Monday, April 13, 2015

Trial Run: Painted Counter Tops

Guys, Saturday, my usual junk-finding day, was really depressing.  I drove an hour north to an awesome-looking farm auction.  I stayed for 30 minutes.  The prices were outrageous.  I knew I wouldn't be able to buy anything, so I headed back south and stopped by another auction that was going on.  I bid on a few things in the 15 minutes I was there, but won nothing.  They had already sold the pieces I had really wanted, even though those pieces were advertised as selling "after 12PM"  I left before noon even struck.

I had packed some items to take to my booth, so I stopped by there.  I had sold A LOT since the last time I was there over 2 weeks ago.  Lots of empty places.  Bad news: I didn't really bring in enough stuff to fill those spaces, since the junk buying has been fairly sparse lately.  So I spent 30 minutes bringing and and rearranging my stuff.  At that point, I couldn't take it any longer.  I had started the day with a mild headache, which was now a full-blown migraine.  The 30 minute drive home was a nightmare.  Even with my sunglasses, the bright sun-shiney day was making the migraine worse and worse.  I had the AC blasting to battle the waves of nausea.  

When I got home, I went right to bed for a 3 hour nap.  When I woke, the headache was still there, but it was thankfully no longer a migraine.  The fiancee and I went out for a quick dinner and we were back within 90 minutes.  Within 30 minutes of being home, my headache was turning into migraine quality again, even though I had downed several migraine-strength tylenols and a claritin.  I knew this back and forth weather was the cause of my migraine.  Damn allergy season.  I was back in bed by 8PM. The whole day was a loss.

Sunday I woke up refreshed and feeling much better.  It was time to tackle a project that I have had to put off, since the temperature needed to consistently stay above 60F, so the paint could cure properly.

Guys, I have THE UGLIEST builder-grade, early 90s, country blue laminate counter tops.  I have had my house for nearly 6 years and never did anything with them.  There were too many other things that I wanted to fix in that house before I replaced counter tops.  Fast forward to now... I am ready to put my house on the market, so that me and the fiancee can move into a bigger home.  My tiny, 1000 square foot house just isn't cutting it for us.  It was perfect for me when I was 22 and single (when I bought it).

Ok, so I am NOT being paid or anything to review any products, I'm just going to give you my honest opinion on the whole process.  Plus a few warnings.  So here goes...

 Supplies needed:
  1. - A HIGH QUALITY primer/sealer
  2. - Rustoleum Counter Top COATING
  3. - Painter's tape
  4. - Paint trays
  5. - Stir sticks
  6. - Paint brush *see below, I recommend not using an expensive bristle one, but a foam one instead.
  7. - 150 grit sand paper
  8. - Stir sticks
  9. - Roller
  10. - FOAM rollers
  11. - Sander

- AND... painting clothes.
These sweat pants have seen many projects... like the ugly brown metal cabinet that I painted aqua and the midcentury shelving unit I painted yellow.

Here's a piece of laminate counter top that my dad donated to my trial run.  My parents switched out their laminate counter tops many years ago for some lovely granite ones.  Dad saved the old counter top for some reason, so he cut me off a piece.

First sand the entire counter top with fine (150 grit) sand paper.  I used an electric sander to make this go faster.  I made sure to go over the whole counter top several times.  This step is REALLY important, because otherwise your primer will have a more difficult time sticking, even if you buy the highest quality primer and it says it will adhere to any surface.

After you sand, take a damp cloth and wipe the whole surface down.  For a larger counter top area, you may want to use a vacuum first.  I wiped with a second damn clean cloth, to make sure I had gotten it all.

This was the highest quality primer that Lowes had to offer.  It says that no sanding is required and it has superior adhesion to almost any surface.  DON'T listen to them - they don't know what they're talking about.  Sand your surface first.  Trust me, I saw A LOT of painted counter top fails online while I was browsing for the best method to do this.

YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST use a foam roller.  It is going to give you the smoothest finish.  Any other kind and your counter tops are going to turn our really funky.  Also, you will get those little "roller hairs" in your paint, which are no fun to pick out.

This is what the piece looks like after one coat of primer.

 I let that dry for 30 minutes and applied a second coat.

*WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY IF THIS WAS MY ACTUAL COUNTER TOP: I would let each coat dry completely and I would sand with find grit sand paper, etc before applying the next coat.  There were a few little bumpy bits that I would like smoothed out before continuing on.

Don't forget the edges! I let this coat dry for several hours.  I would recommend sanding with fine grit sand paper, etc. again to make sure all imperfections are out.

 Here's what the Rustoleum counter top coating looks like.

And here are the VERY limited color options.  I was NOT happy about this.  I assumed you could choose any color you wanted, like paint.  I went with Ivory, because the guy who mixed it for me said if I didn't like Ivory I could basically go to any of the colors below it.  Another thing I didn't like was the fact that they didn't have samples anywhere where I could see the actual finished product.  If I could've seen the finished product, I probably would've gone with Cobblestone, since it matches my kitchen more.

 It only took one coat of the counter top coating to cover.

WARNING: THIS WILL NOT WASH OF ANY SURFACE WITH JUST SOAP AND WATER LIKE NORMAL PAINT.  Guys, I spilled this stuff in my garage and all over my hands.  WEAR GLOVES!  I usually ALWAYS wear gloves when painting, but I was too excited to start using this stuff.  I ended up having to use acetone to get it off my hands.

Here's an up close shot of the finish.  See the little bumps I should've sanded out?  The foam roller gave it a little bit of "texture," which I actually really like.  If it was completely smooth, I think it would look kind of weird.  EVEN THOUGH, this stuff is supposedly "self-leveling."  I didn't use a paint brush, since I was just trialing it.  But after the absolutely mess it was afterwards, I ended up throwing the roller I used away.  I didn't have any paint thinner to clean it with.  So, I WILL NOT be using my $15 edging paint brush, but instead will probably opt for cheap foam ones, since they will mimic the foam roller texture.

This is supposed to take awhile to cure.  So, I'm going to give it a few days before I try the scratch test on it.

So far I like it.  It's a MUCH easier version than most DIYs I've seen (that actually hold up and look good).  They call for pouring acrylic and having to use a blow torch to get bubbles out.  As much fun as playing with fire sounds, I think I'll pass for now.

This is the last project on my list before I put my house on the market!

Tune in next week for more on this project and HOPEFULLY more junkin' finds!

I'm linking up at:


  1. Oh, wow, I just changed my mind about painting mu 50 year-old counter tops. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Melissa, I love the texture on the finish. I think it looks great! That was a big DIY project to do and you nailed it!

  3. I had no idea that you could even paint countertops! This does not look like a very fun project but at least it worked! Good luck :-)


  4. I love how you're not hurrying this test run - smart. I had a migraine this past weekend too, and we were in the Leesburg (aka Lucketts) area, and DC for cherry blossom festival. It was a major cluster*, and we came home early, me trying to sleep off the pain. Ugh. You know you don't feel good when junking isn't even appealing.

  5. Oh my what a day you had! Sorry about your migraine. I know how awful that is! You did a great job on the counter. :)

  6. Good for you for taking on this project! Hope the move to sell your home goes well... and so sorry to hear about your migraine. That is the worst! I have the same issue, but realize it is hormonal. Ugh!


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