Countertops in kitchens and bathrooms get a lot of wear and tear, so sooner or later you'll be faced with the feeling that they need to be replaced. But what if you could avoid the expensive option of installing new kitchen or bathroom counters, and instead just paint them?
Tempting though this might be, it's not the normal recommendation, at least not with ordinary paint. While laminate cabinets can sometimes be painted, a hard-working surface like a countertop is not very suitable for an ordinary paint surface.
But there is an innovative product from Rust-Oleum, the Countertop Transformation kit, that is as easy as painting but creates a completely resurfaced countertop.
What Countertop Transformations Is
Offered by paint manufacturer Rust-oleum, Countertop Transformations is a kit that contains most, but not everything, of what you will need.
The kit supplies all surfacing materials and a few tools (stir sticks, dispenser, sander, and scraper). But there are other items you'll need to purchase, such as a paint roller, paint trays, brushes, painter's tape, and safety gear.
How to Use Countertop Transformations
This may sound like the materials you need for a simple paint job, but the reason the Countertop Transformation kit qualifies as true resurfacing is that the process applies four full layers over the existing countertop:
- Cleaning: First, clean the countertop. The final finish is only as good as your initial cleaning.
- Base Coat: Apply a time-sensitive adhesive to the countertop. It can be difficult to get this step right, so follow all of the time instructions perfectly.
- Wetting Agent: Apply a solution that keeps the adhesive wet.
- Decorative Chips: Decorative chips are the thick, solid layer of surface that will get sanded down. The decorative chip layer gives the countertop the solidity and thickness it would not get with paint alone.
- Protective Top Coat: After cleaning, a protective top coat is applied.
Be aware that this project is a bit time-consuming and labor-intensive. It requires a full 5 hours or so of work, spaced out over an even longer period to provide that time needed for the individual layers to cure.
Work is a little messy. One step involves sanding down the rough layer of decorative chips after they have dried, and this produces a fair amount of dust.
Thick surface, not just a paint surface
Good quality surface that included solid chips
System guides you through the steps
Time-consuming: up to 5 to 6 hours
Little room for error
Expensive: kits are close to $200
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 be. Of all points, this one is probably the most important because it affects your countertop's long-term durability. Painted countertops can last for a while, but eventually, they will scratch or gouge.
The decorative chips help you achieve a stone-like look. You can't do that with paint. The kit instructions are easy to follow. Everything is explained, even how to measure the square footage of your countertop. Nothing is left to chance in the instructions.
Unlike painting a countertop, which can be difficult to figure out, Countertop Transformations has all of the steps figured out for you. Quantities are prepared in advance. All you need to do is follow the instructions exactly as they are written.
It's a daunting time commitment. The task alone requires no less than five 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.
Little Margin for Error
The instructions include many warnings about narrow time frames and about how the second set of hands might reduce the possibility of the application coat drying on you too fast. All of these warnings are very real: if you make a mistake, you may need to scrape off the coat and try again.
Countertop Transformations tends to cost about $175 to $200 for 50 square feet of surfaced countertop. Larger kitchens may require two kits.