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How to Paint Over Marble Countertops: DIY Version

The texture of marble often makes it hard to paint over, but with the proper dedication and carefully followed steps, you can produce a beautifully painted surface in a short time frame. It doesn’t matter what method you pick or how many times you’ve paraded the paint aisles at your local Home Depot. Painting over marble surfaces requires some devotion and a combination of creativity, patience, and a taste of style. 

Painting over marble countertops can be done with easily accessible materials and can be extremely effective. Although time consuming, it is far cheaper than replacing countertops. It involves properly preparing the marble surface, priming it, applying the appropriate paint, and then sealing it.

This article will not only cover doable steps in rendering your marble countertops into the most excellent designs, but it will also provide you with a variety of materials that will suit your creative ideas.

Cleaning Your Marble Countertop

Retaining your marble’s luster requires special care since they rank among the most luxurious materials for countertops and floors. The best choice for your marble cleaner will be a manufacturer-approved commercial marble cleaner (here’s a great one on Amazon), or you can alternatively add a few drops of a mild, abrasive dishwashing liquid onto your cleaning rag to use on your marble. Substances you must avoid should include:

  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Scrubs
  • All general-purpose cleaners (unless it indicates that you can use it on marbles)

For getting rid of stains on the surface of your marble, you should try mixing a tablespoon of baking soda in a minimal quantity of water so that it forms a paste. 

Use the paste to spread over the stained surface, cover it with a plastic wrap, and allow some hours.  When you come back, wash off the paste and notice how faint or absent the stain appears on your marble. If it’s faint, repeat the process until the stain disappears completely.

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For light-colored marbles, you can try them out with Hydrogen Peroxide. You must not use this method on dark-colored marble because it will soak away its color. Once you’ve cleaned your marble and gotten rid of stains, you should wipe off the cleaner with a damp rag and dry it with Chamois. (1)  

Choosing a Paint for Your Marble Surface

While most people would love to sand the surface of their marble countertops and kitchen inlays before applying paint, coating the surface with one or two layers of chalk paint after priming may suffice. And it will spare you hours of work sanding the surface of your marble counter. What you want for your kitchen countertops is a durable paint that will last for as long as the desire for a change arises.

A perfect choice for your kitchen would be a heat-resistant paint, such as the Rustoleum’s Chalk Paint (you can find it on Amazon here), which comes with a chalk and wax paintbrush suitable for the job. You will find a variety of colors you can choose for your design. You would want to start with a trial run on a poster board or over an inconspicuous spot on the marble itself if you’re accustomed to the thickness of the paint.

It’s sometimes hard to make that call on matching the colors in your kitchen. Some kitchens would require a complete makeover, but chalk paint would be the best fit regarding your marble countertops. Be careful not to confuse good paint with poorly applied paint on a surface because just about any paint will produce the desired results. The beauty of your craft largely depends on your creative ability to blend colors over surfaces, priming, and top coating.

The choice of chalk paint is best in that chalk paint adheres perfectly well over any primed surface. However, we highly recommend sanding the surface of your marble in preparation for painting, as it will enhance the adhesion of the paint over the surface. 

The following is a list of materials you will need to start with, and don’t worry; we got you covered on the procedures and methods measuring what quantity of paint would cover a given surface area of marble. (2)

  • 4 1.5 inch Angled paintbrush
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer
  • Rustoleum chalk paint (the color of your choice)
  • Rustoleum chalk protective topcoat (Envirotex Lite)
  • A plastic drop cloth of old blanket
  • Caulking
  • Small foam paint roller
  • Sponge
  • Feathers
  • A level
  • 3 – 4 disposable containers
  • Paint stirrers
  • A measuring cup
  • A butane torch
  • A pair of gloves

Painting over Marble: Step by Step Guide

Here’s a detailed guide showing you exactly how to go about painting those marble surfaces in an effective manner that will give you the best results…

Prepare Your Working Space:

To not spill paint on other parts of your floor or make your working station look messy, we advise that you spread a drop cloth or an old blanket over the surface you will work on to do the painting. The reason is simple; paint can always sprinkle out of proportion and stain other parts of your floor. Even though you can always use a paint remover to take care of very tiny drops of paint that won’t fail to drop on the floor. The cloth will reduce the number of stains on the floor after your work. (3)

Prepare Your Marble

You should be able to evaluate the nature of the surface of your marble. Is it glossy? Does it have cracks on the surface? Is its surface porous or rough and dusty? These details are essential to set up a suitable surface that will ease painting. If the surface is glossy, you will need to sand it with 100-grit-sandpaper a few times until the gloss on the surface comes off. This process will roughen your marble’s surface and thus make it susceptible to the chalk paint and primer you will apply. 

After sanding the surface of your marble, you should clean it dry and watch for cracks and pores on its surface. When you detect these characteristics on the surface of your selected marble, fill and smooth the surface with caulking and then allow to dry for at least 1 hour. After making sure it is dry, sand the surface for about five minutes, making sure the surface is uniform at all points around the marble. (Source 2)

Applying a Suitable Prime on the Surface

The white base primer for Giani countertop paint stands out in reputation. It’s a 32 oz standard base coat included in the Giani countertop paint kit at an affordable price. It quickly adheres to laminate, Corian, Formica, cluttered marble, and wood. A can of the product will cover about 35 square feet or 16 running feet of standard 25-inches-wide countertop. You can find it on Amazon here.

Another practical primer is the Zinsser oil-based primer (Amazon link). You can have various types of these, likely in your local stores or on several online marketplaces at very affordable rates. Most people will go for Zinsser Smart prime because it offers a wide variety of uses regarding surface coating for just about any project. However, whatever you choose for priming, your marble countertop should conform to the characteristics that will give you the best results.

Use the small foam paint roller to run your primer over the marble countertop. You’d want to take care of the angles and edges of your marble countertop, making sure that your primer runs over every spot on the surface. For this, you should use the 1-1/2-angled-paintbrush to run your oil-based primer at the angles and edges thoroughly. Once you’ve made sure that the coating of your countertop is complete, allow the primer to dry completely for about 45 minutes.

Applying Your Choice Paint over your Marble Countertop

We saw earlier that the choice of paint matters regarding your marble countertops. However, since just about any paint will get the job done, it is essential to note that you understand why the quality of your primer may affect the results of your project. In other words, the primer is that component that does the painting job.

We chose Rustoleum Chalk paint because it comes with a complete kit that does the priming, painting, and top coating. It would be a great way of having a 3-in-1-kit for the price of one, and there wouldn’t be any need for priming your countertop. The first thing you’d want to do after the primer dries off is another round of sanding. The sanding this time should be lighter than the previous times.

If you decide to use Carrara marble on your countertop, you’ll experience more light peering into your kitchen after painting than before. It is the best for a countertop makeover. After sanding the surface lightly, use the painter’s tape to protect those objects or sections you don’t intend to paint, such as the sink, cooktops, and backsplashes.

Use the roller to roll a coat of white paint, then allow to dry for about 30 minutes. You are free to use oil-based, or water-based paints over your oil-based primer – just about any white paint will do just fine as your first coat over your countertop.  For the ladies, it should be more like painting their fingernails. After the white paint dries off, you should start adding the variations you would find in a natural piece of stone.

You may dab a medium gray paint with a round brush to produce patches and then make uniform or blot with your sponge. Once you achieve uniformity to the taste of your project, adding the grain is what you should do next. Using a feather would give a more beautiful outlook. You can find a Fake Feather from a craft supply store or Amazon (like these) to do the magic.

Dip the tip of your fake feather in a darker gray paint – be careful not to let the drop-offs spill on parts in different areas that don’t need graining. Lightly draw the tip of your feather across your countertop, preferably in the middle. You can form circles, snake lines, and cross lines. Go with whatever intuition can display your creative ability, but don’t make your graining too obvious or excessive. Keep it faint and let the lines run through in slim strands.

You can also soften your lines by brushing a clean paintbrush over your painted lines. Again, this is an area where you can display your creative skills. You should now dab your lines with a round brush and spread the paint around with a sponge. (Make sure to use one brush for one paint for better results). You can repeat the brushing and sponging of the darker gray paint a few more times. 

When you notice the grays and whites blending, you then have to use your sponge to harmonize, creating lighter and darker areas on the surface of your marble countertop. It would help if you didn’t worry about the spill-offs on your countertop at this stage, as you can always correct such mistakes by simply painting over them. If you get darker or lighter results, you can paint over your countertop until you achieve the desired result.

Applying A Topcoat Or Sealing

Your countertop will appear freshly painted after all the painting is done but will not display its luster. The top coat gives your countertop a glossy and realistic look that makes your kitchen environment attractive. Nevertheless, the choice of your sealer will significantly influence the shine-off of your marble countertop. We advise that you read the directions carefully to make sure to apply as written.

Understand that sealing won’t wholly prevent staining but will help resist major stains and enhance your countertop’s glossiness. Since sealing doesn’t give that much assurance, we advise completion at least thrice a year. A better choice for your sealer would be Envirotex Lite (you can find it here on Amazon), even though the polyacrylic sealers work the same.

The difference between Evirotex Lite and the polyacrylic sealers lies in the resin. Envirotex Lite has a thicker resin that makes it more resistant and durable than polyacrylic sealers. Envirotex Lite will also give a realistic look because of the profundity it adds to the paint job. It is self-leveling, drying up to a smooth finish that won’t require further damping and smoothening of any sort. The intriguing part of this sealer is its resistive heat ability, which you won’t find in polyacrylic sealers.

To achieve a quality grade Envirotex lite sealer, you will need an extra hand. Be sure to read the instruction guide that comes with Envirotex lite before starting the steps I will provide. Before you begin, use your level to ensure your countertop stays on a leveled surface and is not inclined to an angle from every direction. It is to avoid the resin running off on lower areas on your countertop since it is self-leveling. 

Use your plastic drop cloth to protect your cabinets and floors from spilled stains since you’re using liquids that stain and also because the sealer will level up by dripping off the edges freely. You should also protect your hands with gloves and ensure that you’re wearing an old cloth you don’t mind losing to sealer stains. When it drops on a cloth, it hardens and dries up. 

Most users spend hours scraping off dried-up sealers from their cabinets and floors after their work, but that can be avoidable if you protect the surfaces you don’t intend to seal. Latex gloves will make a fine choice, by the way.

If you skimp, you will end up adding several coats of the sealer over the same surface and may not achieve the smoothness you desire if you run out of the product. You have to be judicious in your usage of the sealer. For a 50-to-60-square-feet countertop, you would need a maximum of two gallons of sealer if you follow the instructions here very strictly.

You’ll realize that your Envirotex lite comes in a kit with two extra bottles, which need mixing to obtain the final sealer. Be sure to follow the indications as labeled on the product carefully. We advise mixing the whole container using disposable containers rather than mixing small amounts of the liquids. The mixing process is time-consuming, and you should consider painting a broader surface.

After thoroughly mixing the liquids, pour gently over your countertop. Use an unused paintbrush to spread the sealer to cover all corners of your countertop, especially the angles and edges. Make sure the liquid stretches to the wall and evenly distributes over the surface of your marble countertop.

At this stage, you may find bubbles on the surface of your countertop, but if they’re not obvious, they’ll appear once the sealer dries up, and it will be too late for you to fix anything. Your manual indicates that you should use the butane torch after fifteen minutes to remove bubbles from the surface.

This step is essential because most people have tried using a hairdryer to remove the bubbles but didn’t get the required result. The reason is simple. The Carbon Dioxide from the butane torch takes care of the bubbles more than anything else. An alternative to the butane torch is using a straw and blowing through it over the countertop’s surface, but this method will work best over a considerably smaller surface. 

On a larger surface, such as your 50-square-feet marble countertop, you will spend exhaustive hours pushing air through the tiny hole of your straw, and the result wouldn’t guarantee success. The butane choice is by far the best option, and once you’ve gotten rid of the bubbles, you must make sure that nothing falls on the surface of your counter within eight hours – even though it will be easier to fix the problem by adding another coat of the sealer.

It will dry up after eight hours, but it would achieve complete dryness only after about three days. You can scrape off the drips at the bottom of the countertop with a pant scraper after the first day of drying. After that, you can be sure to invite your friends over to your place for dinner and boast of your excellent kitchen, homemade design.

FAQ About Painting over Marble Countertops

  1. Is It Possible To Make A Marble Countertop Look Like Wood?

Yes, it is possible to make marble look like wood, and we have a detailed article on a step-by-step How to Make marble look like wood.

  1. Can A Wooden Countertop Be Painted To Look Like A Marble Countertop?

Yes, and the steps are pretty straightforward, even though it requires ample attention and some level of artistry. Just about anything is possible with paint, and we have an article that will show you how.

  1. Can One Vary The Colors Of A Marble Countertop?

When using paint, your creative freedoms are limitless. You can create any design from a variety of colors at your disposal.