How to Paint Countertops—Plus Can You Paint Quartz?

Tired of your outdated countertops but don’t have the budget to replace them? Painting is an affordable way to give your countertops a fresh, new look without breaking the bank. But can you paint all types of countertops, including popular quartz? This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about painting countertops, including what types of countertops can be painted, how to prepare, what kind of paint to use, application techniques, and tips for achieving a professional finish. Read on to learn how you can easily transform your counters with a simple paint job.

What Types of Countertops Can You Paint?

When considering painting your countertops, the first step is determining what material they are made of. Paint is compatible with many countertop surfaces but not all. Here is a breakdown of which common countertop materials can be painted:


Laminate is one of the easiest and most popular countertop surfaces to paint. The laminate provides an excellent base for paint adhesion. Just be sure to properly prep and prime the laminate prior to painting.

Cultured marble

Cultured or faux marble countertops are also great candidates for a fresh coat of paint. Paint can give faux marble an entirely new look while preserving the shape and contour of the counter.


Tile countertops, whether ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone, can all be updated with paint. Similar to laminate and cultured marble, proper prep and priming are key to ensuring the paint adheres.


Concrete counters offer a smooth surface that takes paint very well. Painting is a cost-effective way to change up the look of concrete without the need for replacement.


Quartz has grown in popularity in recent years as an attractive, low-maintenance countertop material. The good news is that quartz countertops can also be painted! But special treatment is required (more details in the next section).


Like quartz, granite has a naturally smooth surface that allows for good paint adhesion with proper prep and primer. Paint offers an affordable way to update granite.


Soapstone is a soft stone that’s easily scratched but also takes paint quite well. Painting soapstone is an easy way to alter its look without replacement costs.


Wood countertops, like butcher block, can also be painted. The porous nature of wood will absorb paint nicely. Just take steps to properly seal and protect the paint finish.

Now that you know which countertop surfaces can be painted, let’s look at how to prep quartz counters specifically for painting.

How to Prepare Quartz Countertops for Painting

Quartz offers unique advantages that make it a popular choice – durability, stain-resistance, and a sleek contemporary look. But many homeowners eventually wish to change the color of their quartz. The good news is that with proper preparation, you can absolutely paint quartz countertops. Here’s how to get quartz ready for paint:

Clean and scuff the surface

Use a degreasing cleanser to thoroughly clean your quartz countertops and remove any residue, dirt, or grease. Once cleaned, very lightly scuff the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. This will rough up the finish so the primer and paint can properly adhere.

Apply bonding primer

The most important step is applying a bonding primer specifically formulated for slick surfaces like quartz. An adhesion primer will act as an intermediary layer allowing the paint to bond effectively. Without a primer, paint may eventually peel or chip.

Spot prime oil-based stains

If your quartz counters have any grease or oil stains, spot prime just those affected areas with an oil-based primer like Kilz Original. This will block out those stubborn stains from showing through the new paint.

Fill any chips or flaws

Use painter’s putty to fill in any small chips, cracks, or flaws in the quartz. Allow time to cure before sanding smooth. This prep work helps achieve an ultra-smooth painted surface.

Once your quartz is scrubbed, scuffed, primed, and flawless, you’re ready to select a paint and start applying color!

Choosing the Right Paint for Countertops

The options for paint these days are endless. But not all paints are created equal when it comes to durability and finish on countertops. Follow these tips for choosing the right countertop paint:

Opt for alkyd/oil-based paint

Alkyd paints are more durable, harder, and adhere better than latex acrylics. The additional prep time is worth it for a finish that withstands wear and resists stains/scratches.

Use a countertop/cabinet paint

Many companies like Rust-Oleum and KILZ make specific cabinet/countertop paints formulated for toughness, adhesion, and aesthetics.

Consider epoxy paint

Two-part epoxy paints offer an ultra-durable and protective finish like a poured resin coating. Great for heavy-use counters.

Match sheen to usage

Higher sheens like gloss enamel are ideal for heavy usage areas. Lighter sheens like eggshell suit protected spaces better.

Get quality applicator brushes/rollers

Don’t skimp on the tools! High-density foam rollers and angled cabinet brushes give the smoothest, most professional results.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and allow sufficient dry time between coats. Now let’s get into the fun part – applying the paint!

How to Paint Countertops for a Flawless Professional Finish

Once you’ve prepped and primed your counters, it’s time to roll or brush on color. Follow these key steps to achieve a smooth, streak-free painted finish:

1. Apply First Coat

For the initial base coat, use a high-density foam roller and/or high-quality angled brush to apply an even layer of paint. Work in sections, completing one section before moving to the next.

2. Inspect and Sand Between Coats

Allow the first coat to fully dry then inspect for any drips, bubbles, or unevenness. Lightly sand any imperfections smooth before the second coat.

3. Add Second (or Third) Coat

Apply additional coats as needed, sanding between each one, until you achieve your desired opaque color and smooth finish.

4. Edge with a Brush

For a pro touch, re-brush the edges and any hard to reach spots with a trim brush after the final coat. This ensures edges are crisp.

5. Remove Hardware

Once painted, carefully remove any hardware like faucets or soap dispensers using painter’s tape to protect the fresh paint.

6. Coat Hardware

Paint the removed hardware using spray paint to match the fresh countertops. This finishes the seamless updated look.

7. Seal and Protect

Allow the paint to cure fully then apply one or two coats of water-based polyurethane to seal and protect the finish from wear, moisture, and stains.

With the right prep, paint, and technique, you can achieve showroom-worthy painted counters. Just be sure to care for them properly to make the new finish last.

Caring for Newly Painted Countertops

Your freshly painted counters may look gorgeous, but don’t forget – paint finishes do require a certain level of maintenance and care. Here are some dos and don’ts for keeping painted counters looking their best:


  • Use cutting boards and hot pads
  • Wipe up spills promptly
  • Clean with mild soap and water
  • Reseal annually with polyurethane


  • Directly cut on surface
  • Place hot pans from stove/oven
  • Use abrasive scrubbers or cleaners
  • Allow moisture to sit

The more gently you treat your painted counters, the longer your beautiful painted finish will last!

Painting Countertops FAQs

Ready to revamp your countertops with paint? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about painting counters:

How long does it take to paint countertops?

The entire process, including proper prep, applying 2-3 coats, and sealing, typically takes 2-3 days from start to finish. The drying time between coats is the longest factor.

Do you have to seal painted countertops?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to apply 2-3 coats of water-based polyurethane sealant to fully protect the finish from normal wear and tear.

Can you paint over quartz countertops?

Yes, quartz can be painted but the surface needs to be lightly scuffed and bonded with a specialty primer first to ensure paint adhesion.

Should I remove countertop appliances before painting?

Definitely. It’s best to detach sinks, faucets, and any other attached fixtures to allow for an uninterrupted, professional paint job.

What’s the cost to paint kitchen countertops?

If painting the counters yourself, the total supplies cost will be approximately $50-150 depending on size. Hiring a pro ranges $500-2000 based on counters’ square footage.

How do I get a smooth finish when painting laminate counters?

Using high-density foam rollers and quality angled brushes allows for the smoothest, streak-free painted finish on countertops.

Painting offers an affordable way to transform the look of your kitchen or bath. With the right materials and techniques, even countertops like quartz can take on an exciting new color. Just be sure to properly prep, paint, and care for your counters so the fresh finish lasts for years!


With some basic prep and the right tools and materials, anyone can achieve professional-looking painted countertops. Proper cleaning, light scuffing, using primers and paints made for countertop applications, applying multiple thin coats, re-brushing edges, and sealing/protecting the finish are the secrets to success. While delicate materials like quartz require special treatment with a bonding primer, painting offers a budget-friendly makeover opportunity for most types of countertop surfaces. With a little time and care, you can transform your outdated counters with paint for a fraction of the cost of new countertop installation. So don’t be afraid to add a splash of color to your countertops and make your whole kitchen shine!