When I originally started working on my kitchen over a year ago, I had no intention of re-doing my backsplash or countertops. They were fine, and those projects can be expensive and difficult. But, as time went on, and I got more confident in my DIY abilities, I started questioning it. And it became more and more difficult for me to see the current situation fitting with my vision. So, the decision to do an epoxy countertop and backsplash wasn’t a quick one, but I’m still glad I went with it!
My Faux Marble Epoxy Backsplash
When I decided to do a faux marble epoxy countertop, I didn’t originally plan on doing the backsplash too. I thought I would either paint my existing tile using a stencil (I even used some spare tile I found to test it!) or install new tiles.
(the painted tile I was considered. I ultimately decided it was too busy for the small space)
When the idea came to me, I figured I had to try, right?! If it worked, it could be amazing! And if not, it wasn’t a huge expense, so I could pivot if necessary. Well, read along to see what I thought in the end and if it worked!
What You’ll Need
- Circular Saw and/or Jigsaw
- White Paint (I chose Behr Polar Bear since I had some leftover)
- Grey Paint (I used three sample colors: Behr Platinum, Tinfoil, and Ash Gray)
- Foam Rollers
- Craft/Artist paintbrush
- 2” Angle brush
- Spray bottle
- Paper towels
- Heat gun
- Plastic tarps
- Construction Adhesive
Step 1: Cut Your Plywood
First, you need to cut your plywood to size! I needed 3 pieces, so I measured each individually and cut them into 3 large pieces. This actually took me a while to get right. I also discovered that I had to cut the two pieces that are connected to my countertop a bit short. Otherwise, I couldn’t get it in place. I’d be installing trim around the edges later on, so this was fine.
Once everything is cut and you’ve dry-fit it in place, make sure to also sand and prepare your piece for paint!
Step 2: Paint
First up, you’ll want to get a good base primer. I actually did two layers of primer, and sanded and wiped it down between each coat.
Next, select your white paint. I chose Behr Polar Bear because I had some extra from when I painted my basement. Again, I applied in two coats, sanding between each.
Finally, it’s time to paint your marble! I chose three colors to have added dimension. I would also suggest finding some sample marble images to work from. I know that I prefer more delicate lines in my marble, and others prefer thick lines, so you’ll want to know this beforehand.
I started with the lightest color, and my paintbrush gently into the paint. Then, holding it very loosely in my hands, I made little squiggly lines. Don’t overthink this. Just go where your hand goes naturally.
After each small section, I used my spray bottle to wet down the line so that it would start to blur. Then, I used my angled brush to further feather out the lines.
Finally, I used a paper towel to wipe everything down. There were some areas where I wiped away almost the entire line so that it was barely noticeable, and others where I kept most of it. I thought this gave it more dimension.
Next, you’ll do the same process with the medium color, and then again with the darker color. I found that having the most lines in the lighter color, and the least with the darker was also best.
After everything is done, take a step back and see if any touchups need to be made. If you went too heavy in an area, you can either try to wipe it up or if it’s too dry, you can paint the white over it.
Step 3: Epoxy
This was my second time working with epoxy, and the main thing here is that you have limited time to work, which can make things a bit stressful! I used Stone Coat epoxy and just followed their directions to a T!
First, you’ll mix the resin and hardener together in a plastic bucket. Then, you can start to pour.
Once everything is poured, I used my trowel to get it spread toward the edges. It’ll eventually start to go over the edges, so that’s where the tarping comes in handy!
Once you have everything spread out, you’ll take your heat gun to start popping the bubbles. There were a lot of bubbles so this took me a while. And, unfortunately, there were a couple that I was too late to get to, so then I started overworking it with the heat gun and made it worse. If I were to do this again, I may have just done one piece at a time so that I could really concentrate on that area.
You’ll also want to constantly be checking for any loose dust, hairs, or bugs that get in your epoxy. Having a pair of tweezers handy for this is helpful.
Step 4: Install
Well, before you can install, you do need to demo your old backsplash! I was dreading this since I thought it was going to be really difficult. It actually wasn’t! I did the entire thing in about 90 minutes.
After a few days of allowing the epoxy to cure, you can install! I basically just put a ton of construction adhesive on the back and then set each in place. I had my husband hold it up while I added tape around all the edges to keep it in place while the adhesive dried.
Behind the stove, I also screwed a piece of scrap wood into the wall to help support the piece while it dried.
Confession time. After I removed the tape a few days later, I did notice that it didn’t seem fully secure. I didn’t want to mess with it too much, so I let it be for now. Later on, I installed trim around the edges which are also helping to hold everything in place. I also kept the support piece where it was. It’s behind the stove, so you can’t even tell it’s there so it’s not hurting anything!
My Faux Marble Epoxy Countertop
If you’ve been on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok lately, I’m sure you’ve seen this done before since it’s a popular way to achieve a high-end look on a budget! PS: my countertops may look granite, but they aren’t. If you look under the countertop, you’ll see it’s some type of faux granite, so I definitely didn’t feel bad about painting over it since it’s not real stone!
Step 1: Prep
I was replacing my kitchen faucet, so I thought this was a perfect time to remove the old one, so I started there. If you’re not replacing it, I do still recommend removing it since it’ll be pretty difficult to protect from the epoxy. You’ll want to make sure you fill the faucet holes too so that epoxy isn’t dripping down them.
You’ll want to give your counters a really good cleaning! If there is any stuck-on crud, definitely make sure it comes off. Then, you’ll want to scuff up the surface a bit sanding. The intensity at which you sand probably depends on the material you are painting. I didn’t find that I needed a ton of elbow grease to get a nice scuff. Then, you’ll just clean again, and you can start to paint.
Step 2: Paint Your Counters
You’re going to follow a very similar system here that we did for the backsplash above. You’ll apply primer and paint using a foam roller and sanding between coats. Then you can start to add the “marble”.
Step 3: Epoxy
Once your paint is dry, you can start to epoxy. First, you’ll want to protect the rest of your kitchen, so make sure that you tape and tarp everywhere! I was really meticulous around my sink, but I still had problems with epoxy dripping in it. It was not easy to get rid of it, and there is still some leftover epoxy that I can’t get off!
Then, you can mix, pour, spread, and remove bubbles! I was feeling antsy and did this at night. However, even with the bright overhead lights on, it was still really hard for me to see the bubbles and I missed A TON! I didn’t notice most of it until morning and it was too late by then, unfortunately.
There were quite a few problem areas in both my countertop and backsplash. So much so that I considered removing the backsplash altogether and installing tile instead, sanding down my countertops, and starting over. I decided that if I was going to do that, I needed to take a breather and do it a few months later. This meant that not only would I have more time to live with it, but also I just mentally needed time away!
Keep reading to see what I ultimately decided!
Tying it all Together
So, I moved forward and finished the space off. First, I added bead moulding around the edges of the backsplash. I nailed these directly into the cabinets using small nails.
(don’t worry, that paint got touched up too!)
Then, I caulked the edges between the counter and backsplash and around the trim. I’m not usually a painter’s tape person, but for this, I applied tape to help give me clean caulk lines. It was definitely worth it. Just make sure to remove the tape as soon as you’re done smoothing out the caulk so that it doesn’t dry.
Then, I installed my new faucet. How stunning is this!? It’s such a statement and I LOVE it.
Installing it was another story! Because my corner sink is in a really tight space, I had to disassemble the drawers on the right and crawl into 9” of space to remove the old faucet and install the new one. It was TOUGH. But, wow, so worth it, right!?
And finally, I added some new cutting boards, faux plants, and a paper towel holder.
Now that the space is finished, do I still want to redo it? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
I think all it really needed was these finishing touches to really come together and guess what!? You don’t even notice the imperfections anymore! I mean, you can find them if you’re really looking for them, so just don’t look for them, agreed?!
Ha, anyways, this kitchen has a couple of little projects left, and then we are DONE!
Want a recap of what we’ve done so far? Make sure to check out my other kitchen posts.