Granite is a popular choice for kitchen backsplashes due to its durability, elegance, and natural beauty. However, over time granite can start to look dull or dated. If you’re looking to update the look of your granite backsplash without undergoing a full replacement, you may be wondering if painting it is an option. Here’s what you need to know about painting granite backsplashes.
Should You Paint Granite?
Painting granite is possible, but it’s generally not recommended. Here are some key reasons why painting granite backsplashes is usually not the best idea:
- Granite is porous – The tiny pores in granite will absorb paint, causing it to look uneven and blotchy. No amount of sanding or priming will yield an evenly painted surface.
- Paint may not adhere well – Being a natural stone, granite lacks the tooth or texture paint needs to bond properly. New paint is likely to peel or chip off relatively quickly.
- You’ll lose the granite pattern – Much of granite’s appeal comes from its natural patterning. Painting will cover up the speckles and veins that make each granite slab unique.
- Resale value may decrease – Most prospective home buyers expect and want granite in the kitchen. Painting over granite can make it less desirable and lower resale value.
So in most cases, painting over granite backsplashes is not advisable. The paint finish is unlikely to have the look or longevity desired. But if your heart is set on a painted look, there may be some alternatives to consider first.
Alternatives to Painting Granite
If you want to change the color or appearance of your existing granite backsplash, here are some options to consider instead of paint:
Tile Over the Granite
One of the most effective ways to cover granite is to install new tile right over the existing granite. This completely transforms the look while avoiding the need to remove and dispose of the original granite. Subway tiles, glass tiles, or mosaic sheets are popular choices for going over granite backsplashes.
Etch the Granite
Acid etching can create a matte finish on polished granite. This technique removes some of the gloss and exposes more of the natural patterning. Etching may be enough to give dull granite some visual interest again.
Stain the Granite
Applying penetrating stains allows you to actually change the color of the granite itself. Multiple coats can help you achieve your ideal shade. Staining also won’t obscure the granite’s pattern the way paint would.
Whitewashing involves applying a thin, translucent coat of paint or limewash. This can softly mute colorful granite while allowing the underlying pattern to still show through. It offers a more subtle facelift than opaque paint.
Instead of renovating the entire backsplash, you may be able to get the look you want by just replacing portions of it. Swap out sections behind the range or sink for tile, shiplap, or another material. Mixing materials can give the space more character.
Prepping and Painting Granite as a Last Resort
If you’ve weighed the options and still decide that painting the granite is the right solution for your kitchen, follow these tips to get the best possible results:
- Thoroughly clean and degrease the granite using an alkaline degreasing cleaner like trisodium phosphate (TSP). This helps the paint adhere better.
- Sand the granite lightly with 120-150 grit sandpaper to create some texture for the paint to cling to.
- Apply a coating of high-adhesion primer/sealer made specifically for granite and natural stone.
- Opt for a satin, eggshell, or matte finish paint rather than high-gloss. The flatter sheen will help hide imperfections better.
- Use a small foam roller and nylon/polyester brush to apply at least 2-3 thin, even coats allowing proper drying time between coats.
- Be prepared to regularly touch up paint as needed. Granite paint jobs are notoriously prone to chipping and peeling quickly.
- Consider using an epoxy paint formulated for countertops and backsplashes. The epoxy provides a thicker, more durable coating with added gloss.
Painting granite backsplashes is generally not wise from a functionality or resale standpoint. But if you prepare the granite properly and use the right type of paint, you can potentially achieve the fresh painted look you’re seeking. Just don’t expect the results to be quite as flawless or long-lasting as on other surfaces. Carefully consider all your options first before settling on a paint project. Often there are better alternatives to painting granite that will transform the space with less hassle and cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it okay to paint over granite?
Painting over granite is not generally recommended. The porosity and lack of texture mean most paints will not adhere well and will peel or chip off relatively quickly. For better results, consider alternatives like tiling over, etching, or staining the granite instead.
What kind of paint adheres best to granite?
If you do opt to paint granite, an epoxy-based stone paint or a high-adhesion primer paired with a satin, eggshell, or matte finish paint will give you the best chance of temporarily achieving an evenly painted look.
Can you use chalk paint on granite?
Chalk paint typically does not bond well to non-porous surfaces like granite. It could easily scratch or peel off of granite. Paint specifically formulated for stone or an epoxy paint would be a better choice.
What happens if you paint over granite?
Painting over granite without proper prep and an adhesion primer will likely lead to chipping, cracking, and peeling in a short period of time. The paint will not last long or provide an attractive finish. Etching or staining the granite are longer-lasting options.
Does painting granite add value?
Unfortunately, painting over high-quality granite does not tend to increase home value. Most buyers prefer the natural look of granite. Painting it can actually detract value by making the home feel dated. Often it’s best to keep or replace with new granite.
Can painted granite be restored?
Yes, it is possible to remove acrylic paint from granite with a chemical paint stripper or by sanding thoroughly. This is labor-intensive but can reveal the natural granite underneath again. However, epoxy paints are nearly impossible to take off of granite.
Although it is possible to paint over granite backsplashes, the results are often underwhelming and short-lived. With proper cleaning, priming, and paint selection, painted granite can look decent temporarily. But for a truly updated look that will add value and stand the test of time, alternative granite treatments like tiling over, etching, or staining are typically the smarter route to take. If you do paint granite, be prepared for additional upkeep. With the right expectations, painted granite can be a budget-friendly quick fix in the short term.