How to Paint Cultured Marble {an Easy Update}

Today I’m sharing a project with you that is a super easy and inexpensive way to update an 80’s home  – painting cultured marble.  My late 80s tract home features lots and lots of cultured marble and oh, did I mention that I strongly dislike cultured marble?!  For those of you not familiar with it, cultured marble is a solid surface product made from resin that is designed to look like real marble.  Perhaps modern-day cultured marble is different from what I have in my home, but sadly, what I have discolors easily {it turns yellow over time}, chips, and honestly, doesn’t fool anyone into believing that it’s real marble.  Not only are ALL of my bathrooms covered in this product, but all of the bases of the columns in my home are topped with it.  To me, it just has a dated look and I was ready for a change, so I broke out the paint!

I decided to paint all of the column bases white to make them look more like painted wood and therefore, fit better with the trim and moulding that I someday hope to have!  These areas get lots of wear and tear because people sit on them, the kids throw their backpacks on them, etc., but they don’t get water on them {like countertops in bathrooms would}, so this tutorial doesn’t apply to bathrooms or kitchens which need to be water-resistant.

Here’s a look at the BEFORE:

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Cultured-Marble-BEFORE-2

 

In addition, the columns and bases were in desperate need of some caulking!

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Cultured-Marble-BEFORE-Caulking

 

The cultured marble was showing a lot of wear and tear, not only because it was discoloring in certain areas, but also because it had a lot of dings and imperfections {I think the green spot might be some slime from a birthday party a few years ago that stained…}.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Cultured-Marble-BEFORE-Chips

 

Here’s a look at the dining room for farther away.  You probably never knew the dining room was surrounded by columns since I’ve never showed them before!!

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Cultured-Marble-Project-BEFORE--2

 

This project is really easy and only requires a few steps and supplies {detailed supply list at bottom}.  Plus, I didn’t do any sanding beforehand, which makes this project even easier!

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-How-to-Paint-Cultured-Marble

 

Step 1: Clean

I used glass cleaner to clean the cultured marble, but then went back with a damp rag to ensure that no contaminants were left behind that would cause an issue with paint adhesion.  It’s really important to make sure that the surface is free from debris, but also chemicals or other contaminants that will keep the paint from sticking.

 

Step 2: Caulk

If your cultured marble ajoins a wall or column like mine, be sure to caulk!  Caulking not only gives everything a more seamless appearance, but it also greatly helps with cleaning because it doesn’t allow dirt and grime to settle in between the two surfaces.  I had a confined space to work in so I didn’t use a caulking gun but instead used a tube, but using a caulking gun is more economical.  Cut the tip at an angle for a more precise application, gently squeeze a thin line along the area to be caulked and then smooth out with your finger.  Continue to run your finger over the line until you get it just as you want.  Be sure to keep lots of damp paper towels handy to help wipe away excess!  Also, be sure to use paintable caulking!

 

Step 3: Prime

This is a super important step since cultured marble is a slick surface, making it difficult for paint to adhere.  I had professionals paint the columns in my bedroom and they used a special primer called Kilz Adhesion, which is a bonding primer specially formulated for slick surfaces, such as cultured marble.  This has held up tremendously for us and is my #1 choice for this project!  Unfortunately, this product is not available in all states, including California where I live.  {Not sure how my painter ended up with it then!}  As such, I couldn’t use this particular product for my painting project and so set about testing out a few other primer options.

I ended up using Kilz Premium and was happy with the results.  Here’s a tip: Don’t roll the primer onto the cultured marble, as it doesn’t provide enough coverage to adhere well or to cover the “veining” in the cultured marble.  A brush worked best for me!  {I even tried rolling and back-brushing, but just regular brushing turned out to be the best method for this project.}

 

Step 4: Paint

I gave the primed cultured marble 2 coats of latex semi-gloss so that the sheen would match that of the columns, baseboards, and other trim in my home.  A good brush is a must!  I know that Purdy is the gold standard in painting, but I actually prefer the ProVal 2 1/2″ angled brush.

 

Step 5: Top Coat {Optional}

As I mentioned, the area I was painting gets a lot of wear and tear so I decided to add a top coat for extra protection and easy cleanup.  I used two coats of a satin finish Polycrylic.  {The satin finish actually gives the same look at the semi-gloss in paint.} While it goes on smoothly and easily, even the tiniest speck of dust will instantly show because it’s on a white background with a clear coat.  It’s best to do this step when you’re alone at home and be sure to turn the air/heat off so that particulates in the air don’t blow around and settle in your wet surface!  :)

 

Here’s the finished result!  It’s brighter and cleaner and no longer looks straight out of the ’80s.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Painting-Cultured-Marble-AFTER

 

Here’s a closeup….more more yellowish, veined “marble”!

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Painted-Cultured-Marble-Closeup

 

Whatever you do, don’t skip the caulking step.  Here’s why it’s so important:

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Painting-Cultured-Marble-AFTER-Caulking

 

Here’s a recap of the supplies I used:

  • ProVal paint brush
  • Kitchen & Bath Latex Ultra caulk in bright white
  • Kilz Adhesion Primer {If not available in your state, use Kilz Premium Primer}
  • SW Emerald Latex paint – Swiss Coffee Semi-Gloss
  • Minwax Polycrylic Finish in Clear Satin

 

 

So far, I have seven columns done and seven more to go!!!
Tidbits&Twine - Signature

 

 

 

 

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6 comments on How to Paint Cultured Marble {an Easy Update}

  1. Garden, Home and Party
    November 20, 2014 at 2:42 PM (3 years ago)

    Kim,
    This is so timely, I’m caulking some much needed areas of our house and painting as needed. I’m very saddened by California’s strict guidelines where paint is concerned. Oil base paint or primer is no longer sold in California, unless the manufacturer makes quart sized cans. Even then you have to track that down. We bought oil based paint for all of our woodwork in our home from Arizona when my folks were alive and living there. You probably know that if you try to paint oil based painted surfaces with water based paint it will not stick without something like Kilz painted on first. You did a great job and I’ll save this post in case there’s cultured marble surfaces in a future home. :-)
    xo,
    Karen

    Reply
  2. Amy Mullins
    November 20, 2014 at 2:47 PM (3 years ago)

    Kim, I swear you’re stalking me! My local antique store just listed a set of faux marble end tables & coffee table for $35 & I was wondering how I’d repurpose them .. well now I know! Thank you!!! You rock ma’am! Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    Reply
    • Tidbits&Twine
      November 25, 2014 at 7:18 AM (3 years ago)

      Hahaha! Looks like the timing was perfect for this post! So did you end up buying the end tables??? :) Kim

      Reply
  3. Leslie Sinclair
    November 20, 2014 at 3:29 PM (3 years ago)

    This turned out so well! Great for anyone who needs a quick refresh on their columns but is too intimidated to try themselves!!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

    Reply
    • Tidbits&Twine
      November 25, 2014 at 7:16 AM (3 years ago)

      Hi Leslie! Thank you so much and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :) Kim

      Reply
  4. Therese
    December 11, 2016 at 10:07 PM (7 months ago)

    Hi there! Would this process work for updating a green, outdated 70’s cultured marble shower wall surround? Are the supplies you used good for wet environments? Thanks so much! Love your blog! God bless! :)

    Reply

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