Friday, March 28, 2014

Painting Stone- Faux Travertine

The idea of making your home into your "dream home", seems to get farther and farther away, the longer you live at your house. Tasks get bigger, as families grow, and life passes on, and what seemed like a simple project may get overlooked for the sake of time, or money.
Unless you've custom built your home just the way you want it, you may have areas of your house that just don't work for you, and even if you custom built your home, tastes can change over time.  
Sometimes you get stuck with weird areas in your home, that you have no idea what to with.
In all my years painting, I have seen some weird things in homes. Fountains inside entryways, a sun room in the middle of the house, wall to wall teal carpet, a hot tub inside a bedroom, and life size statues in a bathroom that resembled the homeowners. Yikes!
Some times the only way to change these type of things, is to rip them out, and gut an area. That can get costly, and often times leave behind other problems, so you work around it....and hey who wouldn't mind a hot tub in their room. 
Sometime though, paint can be a good fix to a problem. Obviously not in the case of the statues, but it may have made them look a bit cooler.
Stone and tile, are one those those areas alot of my clients think you can't do anything about.
But there is a way to paint these just need the right products.
I've painted over many a fireplace, tons of columns, tiled back splashes, and even stone steps.

This house I'm about to show you, is about 16 years old. There were some dated things that I have  changed over the years, like the "pickled" cabinets, the boring walls, bland ceilings, and white stone fireplace. Originally the most of the flooring in this house, looked just like these grey stone steps, in the before picture.  They finally ripped it all out, and put down travertine in a fun pattern, paired with mosaic and metal tiled detailing. 

 It came out beautifully....except for these stairs.  To rip out the side steps, would have meant taking out stair railing, which lead to damaging the walls, and it seemed easier just to leave them. But after warming up all the areas in the house, these cool grey steps became an eye sore. 

Stone like this is really an easy fix, and you can match the look of travertine.

This technique can be mimicked on most surfaces...but I wouldn't put it on a very slick surface such as marble, or granite. This works well on a porous surface, ones the paint will really adhere to. Those other surfaces can be painted over, but they need to prepped, and painted differently. 

So where to start?
I stared by taping off all the surrounding wall area with blue tape. If the walls are freshly painted, use a light stick tape, like Frog Tape, or a light tack blue tape. 
If your surface is smooth, you can first prime it with an "oil"based primer.

These steps were raw stone, so I went straight to the base paint. 
I used "Pro Classic" by Sherwin Williams.

I used an Antique White base, but tinted it, to get the color I wanted. If you not ready to try mixing your own color just yet, grab some paint swatches, and pick out 2-4 tones from the floor, and use those colors.

I tinted the one color, into three colors, matching colors from the travertine flooring. 

I used my deepest color as the base of the step. Painting in one direction. The stone doesn't really have a direction, but I tend to go with the direction it is laying. You just don't want brush strokes that are going in a bunch of different directions.

Depending on your surface texture, and color of your paint, you may need more than one base coat. Mine covered pretty well, so I only used one. Also another layer will go on top, so it doesnt have to be perfect.

After the paint had set for about 5-10 min, I used one color at a time, and painted part of the stair. I tried to make a sort of pattern with each color, and applied it by stippling it on (lightly pressing straight down). You don't want a ton of paint, but you need enough to be able to move it around with a brush later.

Work one step at a time, so it doesnt dry to fast. I used more of one paint color on a step than another, alternate the pattern you apply to the stairs as well. You don't want them all to match.

Then taking a 3" chip brush, I started softening the colors together by stippling the paint. This is a pouncing motion, not a brushing motion. You don't want to bush the colors togther. You just need to soften the colors together. The more you touch the paint, the more the different colors will blend in together.

You can always go back and lighly add more of one paint to an area, like a vein would be, or even heavier here in the case of the travertine.

This is how the step will look after this layer. 

After a bit, the stippling brush will start to gunk up and become gooey....get a new brush (this is why I use chip brushes, they are $1). Don't try to clean it out just yet...any liquid could ruin the pattern.

The next step, is giving each step more depth. These stone pieces already had holes, and texture...but still needed this extra depth.
I used a spray bottle (one that has adujustable spray is best). You will also need paint thinner, and tints.
If you need tinit, Serwin williams will usually sell it to you by the ounce.

I poured about 1/2 cup of paint thinner into the bottle.
(You don't need much for this, unless you are working on a giant project). I then put in a couple of drops of raw umber, white, cand yellow ocher . Play with the color until you get the right shade, working with little drops at a time. It is always easier to make it darker, harder to lighten a shade.

Next, spray it directly to the step area. You can try out the look of the spray, on some cardboard first. 
If you barley squeeze, you can get bigger dots, and with a full squeeze, more of a spray pattern. You don't need to cover the entire surface. It shouldn't look even, you want the irregularity. 

If need be, a dry rag can help soften areas that may be to heavy. Just lightly dab the area, you don't want to take off the color, just soften it out.  

Here is what the final product will look like. 

Much quicker and cheaper, than ripping out the steps!

I hope you'll give it a try, it's just as easy as it looks.
Any questions?
I'm here to help!

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