Can she paint her tile countertops to create a new look?

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Painting Countertops: Countertop Question

I just redecorated my kitchen! It looks absolutely fabulous! And I only spent $100! Everything looks brand new. Except for my countertops. I am wondering if it would be okay to paint them as well. Has anyone ever done this? Would it be safe? Thanks so much!

Painting Countertops: Tiles May Be an Alternative

I recently "extended" my counter space in my military living quarters. Part of my solution was to use floor tiles to cover up counters. There are some very nice tile patterns available, not very expensive, and easy to put on the countertops. They are just as easy to clean as regular countertops.

Painting Countertops: Parquet Gives the Look of Butcher Block

Don't try to paint countertops. They are usually slick plastic/Formica to start with and then there is the problem of grease and paint chips off about as fast as it dries. Go to the home center/floor-covering store and get tiles to match your kitchen. We got light maple parquet and wound up with a "butcher block" countertop. Degrease and sand the old surface and then wipe down with acetone, install the tiles according to the adhesive directions, seal with poly and enjoy.

Painting tips, tricks and resources

Painting Countertops: Wallpaper as an Alternative

When my very frugal sister-in-law redecorated her kitchen, she used washable heavy-duty wallpaper to cover her old countertops. It holds up for a few years, then she replaces it, sometimes changing the pattern to create a whole new look.

Painting Countertops: Words of Warning for Formica

Countertops can be painted to make them look new. If the surface is wood or metal, this is a good alternative. The paint must be food safe and USDA approved. It should be hard enamel, polyurethane, or two-part epoxy. If the surface is Formica or other laminated plastic, then the entire top should be replaced. Good surface preparation is a must. Paint will not stick to Formica or other plastics or finishes so these must be completely removed.

Painting Countertops: Words of Wisdom

Painting a countertop can be an option, but it requires a bit of effort to make it a good, safe job. First, most countertops are made of Formica, a fairly hard, dense surface. For the paint to adhere properly the countertop must be sanded thoroughly with a medium grit paper; say, 100 - 120 grit. Then all dust must be removed with a tack rag. Then you can paint the countertop with a good grade latex paint. It is not much of a problem today, but make sure it contains no lead or lead based ingredients. This should make for a good-looking countertop. Painting, however, is not as durable as tile.

Contrary to popular belief, tile need not be an expensive proposition and installation, while somewhat tedious, is not all that difficult. Anyone with moderate handyman skills should be able to do the job.

Check in your area for tile discount or wholesale to the public shops. Check the tile prices. Many times the price can be less than $2.00 U.S. per tile. In my area we have a shop where I can buy discontinued tile for under $1 U.S. each. As long as they have enough to complete the job, this is great.

Carefully measure the countertop and calculate the total number of square feet required. Then add 10% for breakage, mis-measurement, a case of klutzes, etc. When I buy a discontinued tile, I always buy 15% more than I need. Most tile shops will insure you have the correct amount of thin-set, tile, grout, etc.

Go to your local building supply like Home Depot or Lowes and attend one of their tiling classes. They are free and will help your self-confidence tremendously. Get one of the circulars and check out a tiling book form the library. Special tools, such as water saws or nippers, can be rented fairly cheaply. The tile shop will probably lend you a tile cutter. With a little preparation and patience, you can have a countertop that will look terrific able to last many, many years and add considerable value to your kitchen makeover.

You might also like: Reviving Pressboard Cabinets

Painting Countertops: Perhaps a Class on Tile Work

Take a free course at Home Depot on laying ceramic tile. Redo your countertops with thin wall tile. Start at the showing edges with horizontal tiles extending out a tile's thickness, and butt the vertical tiles up to them. Cuts should be at the wall, with vertical tile resting on the horizontal tiles. Wall tiles are very easy to cut, handle, and lay. They are also quite inexpensive, and look fabulous. They chip and crack easier than counter tiles, but are still very tough and are easy to replace so you need to buy extras.

Painting Countertops: Warning About Lead Content

There can be as much as 0.06% lead in paint that residents can buy and even more in industrial type paint. Do not paint the countertops! You can find countertops at home improvement stores that did not get picked up or did not fit a customer's kitchen correctly but would fit their kitchen at a discount. Do not paint the countertops!

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  • Change the color of your laminate countertops.
  • Update your kitchen without buying new cupboards.
  • Redecorate your kitchen cheaply.

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