How to Faux Granite Laminate Counters

by THAT Painter Lady

DIY projects are busting out all over. It’s Spring… so it’s time to give your kitchen a great new look.

One of the questions I get often (really often) is “How Do I Paint Faux Granite on Laminate Counters?

These are just 2 questions from the piles of mail:

Can you paint countertops? – I have a small half wall that separates the living room and kitchen; it has a piece of countertop on it. I want to keep the wall but don’t like the color of the piece on top. Is there something I can do to change this?


Hi can you paint Formica to look like something else like marble or granite?


Do you love the look of granite but just know it’s out of your price range? What if I showed you how to faux granite laminate counters?

Mona sends in her finished project:

The Before


The After:


The Start of the Show?


Yes… it can be done. I don’t care what all the experts say about paint chipping off laminate… this process works. You can have the look of granite counters in your kitchen or bath in just a few days.

You can use this process for faux marble on your counters as well… but it seems as if everyone wants the look of granite in today’s fashionable kitchens and baths.

You are going to have to use some elbow grease. It’s just a fact that great finishes start with a really clean surface.

So get out your rubber gloves and some good strong cleaning materials… open up the windows and go at it. Take everything off the counters. Every coffee cup, cutting board, salt shaker… everything… and it’s going to have to stay off for several days.

I like to use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) Heavy Duty Cleaner to clean the counters. It is a good strong cleaner and takes everything off… including some of the shine.

Next – Sand the counters. Don’t worry… this isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Use a medium grip paper; say, 100 – 120 grit – and go at it with medium strength. You are not trying to sand off the entire layers… just give it some “tooth” for the paint to stick to – (and the last few drips left over from the cleaning process).

Make sure to wipe the counters off again. And again. One key to having great results is making sure that you are NOT painting over anything loose.

Now it’s time to tape.

Using the blue painters tape is fine. Tape off every area you don’t want paint on. Make sure the tape is sealed down to the surface. Take extra care in this process… it will save you a ton of clean-up work in the long run.

Paint gets on everything that’s not protected. So get all the floors, appliances – everything – including the kitchen sink – covered.

It’s Prime Time!

Primer is a big “Yes – you have to do this” thing.

Kilz Premium Sealer-Primer-Stainblocker – 13002 Qt Kilz Premium Primer

My favorite is Kilz. It’s just perfect for this project. Use patience when you apply the primer. “Haste makes waste”.

Use a small roller and work slowly. Avoid any bubbles. If you see bubbles you are either using the wrong roller or working to fast. Try not to use a roller that is made of a sponge-like material.

The final results of your priming should look clean and smooth.

Now Stop! You are done for the day. Let it all dry and cure. It may “feel” dry… but you really do want to let the primer set up and cure.

Day 2 – Sand again. Yep… you need more “tooth”.

Using a “very-fine” grade sandpaper go over every bit of the counter very lightly. What you trying to achieve is a clean – smooth counter.

Wipe off again with a damp towel and let dry.

The fun part! Paint!

Oil based enamel paints work best for their durability. But… I really hate the smell and clean-up.

I use latex house paints and crafter’s acrylic paints with great results.

I am not going into all the paint colors and techniques here. This website will fill up with all the paint choice ideas in no time.

If you want to look at some “real” granite samples for ideas… check out this website:

Day 3 – Seal The Deal!

Sealer is your friend… and you want lot’s of friends.

Apply the sealer with the mini roller and patience. (Again… with that patience thing). 4-5 coats of oil based polyurethane should do the trick. (I do dislike using anything oil based – but this stuff lasts!)

Polycrylic is good if your counter colors are dark but it will turn any white or light colors yellow.

Build up several layers of sealer to protect your nice new granite counter tops.

I confess… I like a “bar top” shine on the counters I paint. I use Envirotex for the sealer. It’s a pain to put on (the directions are here: It lasts for years and makes your counters shine like glass (err… granite).

The layers must be left to “cure”. I let my counters cure 24 hours between each coat.

Treat this counter as you would a “real” granite counter. Don’t cut your veggies right on the surface. Keep spills cleaned up don’t put hot pans on it. Use only mild cleaners to keep it looking brand new.

Big Tip – Don’t even think about using the kitchen sink for a few days. One tiny water splatter can ruin the entire counter… so tell everyone in the house to use another sink. Put something over the faucet to remind yourself not to get over anxious and get a bit of water just this one time… it’s not worth the risk.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary April 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Um, Debra, I hate to be picky, but you didn’t really tell us how to paint it to look like granite. I mean, I know there’s a gazillion choices in granite – but I’d have no idea how to go about making it look like this for example:

A few examples would really help. Pick your favorites. 🙂

LAURA April 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm


Jeannie April 13, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Thank you for sending this morning! What perfict timing you have. I’m in the process right now. I saw the instuctions somewhere on your cite before and was going on memory, but now I don’t have to. It feels so much better to have your instructions in hand! I will use the Envirotex instead of the Poly, but it’s great to know about 24 hour dry times for each coat. I’m so glad I found that out in time.

Thanks again! 🙂 Oh, I did a few break out bricks (I received your video with detail instuctions), and have gotten such as great response when I did them a few months ago, I’ve included them in my bathroom located close to the hall. They have been turning out just great!

Thank you!

THAT Painter Lady April 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Hi Jeannie

Sometimes great minds think alike. 🙂

Good luck with the counters… I can’t wait to see pictures.

I’m so happy that the break out bricks are turning out well for you. I hope you will send me pictues
of those as well!

You can always send me “stuff” at

Keep me posted, Debra

THAT Painter Lady April 13, 2009 at 5:46 pm

More techniques are on the way… I promise. It’s a slow go for me sometimes to get all the info up on the website.

I promise to get more instructions posted soon.


THAT Painter Lady April 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Gary… that granite is gorgeous and so popular. No wonder you want to create faux granite that looks like that for your counters.

You can be picky all you want… no worries. I am supposed to be here to help!

I am working on getting several sample ideas up on this website. The one you have chosen will be at the top of my list.

Joje Leahy June 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Debra, I’ve already completed the granite faux on the counter. When I brushed on the polyurethane it left the brush strokes, I just read that I should have rolled it. I don’t want to do it over, how can I get a smooth finish?
Please help, Joje

THAT Painter Lady June 30, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Wooops Joje…

You will need to sand the poly with fine grit sandpaper and then roll on another coat. Test this process on a corner of the counter that will be covered by
something… like the coffee pot. You will have more confidence if you work out the process on a hidden area first. :0)

Good luck – Debra THAT painter Lady

Heather Hansen January 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Love your site, it is so helpful. We have a bar in basement with brown laminate counters. What I’d like to do is create a stone effect. Can I use the texture paint from Behr, that you recommend for your tuscan walls? If I TSP, sand, clean and prime before application do you think it will hold up?
Thanks for your insights Heather

THAT Painter Lady February 2, 2010 at 4:19 am

If you prep walls – and use a durable finish of paint (NOT Flat) then it will surly hold up to ton’s of wear and tear. The beauty of
a rugged stone finish… is you can touch it up easily. Of course you will want to “seal the deal” with several layers of polycyclic sealer (found in the wood refinishing aisle).
You can get polycyclic in a flat finish now which would work perfectly.

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