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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Painting Laminate Counters

I'm a cheapo!!  I am a sale monger and LOVE how DIY projects save money and give you the ability to say,  "Yeah, I did that".

My latest project is our kitchen.  You can't imagine the horror of this hideous beast when I moved in.  Ick!  Poorly painted white cabinets and harvest gold counters.  YELLOW subway tile backsplash on ONE side of the room and a boring beige on the wall.  Vertical blinds on the window and WRETCHEDLY decreped laminate flooring that was peeling up. 

Kitchen floor was the first to be remedied.  I love the floor now. 
Cabinets are done now, too.  I completely refinished them and added hardware.


This is my how to paint laminate countertops.  Yeah, you CAN do that.  And if you're counters are as ugly as mine were, you need to.  I feel like I did my family and future guests a huge favor.  My kitchen renovation isn't done.  But the cabinets are refinished and the laminate counters are painted.  And it's a HUGE improvement already.  :) 

Not a fan of harvest gold?  Me neither!  ::gag::

So, by request, people who are impressed with my thrifiness have asked how I did this.  I will tell you, my friends.  You, too, can refinish those hideous counters for $40 - $50.  It cost me a little under $40, but I still had supplies from the cabinet refinishing project (tape, sandpaper, that kind of stuff).

What you’ll need:
         -Sample of the end product you’re aiming for.
         -Water-Based primer for nonporous surfaces. (These are pricey, but I was warned not to skimp. I listened. I used Kiln brand.)  I used white.  But tint it if you like.  It will show through as flecks in the end product.  Black or Dark brown would work well, too.  I kinda wish I'd used black.  :)
        - Acrylic Craft Paint in the colors you like
         -Painters Tape
         -2 inch BEST quality paint brush
         -1 dense foam roller
         -Water-Based Epoxy (I was told the shinier the epoxy finish, the more durable, so I bought a  clear gloss shine)
         -Fine sandpaper – I used 150 grit
         -Paper towels

If you have any chips or nicks in your counter, those can be fixed with wood plastic. Fill in the hole or nick then sand smooth. You’ll never know it was there once your project is complete.  I didn't do this anywhere but the seam we have in our counter.

Step 1:
What is it you want? There are lots of options. Trust me. I researched the HECK outta options. I chose a brown marble with flecks of black. But you can choose anything you want. Get on the internet and look for samples of what you want your counter to look like and print it out. Go to Home Depot and buy a sample tile of what you want (just keep the receipt for easy returns).

This is the sample I based my cabinets on.  I wanted slightly less black, though.

Step 2:
Pick out the colors that closest match your sample or picture at a craft store. Acrylic craft paint is what I used. Yep. $0.89 normally, but about half the bottles I picked were on sale for 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I recommend buying 5 bottles of each color. You can always return them or just used them like I will next time I paint. Home Depot has paint, too, but you aren’t going to get it at the same cheap price.

I used mosly Folk Art brand (though obviously not these colors, lol)

Step 3:
Collect the rest of your supplies. The folks at Home Depot were very helpful in helping me find EXACTLY what I need and gave me several hints (like the fact you CANNOT use acrylic paint with oil based primer so don’t buy that!), so just ask someone with a nametag to help you.

Step 4:
Ok, now the fun begins. Clean you counter. REALLY clean it. I recently refinished my cabinets and had a deglosser leftover from that. It’s a liquid sander/deglosser and it’s AMAZING. One bottle would be more than enough, if you chose to use it. Otherwise, just clean the heck out of your countertop so all the left over gunk it gone. Then LIGHTLY sand your entire counter surface, including the front ledge and laminate backsplash if it’s got one. You’re just forming a “tooth” for your primer to grab onto. Sand until your counters aren’t shiny, then wiped off ALL the dust with a damp paper towel or lint free cloth.

This stuff works wonders, if you're interested!  I think a bottle is $7ish.

Step 5:
Tape off the edges of your wall and stove since you don’t want that painted and around the sink.

Step 6:
Apply the primer. I used a brush on the edges and a roller for the rest. It seemed faster that way to me and didn’t give me brush strokes. After letting the first coat dry fully, I applied a second coat. Let me just tell you that if I had quit at this point, it would still have been a drastic improvement. Stark white counters are better than harvest gold. ::shutters::

Step 7:
Using the sponge, apply the first color. I put the paint in a paper bowl, dipped the sponge, then wiped the excess off with the side of the bowl. Lightly dab the sponge all over the counter. Dab the sponge at different angles and on different sides of the sponges. The pattern and amount of paint being left behind will vary. That’s good! Don’t forget the front edge! And make sure you occasionally “roll” over from the top to the front ledge. That will make it look like a more solid surface. After this step, your counter will look silly. Don’t fret. It gets better. *TIP* I did not dab very densely in my early layers. I wish I had. It will be faster if you do. After you’re done, let it dry.

Step 8:
Do the same with the other colors based on your sample. My sample had flecks of black and dark brown. After applying the base colors, I used a tiny section of the sponge and very sparingly dabbed tiny flecks of black. After that dried, I redabbed the base colors over again and it gave it a lot of depth. Keep layering until most or all of your primer is covered.  The last color I applied was a dark brown. I applied it by mixing a bit of water to the paint and “splattering” it with my finger and a paint brush.

This is a bad picture.  The real deal doesn't have that yellowy tinge.

At this point, I liked my look. Also, I was tired, lol. So it was time to seal it up.

Step 9:
Apply the epoxy to the DRY painted surface. After the first layer if dry, sand it lightly to make it smooth. Then apply another layer. Sand again. Repeat this until you have 5 or 6 layers of epoxy.

And you’re done!

I know I’m not the most excellent direction giver that’s ever been, so here’s some links I found really helpful. I used a combined knowledge from all of them and some tips/hints from my helpful Home Depot Associate to go my own way.






Also, there are other options!! Here are some other options I considered. I am going to try the “Stone Spray” in my bathroom. Stay tuned for that, lol.


http://www.rustoleumtransformations.com/ (I used the cabinet kit in coco for our cabinet and was planning on doing the counter kit, too, but it’s pricey, in my opinion.)


montanna said...

To add to your kitchen countertops ideas, 1 which is produced from natural wood is also a considerable option. It truly is less expensive and is often very easily matched with almost all kitchen décors it is possible to believe of.

Stephanie said...

You inspired me Kristin, I took the plunge and painted my counter tops. I am really happy with the way they have turned out :) I'll post pics soon on my blog.

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