Countertop Transformations: Countertop Resurfacing, Not Painting

Countertop Transformations
Countertop Transformations. via Amazon

What if, instead of the expensive process of installing new kitchen or bathroom counters, you could just paint them? It's a tempting idea: no demo work, nothing landfilled. Sand, paint, and you're done.

Now dial it up a notch. Instead of merely painting your laminate counter, how about resurfacing it? That's the best way to describe the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kits: less than new counters, more than a paint-job.

By less/more, I mean in all ways: time, money, aggravation, quality. Countertop resurfacing is one way to remodel a kitchen, yet stopping short of a full-scale remodel.

Everything You Need To Resurface Your Countertops

When you crack open the package, you notice how neatly and clearly everything is packed and displayed. You lift off layers of cardboard trays, each tray displaying an item in its own place and labeled.

This kit contains most, but not everything, you will need. It supplies all surfacing materials and a few tools (stir sticks, dispenser, sander, and scraper). But there are quite a few items you need to purchase, such as a paint roller, paint trays, brushes, painters tape, and safety gear.

The reason it's resurfacing, not painting, is due to the application of four layers to the counter, one of which is a solid (the decorative chips):

  1. Base Coat: A time-sensitive adhesive.
  2. Wetting Agent: A solution which keeps the adhesive wet.
  3. Decorative Chips: The thick, solid layer of "surface" that will get sanded down.
  4. Protective Top Coat: A clear coat.

These decorative chips give the countertop the solidity and thickness it would not get with paint alone.

Realize that this is not a quick process. Not only is the total time commitment long (over 5 hours), but you have to space out that time to allow layers to cure.

Nor is it especially clean. One step involves sanding down (or "knocking down") the rough layer of decorative chips after they have dried.

Should You Buy?

Know what you're getting into before you buy this product. It's not cheap, and it's no small task. What I do like:

  • Real Surface: As mentioned, you are applying a new surface of solid materials--those decorative chips. So it's less apt to scratch through than a paint job would.
  • Its Look: The chips help you achieve a stone-like look. You can't do that with paint.
  • Process is Clear: The kit is very "101." Everything is explained (even how to measure the square footage of your counters) and nothing is left to chance.

A few things might hold you back:

  • Time: It's a daunting time commitment. The task alone requires no less than 5 hours and 20 minutes, judging by the instructions' estimates. This doesn't include time-intensive prep time needed to tape around obstructions such as a cooktop or sink.
  • Error: The margin for error is slim. Instructions are peppered with warnings about narrow time frames and about how a second set of hands might reduce the possibility coats drying on you too fast.
  • Cost: Countertop Transformations is not cheap: over $200 for 50 square feet of counter.