first, but couldn’t get the coats to come out evenly. I ended up just coating the whole countertop in the Gray Stone spray paint from Rust-oleum.
I started prepping for the epoxy resin and spray paint after the primer dried. I gave it another 24 hours because that is what worked best with my schedule. It took a long time to prep, but was worth it. Every minute spent prepping saved me ten minutes in cleanup. I started by covering the cabinets in plastic sheeting, I used masking tape to secure the sheeting to the top of the cabinets and the floor. Then I taped paper to the whole floor and all of the backsplash. Note- if you have any floor other than tile in the kitchen, I would recommend putting plastic on the floor as well. The epoxy got on the floor in several places and caused the paper to stick to the tile. It wasn’t a big deal because it scraped right off, but for easier clean up, use plastic. After prep it was time to spray. This part is really messy. Make sure you cover everything. In the end, it took about 4 coats and 8 cans of paint. I could have really used another can for touchups.
I let the spray paint dry for another 24 hours before sanding lightly (use a sanding block or loose paper, not the orbital sander) as per Stone Coat Epoxy’s directions. I used the orbital sander to start, thinking it would speed up the sanding process and ended up having to repaint. It sanded straight through the paint. Take it from me and don’t use the orbital sander on spray paint (this wasn’t part of Stone Coat Countertops directions).
From here on out, I just followed their directions as closely as possible. I will save you the details and just post their video. I definitely recommend watching this if you are considering doing a project like this.
I learned a few things from working with the epoxy that I wish my research would have prepared me for. First, I mixed it too long and it ended up with a ton of bubbles. In order to get the bubbles out, I had to torch the crap out of it. The spots that I had to torch more yellowed slightly. It is still a cloudy yellow after curing. I was just concerned with comments I read about not mixing it enough. Other reviews said it made it tacky and it never really dried. I wish I would have set a timer the first time and just mixed it for 4 minutes like I did with the final pour. Also, I didn’t have a propane or butane torch and opted to get a butane torch because I could use it for cooking when I was finished. This was a big mistake. I would definitely recommend getting a propane torch. It throws out a lot more flame and makes it a million times easier to get the bubbles out and not burn the epoxy.
On the first coat, I also pressed too hard with the trowel when spreading the epoxy. There are some spots that I scratched off paint with the trowel. I just used a gray paint to cover the bare spots so it doesn’t look exactly the same as the spray paint, but it doesn’t stick out as much as it would have if I left it. If I did this again, I would have taken the time to sand and spray paint the areas that I scratched. On the first coat, I checked for uneven spots with an eagle eye. The second coat, I was so tired and didn’t babysit it as much. This was a big mistake. The next morning, I saw a few spots that weren’t up to my standards. I opted to hit them with the torch and get them as even as possible. It wasn’t worth doing another coat of epoxy for me. I could have prevented this if I would have watched it like I did the first time.
Once it was all dry (24 hours dry to the touch) I took off all of the paper and plastic. I left the countertops bare for a few days. While I was waiting on it to cure, I sanded off the drips under the edges. I also took a metal putty knife and scraped the epoxy off of the tile floor where it dripped through the paper. On day 3, the MR. reinstalled the kitchen sink and by day 5 we moved all of the appliances back on the countertops. I do wish I would have waited for 7 days to put everything back together. By day seven, there was a noticeable difference in the hardness of the countertops. It takes a full 30 days to cure. I can’t wait to see it then.
That’s it. Look at what a difference it made in my kitchen! The shine on my countertops is amazing. This process took me a month and saved over $6000 dollars!
Check out the DIY Mini Kitchen Remodel post to see more pictures of the completed project.