Can You Paint Backsplash Stone?

Painting a stone backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. With the right preparation and paint, you can easily update tired, dated stone to give your space a fresh new look. Here’s what you need to know about painting stone backsplashes.

Benefits of Painting Stone Backsplash

Painting a stone backsplash offers several advantages:

  • Cost-effective update: Painting stone is much more affordable than replacing the backsplash entirely. Stone tiles can be expensive, but a coat of paint is a budget-friendly refresh.
  • Quick makeover: Painting a backsplash can be a weekend project, allowing you to dramatically update the space without long renovation timelines.
  • Customizable color: Paint allows you to introduce any color you like to your backsplash. You can match your cabinetry, bring in a bold accent color, or complement your countertops.
  • Coverage of flaws: Painting can conceal any existing stains, cracks, or imperfections in the stone. The backsplash will look uniform and flawless with fresh paint.
  • Modern look: Painting stone gives it a smooth, sleek look for a more updated, contemporary feel than unpainted stone’s natural texture.

Preparing Stone for Painting

Proper prep is crucial for successful painted stone. Here are key tips:

  • Clean thoroughly: Remove any grease, dirt, or grime on the stone using degreaser and scrub brushes. Rinse and let dry completely.
  • Sand surface: Lightly sand the stone with 220 grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface and allow paint to adhere better.
  • Fill any holes/gaps: Use caulk to fill any crevices, chips, or holes in the stone so the paint application is smooth.
  • Prime: Apply a high-adhesion primer made for masonry/stone to create a bonding layer for paint.

Choosing the Right Stone Paint

Look for these features when selecting paint for a stone backsplash:

  • Enamel-based: Enamel paints are ultra durable and provide a glossy, scrubbable finish.
  • Mold/mildew resistant: Important in moisture-prone kitchens.
  • Non-yellowing: Won’t discolor over time.
  • High adhesion: Bonds tightly to stone surfaces.
  • Good coverage: Opaque paint hides imperfections and existing colors.
  • Kitchen/bath formula: Designed for high-traffic areas like backsplashes.

Application Tips for Painted Stone

Follow these tips for a flawless painted stone backsplash:

  • Apply 2-3 thin, even coats rather than 1 thick coat.
  • Use angled paintbrushes to easily reach grout lines.
  • Go slowly and avoid drips. Stone is porous and will absorb paint quickly.
  • Allow proper dry time between coats according to product directions.
  • Consider a clear polyurethane top coat for added protection.

Caring for a Painted Stone Backsplash

Regular cleaning and avoiding abrasives are key to preserving your painted stone:

  • Use a soft sponge or cloth with gentle dish soap and warm water.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners or scrubbing pads which can damage the paint.
  • Re-apply a fresh coat of paint periodically as needed when you notice wear.
  • Use trivets and pot holders when setting hot pans on the backsplash to prevent chipping.

With the right prep and paint, you can easily paint dated or flawed stone backsplashes for a budget-friendly kitchen makeover. Just be sure to use an enamel-based formula made for high-traffic areas. Maintain the finish by cleaning gently and touching up paint as needed. Painting stone opens up endless possibilities for customizing your backsplash on a budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Painting Stone Backsplashes

Can any type of stone be painted?

Most natural stone varieties like granite, marble, travertine, slate, and limestone can be painted, but very porous, crumbling stones will not hold up to paint. Always test paint adhesion on a small area first.

Does the stone have to be sealed before painting?

Sealing prior to painting is not mandatory, but can help the stone become less porous for better paint adhesion. Be sure the sealer is fully cured before painting.

What kind of primer should be used?

Look for primer specifically formulated for masonry and stone that provides maximum adhesion to slick, non-porous surfaces. Latex or acrylic primers are recommended rather than oil-based.

How long does painted stone last compared to unpainted stone?

When properly prepped and sealed, painted stone can last 3-5 years or more with proper care. Unpainted stone lasts indefinitely but will show age and wear over time.

Does paint need a top protective coat over stone?

For added protection on heavily used backsplashes, applying 1-2 coats of a water-based polyurethane sealant on top of the paint is advisable to prevent chipping and scratches.

Can painted stone backsplashes be cleaned like regular stone?

Use only gentle, non-abrasive cleaners on painted stone and avoid stiff scrubbing. Harsh cleaners can degrade paint over time. Clean with soft cloths, sponges, and mild dish soap.

Will paint stick to a glossy finished stone backsplash?

For best adhesion, the stone should be sanded down to create some texture before priming and painting. Proper prep removes any glossy sealant and exposes the natural stone underneath.


Painting a dated or flawed stone backsplash offers an affordable weekend project to give your kitchen an instant facelift. With proper cleaning, priming, quality paint, and careful application, you can achieve a dramatically updated look in no time. Pay attention to prepping porous stone for the paint to adhere smoothly. Choose an enamel-based formula designed specifically for high-moisture areas like kitchens. With a fresh coat of color suited to your unique style, you can give new life to a lackluster stone backsplash on a budget.