How to Paint Laminate Kitchen Countertops
If your existing kitchen countertops are in good shape but just need an update, consider painting or resurfacing rather than replacing to get the high-end look of natural stone.
It’s a common scenario: This kitchen had perfectly serviceable laminate countertops, but the owner wanted a more luxurious look. Instead of springing for thousands of dollars’ worth of new granite, she opted to try granite-look countertop paint from Giani, which is sold in a kit that covers 35 square feet of surface area for about $70. The paint is designed to cover laminate, solid-surface, ceramic tile, wood or cultured-marble countertops.
The result is a seamless surface that transforms the look of the kitchen. The striations and colors will differ each time you use the product, so it’s best to tackle the whole kitchen at once so that you develop a relatively consistent pattern.
Step 1: Clean, Prep and Paint
Be sure to get grease off completely with a scouring pad and rinse well with water (specific instructions are available in the kit or on Giani’s website). If your wood or laminate countertops are damaged, you can simply fill in holes and cracks with wood filler and sand with 600-grit sandpaper before continuing. Then you’ll coat with the included black primer, which will show through the layers of colors you daub on top.
Step 2: Dab and Blot
After the primer dries for eight hours, you’re ready to apply mineral colors with a sponge. Practice first on a sheet of construction paper to get a feel for making random patterns — you don’t want to make stripes or streaks, just flowing waves of color. This layer needs to dry for at least four hours.
Step 3: Topcoat
After a light sanding, you’ll apply topcoat as the final step, which will also need four hours to dry. Wait a few more hours before putting anything heavy on the surface, such as a toaster or a microwave. Use your countertop gently and keep it dry for about two weeks to allow it to cure completely.
Rust-Oleum also makes a countertop redo kit, Countertop Transformations, for a textured surface that mimics the feel of stone. The process uses decorative chips rather than paint and is designed to adhere to laminate countertops, although it will also work on hardwood and metal trim. Kits are sold in the $200 range.
The colored chips are available in several neutral finishes: Pebbled Ivory, Desert Sand, Java Stone, Onyx and Charcoal (shown). The chips are applied to an adhesive base coat, then sanded and covered with clear topcoat. Rust-Oleum’s reminder: If you’re not wild about your kitchen sink, now is an excellent time to replace it.
This kitchen’s ambiance was dated by its swirling brown laminate countertops, although the surface was in excellent shape. If yours isn’t, repair any chips or dents with two-part epoxy putty before starting, but don’t try to install Countertop Transformations over buckling, peeling or bubbling laminate.
Talk about a shift in mood! Refinished cabinets, sleek black hardware and charcoal-finish countertops bring this kitchen squarely into the modern era at an affordable price.