Painting countertops | You can do that yourself [step-by-step plan]

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 10, 2022
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You can paint the counter top in the kitchen. It’s a great way to freshen up your kitchen in one go!

You do need the right preparation. If you don’t, you may end up having to replace the entire blade, which will cost you a lot of money.

You also need to know whether the material of your kitchen worktop is suitable for painting.

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In principle, you can paint everything to create a new look, but you will work differently with a wall, for example, than with a counter top.

In this article you can read how you can paint your countertop yourself.

Why paint a countertop?

There are several reasons why you might want to paint a countertop.

For example, because there are some wear spots or scratches to be found. A kitchen worktop is of course used intensively and will show signs of use after a number of years.

It is also possible that the color of the worktop does not actually match the rest of the kitchen or that the previous layer of lacquer needs to be renewed.

Do you also want to tackle the kitchen cabinets right away? This is how you repaint the cabinets in the kitchen

Options for refreshing your countertop

In principle, you can quickly solve a worn-out countertop by applying a new layer of lacquer or varnish. It depends on what has been used before.

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If you want to work more thoroughly, or if you want a new color, you will paint the counter top. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this post.

In addition to painting the countertops, you can also opt for a layer of foil. However, it is very important that the countertop is completely clean and even, and that you stick the foil on it dry.

In addition, you also have to make sure that it comes on tight, and this requires quite a bit of patience.

Painting or covering your countertops yourself is of course a lot cheaper than buying a new countertop or hiring a professional painter.

Which countertop surfaces are suitable for painting?

Painting your countertop is not very difficult, but you do need to know what needs to be done.

Most kitchen worktops consist of MDF, but there are also worktops available that are made of marble, concrete, Formica, wood or steel.

It is better not to process smooth surfaces such as marble and steel. This will never look pretty. You do not want to paint a steel or marble countertop.

However, MDF, concrete, Formica and wood are suitable for painting.

It is important to know what material your countertop consists of before you get started, because you can’t just get a pot of primer and use it.

What paint can you use for the counter top?

There are special types of primer for MDF, plastic, concrete and wood that adhere perfectly to the correct substrate.

These are also called primers and you can simply buy them at the hardware store or online. The Praxis, for example, has a wide range.

There are also so-called multi-primers for sale, this primer is suitable for multiple surfaces. If you opt for this, make sure to check whether this primer is also suitable for your countertop.

I personally recommend the Koopmans acrylic primer, especially for MDF kitchen worktops.

In addition to a primer, you also need paint, of course. For the countertop, it is also best to go for an acrylic paint.

This paint does not yellow, which is very nice in the kitchen, but it also dries quickly.

This means for you that you can apply a second coat of paint within a few hours, and you do not have to spend longer than necessary on this.

Make sure you choose paint that can withstand wear, because this ensures that the paint layer stays on for a long time.

You also want it to withstand high temperatures. This way you can place hot plates on the counter top.

Finally, the paint must be water resistant.

Wear-resistant and scratch-resistant paint always contains polyurethane, so pay attention to this when buying your paint.

It is also a good idea to apply a layer of lacquer or varnish after painting. This provides extra protection for your countertop.

Do you want to make sure that the moisture stays on your countertop? Then choose water-based varnish.

Painting the countertop: getting started

As with all painting projects, good preparation is half the battle. Do not skip any steps for a good result.

What do you need to paint the counter top?

  • painter’s tape
  • Cover foil or plaster
  • degreaser
  • sandpaper
  • Primer or undercoat
  • paint roller
  • Brush

Preparation

If necessary, tape the kitchen cabinets under the counter top and place a plaster or cover foil on the floor.

Make sure you have all the necessary materials to hand. You also want to ventilate the kitchen well in advance, and also ensure good ventilation and the right humidity level during painting.

Degrease

Always start with degreasing first. This is very important, because wouldn’t you do this and immediately sanding, then you sand the grease into the countertop.

This then ensures that the paint does not adhere properly.

You can degrease with an all-purpose cleaner, but also with benzene or a degreaser such as St. Marcs or Dasty.

Sanding

After degreasing, it is time to sand the blade. If you have a countertop made of MDF or plastic, fine sandpaper will suffice.

With a wood it is better to choose a somewhat coarser sandpaper. After sanding, make everything dust-free with a soft brush or a dry, clean cloth.

Apply primer

Now it’s time to apply the primer. Make sure you use the correct primer for your countertop.

You can apply the primer with a paint roller or brush.

Then let it dry well and check on the product how long it takes before the paint is dry and paintable.

First coat of paint

When the primer is completely dry, it’s time to apply the right color of acrylic paint.

If necessary, sand the worktop lightly first with fine sandpaper, and then make sure that the worktop is completely free of dust.

You can apply the acrylic paint with a brush or with a paint roller, it just depends on what you like.

Do this first from left to right, then from top to bottom and finally all the way through. This will prevent you from seeing streaks.

Then let the paint dry and check the packaging carefully to see if it can be painted over.

Possibly a second coat of paint

After the paint is completely dry, you can see if another layer of acrylic paint is needed.

If this is the case, sand the first coat lightly before applying the second coat.

Varnishing

You can apply another coat after the second coat, but this is usually not necessary.

You can now apply the varnish layer to protect your countertop.

However, do not do this until the acrylic paint can be painted over. Usually after 24 hours the paint is dry and you can start with the next layer.

To apply the varnish nicely, it is best to use special paint rollers for smooth surfaces, such as this one from SAM.

Pro tip: Before using the paint roller, wrap a piece of tape around the roller. Pull it off again and remove any fluff and hair.

Conclusion

You see, if you have a kitchen top made of MDF, plastic or wood, you can paint it yourself.

Work carefully and take your time. This way you will soon be able to enjoy a nice result.

Do you also want to provide the walls in the kitchen with new paint? This is how you choose the right wall paint for the kitchen

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.