Is painting counter tops a good idea?
I perform home inspections in the Phoenix area and lately I have seen a lot of painted counter tops. Home buyers ask me if this can be done. I will provide you with the same opinion I give my clients.
If you Google Painting counter tops you will find lots of articles from people saying how to do it, how great it looks, what products to use and most of the sites have adds for the products on the pages or a DIY sites that will also tell you how to install new counter tops.
I am not in the paint business, I am in the home inspection, performance and education business. My job as a Phoenix Home inspector is not to sell you special paint for counter top. My job is to tell you what is wrong with the home, how the different systems will perform and educate the client.
Painting counter tops is an inexpensive way to give a kitchen or bath a new look. However paint is not a durable as laminate or tile. People slide stuff across counter tops all the time, Glasses and plates get dropped, hot pans and dishes get set on them all causing little or no damage.
The truth is most people would never think about abusing the paint on their car like they do their counter tops. Also most people don’t put food directly on their car paint, but they set food on counter tops all the time. The paint on your car is some of the most durable paint available, You will not get that same quality when painting counter tops.
When painting counter tops the most important step is the preparation. To do the job right you will need to clean, sand, prime , prime again, paint, seal each step requires the previous step to dry completely before you go to the next step. Most of the people painting counter tops in the homes I am inspecting, are doing it fast and cheap. I doubt they are taking all the steps.
Why shouldn’t I paint counter tops?
Would you slide your toaster oven across the trunk of your car, turn it on for 20 minutes and then slide the hot pan out of it on to your trunk? How about a blender, mixer, pots, pans etc. Would you slide a glass across the hood of your car like a bartender in a saloon does on the counter top?
The simple truth is paint is not as durable, or sanitary as laminate, granite, or Corian. It is harder to clean, more susceptible to damage and unless you are going to paint it again, it will have to be removed to install new laminate in the future.
When is starts to chip, how easy will this be to repair. While performing Phoenix home inspections I see painted bathroom counter tops and sinks. The paint is almost always chipped by the drain. This will not be an easy repair and will continue to get worse if it is not repaired.
One other thing, most health departments will not allow painted counter tops in commercial kitchens. Maybe because it is not as durable or sanitary.
Remember, Just because you can do something, does not mean it is a good idea.