UPDATE: Click here to see how we feel about our painted cabinets and countertops one year later.
In case you missed it, I shared the “big reveal” of (phase one of) our kitchen makeover yesterday. Basically, it involved a lot of paint and elbow grease. We love the result, but I have to say that the countertops are the part where I knew we were taking a risk. We originally planned to do a concrete overlay, and we still might, but we decided to try out this treatment first because it was significantly cheaper and easier.
What is it?
I put paint on my countertops.
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You’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now and calling me all sorts of stupid names. But, honestly, I knew there was zero way I could make them uglier than they were when we started (have you seen that before photo?) and if they looked ridiculous I could go with plan B, which was the concrete. So, I dove in!
How to Paint Laminate Countertops
- 220 Grit sandpaper
- Black paint
- I won’t use anything but this one
- Paint roller
- Sea Sponges in various textures
- Polycrylic sealer
I started by priming the counters – it took two coats to cover up the faux wood grain, but I didn’t worry too much about covering it completely…the rest of the paint took care of that for me. Next up, I mixed my paint: I grabbed some black paint and mixed it with my primer to create a few different shades of gray.
I started with the darkest color and used a sea sponge to dab it all over. There’s no real method here, just throw it on there. Once I felt like I had an okay coverage, I came back over with the next darkest shade, and finally the lightest shade.
Then, I went back in and touched up any areas where I felt like more color was needed. It was pretty easy to see where there was too much or not enough of a certain color, and it is a very inexact science. Just do what feels good.
Then, came my favorite part…
I can feel your eyes rolling again.
No, really. I put glitter on the counters. I read a ton of tutorials from other people who had tried this out, and the ones I liked the best were the ones who added in a little glitter to make it look more like actual stone.
Now, do I think I’m fooling anyone with these counters?
Of course not.
BUT! Aren’t they prettier than the ugly faux wood laminate?
I mean, really. They’re way better.
After the glitter, it was time to seal. I did a lot of research on the best strategy for this, and opinions are mixed. I talked with my dad, and he confirmed my gut instinct that polycrylic would be the way to go, so that’s what I did. There are other options that are probably more durable (like this stuff, which we almost used), but the process for applying them was way more intense than I was willing to endure for a project that may not even be long term – plus, applying something like that would make it much more difficult to go the concrete route later if we change our minds, and I wanted to leave our options open.
Now for the disclaimer: These aren’t necessarily the most durable counters in the world. I put on about a zillion coats of poly and let them dry for several days before we used them and they did a fantastic job holding up to every day use…until Thanksgiving. We had family in who wasn’t very careful at all with our counters (I don’t handle them too delicately, but I do keep in mind that they’re painted when I’m working on them), and by the time the holiday was over, there was one area that was looking a bit worse for the wear.
I was so bummed! I thought they’d last a little better than that! After talking it over with Corey, I think there are two factors that played into this. First, there were some small pieces of dirt and other randomness that got onto the counters before the poly was dry – that left perfect little spots where the stuff could pop out and leave a chip. Also, I think it’s possible I shot myself in the foot by adding too many coats of poly. You know how when you put on a really think application of nail polish hoping it will last longer but it actually chips right away? I think it’s like that. Just a theory. But, I wasn’t going to be deterred so I patched it up, added some more poly, and we’re living with it again. It took approximately 5 minutes to patch the areas that were messed up, so it really wasn’t a big deal.
Thanksgiving is kind of an anomaly when it comes to how much our kitchen gets used, so I’m going to give the counters another shot before I give up on them. If they chip again, we will try out the DIY concrete method. But, really, even if I have to patch them up once a year, I can’t complain! The whole thing cost us under $50 and makes me smile every day…so a little patch job every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. Just me?
Our to-do list in this room is still long, but we already have most of the materials to get started on the next project (beadboard backsplash!) so it’s really just a matter of finding the time and motivation to get it done.
Fingers crossed we get it done sooner rather than later!
Would you ever put paint on your counters?
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