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Can Concrete Countertops Be Painted?

Concrete countertops are quickly becoming just as popular as real stone like Quartz, Marble or Granite. They have a beautiful, modern look that fits in a variety of home styles. Concrete naturally handles heat really well, is easy to clean and relatively affordable. Especially considering how many DIY options there are. This makes it a great choice for kitchen and bath countertops as well as other areas like around fireplaces or grills. Concrete can be formed into any shape or size without visible seams. This isn’t something that’s possible with stone. And concrete countertops can be painted with concrete paint, stained, dyed or colored internally. Thanks to the wide variety of coloring options designed for concrete, you’ll have tons of opportunities to be creative.

Concrete is a masonry product and very porous. You can’t use just any paint. To paint concrete countertops you must use a paint that’s specially designed for concrete. Luckily they’re not hard to find and come in just about any color. However, they’re more expensive per gallon than traditional paints.

Dyes and stains are other great ways to color a concrete countertops. Again, they must be specifically made for concrete. So check the label before you start staining. Concrete can also be colored internally using liquid dyes or powders. Simply add the color directly into the wet concrete as you mix it. Other colors and effects, like glitter and colored specs, can be added to the concrete surface as it cures.

As you can see, if you want to color or paint your concrete countertops, you’ll have lot of options.

Can Concrete Countertops Be Painting infographic chart

How To Paint Concrete Countertops

Painting concrete countertops is no different than painting a wall, trim or piece of furniture.The only real difference is the paint you can use. Concrete is a masonry product that’s very porous. If you use paint that’s not designed for concrete, it will peel or flake off.

Concrete paint that’s designed for patios, floors, steps, driveways, etc., can also be used to paint countertops.Any paint that can be used on a concrete surface, indoor or out, can be used on a concrete countertop.

  • First, prepare the surface by lightly sanding the concrete and wiping it down. This cleans the concrete and smooths imperfections.
  • Next, apply a concrete primer. This helps the paint bond with the concrete.
  • Finally, apply at least 2 coats of paint. Don’t start painting until the primer coat is fully dry.

Seal the concrete after it’s been painted. Sealing helps prevent stains and bacterial growth.

After sealing, I like to add a food-safe finish like tung oil. I prepare food directly on my concrete countertops so using a food safe coating is important. if you don’t prepare or handle food right on the countertop then you can skip this step.

Be careful about the paint you use. Because paint isn’t usually heat resistant, you have to be more careful about placing hot pots and pans on the concrete countertops after they’ve been painted. This is true of sealers as well. Concrete can handle high heat, but paints and sealers usually can’t.

Painting Concrete Countertop Tips

When you sand down the concrete countertops, use a light grit. It’s just a light sanding to remove small surface imperfections and dirt. You don;t want to over-sand which can actually remove some of the surface.

Make sure to use masonry sandpaper with a diamond grit. You can’t sand concrete countertops with wood sandpaper. You can sand them with a small handheld sander or by hand. I usually do it by hand to make sure I don;t over-sand them.

Either dry or wet sanding will work. I usually use a little water because it cuts down on the dust. Spray a light mist over the countertops as you sand.

When it comes time to paint the countertops, I use a small 6 inch roller that’s designed for smooth surfaces. Concrete is very hard and dense so you don’t need a fluffy roller. Use a small angled brush in the corners.

Apply paint very lightly. 2-3 thin coats is better than one thick one.

Make sure you prime the surface before painting. Some people skip the priming step and it’s a mistake. A primer helps the paint adhere and fills up small pores.

Even though the concrete countertops are painted they still need to be sealed. Sealers help prevent stains and bacteria.

Paint adds a thin coating on top of the counters but it also penetrates into the concrete’s pores. Once you paint the counters, there’s no going back. It’s very hard to remove concrete paint if you apply it correctly. But you can always change the color later on if you don’t like it. Concrete paint can be painted over by new concrete paint.

can concrete countertops be painted - dark gray painted concrete bathroom counter

Internal Concrete Paint

A great way to paint your concrete countertops is to add the color into the wet concrete mix. However this has to be done while the countertops are being built.

The coloring used in wet concrete mix isn’t actually a paint, it’s a dye or pigment. Colors either come as a liquid or powder. I prefer the powdered variety. You simply add them right into the wet concrete as you mix it.

Internal concrete coloring is also called integral coloring. It’s a nice option because it colors the concrete without adding a thin layer to it like paint does. This helps preserve the concrete’s texture and natural appearance.

Concrete that’s colored internally looks just like regular concrete only it’s a different color. painted concrete looks a little different because the paint and primer smooth the surface a bit. And they also add a sheen. Internal coloring doesn’t do that.

If you add color to the concrete mix and don’t like it, you can always dye, stain or paint the concrete again later. However, you can never go back to the concrete natural coloring. There’s no way to get the color out even if you sand or refinish the surface. Internal concrete colors are all the way through.

Of all the concrete countertop coloring options, this is the most permanent. So use internal colors carefully.

I usually make a few test batches of concrete when I use internal colors. Once you add them there’s no turning back or reversing what you did so make sure you like the color before you pour the countertops.

Concrete Countertop Spray Stains

Using a concrete spray stain is another great way to paint your concrete countertops. They’re water based and semi transparent so you still see some of the concrete’s natural color tones. if you want to paint your concrete countertops but don’t want to lose all the concrete’s color, try a light spray stain.

Stains work different than paints because they’re semi transparent. This means they work with and change the concrete’s colors but don’t completely cover them. The coloring is more subtle and less overpowering. However, you have a lot less control over the finished look.

As with paint, start with a light sanding and cleaning. Then use painters tape and plastic sheeting to mask off areas you don’t want stain. Using a spray can to apply stain is messy.

Once the masking is done, spray stain onto the concrete. Use very thin coats. Let each coat of stain dry before you apply another. it’s best to build up color slowly when you work with concrete stains.

Spray stain is a great way to create the marbleized look of acid washes without actually having to acid wash the countertops.

Stains don’t provide the same bright bold colors as paint. They tend to be darker and earthy because they’re semi transparent.

Once you’re done spray staining concrete countertops, make sure to seal them.

can concrete countertops be painted - light gray bathroom concrete countertop

Concrete Countertop Acid Wash

An acid wash is a great way to alter the natural color of a concrete countertop. The appearance usually looks like a slate gray or granite.

The color contained in an acid eventually needs to be neutralized with a base. Usually I use a baking soda and water mixture. Once the desired color is achieved by the acid, apply the base to neutralize it. Once neutralized, the color is permanent.

An acid wash can be applied with a spray bottle or paint brush. I usually use the spray bottle unless I want to create a textured look. In that case I use the brush. With a brush, you can control where the acid is applied and create streaks that look like stone veins.

Acid wash method is messy so make sure to tape and mask off ears you don’t want stain.

Stains are different than paints and dyes. A stain will chemically react with the concrete which permanently changes it’s color. The end result is a more earthy color that retains all the concrete’s natural tones and variances. It’s not an opaque coloring like paint and not as vibrant as dye.

Acid washes are great if all you want is a very subtle tint. However, if you’re looking for bold or bright colors, try paints or dyes instead.

Concrete Countertop Epoxy Paint

Concrete countertops painted with epoxy creates a unique marbled look with a high gloss finish that mimics the appearance of real polished stone.

Make sure you only use concrete epoxy paint. There are other types of epoxy paints that are not designed for concrete.

As with regular paints, stains and dyes, sand the concrete countertops lightly first. Then clean them off. Tape and mask off areas you don;t want paint.

Once the countertops are sanded, cleaned and prepped, start painting.

Epoxy painting is more artistic than using standard solid colors. The technique you use to apply the paint will effect the finished product. You can create a marbled look that mimics real stone veining by using two colors swirled together.Add splashes of color or stay monochromatic. Paint the concrete to look like granite or marble. Or do something totally unique. Epoxy paints provide all sorts of creative options.

When you apply epoxy paints, bubbles will rise to the surface and pop. The end result is a glass like smooth finish that shines.

Clear epoxy paint can give your concrete countertops a gloss like finish without applying any gloss.

Flecks and glitter can be added to the epoxy after it’s painted on for an even more dramatic effect.These types of features can be a bit much for a traditional kitchen but you can have fun with them around a bar or in a funky bathroom.

Epoxy paints are thick and provide some protection to the countertops. However, I still recommend sealing the counters after you’re done painting.

can concrete countertops be painted - dark gray bathroom concrete countertop sink

Can I Change The Color Of Concrete Countertops?

Paint, stains and dyes are a few of the great ways you can change the color of concrete countertops.

Adding color or texture to concrete countertop is a quick and easy to do. Color can be added to the surface after the countertops are done or integrally (mixed into concrete).

Integral colors come in either liquid or powder form. They’re poured into wet concrete as it’s being mixed. The result is a solid color that runs all the way through the concrete. There’s no way to undo integral colors by sanding or refinishing the concrete because the color is part of the mixture.

Surface colors like paints, stains and dyes can be added on top of the concrete countertops after they’re done. Paints are opaque and come in just about any color you can think of. Dyes and acids are semi-transparent and work with the natural color of the concrete. They’re more subtle and less bold than paint. And they’re also more natural looking.

No matter how you color concrete countertops, you should always seal them afterwards. A sealant protects the countertop from stains and microbial growth.

Can You Re-Stain Concrete Countertops?

Stains work differently than paints because they’re semi-transparent. This means some of the concrete natural color comes through after the countertop has been stained. You can re-stain counters as many times as you like, however, you always retains some of the previous stains colors.

In most cases, it’s not a great idea to re-stain concrete countertops. The end result is usually a muddy, unattractive color. However, in some cases, if the original color is light, you can achieve a good result.

Stains only change the color of the concrete as far down as they can penetrate. This is usually about a 1/16 – 1/8 of an inch. For this reason you can usually sand down a concrete countertop to remove most of the stain. This is sometimes a better option that re-staining because you can start again from the concrete’s natural color.

Remember when you re-stain a countertop that you’re going to retain some of the original color. It’s like mixing two colors together instead of painting over with a new color. Stains don’t work like paint. So make sure the old color works with the new stain.

I always recommend using a test piece first before you re-stain an entire countertop not knowing what the end result will be.

can concrete countertops be painted - light gray modern bathroom concrete counter painted white

How To Color A Concrete Countertop

There are several great options you can use to color a concrete countertop.

If the countertop is existing, you can paint, stain, acid wash or dye it. All three options are applied to the concrete countertops surface after it’s been lightly sanded and cleaned.

Paints: These are opaque and totally cover the concrete countertop with any new color you choose. Just like painting a wall, trim, care or piece of furniture, the color is total and solid.

Dyes, Acid Washes & Stains: Coloring a concrete countertop with dyes, acid washes & stains is different than paint because they’re not a solid color. These methods are semi-transparent so you retain some of the concrete’s natural color tones. Dyes, stains and acid-washes are generally more natural colors, earthy and less vibrant.

If the countertop is brand new, you can color it from the inside. This is called internal or integral color. Liquid dye or powdered pigments can be added into the wet concrete mix. This changes the concrete color all the way through. Because of this, integral color is permanent. There’s no way to sand or refinish the color out of the concrete. If you don’t like the color, you’re only option is to paint, stain, acid-wash or dye it.

Colored powders, sprays and decorative elements like glitter can be applied to the concrete surface as it’s drying. These can be sanded out later if you don’t like them because they’re only surface level.

Summary: Can Concrete Countertops Be Painted?

Concrete countertops are quickly becoming just as popular as real stone like Quartz, Marble or Granite. They have a beautiful, modern look that fits in a variety of home styles. Concrete naturally handles heat really well, is easy to clean and relatively affordable. Especially considering how many DIY options there are. This makes it a great choice for kitchen and bath countertops as well as other areas like around fireplaces or grills. Concrete can be formed into any shape or size without visible seams. This isn’t something that’s possible with stone. And concrete countertops can be painted with concrete paint, stained, dyed or colored internally. Thanks to the wide variety of coloring options designed for concrete, you’ll have tons of opportunities to be creative.

Concrete is a masonry product and very porous. You can’t use just any paint. To paint concrete countertops you must use a paint that’s specially designed for concrete. Luckily they’re not hard to find and come in just about any color. However, they’re more expensive per gallon than traditional paints.

Dyes and stains are other great ways to color a concrete countertops. Again, they must be specifically made for concrete. So check the label before you start staining. Concrete can also be colored internally using liquid dyes or powders. Simply add the color directly into the wet concrete as you mix it. Other colors and effects, like glitter and colored specs, can be added to the concrete surface as it cures.

As you can see, if you want to color or paint your concrete countertops, you’ll have lot of options.

If you have any questions about concrete countertops, email any time.

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