Monday, April 29, 2013

From Drab to Fab~ How to paint your countertops!

When I first moved into my new house, I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. Updating this over 50 year old cape style house was going to be challenging but I always love a good challenge.
As all of you home owners know, when it comes to large renovations or small ones, it all comes down to money and time. I knew I could make the time but I also knew I wanted to save money for the larger remodels further down the road. So how could I make big changes in this house, without spending a fortune? It started with a lot of paint, and a little imagination, and I can't believe the difference it has already made in my home.
A few weeks ago I tackled the kitchen countertops. I was never a fan of them. Bright swirly blue laminate! A total eyesore every time I walked in there. I knew I couldn't afford to put in a new countertop right away, because I seem to always have expensive taste and I wouldn't want to just settle on something I didn't love. I immediately scoured the internet looking for some ideas and voila! I came across painted countertops. After a lot of research, I headed to Home Depot to buy the supplies I needed, which I will post for you below.
Make sure you give yourself 2 or 3 days for this job, and expect not to have a whole lot of access to your kitchen as I found that it's best to stay out of there so you don't get the countertops covered in bits of hair and fluff and other airborne debris. Trust me I learned this the hard way!
So first things first, before you begin painting, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, I can't stress that enough. I used a strong cleaner called TSP, that I purchased at Home Depot. Make sure you really scrub those countertops well, because any grime that's on them will affect the way the paint adheres to your countertops. Once you are done with that step, then take some sandpaper or a hand held sander and lightly sand your countertops. I simply used some sand paper, any grit will do. This step just helps the paint go on better. Then once you have sanded it , give it another quick clean and then dry.
The next step is taping! Yes it's tedious, but very necessary. Place the painters tape all along the edges of the countertops, making sure not to place the tape directly on the counters but instead just above them. Also if you want to take extra precaution, put some drop cloths down and along the kitchen cabinets.
Now the painting begins. I first used a primer I had left over from some furniture I painted. I find a good primer really goes along way, and saves you from having to do a lot of top coats. I used Behr Premium Plus Stain Blocking Primer. I did two coats of this and made sure to let it dry for the night.
The next day when it was dry, I began the topcoat. The color I used was another Behr Premium Plus paint. The color is Dolphin Grey. Make sure whatever paint you use is melamine based paint. This is a thicker paint that is meant to be used on cabinets and other high traffic areas. I did two coats of this as well, and let it dry over night.
Once my countertops were painted I was already in love with them, and even though melamine paint is pretty durable, as a mother of a very active 5 year old boy, I wanted to have even more durability, so I purchased an epoxy.
This by far was where my money went. As the epoxy is not cheap. I purchased the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations epoxy which retails for about $59.00.
After carefully reading the instructions and reviews on this project, I was a little bit nervous, as the product has a 30 minute pot life. Which means, once you mix it you have 30 minutes to get it on the countertops before it hardens. I don't have a huge kitchen but I have 3 different areas of countertops so I knew I would have to call in back up for this next step. Luckily my wonderful mother came over and helped me with this final process.
Once the product was mixed, we quickly got to work. The instructions said to immediately pour the epoxy on the surfaces and then using a small foam roller you start evening and spreading it on. It has a self leveling component in it so that was good.
I'm not going to lie, this step was definitely not a walk in the park, and you again don't have to do this, but it's definitely worth it I think. It will take roughly 24 hours to somewhat dry, meaning its still quite tacky, and about a whole 72 hours to completely harden. If I had to do it over again, I would have done a few things differently. I didn't notice any bubbles at first, but once dry I did. If you can catch them right away you can use a blow dryer to get rid of them. I also kept finding little pieces of fluff and hair. Most of which I was able to get out right away but was rather annoying. You see this epoxy will attract anything so you really have to make sure that if you have pets or children that they are no where near the kitchen when using the epoxy.
Here is my before picture, see what I mean by eye sore! And the not so nice periwinkle walls and brass knobs!
And here is my after picture!
I am so happy with the final results. Although the one counter needs to be done again as there are quite a few imperfections that are bothering me, other then that I love it, and all in it cost me under $100 and I have almost new counters to tide me over until I can get new ones.

Here is what you will need if you too want to transform your ugly countertops from drab to fab!
- Foam Rollers
- Painters Tape
- Drop Cloths
- Paint Brush
- Primer
- Melamine Base Paint
- Epoxy (Optional)
- Sandpaper or Hand held sander (Any grit)
- Heavy duty cleaner (i.e. T.S.P)
- A partner in crime if using epoxy
- 3 days at least!
And there you guys have it! My painted countertop reveal. What do you think? Please sound off below!