Blog

   

Around the House: DIY Kitchen Countertops

Oh my goodness, I am so excited to share this project and see what you think. It was a big one and maybe the first time I’ve done something to our home that I was actually really scared to start. I painted our kitchen counter tops. Yes. Paint. Counter tops. Kitchen. Words that don’t seem to go together at all, but yet here they are, living in harmony.

I’m too excited to keep you in suspense, so here is a before and after of the transformation:

countercompare1

Nice, right? I literally can’t stop staring at it. So shiny… As for how i got from A to B, the details get a bit long-winded, so bear with me.

I have to admit, the old counters really weren’t terrible (especially considering that our bathroom counter is laminate magenta) but they weren’t great either. They really actually look a little better in the picture above than in real life, where the laminate surface definitely had a speckled yellow tinge and dark brown seams that were cracked in places. Oh and silver metal edging for that extra something special. On a closer shot you can get a little better idea of what we were working with.

I had resigned myself to the thought that they could be worse, and set a maybe-someday goal of new solid surface counter tops. It’s not like we have any shortage of other projects to focus on or any surplus of funds after all. But dreams of something like this kept floating through my mind:

Link

So beautiful. But so out of reach. At least I thought so until read this makeover story from a woman who painted her counter tops. I immediately decided I had to try it. But I was nervous. After all, it’s a big undertaking and new counter tops were not in our budget. I knew if I messed them up it was going to be, well, not good. But in the spirit of optimism I went for it anyway.

I decided not to go too dramatic in the color change. We really liked the contrast of the light counters against our dark cabinets, so the main goal was to get rid of the brown edges and yellow tinge in favor of a more neutral gray with specks of blue to pull in the wall color. I also knew I didn’t want to go for a granite look, like in the article. That would have been a little too traditional for our home decor, as opposed to the more contemporary look of a solid stone.

Moving on, here are the supplies you’ll need if you want to tackle a counter top makeover of your own:

(Not all supplies are pictured)
• Paint in a variety of shades. I used a light gray Valspar in a satin finish and added light blue and dark charcoal craft paint (You can really use whatever colors you want. I can’t seem to find my base paint swatch.. must have been left at Lowes, but I’ll try to dig up the exact name of the color.)
• Primer
• Sponge Brushes
• Sand paper (or sponge)
• Glitter (optional – I used a larger clear glitter and a very fine flake for variety)
• Drop Cloths
• Painters tape
• Polyacrilic
EnviroTex Lite
• Blow torch (recommended)
• Two containers for mixing
• Clean paint stir stick
• Gloves
• Rags or Paper Towels

And a few more essential supplies:
• at least three days where you can get by with no kitchen
• a friend to help with the sealer step
• a lot of patience and optimism

Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, you’ll want to start by cleaning and then sanding the laminate counters lightly. You don’t have to go crazy here, but a light sanding gives the paint a better surface to stick to.

Once I had sanded everything down, I wiped them down again thoroughly to get rid of any residue from sanding. Then I covered everything with a coat of primer.

After that was dry, three thin coats of my base gray color went down, with drying in between each. (are you seeing yet why patience is on my list of supplies?) It was already starting to look better.

Before the last layer was dry, I also added a light dusting of glitter. I can’t believe I just used the phrase “light dusting of glitter” seriously. I did though, because I wanted some dimension and texture in my layers of paint to help with the illusion of depth found in a solid stone surface.

My next step was applying the layers of color. I wanted sharper edges than I knew I’d get sponge painting, so instead I used plastic grocery bags (which we always keep to reuse- I’m resourceful like that) and started dabbing away in small sections with two colors of paint. (note- avoid bags with bright colors of ink on them, like red. It will bleed when mixed with other paint) I chose a light blue to play off the walls and a charcoal gray for contrast. I knew I did not want to try to imitate the look of granite. It would just have been too formal for our eclectic/modern home. Instead I wanted a solid stone look that would be similar to the inspiration photos above, but very subtle.

To get depth, I applied the colors liberally over the whole counter. Side note, I wanted the paints to mix for a natural stone variation effect, so I did not wait for one to dry before applying the second. After both of these were on and still damp, I covered everything again with dabs of the original base gray. Again, the goal this whole time was an illusion of depth cause by multiple layers of paint. I used my same grocery bag technique here and then sprinkled on another layer of glitter. By now it was looking like this:

Once all that had dried, I added one final layer of dabbed gray base paint to increase the subtlety and another dusting of glitter. (can’t stop..)

By this time, my hand was looking like I’d gone a little crazy with nail polish. DIY is a messy life.

Another drying one break and then I covered all of this with a coat of polyacrilic. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to seal down any rogue glitter and prevent the paint from smearing at all if it reacted with the chemical sealer I was about to apply. Two, I wanted to make sure that if I happened to miss a spot with the sealer, it would at least still be somewhat shiny, especially on the backsplashes and counter edges. I used polyacrilic instead of polyurethane to prevent any yellowing over time, since the base color is so light. Also, it is water-based, for easier cleanup and it’s more environmentally friendly.

Once that was dry (patience patience) I started mixing up the EnviroTex Lite sealer. I really suggest that if you use this stuff, you have a friend there to help out. Luckily Dania came over to assist me here while the hub was on baby duty in the basement, away from any fumes. I didn’t think the fumes were terrible, although we had the doors and windows open for ventilation, but I would recommend wearing old clothes and protective gloves. This stuff is messy and sticky. Very sticky. Here I am, mixing away:

I followed the directions for mixing that came in the package. Mix together the two bottles into one container for a minute, then pour into a second container and continue to mix for another minute. Then immediately pour liberally onto the counters and spread it out, letting it drip over the edges so you can smooth it onto the front lip of the counters (hence the protective plastic).

After you’ve covered the whole counter, you will probably have some air bubbles if you’ve mixed it correctly. You can use a blow torch to pop these like so:

If that sounds intimidating or you don’t happen to have a blow torch lying around, I’ve read that blowing/exhaling on the bubbles works too. I would suggest using a straw for some aiming ability. I thought that route sounded a little tedious for not knowing if it would actually work as well, so torch it was. Dania loved it once she got the hang of it.

Besides having the torch ready for any emerging bubbles, I just kept an eye on the counters for drips. A few hours later it was pretty tacky.

There were some issues to take note of if you want to try this yourself. This process is far from perfect or easy. Some problems we ran into included having to lock poor Lucious in the basement for a day to avoid kitty prints on the counters, and any dust or cat hair or anything at all in the air will stick and stay on the counters. I actually had to dig out one little gnat who got stuck in the resin. Poor guy. There were also a few places we somehow missed. I guess we were trying to work fast (you only have about 20 min or less work time before it starts to get tacky once it’s mixed. You know when you paint your nails and try to go back and smooth something once it’s already set and end up with a gloppy mess? Hate that.) and it can be a little hard to see where you’ve coated sometimes. I plan to buy a small kit to touch up those spots. Hopefully it’s not too noticeable with seams or anything like that.

The other thing to note is that vertical surfaces, like the backsplashes and front lips, don’t really turn out quite as glassy smooth as the surface. Because of gravity and drips, they have sort of a textured look to them. I’m debating if another coating would help or not. Also we did get some spots where the bigger glitter made little marks or bumps in the surface. I think a thicker coat of sealer would have eliminated that issue, or using only the fine glitter, but think I can sand the more noticeable spots down pretty easily. Here’s a close up where you can actually see the paint detail a little better:

Subtle, but much improved I think!

Overall it was definitely worth it, and actually kind of a fun project. Plus it saved us hundreds on new counter tops. The EnviroTex is supposed to be food safe once dry, and I’ve read that maintenance for these will be similar to granite. No placing hot items directly on the surface, and use soap and water, rather than chemical cleaners, to wipe them down, and always use a cutting board. It sets up in about 8 hours and takes 2-3 days to harden completely. As for the cost for the total project, it came in right around $120, with the majority of that expense being the sealer (which I bought using 40% off coupons at Hobby Lobby, btw).

Totally worth it! I’m in love with our new counters and so glad I jumped and actually completed this project. Here’s another view before and after:

kitchen2

And another of the whole kitchen makeover, just for fun:

kitchen

UPDATE: To see what our kitchen looks like now (after even more updates)… click here!

designingdawn_kitchenwindow-3

Let me know if any of you decide to try a counter makeover! I’d love to see pictures!!

Dawn

 

Similar posts you might enjoy:

62 Comments

  • amanda

    hi i am thinking of doing this but i dont have any counter top at all its a new kitchen and my husband is going to build a shape for us but i want to use white just solid and it might look like quartz is there any cons to using a light color that you have found?? thanks!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      I do have a few spots where the torch sort of burned the envirotex while we were popping bubbles as it set. They just have a slightly yellow look to them, so I’d say definitely avoid high heat on the counters, especially with a light color. Also, things like grape juice or koolaid seem to stain it. I think a darker color would be easier to keep in pristine-looking condition, but I’ve had success getting stains on our counters out with a bleach pen or soft scrub. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • paige

    How much envirotex lite did you use? Your kitchen looks almost exactly like mine as far as space and set up goes…

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi there! It’s been a little while but I think we ended up using three boxes to finish the whole thing. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • ba1234

    Hello! I’ve been researching many DIY paint/countertop blogs and yours is by far my favorite! I think I’m going to tackle it soon. I know that the final layer takes several days to fully dry/cure…but were you able to get from sanding to enviro-tex in one (long) day? Or did drying time between steps take you working into 2 days? Thanks in advance…

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Thanks so much! Good luck with your project!!

      It’s been a while, and I have a terrible memory, but I ‘think’ I let the paint dry overnight before putting on the envirotex.

      Reply
    • giz

      I’ve just completed this project over the weekend. Let the paint dry completely before you put the enviro-tex on. This project will require a few days.

      Reply
  • Aubrey

    Dawn Help! We just got finished last night using Envirotex Lite on our painted countertops. We did a faux granite sponge paint job and after we applied the “flood coat” it looked AWESOME…until we saw how the backsplash came out. It does have that pebbled look as you described in your post.

    We were wondering if you ended up figuring out a solution to the backsplash pebbled look issue.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Wow, your counters look amazing! Did you use a metallic paint on top of the black? I love how that turned out!

      Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to remedy the pebble look. I wish I had a better answer for you! One of my readers suggested wet sanding the envirotex down, and that is the best I’ve come up with. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet though, and honestly because of the color of my counters and the fact that a lot of the backsplash is covered up in the kitchen by gadgets, it hasn’t really bothered me at all. If your backsplash is removable (mine isn’t) you could try taking it off, sanding, and re-pouring the envirotex with the surface flat. Then reattaching and caulking the gap with clear caulk.

      Sorry I’m not more helpful!! If you come up with a great solution, please let me know! Good luck!!

      Reply
  • Ronda Batchelor

    Dawn thanks for this post, it helped inspire me to try my own version. I have a link to your post, come check it out:

    http://www.batchelorsway.com/2014/04/laundry-room-diy-countertops-part-2.html

    Thanks again!!

    Reply
  • Lorene Nance

    Hi Dawn! I love this. Just wondering how this has held up for you over time. Our countertops in our bathrooms and our kitchen need some love, and I really like the glossy look! Any durability or wear issues you’ve had?

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi Lorene! Sorry for the late response. Crazy week so far! The counter has held up surprisingly well. We try to treat it well, not cutting directly on it and not placing hot pots or pans on it. I learned that heat can burn and discolor the resin- which isn’t a real issue if you use dark paint, but on my very light counters it shows a bit yellow in a spot where I held the torch too long during the curing process. But overall we really haven’t had any major issues at all. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Lorene Nance

        A huge help! Thanks, Dawn!

        Reply
  • Courtney Kohnen

    Hi – looks amazing, I want to do the same! My counter also has the lovely metal strips – did you take those off, or just go right over? I can’t quite tell from the photos.

    Reply
  • George Ewald

    Just wondering how much envirotex you used for all the counters in your picture. My kitchen looks pretty much the same size.

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi there! I think we ended up using three boxes for the whole project.

      Reply
      • George Ewald

        Thanks Dawn. I have been getting mixed signals as to coverage.

        Reply
        • Dawn Sailors

          No problem! I would definitely recommend buying extra if you are unsure because you will want to do it all at once. Maybe just make sure you can return it if unused.

          Reply
          • Jennie

            Three boxes at what size?

          • Dawn Sailors

            Hi Jennie. I believe it was the 32oz box, however it’s been a while and that’s off the top of my head. :) The link in the post is to the same size I used. Hope that helps!

  • Helen Archer

    Hi! Thanks for such a helpful post! I read it and it helped a lot when I was painting my bathroom counter – http://mrsbomb.com/1254/painting-the-counter-faux-granite/
    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi Helen! You’re counters look great!! Love the transformation. Glad you found my post helpful, and thanks for sharing your project!! :)

      Reply
  • Painting the Counter – Faux Granite | Mrs. Bomb.com

    […] bloggers who used resin rather than polyacrylic. The posts that I found most helpful were from Designing Dawn and Pretty Handy Girl (not a counter tutorial, but still helpful). I don’t want to bore you […]

    Reply
  • Projects: DIY Ombre Shower Curtain (Plus a guest post on DBL!) « Designing Dawn

    […] so even though the thought of dying things scares me a little, I figured if I can successfully paint my kitchen counters, a box of dye should be child’s play. Not so my friends. Not […]

    Reply
  • Mary @ Better Than Eden

    I LOVE the gloss you got on your counters! Thank you so much for the Envirotex tip! I’m going to have to look into that to see if I can use it on the big backsplash or if it will become a mess. It would be awesome if it did since that is exactly the finish I was hoping for!

    Reply
  • Lily

    Hi Dawn,

    I was hoping you could give a really brief description of the cabinet painting process. (I know it might be hard to remember the details now =/ ) But I’m thinking about doing this too and I wasn’t sure what materials…primer, paint, sanding sponge….I should get. I’ve spray painted furniture successfully before but want a permanent solution this time. Also, should I even try sanding the details/curves in the wood or just the large flat surfaces. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi Lily! I have to say, I painted these so long ago, and I really can’t say that I did anything the ‘right’ way, ha. They have held up pretty well, but I’m hesitant to offer advice on my process since it was strictly trial and error. Here is a really great tutorial though: http://bit.ly/A5UKHv I actually wish it would have been around before I painted mine. I might have done it a little differently! :) Hope it helps!

      Reply
  • Paint Glossy Solid(ish).

    [...] To achieve the look of natural stone slabs (which tend to appear more solid than granite but still aren’t completely solid), you can again paint the countertops using a variety of paints, clear glitter (not kidding!), and a clear top coat. The change shown here isn’t vastly different in color, but it is pretty dramatic in the look of a high-end finish. The glossy topcoat itself looks professional and more sophisticated than the previous countertops – in fact, it’s hard to believe that these countertops were once standard laminate.{found on designingdawn}. [...]

    Reply
  • Shaina Smith

    Hi Dawn, I just did my countertops the same way thanks to your tutorial (and a few others I found on the internet!). Did you ever touch up those places you weren’t happy with? I was sooo nervous about using the Envirotex, and just like you I think I didn’t pour it thick enough in the first (and biggest) part of my countertop. Now there are some imperfections that are going to drive me crazy … and I just did it two days ago. Wondering if you were able to successfully patch or if you didn’t worry about it? Thanks so much in advance for your reply!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi Shaina! Sorry I thought I had responded, but guess it didn’t post. I did touch up the spots I missed, but it didn’t turn out the best. Now there are raised patches where the fill in is. Another commenter suggested wet sanding and then polishing to get them all nice and smooth, so I may try that. If so, I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, if you come across any great solutions, let me know!

      Reply
  • James McCormick

    I would imagine that you could wet sand down any imperfections in the surface and then polish them back to a nice shine. Same with the edges if you decide to put another coat on. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Thanks for the suggestion! That does sound like a good option. I think I’ll try it. Couldn’t hurt. :)

      Reply
  • As Seen In: Centsational Girl « Designing Dawn

    [...] blogs so it was a huge honor when I saw traffic coming from a new source and hopped over to find my kitchen counter makeover project (from a year and a half ago) featured in her Best of DIY Project Gallery under the kitchen upgrades [...]

    Reply
  • DIY Updates for your Laminate Countertops (without replacing them!)

    [...] To achieve the look of natural stone slabs (which tend to appear more solid than granite but still aren’t completely solid), you can again paint the countertops using a variety of paints, clear glitter (not kidding!), and a clear top coat. The change shown here isn’t vastly different in color, but it is pretty dramatic in the look of a high-end finish. The glossy topcoat itself looks professional and more sophisticated than the previous countertops – in fact, it’s hard to believe that these countertops were once standard laminate.{found on designingdawn}. [...]

    Reply
  • ChicMama504

    Love this! Am so doing this in my kitchen! Couple questions. Would is work on corian? Did you ever figure out what color base paint you used?

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi there! And thank you. :) I do not claim to be an expert, so I can’t say if it would work on corian. But yes, I did find the paint color. It was Gravity by Valspar (4005-1B). I hope that helps. Good luck with your counters!

      Reply
  • Bella

    Your counter looks beautiful! Great job! Did you let the Envirotex dry right next to the painters tape (around sink, backsplash, etc.)? Did the painters tape come off easily after the Envirotex dried? I was thinking of tackling on this project but would hate for painters tape to be stuck in the envirotex coating. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Thanks! No, I pulled the tape off right away. I had the same fear of it getting stuck in the coating and after seeing how it dried, I probably wouldn’t recommend leaving tape on there while it dries. Good luck with your project!!

      Reply
      • Bella

        Thanks for the quick response! I’m also curious how the envirotex dried around your sink. Does it overlap onto your sink once you pull off the painters tape? I would hate to have to replace the sink later and not be able to because it’s practically glued down. However, I love the high gloss shine and don’t want to have to use regular polyurethane clear coat paint. Thanks in advance!

        Reply
        • Dawn Sailors

          I tried my best to keep it off the sink. It did overlap in a few places, but I think if we ever wanted to remove the sink I could use a utility knife to cut around the areas where some got on the sink. After it dried, I went around the sink with waterproof caulking to seal the seams and make it all look even and clean.

          Reply
  • Denise

    It looks so beautiful! I’m about to take on this project in a couple of weeks and have some questions. First, how many ounces of the envirotex did you use? And also, how did you spread it out? Just with a foam brush? Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi there! I can’t remember how many ounces we used (I think it was about 4 boxes of the biggest one my Hobby Lobby carried, but can’t remember what that size is… sorry!!), but here’s a handy chart to help you know how much to buy for your project: http://eti-usa.com/envirotex-lite/

      And yes, we just used foam brushes to spread it. Worked like a charm. Good luck on your project!! I’d love to see pictures when you get it done. :)

      Reply
      • Denise

        Thanks so much! Their website is very helpful. I will definitely share pictures once it is completed. I’m super excited!

        Reply
  • Cathy

    How did you get the enviro tex on the laminate backsplash? Do you just pour it and let it run down? How do you keep it from globs pooling at the bottom?

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      That was a challenge! I actually poured extra onto the counter next to the backsplash and used a foam brush to sort of push it up onto the backsplash and paint it on. If that makes any sense at all… Hopefully that helps!

      Reply
  • erica

    hi so beautiful! im going to be doing my counters in the next week or so and was wondering what you used to spread the resin? any tips would be appreciated . thx again for the diy.

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi there! Thank you very much. I used inexpensive foam brushes to spread the resin. They worked really well. I was afraid a brush might shed bristles, so I went with foam and was happy I could just toss them when I was done. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Around the House: Guest Bath Counter Makeover « Designing Dawn

    [...] you’ve been reading for a while, then maybe you remember my kitchen counter makeover. If not, you can check it out for a full tutorial (and be sure to read through the comments too, [...]

    Reply
  • Jodi

    Hi, your kitchen looks amazing! After just finding envirotex on the internet and getting very excited about possibly changing our worktops cheaply i have been trying to find reviews on the tooughness of it. How has yours faired? Is it chipped, cracked or anything? Thanks very much, jodi.

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi there! Thank you very much. It is holding up very well so far. The first few weeks, I did notice that heavy decorative items on the counter left marks or dents, but if I moved them the dents worked themselves out and disappeared. Now though it has hardened even more and I don’t notice any dents anymore. We haven’t had any cracks or chips. If I were to do it again though I would probably choose a darker base color. A few places where my hub has accidentally set something hot have showed a slight yellowing to the envirotex, but I think if the base paint were darker, you wouldn’t notice at all. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • IndyNow

    Hey there. Your kitchen looks great.  How many boxes of the Envirotex did you use?

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi and thank you! It’s been a little while but I think we ended up using three boxes to finish the whole thing.

      Reply
  • Teresa

    Amazing!  Such a beautiful transformation!

    Reply
  • As Seen In: Remodelaholic | Designing Dawn

    [...] am so excited to share that my DIY painted countertop makeover is being featured today on one of my favorite blogs, Remodelaholic. (Thanks for the love Justin and [...]

    Reply
  • Lovehomemadeblog

    So scary to try, but so worth it!  I think we will do this at our cabin!

    Reply
  • Jordan Marie Schilleci

    I’ve looked at this page before.. I love pictures.. But didn’t really read it top to bottom, until now.. Omgosh.. This is so stinking cool.. Looks amazing.. I love love love it.. Makes me want these counter tops SO bad.. We don’t plan on staying in our home, so I’m not sure if I really want to dive in and try this.. It might help the house sell though.. I hate our countertops so bad and they are new. Lol. You did an amazing job, btw!
    <3xojo

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Thank you! I am really happy with how they turned out. I don’t think it will be a permanent solution, but it looks so much better than before and hopefully we can get at least a few years out of them before we can afford a true upgrade. :)

      Reply
  • Sara

    I have wanted to try this but I keep chickening out. Your counters look amazing! PS you won the Liebster Award come check it out at http://diygoddessintraining.blogspot.com/2011/10/liebster-blog-award.html

    Reply
    • Dawn Sailors

      Thanks Sara! It is kind of scary, so I just had to force myself to start and then I would HAVE to finish it, lol. Good luck with yours!

      Reply
  • OPP (Other People’s Projects): Dania’s Side Table | Designing Dawn

    [...] you read my recent post on our inexpensive DIY kitchen counters, then you probably got the not so subtle hint that there was a lot of waiting around for paint to [...]

    Reply

Post A Comment