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How to paint countertops

Dear 1970's,

You gave us such great things like The Walkman, the Cell Phone, Reese Witherspoon, Post-it Notes, the Hacky Sack.... why, oh why, did you create the Canary Yellow countertops?

Yes, our home was "updated" somewhere around 1972 to have beautiful Canary Yellow counter tops. I'm sure they were lovely back in the day, but oh.my.gee. make make barf! It was time to go! I would love to have stained concrete or granite or Corian or insert any other high end counter top finish but it just wasn't in the budget for our kitchen update. I knew there had to be another alternative, I just didn't know what. Then one day I'm perusing the spray paint isle at Lowe's when I see that Rustoleum makes a counter top paint just for fugly outdated laminate counters. Sold.

It was only $20.00 so we figured we might as well give it a shot. I mean, what is the worse that could happen, right? We could have ugly yellow counters or worse case, we could have ugly counters that actually matched the space. So, after watching a You Tube video or 200, we go for it.

The directions are simple.

Ventilate your area. Yeah, don't skip this part. This paint is oil based and has some wicked fumes. It Also said to turn off any pilot lights, but we didn't. Don't tell. I just didn't think it was that deep.

Sand down the surface lightly to remove any stuff that isn't supposed to be there, like the tons of wall paint because I'm the worst painter in the world, or the oily, greasy film around the stove. Clean them with a damp lint free cloth.
Tape off the areas you don't want to paint.

Then roll it on with a foam roller. Flat parts first, then vertical surfaces. I let my brush get too dry and it pulled the foam off onto the surface. Crap! I was kicking myself that I screwed it up. So, we let it dry a bit and I sanded the rough spots off and put a new coat on top. It totally fixed the problem.

You are supposed to let them cure for several days I think. I'm far too impatient for that and waited 24 hours I think. They have been painted for almost 9 months now, and there are only 2 small places that have chipped. They were totally my fault though. I was cutting something one and the tip of the knife slipped and scratched it. I may try to touch them up eventually but it's such a small place, you don't even notice.

Lowe's also sells a product that is a paint/epoxy mix that mimics the look of granite but it's about $250.00. For that price or pretty dang close, I could buy new laminate counters. This $20.00 investment rocked my world. I wouldn't have lived with yellow counters for so many years if I had known it would have been this easy to fix!

Orange it Lovely  – (October 8, 2010 at 8:35 AM)  

LOVELY!!! I really like the color. take more pics! lol

Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants  – (October 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM)  

I am so glad to hear about this product. I have laminate counter tops and while I wouldn't mind having something else I also think what a waste! Everyone talks about being green and I have such a hard time throwing away something that is perfectly good but I have outgrown the color. I am fortunate mine are a light grey, very neutral but I want to paint my cabinets white and the grey is not enough contrast for me. I may just have to try this product. I'm so glad to hear that is has worked for you! Thanks for sharing!!!

Ashley  – (October 9, 2010 at 6:25 PM)  

If you ever use Giani Granite paint for countertops I would love to hear what you think. Giani comes in a $60.00 kit so it is closer to the price range you mentioned.Just curious.- Hannah

Imperfectly Happy  – (October 10, 2010 at 9:14 AM)  

I saw this a Home Depot yesterday next to the chalk paint. I am soooooo tempted to paint my ick counters! How did you get past the fear???? :P

Mama Reid  – (October 12, 2010 at 10:56 PM)  

Thanks for your sweet comments! It looks like you have some pretty awesome ideas yourself and I love all your photography!!!

Kate  – (October 26, 2010 at 6:43 PM)  

I was just searching for a way to makeover my ugly laminate counters without having to replace them--this post was a dream come true!! Hubby will be busy later this winter...

Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House  – (February 23, 2011 at 10:38 AM)  

Hi, found you from CG's post about our transformations using this product. I did it too, but I've got to get started on painting the cabinets for the full change. Nice job!

Sharon  – (March 1, 2011 at 5:36 PM)  

So, how have the countertops held up through the busy holiday season, and life in general? Thanks!

Michelle  – (March 1, 2011 at 9:15 PM)  

Hi, I found your blog through CG, great job. I use a bleach based cleaner on my countertops do you think I would still be able to use it if I paint my countertop?

Kristy@MyPretties  – (March 1, 2011 at 10:24 PM)  

They are still holding up really well. They have a few little scrapes on them but they were all avoidable had I gotten out a cutting board rather than cutting straight on the countertops.

Michelle- Yes! I use clorox clean-up and clorox wipes like they are going out of style and it doesn't affect them at all! .

Jessica May Lords  – (April 10, 2011 at 12:40 AM)  

I am so happy to have found your site!! My cousin Meaghan over at Savvy Spending posted about your blog, and it's fantastic. Moreover, my husband and I were JUST TALKING two hours ago about our awful apartment kitchen. The landlord mentioned we could paint the laminate cabinets (which are hideous) and I was lamenting how silly it would be to help the cabinets and have to deal with the disgusting countertops. Ours are really cut up by the last renters, so I don't think this would work miracles, but hopefully it would fill in the cuts a bit. I bet if I went over it twice it would look pretty decent. Do you have a product your recommend for painting over laminate cabinets? I wonder if this stuff would work well on that, too!

Karen Frazier  – (July 15, 2013 at 10:28 PM)  

What color did you choose? I'm thinking about using the canvas color but wondered what I actually looked like, someone one from another site said they placed a Pizza Hut pizza on it & it messed it up....said that heat detriys it. Are you finding this to be true? Thanks a bunch!

Mandy Rice  – (March 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM)  

Just WONDERFUL! I am getting ready to tackle this project on my bathroom countertop. Is there a clear coat of any kind that goes on top? Also, any suggestions on cleaning it without ruining it? Thanks!

Steph Smith  – (August 31, 2015 at 8:46 AM)  

This looks fantastic! I moved into a place with some pretty unsightly counter tops. I'm very new to this, but I'm 90% sure it's linoleum and not polyethylene. I'd love to upgrade the mottled green to a sleek black or grey, and now I know it's cheap and doable :) thanks for sharing! www.thetubeworks.com.au

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