Faux Marble Countertops for under $250
When we bought our house, the walls were BRIGHT, like blinding bright, yellow. That obviously had to go RIGHT AWAY. It definitely clashed with the blueish/gray Corian countertops that frankly, dated this kitchen to it’s late 90s/early 2000s origination
We are a single income family, with 3 young kids, and my husband works 70 hours a week. It is NOT the time for a kitchen remodel but SOMETHING had to be done in this kitchen to bring it to this decade. My budget for this project was under $300 and I believe, I came in just about $250 so I’m VERY pleased with that.
I had been seeing friends on Instagram doing faux marble countertops. I LOVED the look. Most all the tutorials I was seeing were hand painted veining and it looks AMAZING. As my research began, I kept seeing tutorials using poured epoxy resin and it looked simple enough. So I gathered my supplies, got some courage and childcare, and got to work. Here’s what I ordered:
ProMarine Tabletop Epoxy I ordered 2 gallons and it was plenty for my ~40 sq. ft of counters
Rust-Oelum Chalk paint in White Linen
Duck Brand Pretaped Clear Dropcloth- I needed 2 of these
1qt buckets-I used 6, 3 for each color I used- I broke up my resin into 2 different sections, more on that below.
The first step to any project is to prep properly. This means clearing and cleaning the countertops well. First I vacuumed to make sure I got up all the crumbs, you’d be surprised by how many crumbs fall underneath the toaster. Then I gave them a good wipe down with soap and water. Because I wanted to be sure the paint and epoxy would adhere properly, I used a heavy duty cleaner called TSP to be sure I got up all the grease, since there is probably layers of grime in the corners of these counters! Once the countertops were dry, I was ready to paint.
I taped off the wall, sink and moved around the appliances. I used the Duck Brand Pre-taped Clear dropcloth to protect my cabinets and floors. For the base color, I used Rust-Oleum Chalk paint in White Linen due to the ease of the product. There is no sanding or priming involved when using chalk paint. It does need to be sealed when using alone but the epoxy serves as a sealer in this case. I used 3-4 coats of paint, which I did over a 24 hour period. I wanted to make sure the paint was clean and dry before pouring the epoxy. Once I was sure the paint was dry, I buffed out any imperfections/paint lines with 220 grit sandpaper.
Now comes the fun part and also the nerve wracking part. I was seriously SO nervous doing this project, I felt like I was interviewing for a huge job or trying out for cheerleading (lol 🙂 ya know, 20 years ago). Anyways, it was also the fun part! From my research, using a pouring method with the resin epoxy, seemed to be the way to go! So, after watching countless YouTube videos, I felt confident I was ready to go.
Pouring the Resin
I mixed my resin via the instructions on the bottle and that was recommended by ProMarine. I choose the ProMarine product based on research, reviews and cost. Resin has a tendency to yellow over time, but I’m hoping that this product will give us a good 5 years before it yellows. The product comes in 2, one gallon bottles and instructions are provided. The crucial steps are mixing the correct ratio (1:1) where my 2 qt mixing buckets came in handy. It also requires several minutes of mixing. Some people use a drill with a mixing attachment but since I didn’t have that, I used a paint stir stick. The resin must be mixed for about 2-3 minutes before transferring into individual cups for adding resin dye.
Once completely mixed, I separated into 3 separate containers to add the resin dye. I chose to use black, white and silver but the colors you choose are completely up to you and the possibilities are seriously endless. Once the dye was added, I stirred the color in well, mixing from the bottom. Then, I layered the individual colors in my larger bucket. I wish I had pictures or videos of this process, I have hundreds of videos and pictures and NONE of this process. For added interest and detail, I sprayed my layers of dyed resin with white spray paint. I did this between each layer and I’m obsessed with the detail it provided!
Once my colors were layered in my bucket, I was ready to pour! Based on the YouTube research I did, its best to pour on a diagonal for the most natural appearance. I’m not gonna lie, I had NO clue what I was doing during this part and just went with it! I didn’t put much effort into the design I wanted, but it turned out beautifully! Once I had poured the resin out, it was time to smooth. For this part, you can use a squeegee to move around the resin or a foam roller, which is what I chose. This allows you to spread the resin in a thin but, uniform layer on the counters.
The product is self-leveling and is supposed to waterfall over the edges of the countertops, but LESSON LEARNED. I did NOT like how many drips were forming on my counters and pivoted, using a different technique. I went in with my foam roller and rolled the edges, smoothing out the drops along all the edges. I had placed taped upside down, along the edges to catch the drips. Smoothing the edges with a foam roller definitely gave it a more finished, uniform look, rather than depending on the drips.
The next step is the most tedious, but also the most fun! I used my heat gun to move the wet resin around, where I couldn’t get with foam roller. I also used the heat gun to move the resin around my faucets and along the walls. The heat gun should be used to smooth out any bubbles you see forming after pouring. I am so glad that I bought this heat gun for the project. Some people use a blow torch or blow dryer but I found the blow dryer didn’t provide the precision you need when moving resin along tight spaces like the faucets and along the wall. The heat gun I used in under $2o and a MUST have for this project.
Now, you wait. The epoxy resin takes a full 72 hours to cure! I put a cup down after 24 hours when it was hard to the touch, but it left a ring, so learn from my mistake!! But this is also when you have time to sand down imperfections. Some of my edges still had pretty decent drips, so I used a razor blade to shave off the drips and then sanded with 220 grit sand paper.
I absolutely LOVED this project. I think it turned out even better than what I was expecting it to look like. With a little bit of courage, some messy mixing, you can get this high end look for PENNIES!!!!!!
Troubleshooting: Things I learned from doing this project
Follow the instructions for mixing and time limits on pouring the resin. It begins to harden after several minutes and becomes unpourable.
Do not allow your layered, dyed resin to sit for any length of time. The colors meld together and become on color instead of separate colors
Use a foam roller to smooth the edges of your countertops, do not rely on the self-leveling/drip method. This will save you a lot of time when the resin peels.
If air bubbles form after completely curing, you can sand down and repour on the areas that had many bubbles. This will be covered in my part two of this post. I have an area that I need to do this on, and will share once I complete the project.
This project is MESSY! HOLY COW! I knew it was going to be a mess but my FLOORS were COVERED in RESIN, like COVERED from stepping in the drips. We are replacing our floors in the next phase of our kitchen remodel, so I wasn’t too worried about our floors but was so glad I didn’t have fresh, new floors!
Alcohol cuts the resin, so if it gets on your hands, floor or you spill, use rubbing alcohol to clean.
If you love this, come say HI on Instagram or leave a comment below!