How to Remake Old Kitchen Counters to Look Like Granite

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Use a real granite scrap as inspiration for your paint job.
Use a real granite scrap as inspiration for your paint job. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Natural stones like granite are classic, neutral and can lend a luxurious ambiance to any kitchen. Unfortunately, granite is also prohibitively expensive for many homeowners, and many people who would love to change their kitchen counters simply do not have the budget for a full renovation. If you have an older kitchen, you probably have older countertops made from inexpensive but durable plastic laminate. Fortunately, this material can be painted with a faux finish to give it the look of granite without the expense.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Surface cleanser
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Oil-based primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Three paint colors: light, medium and dark
  • Short, low-nap paint roller
  • Polyacrylic topcoat

Wipe the laminate thoroughly using a rag dampened with all-purpose surface cleanser. Make sure there is no standing liquid on the laminate surface. Let the laminate dry completely.

Sand the entire surface with fine-grit sandpaper. Try to roughen the surface as evenly as possible all over. Remove the sanding dust from the laminate with a damp rag.

Cover the laminate with one coat of oil-based primer. Apply the primer as evenly as possible from one end of the counter to the other. Allow the primer to dry approximately 4 hours.

Paint the counter with the lightest of the three paint colors using a short, low-nap paint roller. Keep the application even as you did with the primer, and make sure there are no overlapping lines. Let the paint dry 24 hours.

Dip a rag in plain water and squeeze out the excess. Bunch the rag in your hand and dip it into the second darkest shade of paint. Dab the paint onto the laminate counter randomly using the rag to create a pattern reminiscent of natural stone.

Let the paint dry another 24 hours. Dab on the darkest shade of paint with a clean, damp rag. Apply the color sparingly at first, and then build color where you wish.

Let the counter dry another full day. Seal the faux-granite paint job with three layers of polyacrylic topcoat. Allow each coat 24 hours to dry before applying the next and let the finished counter dry 48 hours before using it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not skip the topcoat. This provides the sheen that real granite has, as well as protecting your hard work.

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