By Jennifer Tuohy
We love to hate laminate countertops. They’re durable and functional, but they look utilitarian. They also last forever, which makes ripping them out to install trendy stone countertops a tough decision. We don’t want to send them to the landfill when they still have life left in them, but we want to update our kitchen. What to do?
My neighbor hit upon a brilliant idea when faced with this dilemma: She would paint her laminate countertops to look like granite. I couldn’t let this excellent “upcycling” idea pass me by, so I offered to help her spruce up the countertops in her laundry room.
This is a time-intensive project that requires a fair amount of patience and a smidge of artistic ability, but it’s a lot less expensive than installing new countertops—for both your wallet and the planet.
Supplies & Tools
- Rustoleum Countertop Coating
- Polycrylic Protective Finish
- Acrylic art paint – we used brown, vanilla, grey and sand
- Fine paint brush
- Roller brush
- Painters tape
First, we thoroughly cleaned and degreased the countertop using a scouring pad and cleaning solution. If you have any holes or cracks in your laminate, fill them with wood filler, and be sure to sand it down before painting.
Next, we painted the countertop with Rustoleum Countertop Coating. We chose a light grey, as we were going for a sandstone/granite look. Only one coat was needed, and we left it to dry overnight.
Then we assembled our palette of colors. Using a paper plate, we squirted a selection of the acrylic paints we had chosen to achieve our sandstone granite look and used a sponge to apply each layer. We started with the light colors, then added the darker colors, using a fine paintbrush to create the “blemishes” you expect to see in natural granite.
In the final look, you want “flowing waves of color,” not lines or stripes, so be sure to use a light hand. This is where artistic skill comes in! It’s also important to view the countertop as a whole. Take a step back every few minutes to see how the piece is coming together and make sure you don’t overdo a certain area.
We left the finished piece to dry overnight, then came back to apply the first of four coats of a water-based polyacrylic, leaving two hours between each coat. This is an important step to protect the countertop from abrasions, scuffing, chipping and spills, and allows you to use regular cleaning products on it. Most importantly, it gives the countertop that polished stone look that is one of the biggest appeals of granite.
The finished countertop is incredibly authentic looking. You really can’t tell it’s not granite—except when you drop a you glass or plate on it and it doesn’t shatter into a million pieces!
Jennifer Tuohy writes on family, lifestyle and eco-friendly home topics for The Home Depot. Jennifer offer tips for DIY solutions that use recycled goods and keep sustainability in mind. She shows how a simple paint application can be used to transform drab into fab.