Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kitchen Makeover: Faux Granite Countertop Tutorial

Faux Granite Countertops Tutorial at Made it on Monday

We’ve been making great progress on our downstairs makeover! Phase 1 & 2 were refinishing our kitchen countertops and painting the cupboards. It has been an exhausting process but I am loving it!

Kitchen makeover before and mid way

My kitchen wasn’t bad to begin with, but now that I compare the before and mid-way (the after will come once we’ve painted the walls and installed new flooring), the before suddenly looks much less attractive.

kitchen makeover counter

I am LOVING my new countertops! For years we’ve talked about painting our cabinets white and how much we love the look of black granite with white cabinets. But granite is way out of our price range, not to mention installing it would probably upgrade our home beyond the value of our neighborhood—we just wouldn’t see that great of a return from it. And even the cheaper counter top options were just too much for us at this time.

kitchen makeover counters

Then my brother and SIL did a faux granite treatment on their counters about a year ago, and we knew it would be the perfect solution for us! We got a lot of tips from them and appreciated the instructions in THIS tutorial and THIS tutorial. I think reading several tutorials for this process is helpful so you can get a more complete picture of what to do, and adapt the technique different people used to make it your own. And the best part about all of this—it only cost about $120!

kitchen makeover counter top

Before I get to the how-to details, I thought I’d share some of what I love about the counters, and some of what you should be aware of before doing them yourself. The finished product is high-quality. The resin we use to top everything off and give it that high-gloss finish is hard and durable. This isn’t a project that will loose its quality and durability in a year or two or even five. The surface is easy to clean. Things like dried pancake batter scrapes off so much easier than it did on my previous laminate. The surface is smooth and I find myself regularly drumming my fingernails on it because it makes me happy. They look beautiful. These pictures aren’t just showing the best angles. The counters really do look amazing in person.

kitchen makeover phases one and two

For the negatives, most of them can be avoided or easily fixed. No matter how careful we were and how closely we inspected after the final sealing step, we did miss a few spots. Those spots are all very small (think quarter of a dime size), but they are little indentations without any gloss on them. The vertical surfaces (front edges) don’t get the same finish as the rest of the counters because the product gets poured on, and gravity keeps the product from staying there as thick. And there are drips under the edges that are mostly just noticeable when you look for them. I keep meaning to sand them off but just haven’t had the motivation yet.

Ok, now that we’ve gone over those details, let’s get into how to do these counters yourself. From what I found online, there are three methods for doing a faux granite/stone finish on your laminate counters. Rustoleum makes a Countertop Transformation kit, but it costs more than I wanted to spend and I wasn’t as into the look of the chips for giving the granite affect. Plus, I wanted more artistic control over my colors, etc rather than having to go with one of their set looks. The second method would be to paint the counters, do a sponge painting like technique for the texture and color variations, and seal everything with several coats of polycrylic. The third method is the same as the second only you finish it with a pour on resin. We went with the third because I liked the thickness that the resin provides—it’s the equivalent to 50 coats of polycrylic.

Items/Products I Used
Sandpaper | Painters Tape | Kilz Oil Based Primer | Paint in your base color (I used a cheap black paint) | Craft Paint in 3 or 4 accent colors | Superfine glitter | Enviro-Tex Lite Pour on Resin | Blow Torch | Plastic measuring containers and wooden stir sticks | Paint brushes, rollers and sponge brushes | Plastic Sheeting | Paper plates | Plastic grocery bag

counter process 1

1. Clean your surfaces REALLY well. Make sure everything is scraped off. 2. Lightly sand your surface and then clean it again. 3. Tape off anything you don’t want to get painted/sealed. 4. Give your entire surface a good coat of primer. We painted our backsplash tiles as well (I’ll post on that another time), so we primed them as well. You could either leave your backsplash as is if it’s tile, replace it, or use the same method on it as on the counters. Check out the two tutorials I linked to early in this post for how they did their backsplashes.

Counter process 2

1 & 2. Paint around the edges/trim of your counters using a sponge or smaller brush. I wanted my counters to be like a black granite, so I did mine black. But your color options are endless. I just bought the cheapest flat paint at Walmart for this. 3. Using a roller brush paint the rest of your surface. 4. Tape off anything you don’t want to get the resin on it. I did the taping after the painting because my tiles were fairly recently painted as well. You might want to do the taping before the painting. You’ll also need to cover your cabinets and floors in plastic because once your pour the resin, it’s permanent.

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The next step was one of the most fun parts. I used 4 colors of craft paint (only 3 shown here)—metallic silver, gray, pearl white and black. I also used two colors of super fine glitter—white/iridescent and black.

counter process 3

1. Pour your first color of paint (mine was the gray) on a paper plate. 2. Scrunch up a plastic grocery in your hand (I liked using this as opposed to a sponge because it makes a more organic pattern) and dab it in the paint. 3. Blot the bag on a new paper plate to get excess off so your pattern doesn’t have globs of paint in it. 4. Randomly stamp the bag on the counter, repeating steps 2 and 3 as your color gets too light. Remember that you’re using multiple colors so you don’t need to fill the entire surface with the first color. Repeat steps 1-4 for your remaining colors (my order was gray, silver, white and black. The black ended up being my favorite layer because it was a different shade than the original black and added some cool texture). As your painting, randomly sprinkle glitter on, being careful to not lay it on too thick. If that happens, though, just gently blow on it to spread it out.

counter process 4

Here are some examples of what the pattern looked like when we were all done. Make sure you go over the edges as well.

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The next step was the most nerve wracking because it was permanent. Had I messed up with the paint, I could have just repainted over it. We mixed up our resin in batches. Once you’ve mixed to two ingredients you only have 20 minutes to work with it before it begins to cure. Nolan would mix while I would be pouring it on the counters. The hardest part going into this was gauging how much resin we would need. As you can see, we had a pretty good amount of counter space to cover—a long bar and a wrap around counter in a decent sized kitchen. We ordered the 1 gallon kit off Amazon (found HERE). The kit plus shipping was under $80. We were able to cover all of our space with it, but probably went a little thinner and were worried about it fit would stretch far enough. I would have been happier with the gallon plus another 16 oz so I would have had some left over to fill in the small spots I missed.

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After you mix the resin, just pour it on and start pushing it around with a sponge brush. Work in smaller sections and just keep spreading the resin out. The product is meant to be poured up to 1/8 of an inch of thickness, so don’t treat it like paint and try to spread it too thin. Just push it and spread it so it’s evenly coating your surface and it will level itself.

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Some spilled over the edges and then I went over it with more with a sponge brush. I went through sever sponge brushes because I noticed after about 20 minutes with one, the product in it would start curing and it would get gunky.

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Nolan followed after me with a blow torch to pop small air bubbles. For all of this, I HIGHLY recommend reading the directions that come with the resin thoroughly. I also went back to wipe drips with a sponge brush. Within a few hours the resin has hardened enough that dust won’t stick to it, but you have to leave it alone for 72 hours to let it cure. This was the hardest part of the whole process.

kitchen makeover counters and cupboards

I love my new counters! I’ll be back in a few days with details about how we painted the tiles in our backsplash and our process for painting the cupboards.

kitchen makeover paint color choice

And, in case you were wondering about the color we’ll be using on the walls, I chose Versatile Gray by Sherwin Williams.

***Read about how we painted the cabinets HERE***

Thanks for stopping by!

13 comments:

  1. Your kitchen looks AMAZING!!!! I LOVE the new look!

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  2. Can't wait to see it in person! Looks so bright and fresh!!! Love the white cabinets and dark counter tops!

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  3. Wow! It looks incredible! I'm so glad you shared your countertop process--we were just at Lowe's and Home Depot on Saturday to look for countertop painting kits, but they only sold huge kitchen kits, and we want to try this on our bathroom counters (teensy!). For some reason, I never realized you could do it without the expensive kit. It came out beautifully--I LOVE your new kitchen look!

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  4. What a difference! I love the new look of your kitchen! And your counter tops turned out great!

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  5. It does look just beautiful, love the counters and your cabinets painted white! Great job on it!

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  6. Wow!! That looks amazing!! I'm totally inspired.

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  7. Who would have thought? They say that granite can contain dangerous levels of radon gas. Now we can have the look but not the risk of radon. It looks like granite. What a great idea! Great job!

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  8. Oh my gosh I have NEVER seen anything like this! So cool! Turned out great!

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  9. WOW! I am amazed! It looks great! I am speachless. What a difference!

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  10. All I can say is WOW! That's an amazing transformation! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Jill, this is amazing! I painted my cupboards white when I bought my house 9 years ago, now I want to do this, would totally finish it off. I chose the same hardware as you have.
    Sheri (your MIL's garage sale friend)

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  12. this looks so ridiculously real, i think b/c of the shine and sheen. great job!

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  13. we are in the middle of redoing our kitchen- my husband came home and said I heard about this cool way to paint the cabinets. We had already started the process of painting all the cabinets white and wanted black granite countertops but faced the same dilemma you did. I saw your kitchen and said this is it!!! I sculpt and paint polymer clay dolls so I think I can do this!Thanks so much for posting!

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I appreciate comments so much! I'll do my best to reply to you here in the comments section, especially if there is a question so future readers can see the answer.