Saturday, October 19, 2013

Faux granite countertops

Something a lot of us have in common: ugly laminate countertops in our homes. Don't get me wrong, some of the newer laminates are really quite nice. If you have a home with beautiful granite or quartz - you're one lucky duck. Unfortunately, my home was filled with laminate countertops from another era. My kitchen and laundry room had lime green counters and the main bath had blue. The idea of ripping out all three counters really stressed me out. The cost had me almost breaking out in hives. So I found a better solution. I was able to redo all of the upstairs counters for less than $100.

Here are the before pictures:

Here are the afters:

Main bath. I'm still on the hunt for an oil rubbed bronze faucet.


Before I give you the details, I want to give credit to these three blogs:

Wild Whitney's - Faux Granite Countertop for less than 25 Bucks!

Mossisawesome - DIY Faux Granite Countertop... without a kit for under $60!

General Splendour - Ambush Makeover: My Formica Countertops!

I was looking into purchasing the Giani Granite Kit or the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations Kit, but thought they were pricey and figured there had to be a better way. That's when I started googling and stumbled across this method that looks even better than the kits.

I didn't sand my countertops, but it's probably a good idea. I cleaned them with TSP which can be found at home improvement stores. In my kitchen and laundry room I went for a darker looking "granite". I spray painted black Rustoleum spray paint for the base. My house was torn apart at this point so it didn't matter if spray paint got everywhere. You'll want to use an actual paint and brush on the base. Any good paint is fine.

Laundry room with base coat
I used several acrylic craft paint colors from Hobby Lobby and Michaels to sponge, but just about any type of paint will work. Purchasing these small two ounce tubes is a cheap way to get a variety of colors. They're less than $1 each and they were 50% off when I purchased. If there is a particular color that you know you'll be using more of, purchase a couple or the bigger bottle. I ran out of the pretty metallic brown and had to send the hubby to the store. 

Bathroom colors

Kitchen and laundry colors
 You can buy the natural sea sponges at craft stores in the art aisle. Use a coupon!
Hobby Lobby Sponges

In my bathroom I spray painted the counter with an off white and then used several lighter paints for sponging. Check out real granite samples that you like and then base your colors off that.

Base coat
Just a few layers of paint so far

You'll want to sponge on lots of layers to create depth similar to granite. Just keep rotating colors and sponging. It might take a while until you get the look you want so don't freak out if it doesn't look great after just a few layers of paint. The metallic paint is what really makes it look like granite.

I wish I would have painted more veins in it so don't be afraid to try that out with a tiny art paint brush or small sponge because that also makes it look more realistic. Check out this youtube video to learn how.

I sprinkled in fine black glitter for the darker counters and fine white glitter for the bathroom. They even have glitter flecks that you can buy at craft stores which I wanted to try, but chickened out.

The trickiest part is the epoxy. I used EnviroTex Lite which you can find at Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I purchased 2 of the 32 ounce bottles and it covered my kitchen, bath, and laundry. Each box is $29.99 at Hobby Lobby. Be sure to use a 40% off coupon! I purchased an extra box to have on hand just in case we ran out in the middle of applying it - that would have been bad.

EnviroTex Lite
You have to mix it really well and then work fast. Cover your floor and cabinets with newspaper because it will drip. We used big foam brushes to spread the epoxy. You'll need a blow torch to pop bubbles that will form.

If I were to do it again, I'd try an auto finish like the lady in the second blog posted above. I've been wanting to test it out on an old board, but haven't gotten around to it. The EnviroTex Lite worked well, but we have some bubbles in it we weren't able to get out. However, we weren't living in the house at this point so had I been there for a couple hours after to catch the late bubbles it probably would have been fine.

You can't use your counters for three days because the epoxy needs to set up. Annoying, I know. You might be eating out. It's so worth it though.

So far it's held up well. You can't cut directly on the surface like you can with granite so be sure to use cutting boards.

Check out my other posts on saving money in the kitchen: How we updated an entire kitchen for less than $800 and Paintable wallpaper for a backsplash.

Good luck! You can do it!


  1. I absolutely love the look of granite countertops nj! I prefer a nice, clean look in my kitchen and granite is perfect. Great article!

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  4. What is an auto finish? Thanks so much for the 'to the point article' I can't wait to try this but was hoping to use polyurethane instead because of the mess factor. Also did u prime first?