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Shortly after moving in, I experimented with countertop paint in my kitchen. See step by step what this $20 product looks like, get the DIY tutorial, and see what it looks like now!
Yep… I’m not even going to try to make a pun about this. I painted my kitchen countertops this weekend.
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.
Products that paint laminate countertops
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 fix-up… 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.
Update: there are now more products out on the market since I first tried this, so you might want to consider these others, too. I haven’t tried them all myself, but this list is just to show you that some are kits, and some are more single-product type things:
- Rust-Oleum Counter Top Transformations (kit)
- Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating (that’s what I used here)
- Giani Countertop Kit
- Giani 2-Part Epoxy Topcoat Kit
- Beyond Paint Countertop Refinishing Kit
- Beyond Paint Countertop Paint
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 Rust-oleum crew has only sixteen color options. Three of them are shades of gray. I chose the middle gray tone, called “Gray Mist”.
Prepping the counters (and myself)
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.
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?
Before countertop paint
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.
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 I 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 extremely 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.
A few months later…
About six months after, I reviewed the condition of the counters to see how they held up with normal use. Want to see the results? Click here.
And a few years later… a bigger kitchen remodel
I finally replaced my kitchen counters with inexpensive butcher block, and I LOVE them! You can catch all of the details of the install here:
- Sourcing the butcher block
- Cutting a hole for the sink (and how we fixed our mistake)
- How to smooth countertop edges with a router
- Treating the butcher block for long-term use
- Adding a backsplash
- Painting the rest of the kitchen
- What the kitchen looks like now!
** 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**