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Painting Laminate Countertops

I’m back with more changes to our kitchen. The last time we shared an update it was our painted cabinets. (Read more about that here.) Last weekend we decided to take the plunge and try painting our laminate countertops.

Painting Laminate Countertops

Initially, we thought we wanted to try to do something that looked like granite. There are a lot of DIY versions of painted counters on the internet and if for some reason it didn’t work out, our plan was to just buy new ones.

My hubby, Chris, started by removing the caulk around the edges of the counters and wiping everything down with a TSP Substitute to get off any extra grime or gunk.

Cleaning Laminate Painting

Next, he taped around everything that we didn’t want to get paint on. We’ve found that if you take a damp paper towel and go over the tape (Blue Painter’s Tape or Frog Tape) that it kind of seals it so the paint will not leak through.

Taping Laminate Painting

Then, he applied one coat of Zinsser Cover Stain Primer with a brush.

Primer Laminate Countertopss

We let that dry for 2 hours and then, starting on opposite counters, we painted one coat of Rust-Oleum Black Oil Based Paint in Gloss. This stuff is super thick and we only needed one layer to get ample coverage. We let it dry for 24 hours before doing anything else.

Painting Laminate Counters

The next part of the plan was to apply acrylic paint with a sponge to give the counters a granite type look. After a few attempts at applying the paint, we decided to completely nix that idea because it just wasn’t turning out the way we had hoped. Luckily, the acrylic paint had not dried completely and we were able to get it off fairly easily with a wet sponge. Thank goodness!

Since the counters were looking pretty good in their glossy state, we decided just to go with it and applied a protective top layer. We used three coats of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover in Clear Gloss, as recommend by our local hardware store paint guy. I kind of gave this idea the side eye because we had planned on using an oil based polyurethane. However, it seems to be working out OK so far.

The clear gloss paint looked blue-ish going on, but it dried completely clear. I’m thinking I will go back and add a few more layers just to give it some extra durability.

Protect Laminate Painted Counters

We really love how our kitchen looks now! The dark counters add the perfect contrast to our bright white cabinets. Every thing is so smooth and easy to clean off. There are visible brush strokes, but it honestly doesn’t bother us one bit.

Gloss Paint Counter Tops

Because we’ve only had our “new” countertops done for a week, there has not been a lot of wear and tear on them. However, they seem to be holding up just fine with normal use and cleaning.

Black Painted Counter Tops

I will definitely share an update if we notice any problems, but so far, so good. Here’s hoping for the best!

(Update: Our countertops started to peel/flake over time. Please consider using an oil based polyurethane in addition the the oil based paint. You can read more about our countertop update by clicking here.)


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  • cynthia carsen

    i like the look of your countertops and now want to do mine. has the paint application held up? any problems? what kind of brush did you use, as i am trying to get a very glossy, smooth look? were the bristles stiff or soft? what do you think of using a foam brush or roller? Fabulous look you have.

    • Erin

      Hi, Cynthia! The paint has held up really well. The only issue we’ve had was a few tiny little spots where the paint came off and that can be attributed to the fact that I put something on the counter top before everything had enough time to cure. Oops! We opted to just use cheap brushes from the dollar store instead of a foam roller because of the texture that the roller sometimes leaves. Best of luck if you if try this out!

  • Shannan

    Hey, Erin. Just came across your post and am considering something like this for my kitchen counters. Now it’s later in the year — can you give more feedback? Do they still look great? How are they holding up? Are you still happy with them? Any additional feedback is greatly appreciated! THANKS!

    • Erin

      Hi Shannan,
      Sorry I’m just now getting back to you! We still like the counter-tops, but have experienced some peeling of the Rust-Oleum Painterโ€™s Touch Ultra Cover. As I mentioned, our hardware paint guy recommended it, but I was skeptical because it was a water based product going on top of oil based. We are planning to remove all of the clear top coat and reapply an oil based polyurethane. If you are planning to try this out, definitely make sure you are using the same type of products (i.e. oil based, water baseed.) Best of luck!

  • Ivory

    I am late joining in, however, I love your counter top. We just adding a smaller island into our kitchen for additional seating/eating during large family gathering. We were wondering would this work on wood material (plywood)? Thanks for your post. Your work is beautiful .

    • Diane Meeuse

      Do not waste your money after a while it all pealed and looked terrible
      I hired the best and the most expensive. Company

  • Mark Geiger

    Wow, this is what I’ve been looking for.
    I can’t afford to replace my countertops and this would be a great alternative way to update my dated kitchen.
    Question for you..Did you use a certain type of paint?
    I can’t wait to get started. Thank you for your inspiration and creativity.

  • Sandy

    I did the granite look and mine still looked amazing after four years of use when I sold. People actually would ask when I had them put in.

    New old farmhouse has gas hotwater heater in a kitchen closet so fumes have kept me from doing it this time around.

  • Absolutely Fabulous Design

    I actually did this in my house years ago using black rustolium. I used water based acrylic not oil. And for the poly I use a marine water base. This stuff is pretty tough and withstands the cleaning, water etc. my countertops held up really good. 6 years then I moved.
    I just finished my moms in white. I think I need one or two more coats of the poly though. I have a coffee ring that I canโ€™t get out. Gona try magic eraser. The seal again. I love this technique. Just recommend water base especially the poly.

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