What if, instead of the expensive process of installing new kitchen or bathroom countertops, you could just paint them? It's a tempting idea: no demo work, nothing landfilled, and no massive investment. Just sand, paint, and you're done. The only problem is, paint really isn't durable enough for a hard-working counter surface.
So instead of merely painting your laminate counter, how about resurfacing it? That's the best way to describe the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kit. It costs much less than new counters and can be done with the sink and stove in place, yet it's much more than a mere paint job.
Everything You Need
When you crack open the package of Countertop Transformations, 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 as well as a few tools (stir sticks, dispenser, sander, and scraper). However, there are quite a few items you need to purchase, including a paint roller, paint trays, brushes, painters tape, lint-free cloths, and safety gear.
A Multistage Process
Resurfacing a countertop is a multistage process involving four layers of materials—three liquids and solid (the decorative chips):
- Base coat: A time-sensitive adhesive applied to the sanded and cleaned countertop
- Wetting agent: A solution that is sprayed on to activate the base coat adhesive layer
- Decorative chips: A thick layer of solid chips, distributed with a special spreader tool (similar to a handheld fertilizer spreader)
- Protective top Coat: A clear coat.
The basic process starts with taping off the counter area to protect the surrounding surfaces. The countertop laminate is then sanded with the provided diamond-grit sanding sponge to remove the glossy sheen from the laminate. The counter is then cleaned and the base coat adhesive is applied with a paintbrush and roller. This is followed by spraying on the wetting agent then immediately covering the counters with the decorative chips, which then sit for 12 hours to bond to the base adhesive.
The final stages include sanding and vacuuming the decorative chip layer and applying the clear topcoat. The countertop is dry to the touch after about four hours but is not ready for heavy items for 48 hours.
Countertop Transformations Pros and Cons
Know what you're getting into before you buy this product. It's not cheap, and it's no small task, but this product offers some notable benefits:
- Solid surface: You are applying a new surface of solid materials—those decorative chips—so the finished surface is less likely to scratch all the way through than paint.
- New look: The chips help you achieve a stone-like look. You can't do that with paint.
- Straightforward process: The kit is designed for beginners so everything is explained (even how to measure the square footage of your counters), and all specialty supplies are provided.
On the downside, there are a few things that might hold you back from choosing to resurface:
- 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. The instructions are peppered with warnings about narrow time frames and about how a second set of hands might reduce the possibility of coats drying on you too fast.
- Cost: Countertop Transformations is not cheap: over $200 for 50 square feet of counter surface.