I Painted My Kitchen Countertops

Yep… I’m not even going to try to make a pun about this.  I painted my kitchen countertops this weekend.

painted kitchen countertops

If you haven’t been reading this blog long, you may not remember my kitchen story from when we first moved in.  Long story really short:  Ewww.  The kitchen ceiling was orange from years of smoke damage; the floor was yellowed linoleum.  The fridge was filthy and I found one of those lovely fingernails you’ve heard me whine so much about.  And the countertops were caked on with so much grease and dust we had to use oven cleaner to remove it.  I think I make a pretty good case for why someone would want to paint everything just for the sake of freshening up the place rather than waiting on the true demo and remodeling to begin.

I first heard that painting laminate countertops was possible after reading this post from Brooklyn Limestone.  Painted countertops?  How?  Or more importantly, how much?  I’d seen “countertop makeover” kits at Home Depot, but at over $200 a pop, I wasn’t ready to take the plunge.  Maybe we haven’t covered this before, but I’m cheap.  If you want me to spend $200, I’m making sure it works first.

But much to my surprise, this particular countertop paint product wasn’t $200; it was more like $20.  I figured if I’m replacing the countertops anyway, it wouldn’t be so bad if I experimented a little and tried out this paint as a temporary fixup…  a little lipstick on my kitchen pig, if you will.  If I hated it, the wait to replace it with something better would be short-lived.  No commitment necessary.

No, I didn’t go crazy with the color, but I did use this painting project as an opportunity to figure out how light I would like the countertop to be.  Did you have to guess which color I chose?  Yup.  Gray!  It’s a sickness, people.

In all fairness, this painting product from the Rustoleum crew has only sixteen color options.  Three of them are shades of gray.  I chose the middle gray tone, called “Gray Mist”.

During my limited time researching this product, I’d learned from user reviews that this stuff was pretty toxic and would take three full days for the paint to cure.  Not only that, but the paint would not require priming if I were painting over laminate (which I was) and would stick to just about anything it touches, so it was important to protect anything I did not want to bond with the paint.  Like my precious floors.  Three old bedsheets drop cloths later, I was ready to begin.

Knowing how toxic this little painting adventure would be, I prepared myself with the basic tools:  gloves, breathing mask, foam roller, etc.

It’s a good look, don’t you think? (UPDATE:  The mask you should be wearing is more like this.  Please take proper precautions and protect yourself from these harmful fumes.  Do as I say, not as I do.)

I found that the paint stick really came in handy on this project.  Even though we had a warm weekend (yay!), I had read that the paint consistency would be important if the temps were going to drop lower as the paint dried (per the can’s instructions, you should only use this product when temps are between 50 and 90 degrees for three days in a row).  I found that the color separated from the tint base quite easily (I’d only bought the paint two days before painting), so stirring it up was key.  The paint seemed pretty thin as I ran through it with the foam roller (picked for it’s “smooth finish” promises on the packaging), but as I applied it to the countertop, I found the coverage to be quite thick.  Here’s how it looked after my first coat:

As you can see in the pic, I wasn’t exactly trying to color in between the lines; I just slapped on paint where I saw fit.  I wasn’t trying to hard to make things perfect or protect anything except the floors or appliances.  I got too close to the stove only once, and found that if I wiped it up quickly enough, a damp paper towel took care of it fairly well.

Despite my lovely accessories, I could still smell the fumes a little too much.  Just warning ya, but this. stuff. REEKS.  I kept the windows open all night despite the dip in temperatures just so the fumes wouldn’t be hanging out in the house while I got ready for work the next day.  Not exactly the wake up call I would prefer, know what I mean?

Okay, so now here’s what you’ve been waiting for… the before, taken during the day…

One coat later…

The second and final coat.  This was taken at night just before I went to bed, so I’ll try later this week to give you a better “after” shot so you can see the color and finish a little better.

painted kitchen countertops

Just for the fun of it, I’ll give you a Before & After split screen as well.

I painted this little counter beside the fridge as well, but forgot to take an after pic.

And for the ultimate question:  how do I like my results?  The answer:  meh.  I wasn’t expecting miracles, and I wasn’t 100% in love with the results.  The finish was consistent and felt dry to the touch after just a couple of hours, so I’m sure in the three days that it takes to cure, the paint will stick quite well and wear nicely over the next year or so (before we replace them with an upgraded material).  I did notice that there were certain areas where the paint appeared to bubble a little, but I think that’s probably my fault for not waiting until the temps got a little higher before trying this out.  On the bright side, I don’t think I want to go gray with the countertops, and it cost me only $20 for a test drive.  Once I paint the cabinets a lighter color, I don’t think I want to go in the mid-tone range for countertops; either exremely light or extremely dark is what I’m thinking, just so there’s contrast.  And it’s really motivating me to get rid of those dated oak cabinets.  I’m thinking white with that gray wouldn’t look too bad.

What do you think of my little paint misadventure?  A brilliant and inexpensive solution to nasty “I would never eat on that” countertops, or would you have saved yourself the twenty bucks and lived with the old countertops as-is for another year?  Anyone out there who didn’t realize this was possible but are considering painting your countertops now?  Let me hear it.

UPDATE

Psst:  Months later, I reviewed the condition of the counters to see how they held up with normal use.  Want to see the results?  Click here.

** I was not compensated in any way for using this product.  I just like trying out new things and saving my readers the uncertainty of trying out an unknown product.  Word of mouth is the sincerest form of advertisement, and you will get nothing but 100% honesty from products that I try.**

Comments

  1. says

    I think I would have given it a shot, too. If the old countertops are about to be thrown anyway, why not? And twenty quid are a good teal for just testing it.
    There's a telly advert over here with a bit of adventurous wisdom in it: For those who'd rather give it a go than never know.

  2. says

    @Jen: Yeah, the warmer color would have looked better with the oak, but I'm planning on painting the cabinets soon anyway. As soon as the weather warms up!

    @lisbonlioness: There's nothing about what you said that I didn't like! Love that phrase!

  3. says

    Thanks for posting about this – I've been intending to paint or do a tile mosaic on our countertops in our basement (mostly the bar). We've been in our house almost 2 years now, and they're still the same faux horrible black and green laminate. Yuck. I've been putting it off because I was convinced that I wanted to do a tile mosaic, but until I have the huge time requirements and – I'll admit it – motivation to do it, I've been pondering painting the countertops. Thanks for the temp info, too – looks like this is one project that will need to wait until Spring – or Summer (it's pretty cold down there)!

    ~Chelsea

  4. says

    I've been staring at the scarred up surface of my beloved IKEA dining table wondering how to make things right between us- I think you just answered my prayers!

  5. says

    Great job! I think it was $20 well spent, especially if it helped you get a vision for how you'd like the room to look down the road. I just did our cabinets, it makes a HUGE difference. Our countertops are the wilsonart laminate (the new kind that looks like natural stone) and they are like a gray/taupey stone-ish look so I can tell you that white will look great! Stop by my blog for some pics, and I also host a weekend linky party! http://www.lovelycraftyhome.com

  6. says

    We are most likely going to rent our current home when we buy a new one later this year. We are moving towards NOT updating the kitchen b/c we think renters over the years would just ruin it. I think this might be the answer I'm looking at for giving the countertops a little bit of an upgrade without going full out. Right now they're white, scuffed up laminate. Thanks for the info!!

  7. says

    I appreciate your honesty on what you thought. I read parts of it to the hubby and then I got to the end. He said-”I appreciate she was honest”. I also means he won't have to work. Great post.

  8. says

    I've seen this done on another blog a while back and that blogger was mostly pleased with the results as well. I will be doing a complete renovation of our kitchen this spring/summer and am trying to keep costs as low as possible until the hubs and I decide if we are staying here or moving to another state within the next year or so to be closer to some of our family. I'm gonna give this a go in our kitchen. I hope it works out! Thanks for the play by play you shared, it really helps to know what others think about products.

  9. says

    This is by FAR the simplest way I've seen to do this…dare I try?! I LOVE the color with your appliances!

  10. says

    hi! im your newest follower, i just started a blog about me and my fiance's adventures in redoing our first home as well! i want to say THANKYOU for this post! it is exactly what i needed…i have the UGLIEST laminate countertops, and until we can afford to replace them with something nice, ive been desperate for a way to make them “ok”. remember graphing paper from geometry class? thats what they are. except they are BABY BLUE. yuck. i will be going to home depot and picking this stuff up as soon as it gets warm enough out to do it! thanks again, love the blog!

  11. says

    Kristen, I think I've seen those counters before, and I agree with you – yuck!

    Definitely wait until it's warmer. I'm relatively happy with the results of mine, but the can says that the paint should be done when the temp is between 50 and 90 degrees. I was too impatient, but glad I made the change regardless.

  12. says

    I didn't know you could do that! We are kind of in the same place at you, saving up the money for a full renovation but not quite ready yet. We are going to be painting our cabinets this spring (once the weather is warmer) so I might have to try painting the counter tops too!

    Anna
    http://www.askannamoseley.com

  13. says

    I totally would have done it, like you said worth the trial run before you're stuck with a pricier counter you have to live with.
    It looks great!

  14. says

    Makes me smile to see another use the same counter top paint I used just a few months ago and I'm happy to say.. “Not a spot or stain has appeared”
    This paint is wonderful for those of us who just don't have the big bucks in the budget!
    Great Job and your kitchen looks great!
    Stop by and see my make over.. I feel your joy!
    Sandy
    thewondersofdoing@blogsp[email protected]

  15. says

    I just found your blog and I'm now a follower! I've been thinking of doing this only in black and thanks for telling us about the temperture to wait and do it in.
    Neat blog!!!

    Rondell

  16. says

    Wow- what a great review and tutorial on how to paint your counter tops!You did a great job- even though you aren't totally happy, your counters look good and give you a great idea of what direction you want to go in next. Thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

  17. says

    Wow, I've never heard of this product before! It turned out great, in my opinion. A good solution for a temporary fix to your problem counters.

  18. says

    I've thought of doing this and considered getting one of those acrylic cutting boards that have the radius curve or right-angle lip to protect the paint where I usually cut. Now I have convince the landlord to let me.
    My laminate has a couple of gouges in it from previous tenants. I'm thinking of using Bondo to fill those in.

  19. says

    I'm not a fan of painted countertops. I had them in my last apartment. However, I recently discovered an inexpensive countertop solution – wood countertops from ikea! I've seen several blog photos of them, and they look beautiful! My mom is redoing her kitchen, and this is what she has decided upon. Just found your blog and am really enjoying reading your posts :)

  20. says

    If you want protection from the bad odors, you will need to get a mask with charcoal filter canisters. The mask you used is good for dust, but has little or no affect on organics.

  21. says

    We purchased this very same product but in the pewter…. however we returned it. I have horrible allergies and am very sensitive to VOC's and believe me this product is a killer when it comes to VOC's. Now that aside… I have seen from firsthand experience how this product can really change the look of a room. A good friend used the pewter and painted her dated cabinets white. The kitchen looks spectacular!! When we lived in military housing we used the granite contact paper to cover our countertops… talk about looking awesome! No smells, held up great, fooled the housing inspector, and we were able to take it off just prior to out-processing! All in all both great options! (sorry for the book… but the grey mist would look lovely with white cabinets!)

  22. says

    Thanks for the tip, dak! And you're right, in a more recent post, I mentioned the charcoal mask and will be using it for future projects. A fantastic tip for my readers.

    Peggy – sorry to hear about your allergies. I didn't know about the granite contact paper, but I'll keep that in mind!

  23. says

    Wow!! You did a great job!! I want to paint my countertops, you may have just given me the courage. :)

    pS-i am your latest follower.

  24. says

    Thanks for your blog I have ugly dark blue countertops that are horrible the people who lived here before me left them in a mess bleach stains looks like some kind of gresse stains I am wanting to redo are kitchen the blue tops dont even match the kitchen now so I am so glad I can paint them & not have to spend 1000s on new ones!!!!

  25. says

    Oh gosh, much better on the counters! Great tutorial too, I've seen this product around and was curious about it. I linked this to my countertops project post today as well, nicely done!

  26. says

    Hi there! I love the transformation-so quick and easy to 'get you by' until you replace them! I painted my countertops over 2 & 1/2 years ago with craft paint and they fool everyone into thinking they are granite :) I have a video tutorial if you want to try it on top of what you have now (you might not want to replace your counters after haha)
    http://www.creativekristi.com/2010/11/video-tutorial-how-to-paint-your-countertops-to-look-like-granite.html
    I am a huge supporter of using what you have and making them look better so good for you for tackling an 'unconventional' idea :) :)
    -Kristi
    @ Creative Kristi

  27. says

    We painted our kitchen cabinets (laminate) and they lasted really well for 10 years! until we could afford to replace them. I just used oil based paint and would touch it up every couple of years. I think if you paint your cupboards white, you'll love the grey counters!

  28. says

    Hey I painted my kitchen countertops with that same paint (in the wheat color though) and when it dried, I got some rustoleum stone effects spray paint and sprayed that stuff on, then when it dried I put 3 coats of polyurethane on. I LOVE how it turned out. Check it out, it wouldn't be hard for you to do since you already have it painted, and rustoleum has a gray stone spray that would look good on your counters :) http://www.flickr.com/photos/65861408@N02/5998327378/in/photostream

  29. Anonymous says

    wow I just discovered your blog! You are a dream come true for me, I have pink countertops! gag! I will be an avid follower of your bog, you keep things simple the way you explain, your photos are very helpful. I am cheap too but don't want to live in surroundings I hate. Thanks for your site.
    woo-hoo!!

  30. Anonymous says

    Hi! I was looking through the internet to find out if there was actually a paint MADE for countertops because the apartment I live in painted EVERYTHING. Bathtub, counters, light switches. EVERYTHING. And they used really cheap paint because when I take a bath I'm coated in paint chips and when I wipe down my counters they stain and chip, too. So thanks for showing me there's something cheap out there!

  31. Janelle says

    Thank you so much for putting this up! I have the countertop paint in the same color but havnt had the nerve to do it.For 1 the fumes (i used rustoleum to paint my radiators this summer and P.U.), and secondly was afraid it would look ugly, but my same thought process was of yours I was going to upgrade if I had to anyway. My cabinets are white and I will take on this project,backsplash, and opening up my wall in the end of September while in vacation.Thanks

  32. says

    Clean the countertop thoroughly with some sudsy ammonia.Prime the countertop with a bonding primer to ensure that the paint will adhere to the non-porous surface. Let the primer set for about 24 hours before applying paint. Apply a base coat of paint in your choice of color. Lighter colors are recommended for the base color. Apply two to three thin coats of paint, allowing drying time between each coat. Etc…
    painting toronto

  33. Anonymous says

    paint the cabinets black and add a grey/black backs-plash.Then it will look amazing!

  34. says

    Just found your site while googling about painting countertops gray. I'm thinking of doing this in the house that we are buying from my in-laws. I'm thinking white cabinets, gray counters, maybe a beadboard backsplash and island. Great blog!

  35. says

    Your kitchen's design matches the flooring perfectly. Well, I guess there is no need to repaint the kitchen cabinet. It is totally amazing as it is. Way to go!

  36. Wendy says

    Hi everyone,

    Wow. What a SUPER FIND this blog was. I just purchased my first condo and it needs a little work but we all know the costs to get into the condo in the first place, so granite may have to wait a bit. This will work wonderfully!

    Two questions:

    My current countertop is kind of a dark maurve color. Can I paint it with the lightest tint ok?
    Second question is I I take ownership Dec 27 and have until Jan 7 to put it into move in ready condition. If I leave the heat on while the paint dries will this be ok because obviously it's in winter (I will not be living there when I paint the counters though).

    THANK YOU!! :D

  37. Anonymous says

    This is such a good post! I am going to do this to cover ugly blue kitchen counters. Did you sand the counters before painting? How is it holding up almost a year later? Thanks!!
    Jenni

  38. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for this blog. I recently relocated, and my new kitchen is mid 70's Electric Orange!!!! Seriously, I expected to open the closet and have Marsha Brady come dancing out. Anyways, with the relocation, money is tight, and I expected to simply use the counter top as part of my morning wake up routine…get out of bed, smell the coffee, fry retinas from reflected light from counter top, stumble into wall screaming I'M BLIND…..
    Now with your blog, I see there is hope for my eyesight, and possibly a permanent up-grade to my kitchen. Thank you :D
    Jim

  39. Anonymous says

    Can I have your old cabinets and counter tops! I liked the before much better!!

  40. says

    I am thinking of painting my countertop, I do have one question, now that you have had this countertop for a year or so how is the paint holding up? Is is peeling? or chipping at all? My husband is dead set against me painting the counter, so before I do I would like to hear feedback on the wear and tear.

  41. Chris R-McQ says

    It’s funny to me this is how I found your blog. My husband has a painting/drywall business and he had a customer who wanted her countertops painted. House manager/secretary/bookkeeper/IT wife (me) Googled and your blog was in my search. He ended up using the Gianni line to paint the countertops, and they turned out awesome. I have the same tacky faux wood countertops you had. Hubby will be painting any day now (or when he completes that next job, dog doesn’t need walked, he decided to whip up veggie soup, televised sports ceases,etc.). Oh well, he’s a keeper for the soup and a few other reason. Thank you for you blog, I have enjoyed every minute reading it that I should have been doing really productive things.

  42. Anonymous says

    Honestly it really is hard to come across a worthy blog worth commenting on these days, the internet is really too flooded. Adore this post, adore your blog. Just thought i would let you know!

  43. says

    My mom's kitchen counters are pretty gross. I think they are original to the house (circa 50 years old, or maybe my parents had them put in, which would make them circa 30 years old). I have been considering doing this. It is good to know how much time it takes and the smell involved.
    Thanks

  44. Anonymous says

    you mentioned the high level of toxicity in the products. are you not concerned about preparing your food on these countertops, especially as bits start to chip and breakoff? Will these chemicals continue to off-gas and break down potentially contaminating your food and anything that they come into contact with? i too have been looking to redo my countertops and am finding it hard to find green products. so far everything that I have looked at is highly toxic.

    • says

      Good point. I would never think that preparing food directly onto a painted counter would be a good idea, whether the paint was considered safe or not.

      As for the long-term toxicity of any painting product, it would probably be a good idea to contact the manufacturer directly if you're concerned about off-gas. I'm not much of a cook, and this was an experimental project so I plan to replace the counters entirely next year.

  45. Rob says

    I have done several countertops with paint and have tested against manufactured tops and you would be surprised at the results. If someone spends some time researching products and talking to people who have painted countertops, you will save $$$$ in the short and long road. Bottom line… just because it comes from a store or factory does not mean its a good quality product. I built mine from the ground up and have no regrets doing so and according to the test results, they should be around for 20+ years.

  46. S says

    I too tried this paint on my counters in the kitchen. (We chose cobblestone.) The Home Depot folks assured me that I didn’t need any kind of poly coating that this stuff would bond to the laminate and wouldn’t need a protective coating. Too bad I didn’t hear them snarking “Sucker!” as a walked out of the store. But seriously, for a month or two, this was fine. Then someone got the counter wet, did not dry it and laid a loaf of bread on the damp spot. That counter has perma bread logos stuck to it. And the chipping, my goodness. The chipping is unreal. Innocently setting an air fresheners and other unlikely substances will take the paint right off without some sort of poly barrier. I’m going to try the spread stone kit and if that doesn’t work out, we’ll just plan on replacing the counter tops eventually when we have the money (which may be never). I would not recommend this stuff. It doesn’t look all that great, doesn’t have any depth, and doesn’t hold up to kids or husbands.

    • Sarah says

      Yeah, I had similar results, but the SAME paint on the linoleum floor in my bathroom was amazing! No chipping and stuck like glue. So I just think that the product isn’t right for it’s intention, but works in other places. And considering it’s $20, it was worth the gamble for me. The $200-300 price tag for the more expensive kit just isn’t worth it for me. I’d rather spend the same money on a few slabs of butcher block from Ikea and replace the counters entirely. The cost isn’t much more, just a little more elbow grease to remove and replace. And I love the look of wood counters anyway :)

      Good luck on your counters! Sorry that you had such similar results.

  47. Kate says

    The counter looks great! And I agree with other comments…paint cabinets white, add silver hardware, tile backsplash, remove wallpaper and done! Def have good bones to work with even tho it appears ugly. Ours was old oak cabinets that were so filthy wig carpeted flooring and a drop in avacodo colored stove and a new floor, light gray painted cabinets and new paint and I love it!

  48. Teresa McCrory says

    I love this! I am considering this product to cover an old formica countertop that was installed in the late 50′s so it was nice to read about your experience. Two questions: how long did you wait before applying the second coat? and, did you use a brush to cut in before using the foam roller?

    • Sarah says

      Unfortunately, at this point I can’t remember how long I waited. But the back of the can of paint should tell you waiting time between coats. And yes, I used a brush for some places, but as you can see from the pictures, I wasn’t super careful. I knew I’d eventually get rid of them, and wasn’t too concerned that I got the paint on the wallpaper or the cabinets. I’d recommend using painter’s tape to protect your walls and surrounding areas.

  49. Jim DL says

    you’ve got pretty eyes.
    nice job with the painting. i think i will give it a shot.

  50. Pat Monroe says

    I owned a condo which has very old yellow formica. I contacted a painted and he sprayed the countertop with white apoxy paint and the countertops were beautiful and lasted 10 years plus before I replaced them. They had very few marks in them despite the fact that this condo was a rental. It costs me only $100 for this service and well worth it.

  51. Beth says

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing. I am also looking at trying to redo my countertops and will be experimenting. Not sure how they will turn out but am going to try something differently. I wanted a marble look so I had bout 3 different colors in this product and will sponge it on and go from there. Even though it doesn’t call for a primer I wanted a black base so I could have some black in it as well. It will definitely be an experiment! Thanks for the heads up with the smell!!

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