Add a Faux Finish to Countertops

Add a Faux Finish to Countertops

Level: Experienced

Marble and granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms are beautiful and highly sought-after decorative home accents. However, they can be expensive, heavy and hard to install. Luckily, you don’t have to swap out your laminate countertops to get a marble appearance. You can use paint to create a faux marble or granite effect.

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Project Steps
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    • Step 1: Prepare the Work Area
      sand paper

      Remove all items from the countertop and clean the whole surface using water, mild detergent and a sponge or cloth. Remove all dirt, grease, dust and debris. Get into every nook and cranny, including around appliances. Be sure that all grease is removed because it will affect how paint adheres to the countertop. Allow the surface to dry completely. After it has dried, go over the surface with a tack cloth or slightly damp cloth to remove dust and lint.

      Use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly roughen the surface so that your primer and paint will adhere effectively to the laminate surface of your countertop. Wipe away all dust from sanding with a damp cloth.

      Put down drop cloths on the floor and secure them with masking tape so that they don't shift around. Cover anything that cannot be removed from the countertop with plastic sheeting or painter's tape.

      Safety Alert!

      Be sure there’s adequate ventilation in the room where you will be painting. Open windows and use fans to push out paint fumes and bring in fresh air.

    • Step 2: Prime the Countertop
      paint roller

      Pour True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer into a paint tray and apply it to the surface using a small roller applicator. Keep a small, angled paintbrush for hard-to-reach areas and edges and to fill in any areas the roller missed. Complete at least one coat of primer. You may need two coats or more, depending on how dark your countertop color is. Let the primer coats dry completely before starting the next step.

    • Step 3: Apply Base Coat

      Decide on a basic color and tone of marble or granite you want for your kitchen. Be sure that it complements the rest of the décor and color scheme of your kitchen or bathroom. Marble and granite can be white, black, gray, green, tan, yellow, and red, among other colors.

      After choosing the marble or granite color you want, using a small roller applicator, paint a base coat of that color using True Value EasyCare® latex paint in a flat or satin finish. These particular finishes help the illusion of a flat stone surface. For a marble effect, use a lighter shade of your base color. As you did with the primer, use a small, angled paint brush to touch up any drips, places you might have missed or paint in places where you need more controlled strokes. After the first coat has dried, apply another and then let it dry thoroughly.

    • Step 4: Add the Marble or Granite Effect
      Natural painting sponge

      Use a painting sponge or a bunched up rag and a slightly darker shade of your basecoat to create mottling or the blotchy pattern that is a hallmark of real marble. Dab and smear the surface of the countertop with the paint-covered sponge. Be creative in your strokes; try not to use the same pattern across the counter. This would make the surface too uniform and less realistic. Let this coat dry. Add the look of veins using assorted sizes of artist’s brushes to add to the realistic marble appearance. Use different paint colors as well, such as white, gray or black to get the effect you’re looking for. Move the brush with uneven, diagonal strokes making “Y” or “K” shapes, taking care to not make them too straight or too uniform (you can smudge your lines a bit, if they don’t look realistic enough). Consider strengthening your veins by reinforcing lighter-colored ones with darker colors and vice versa. Let these dry.

      Helpful Tips

      Use a real piece of marble or granite, or a photograph, as a guide to make a realistic appearance with mottling, veins and other characteristics of stone.

      Practice mottling and veining on a piece of cardboard before attempting the technique on your countertop.

      You can take a faux-marble artisan’s approach and use feathers to make your veins.

      To achieve a granite look, choose three accent colors appropriate for the base color you’ve chosen. Remember you want the colors to be natural-looking, for example colors that often appear in granite, so do your research on how granite actually looks. Pour a small amount of the first color into a paint tray and then use a painting sponge to create splotches of one of these colors onto your base coat across the entire surface of the countertop. As with faux marble, dab and smear paint on with the sponge. Let the paint dry. Repeat this process for the second color. Make sure that you let each color show through. Pour the third accent color into a paint tray and add a little bit of water. This time you’ll dip a small- to medium-sized paintbrush into the paint/water glaze you made and then lightly shake the brush over the countertop to splatter the surface with tiny specks of paint. For more precise detail, you can run your fingers (wear rubber gloves) across the ends of the bristles to flick or mist the paint into tiny specks across the surface. Let the paint dry. Some granite patterns include veining, like marble. If you want this effect, just follow the same procedure as you would for marble, as described above.

      Helpful Tips

      Be careful when splattering paint to create a granite effect that you don’t cover up the other accent colors. Splatter sparingly and only add more when needed.

      Practice splashing or flicking paint on a piece of cardboard before you start using the technique on the actual countertop so you get a feel for how to do it correctly.

      Safety Alert!

      Wear safety glasses when splashing or flicking paint from your brush for the faux-granite appearance.

    • Step 5: Apply Glaze Coating

      Add a layer of glaze to the countertop using a mini-roller. You can use a lightly-tinted glaze in the same color as your base color or a non-tinted glaze. Adding glaze provides a crystalline shine like polished stone to complete your faux-stone look. Cover the entire surface of the countertop as you did with the primer and basecoat of paint. Let this glaze coat dry.

    • Step 6: Apply Varnish Topcoat
      finished countertop

      Adding a few coats of polyurethane varnish or sealant will enhance the shine effect of your faux-stone painting and protect it. Apply the varnish using a roller or large paintbrush, using a small brush for hard-to-reach areas or places where you need finely tuned strokes. Let this dry completely before returning items to their usual place on the counter or before using it for any food preparation.

      Congrats! You’ve nurtured your inner artist and given your kitchen a “stone” countertop makeover without the cost.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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