Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Faux Soapstone Painted Countertop

I didn't want to do it.
At all at all at all.
I really loved my faux marble countertops.  

Because of my own, I don't know...laziness, distractedness, busyness, forgetfulness, lack of googling skillsedness...the old finish needed to be redone.  I should've sealed it better.  I should have used a clear pourable epoxy resin to completely protect it.  It would've been beautiful.  I didn't do that because our weirdo countertops are all one piece with the backsplash and I was nervous to pour an epoxy glaze on the horizontal service and either brush on or leave the backsplash and have it become a mess.  So the several coatings of polyurethane I had applied weren't enough to protect it and there were spots of peeling and chipping and yellowing (because no matter how many "crystal clear" polys I've tried they are never ever truly clear).  They were beginning to drive me nuts so I took the plunge and repainted them again.  This time I opted for a faux soapstone finish.  I don't love it as much as the marble but for how simple it was and how much it improved the space, I don't regret doing it.  

Soapstone and white cabinets are a classic farmhouse combo and overall I'm happy with how they turned out.  Would I prefer real marble or real soapstone or even new Formica carrara marble?  Heck yes.  But the dolla billz, y'all. They aren't there on the trees and it wouldn't be a good money spend in this neighborhood or wallet.  So $0 wins.

Why yes, zero dolares.  Because I used paint and supplies we already had stored in our paint dungeon.  For someone buying the supplies new, it would still only be $25-50, I think.

Because I had already painted the counters once, there was already special counter paint as the base layer.  If you're doing something like this on raw laminate, you will want to put on a countertop primer first.  

I gave the counters a quick fine sanding to scuff up the old poly and help the new paint adhere.

I taped and rolled on two coats of flat black latex enamel paint.  True soapstone has a beautiful matte finish which is why I used the flat paint.  After those coats were completely dry, I mixed some dark gray acrylic craft paint with some of the black to create a lighter black just a few shades above the original.  Using a real sea sponge and a rag, I started to mottle.  This is the tricky/nontricky part.  You don't want it to look sponged and fake.  I found the best results when I used a size of the sponge that didn't have as many holes and lightly blotted with the rag after painting to smooth out the sponginess.  In a few spots I also used a little bit of sponging of an even lighter gray just to give it some more texture.  

When I was finally tired of doing it happy (or as happy as my perfectionist self would be), I let it dry.  The next day I applied four coats of finishing paste wax, buffing 15-30 minutes after each coat.  (Note to others: don't use paste wax in February in Buffalo.  I needed to open windows and doors to air everything out.  Sometimes my do-it-now sense overpowers my safety first/common sense sense.)

The paste wax gives it a neat sheen and dries hard to help protect the finish.  I'm not entirely convinced that just the wax will be enough.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it won't be but I'm going to give it a few weeks to see whether I see any chipping or wear.  The husband is like, "Mary, it says right here on the can that it's meant for things that do not need a hard protective coat."  And I'm like, "But the internet said."  If both the can and my husband are proven right, I may go over it with something stronger...matte varnish or poly or something.  The happy thing is that this is far easier to touch up with a dab of black paint than the marble. 

Sooo...here's how it looks now (on day four of overcast February days...sorry for the lighting):

What was neat to notice was that the areas where there was peeling actually look the best!  The peeling underneath actually gave it some cool texture that looks somewhat authentic!

Please don't judge our banana consumption.  Five boys, y'all.  Also, note the coffee cup that has already been thrice heated in that microwave.

While white shows dirt more, black shows every bit of dust and crumb more.

The tape gave a pretty good line distinguishing the counter from the backsplash.  For now I'm keeping the marble on the back.

I wasn't as thrilled with my mottling job on these side counters but tired.

Also we finally replaced the gross bisque color sink!  I don't know WHY it took me so long to just order it and (have Brian) do it!  It was like two seconds.  Or it felt like that since he did it after I had gone out for the night and was done when I came back ;)  (Actually, I do know why...I've been holding out for an apron front sink but our sink space is tiny and the ones in that size are mucho expensive.  Plus, they all extended too far out because our backsplash is that same countertop material and was too thick or would need to be cut into to make the apron fit.)  

Don't ever ever forget to check Amazon for things!  I often forget but this time I didn't.  Not only was this same exact sink $25 cheaper than Lowe's or Home Depot BUT it was delivered FREE to my door and I was able to buy through another blogger's Amazon link so she hopefully got a percentage as well.  That wins all the things.  

Final verdict?  I'm glad I did it.  Do I think it's the awesomest counter ever?  No.  But it was free versus thousands of dollars, it fixed a problem, and it looks better than it did.  So that's a happy thing in my book.

{Amazon affiliate links included.  Anytime you get to Amazon through one of my links or sidebar, I get a percentage of your purchase at no change to you.  Thank you!}

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  1. I think it looks really great! And you're so brave! I'm also in love with your sink. I've been hating my faucet and sink for nine years now and only now as we talk about doing maybe a slight couple thousand dollar renovation do I think, oh yeah, a new sink and faucet wouldn't be a big deal! Gah.

    1. I know! I spent seven years giving it the stink eye and for some reason thinking putting a new one in is a bigger deal than it was! A few clicks on Amazon and a few hours of handy husband time and that's all it took!

  2. I am crazy impressed! Well done. And yes to dark countertops showing every crumb!

  3. That kitchen! It turned out perfectly! I love your home. True story. I really do! and would love for you and your husband to have all the DIY fun at our casa too. Although, I know it's a crazy amount of work so I promise to cook, entertain, be at y'alls beck n' call, and love you both a ton too :D

  4. It's gorgeous! Good job. I love that you kept the marble on the back. That ties the white cabinets with the dark counters nicely. But that pale green paint you've got at the top makes me think you need some pretty green glass accents. What do they call that... depression era glass? (Then again, I'm a little sea glass obsessed right now.)

  5. This is gorgeous! I am in love with farmhouse style and although we don't live in an old/farmhouse we imitate here and there. If my counters were in decent shape, I'd be copy-cating, but they're going to need a whole replacement when we do the kitchen this summer. Did you repaint your cabinets too? How has that held up? (Oh, and for the record, my banana pile looks like yours and I only have 2 boys so far!).

    1. Thank you! So, I saw one tutorial online where the woman literally ripped off the laminate from the base and painted right on what was underneath...the bumpy textured surface actually made it look like a pretty good soapstone copy! http://rainonatinroof.com/2015/02/how-to-make-laminate-countertops-look-like-faux-stone/ I wonder if it'd be worth trying that?!?

      I did paint the cabinets a few years ago. They've held up okay but if I were to do it again I would definitely use an enamel specialized cabinet paint. I used chalk paint and polycrylic and while they're okay from a distance, I don't like how they've yellowed a bit. I feel like the enamel paint would've given a smoother surface for cleaning, too.

    2. Thanks for the tips! I just saw your post about your farmhouse table now and I'm in love with the simplicity. Could I just live down the street from you and learn everything from you and let my boys play with yours? I just love your blog, Mary!

  6. I live in Buffalo also!!! South towns, actually. also I'm very nervous to do this to our counter tops, how long would you say it took?

    1. Hi Stephanie, the painting only took a total of maybe 3-4 hours or so (but I broke it up in 2 days). The wax took another couple of days because I waited for it to harden in between coats. I did already have the first coat of countertop paint on from a few years back so you may need to add another couple of hours in to apply that before anything else. Good luck!

  7. My husband and I are about to give this a try. We are holding out on buying actual soapstone and we think this idea may be the perfect fix for now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. It looks awesome! Thinking about doing it this summer. How have they held up so far?

    1. Thank you! They've held up really well except for those same spots that were having issues before. Those spots that were compromised have already peeled a little bit again, unfortunately. But I'm very surprised with how hard the wax finish is and everywhere else looks great! We've accidentally dropped things and scraped things and use it all the time and it's extremely hard.


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