How To Paint Stone Windowsills

How To Paint Stone Windowsills

So, what type of window sills do you have in your home? I’ve only lived in houses with wooden window casing/sills, but our current home has a different type of window sill from the traditional wooden frame setup. This is our second home built in the ’60s that we’ve bought, but this is the first home we’ve had that has stone windowsills in the older parts of the house (later additions to the home have more ’80s-style wooden crank-out window casings).

While a few of them are made of a pretty marble that I do like, most of them are made of a dull brown granite that just looks kind of dated now as we’ve renovated and refreshed the areas around the windows.

While it can be possible to replace the sills with a different stone, it’s not a small thing (especially if the window is installed on top of the stone), so painting seemed like the next best thing! But what’s the best paint for stone windowsills? Latex, oil, or an epoxy? I’ll show you what I did and how they turned out!

First, you’ll want to use some larger grit sandpaper to lightly rough up the shiny surface of your stone so the paint will stick better. Technically, the primer that I used says you don’t have to paint for it to adhere, but to be honest, I always do anyway especially if it’s a trickier surface to get good bond between the material and the paint. Wipe up any sanding dust so the area is clean and dry.

Use a bonding primer to cover over your stone as your first coat. Make sure to pay attention to the primer and allow it to have adequate dry time before adding a top coat. It really makes a difference to use a bonding primer that’s specifically for stone so even if you choose a different brand, make sure it’s for slick surfaces and stone/masonry for best results.

Paint over your bonding primer with some semi-gloss paint, again giving adequate time to dry between coats (another critical key for getting paint to set correctly). For these last few coats, I would use a roller with a low nap (cutting in at the edges with a brush as needed) to get a smooth look since you can really see brush strokes on projects like this.

Now, as a general rule, you can use acrylic paint over oil-based primers if you choose a masonry primer that’s oil-based. So you should be able to use your regular trim paint that matches the rest of your trim as long as your bonding primer coat had time to fully dry before adding the topcoat.

Doesn’t that look so much fresher?! Now, you may be wondering how durable the paint job on these windowsills will be with wear and tear. While they are certainly not almost indestructible the way an actual white stone sill would be, it’s a lot like a wooden sill you would paint to where it will show more wear the more it’s used/touched, but it can always be touched up with more paint (although overall I think painted wood can hold up to a scrubbing better).

If you’re wondering when not to paint a stone sill, I have a long granite sill in our living room that I hate, but we are always setting items there, sitting on it, or having cats jump on and off it. So that one I decided not to paint and just leave it as-is until we could either fully switch it out with a whiter stone or find a way to build a wooden casing around it instead.

Also, for a more durable surface you can also use an epoxy countertop painting kit that has pure white in it if you wanted to skip the marbling part and just leave it white (Elsie used it to cover over her granite island). But those kits are a little more expensive and your final product will be pretty glossy, so you may not want that look and opt for the method I did instead.

Someday, it would be nice to remove the stone sills and add casing to the whole window, but I’m so glad that a little sanding and some paint has given us a fresher look without having to break the bank or spend a ton of time on it. Do you have stone windowsills? Do you love them or hate them? xo. Laura

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How To Paint Stone Windowsills

Equipment

  • bonding primer for stone/masonry
  • latex semi-gloss paint
  • brushes and low nap rollers
  • sandpaper
  • rag to wipe dust

Instructions

  • First, you’ll want to use some larger grit sandpaper to lightly rough up the shiny surface of your stone so the paint will stick better. Technically, the primer that I used says you don’t have to paint for it to adhere, but to be honest, I always do anyway especially if it’s a trickier surface to get good bond between the material and the paint. Wipe up any sanding dust so the area is clean and dry.
  • Use a your bonding primer to cover over your stone as your first coat. Make sure to pay attention to the primer and allow it to have adequate dry time before adding a top coat. It really makes a difference to use a bonding primer that’s specifically for stone so even if you choose a different brand, make sure it’s for slick surfaces and stone/masonry for best results.
  • Paint over your bonding primer with some semi-gloss paint, again giving adequate time to dry between coats (another critical key for getting paint to set correctly). For these last few coats, I would use a roller with a low nap (cutting in at the edges with a brush as needed) to get a smooth look since you can really see brush strokes on projects like this.
  • Now, as a general rule, you can use acrylic paint over oil-based primers if you choose a masonry primer that’s oil-based. So you should be able to use your regular trim paint that matches the rest of your trim as long as your bonding primer coat had time to fully dry before adding the topcoat.

P.S. I love those table lamps (similar here!) and those side tables are perfect for the space!

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman

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