How to Create a Sandstone Look Finish Over a Tile Or Formica Counter Top

By Victoria Larsen

I was sick and tired of that white tile bathroom counter top with it’s deep green grout. It was outdated and ugly.

I wanted to give it a new surface without removing any tiles, creating a lovely sand stone finish right over the existing tile. After a bit of internet research, I found the products and information needed to do just that.

Janice Faulkner of “Faux Effects” gave me easy instructions when I contacted her and asked her how to create a hard, limestone finish over the top of my existing (disgusting is more the word) tile counter top in my main bath.

Here are the steps:

I cleaned the counter top well and then wiped it with pure white vinegar to give it a bit of extra “tooth”.

I taped off the wall, molding and sink with blue painters tape.

I primed the surface with “Prime Etch” from Faux Effects. I let it dry overnight. A high quality primer would work just as well.

Using a gloved hand, I smoothed on “Aqua Stone” from Faux Effects.

Leaving the surface rather “bumpy”, I let it sit for a few moments and then used a plastic scraper to smooth the surface. The action of smoothing left natural pits and “skips” that made the surface appear to be real stone.

I let it dry. The next morning, I noticed that I could still see the grout lines. So I filled them again with Aqua Stone, again smoothing as before and let it dry.

Once again, the grout lines showed through making me realize that it would have been better if I had filled the grout lines FIRST, letting them dry then applying a single coat of Aqua Stone over the entire surface.

After filling them once again, this time when it dried, the surface was finally flat. (Small price to pay for a big lesson learned). And this is why WE do the test projects so you don’t have to go through dilemmas such as this.

Once the surface was completely dry, I used my handy electric hand sander to smooth the surface. The product was very easy to sand which pleased the tar out of me! Natural looking pits and skips remained in the surface.

After sanding, I vacuumed up the debris, gently wiped the surface and then mixed up a light colored neutral brown glazed and dabbed it over the surface with a brush, immediately blotting the section with a dry terry towel.

Wanting additional “depth”, I reapplied the color to just certain areas for more variation. Again, blotting as I went.

I let the color dry then applied two coats of “Aqua Guard” Satin Sealer from Faux Effects.

My bath counter now looks like REAL Sandstone and I couldn’t be happier with the final results of the project.

The ugly tiles are gone, I didn’t have to chip them out, clean up the mess, lay down new tiles and grout them, I simply applied a product and finished it the way I wanted to in order to give my bath the look I was after.

Now that I have done it myself, there’s a particular Formica counter top in our home in Idaho that I had planned to completely replace. I no longer will. I’ll do a beautiful stone finish instead thanks to the wonderful products at Faux Effects and to Janice Faulkner for her assistance with this make-over.

Victoria Larsen is a professional wall stencil designer and interior specialist. Her products and ideas have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s Day, Craft Trends, Creating Keepsakes, Rubber Stampin Retailer and Memory Maker magazines and The Wall Street Journal. Victoria’s website features ideas, techniques, stencils and ornamental wall molds for easy and beautiful home decorating. Visit Victoria online at “Decorating with Class on a Budget” Blog:

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