We started our kitchen reno in January and while the plan was to take our time with it and do it bit by bit, my psychotic brain came up with the brilliant plan to do as much as humanly possible this past weekend. At the time I didn’t realize what I was really getting myself into though. It seemed so much simpler. Paint the counter tops and just throw up some beadboard on the backsplash while I’m at it. Easy peasy.
I’m hilarious. And perhaps a smidge delirious from lack of sleep.
Ok. I promised you a tutorial of the painted counter tops. Here’s a before picture of my counters. They’re laminate with the “wood” (I don’t know if its real wood. It can’t be right? I don’t know) trim. There are SO MANY DIY’s all over the internet about how to paint your laminate countertops. I did a TON of research before taking this project on. Here’s how I did it.
- Primer. A super durable bond to anything primer. Zinnser or Gripper are good choices.
- Exterior paint in your base color selection. Mine was white. If you’re going for the brownish granite look, you would use a tan-colored base. Or you could use a gray base if you’re going for marble. You get the idea.
- 3 or 4 bottles of acrylic paint. I chose 3 different shades of gray because I was going for a light white/gray granite finish. This part is up to your own creativity.
- Polycrylic – it’s a water based sealer
- Brown lunch bags
- Sander – You’ll need 150 grit and 220 grit.
- Paint brushes
- Plastic grocery sacks
- Paint roller
The list seems lengthy….but it’s all fairly inexpensive stuff. I like to keep things thrifty.
Disclaimer: There won’t be a ton of “during” pictures. My hands were covered in paint the entire time so it made it really hard to get photos. I will be thoroughly descriptive though and make it very easy to follow. 🙂
First step. Sand your counters with the 150 grit to rough everything up.
Clean up the mess thoroughly.
Apply the first coat of primer. I used the roller for this. Sand counters again with the 220 grit when the first coat is dry and repeat with a second coat. Depending on your counters you may need a third coat. I stopped at two. Be sure to sand between EVERY SINGLE coat. It’s crucial.
Start application of your base coat. I also used the roller for this step. Sand. Paint again. I stopped at two coats of my base, but again use your own discretion here. You may need another coat. Here’s what I looked like after the base.
***After the last coat of my base I did NOT use 220 grit to sand. This is when I switched over to using brown lunch bags. It’s less gritty than the 220 and doesn’t leave ANY scratch marks. You just stick your hand inside the bag and wad up the bottom and sand away. You’ll wear each bag down pretty quickly, so swap out the bags often.
Now, the FUN part. Seriously. This step was SO fun. I HIGHLY recommend practicing this next step on a piece of paper or cardboard so you can nail the technique first. I practiced and came to the conclusion that one of my grays was too green and eliminated it before applying it to the counters. So, practice first!!
Using plastic grocery sack (I found that the really thick durable ones worked best….not the super thin ones from cheap grocery stores who just double bag everything.). I used a different piece of cardboard for each color as well as a different bag. I suggest starting with the darkest color first. Ball up the bag in your hand and dip into your paint and then BLOT the bag on the cardboard to spread the paint all over the bag – so it’s not in one big goop. Then head over to your counters and start sponging the paint all over. This is why practice is important. I learned all this practicing.
There is really NO messing this part up. If you put too much paint in one area, it’s EASILY fixed. So don’t be nervous about this part. You can’t ruin it.
I did 15″ sections at a time….so I applied my darkest color first and then sponged my next color over top of that. Followed by my lightest color – then moved onto the next section. Acrylic paint dries really fast, so this technique worked well.
The trick to this step is LAYER LAYER LAYER the paint. I did dark, then medium, then light, then patches of dark again, then light again. You have to achieve that dimensional look to make it look like real stone. Then after I got all my layers of paint, I used this same bag technique and went back over all my layers with my original base color. If I went too light in one area, I just went back over it with gray. I promise. You cannot mess this up.
When you have all your sponging done, sand with the paper bags again. Get it perfectly smooth.
Last step! Apply polycrylic with a paint brush. It’s imperative you sand (with lunch bags) between coats of the poly. Poly tends to dry rough, so sand sand sand. Poly dries really fast too so wait an hour or two and apply the next coat. I did 3 coats of poly. I intend to re-poly the counters every few months to maintain the seal. Poly is water based and will not yellow over time like a polyurethane. I’ve see other bloggers use the Envirotech product to seal their counters. I opted out of that method for a variety of reasons. Cost. It looks extremely messy and complicated. And I’ve used Polycrylic for a LONG time and trust it to do the job.
****If after you’ve applied the poly you find that something dried in the paint – like a dog hair (this happened to me) DO NOT try to scratch or pick out the hair. Use a brown lunch bag and sand it out. This goes for anything you EVER find in the counters. Sand sand sand. 😉
Painting the countertops was seriously SO easy. The hardest part was the waiting around while the dumb paint dried. I’m not good at that.
I also sanded down my island and restained it. The technique I used the first time around didn’t work and there were water marks all over it. No Bueno. I chose a much darker stain this time and LOVE LOVE it.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw that I also put up beadboard this weekend. I won’t go into much detail with this because it was HANDS DOWN the WORST MOST AWFUL PROJECT I’VE EVER DONE. I’m still upset about it – hence the caps. Our house is nearly 100 years old and we have plaster walls throughout. In order to put something fun and fancy like subway tile up, we would have to remove the existing tile and re-drywall everything because the existing tile would pull the plaster off with it. Plaster is dumb. But my old house is cool, so I deal with it.
So we opted to put just beadboard up over top the tile because this would be the most cost-effective update. Sounds so great in theory doesn’t it? We used liquid nail to adhere the beadboard in place, the problem was getting the boards to STAY in place and keeping them flush where the different pieces came together. I had dumb bells sitting all over the place while the liquid nails set up…..which took over 24 hours.
We used trim to polish the beadboard off and then a million applications of caulk to seal it all. If you’re looking to put beadboard up right over tile – Here’s what I suggest doing and is where we went wrong. Don’t use the wood beadboard. Get the thinner sheets – even plastic beadboard. It’s lighter and will adhere easier. I applied polycrylic after I painted the boards so they’ll be easy to clean.
So in the last 3 days I: Painted my countertops, restained my island, repainted my cabinets, and installed beadboard backsplash.
The original kitchen reno list and what we’ve accomplished:
Remove peninsula and install island. Paint counters Install open shelving Barnwood nook next to fridge new lighting above sink new lighting above island beadboard backsplash
- new tile flooring
repaint cabinets to freshen and brighten
Total cost so far: Less than $200.
What do y’all think of the painted countertops? Are you going to try it?! Do it! It was so easy and fun! Hire someone to put your beadboard up though…..they crap ain’t worth it. 🙂