Glossy Painted Kitchen Counter Top Tutorial

61 Comments

Submitted by Designing Dawn

 Oh my goodness, I am so excited to share this project and see what you think. It was a big one and maybe the first time I’ve done something to our home that I was actually really scared to start. I painted our kitchen counter tops. Yes. Paint. Counter tops. Kitchen. Words that don’t seem to go together at all, but yet here they are, living in harmony.

I’m too excited to keep you in suspense, so here is a before and after of the transformation:

Nice, right? I literally can’t stop staring at it. So shiny… As for how i got from A to B, the details get a bit long-winded, so bear with me.

I have to admit, the old counters really weren’t terrible (especially considering that our bathroom counter is laminate magenta) but they weren’t great either. They really actually look a little better in the picture above than in real life, where the laminate surface definitely had a speckled yellow tinge and dark brown seams that were cracked in places. Oh and silver metal edging for that extra something special. On a closer shot you can get a little better idea of what we were working with.

I had resigned myself to the thought that they could be worse, and set a maybe-someday goal of new solid surface counter tops. It’s not like we have any shortage of other projects to focus on or any surplus of funds after all. But dreams of something like this kept floating through my mind:

So beautiful. But so out of reach. At least I thought so until read this makeover story from a woman who painted her counter tops. I immediately decided I had to try it. But I was nervous. After all, it’s a big undertaking and new counter tops were not in our budget. I knew if I messed them up it was going to be, well, not good. But in the spirit of optimism I went for it anyway.

I decided not to go too dramatic in the color change. We really liked the contrast of the light counters against our dark cabinets, so the main goal was to get rid of the brown edges and yellow tinge in favor of a more neutral gray with specks of blue to pull in the wall color. I also knew I didn’t want to go for a granite look, like in the article. That would have been a little too traditional for our home decor, as opposed to the more contemporary look of a solid stone.

Moving on, here are the supplies you’ll need if you want to tackle a counter top makeover of your own:

(Not all supplies are pictured)
• Paint in a variety of shades. I used a light gray Valspar in a satin finish and added light blue and dark charcoal craft paint (You can really use whatever colors you want. I can’t seem to find my base paint swatch.. must have been left at Lowes, but I’ll try to dig up the exact name of the color.)
• Primer
• Sponge Brushes
• Sand paper (or sponge)
• Glitter (optional – I used a larger clear glitter and a very fine flake for variety)
• Drop Cloths
• Painters tape
• Polyacrilic
• EnviroTex Lite
• Blow torch (recommended)
• Two containers for mixing
• Clean paint stir stick
• Gloves
• Rags or Paper Towels

And a few more essential supplies:
• at least three days where you can get by with no kitchen
• a friend to help with the sealer step
• a lot of patience and optimism

Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, you’ll want to start by cleaning and then sanding the laminate counters lightly. You don’t have to go crazy here, but a light sanding gives the paint a better surface to stick to.

Once I had sanded everything down, I wiped them down again thoroughly to get rid of any residue from sanding. Then I covered everything with a coat of primer.

After that was dry, three thin coats of my base gray color went down, with drying in between each. (are you seeing yet why patience is on my list of supplies?) It was already starting to look better.

Before the last layer was dry, I also added a light dusting of glitter. I can’t believe I just used the phrase “light dusting of glitter” seriously. I did though, because I wanted some dimension and texture in my layers of paint to help with the illusion of depth found in a solid stone surface.

My next step was applying the layers of color. I wanted sharper edges than I knew I’d get sponge painting, so instead I used plastic grocery bags (which we always keep to reuse- I’m resourceful like that) and started dabbing away in small sections with two colors of paint. (note- avoid bags with bright colors of ink on them, like red. It will bleed when mixed with other paint) I chose a light blue to play off the walls and a charcoal gray for contrast. I knew I did not want to try to imitate the look of granite. It would just have been too formal for our eclectic/modern home. Instead I wanted a solid stone look that would be similar to the inspiration photos above, but very subtle.

To get depth, I applied the colors liberally over the whole counter. Side note, I wanted the paints to mix for a natural stone variation effect, so I did not wait for one to dry before applying the second. After both of these were on and still damp, I covered everything again with dabs of the original base gray. Again, the goal this whole time was an illusion of depth cause by multiple layers of paint. I used my same grocery bag technique here and then sprinkled on another layer of glitter. By now it was looking like this:

Once all that had dried, I added one final layer of dabbed gray base paint to increase the subtlety and another dusting of glitter. (can’t stop..)

By this time, my hand was looking like I’d gone a little crazy with nail polish. DIY is a messy life.

Another drying one break and then I covered all of this with a coat of polyacrilic. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to seal down any rogue glitter and prevent the paint from smearing at all if it reacted with the chemical sealer I was about to apply. Two, I wanted to make sure that if I happened to miss a spot with the sealer, it would at least still be somewhat shiny, especially on the backsplashes and counter edges. I used polyacrilic instead of polyurethane to prevent any yellowing over time, since the base color is so light. Also, it is water-based, for easier cleanup and it’s more environmentally friendly.

Once that was dry (patience patience) I started mixing up the Enviro Tex Lite sealer. I really suggest that if you use this stuff, you have a friend there to help out. Luckily Dania came over to assist me here while the hub was on baby duty in the basement, away from any fumes. I didn’t think the fumes were terrible, although we had the doors and windows open for ventilation, but I would recommend wearing old clothes and protective gloves. This stuff is messy and sticky. Very sticky. Here I am, mixing away:

I followed the directions for mixing that came in the package. Mix together the two bottles into one container for a minute, then pour into a second container and continue to mix for another minute. Then immediately pour liberally onto the counters and spread it out, letting it drip over the edges so you can smooth it onto the front lip of the counters (hence the protective plastic).

After you’ve covered the whole counter, you will probably have some air bubbles if you’ve mixed it correctly. You can use a blow torch to pop these like so:

If that sounds intimidating or you don’t happen to have a blow torch lying around, I’ve read that blowing/exhaling on the bubbles works too. I would suggest using a straw for some aiming ability. I thought that route sounded a little tedious for not knowing if it would actually work as well, so torch it was. Dania loved it once she got the hang of it.

Besides having the torch ready for any emerging bubbles, I just kept an eye on the counters for drips. A few hours later it was pretty tacky.

There were some issues to take note of if you want to try this yourself. This process is far from perfect or easy. Some problems we ran into included having to lock poor Lucious in the basement for a day to avoid kitty prints on the counters, and any dust or cat hair or anything at all in the air will stick and stay on the counters. I actually had to dig out one little gnat who got stuck in the resin. Poor guy. There were also a few places we somehow missed. I guess we were trying to work fast (you only have about 20 min or less work time before it starts to get tacky once it’s mixed. You know when you paint your nails and try to go back and smooth something once it’s already set and end up with a gloppy mess? Hate that.) and it can be a little hard to see where you’ve coated sometimes. I plan to buy a small kit to touch up those spots. Hopefully it’s not too noticeable with seams or anything like that.

The other thing to note is that vertical surfaces, like the backsplashes and front lips, don’t really turn out quite as glassy smooth as the surface. Because of gravity and drips, they have sort of a textured look to them. I’m debating if another coating would help or not. Also we did get some spots where the bigger glitter made little marks or bumps in the surface. I think a thicker coat of sealer would have eliminated that issue, or using only the fine glitter, but think I can sand the more noticeable spots down pretty easily. Here’s a close up where you can actually see the paint detail a little better:

Subtle, but much improved I think!

Overall it was definitely worth it, and actually kind of a fun project. Plus it saved us hundreds on new counter tops. The EnviroTex is supposed to be food safe once dry, and I’ve read that maintenance for these will be similar to granite. No placing hot items directly on the surface, and use soap and water, rather than chemical cleaners, to wipe them down, and always use a cutting board. It sets up in about 8 hours and takes 2-3 days to harden completely. As for the cost for the total project, it came in right around $120, with the majority of that expense being the sealer (which I bought using 40% off coupons at Hobby Lobby, btw).

Totally worth it! I’m in love with our new counters and so glad I jumped and actually completed this project. Here’s another view before and after:

And another of the whole kitchen makeover, just for fun:

Let me know if any of you decide to try a counter makeover! I’d love to see pictures!!

About 

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three homes from top to bottom and are working on their fourth. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

    You can also find me on
  • facebook
  • googleplus
  • pinterest
  • twitter

Comments

  1. says

    What a fabulous transformation – thanks for all the super helpful tips! I have a kitchen table that is exactly the right size, but it needs a make over – this product would be perfect for it!!!

  2. says

    Oh my gosh I big puffy heart love this! We have two different laminate counter tops in our kitchen. Ugly (and stained) speckled greyish on one side of the kitchen, and plain white (and stained) on the other. Lame. I’ve seen this done before & it looks so beautiful in pictures. I’ve just gotta pull the trigger & do it!

  3. says

    So funny, we just did this to our countertops…but differently. We used a countertop paint product and did not seal. I love the shiny look of your countertops!! But, fire??? Scary. lol Here’s a link to our blog so you can see what we did:

    http://shabbychicreno.blogspot.com/

    I’m still concerned about the durability of this product. This is Day One of actual use….it’s making me nervous. Great job on yours, it looks awesome! Oh, and glitter!!! I actually wanted to do that to hide imperfections, but my husband disagreed. :(

    -Cristina

  4. says

    This looks great! I use Envirotex Lite on alot of my projects because I love the glossy finish it gives- I’d just be terrified to use it on such a big space because it gets tacky so fast- your countertops do look fantastic! I have a spice rack I’m redoing- maybe I’ll try this out- at least if I screw it up then it’s on a small piece. :)

  5. says

    This sentence made my whole day: “I can’t believe I just used the phrase “light dusting of glitter” seriously.” Great work! The counters look great!

    • says

      They definitely don’t melt, but I did notice a slight yellowing in one spot where I held the torch in one spot for too long trying to pop a bubble. Luckily it isn’t noticeable at all and since then I’ve been careful to use trivets for everything hot. I think if I had painted a darker base coat you wouldn’t have been able to see anything. My recommendation would just be to treat them nicely and they’ll stay looking nice. I still hope to get solid surface counters some day, but until then, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on these!

  6. Monica Peck says

    Question regarding your cabinets…. Did you stain them or paint them? I can’t seem to find the info on the website. I have the same cabinets and so want to re-do them!

    • says

      I actually painted them. The color is Valspar Brown Velvet (1011-10) in semi-gloss, and most people can’t tell it’s paint because you can still see the grain through it. I actually did it in the days BB (before blogging), but I need to put together a post on the process because I do get asked about it a lot. Hope that helps!

  7. girliefriend says

    I’m wondering how these are holding up over time? You’ve had a couple of months to live with them now, are you noticing any problems or issues? How are they wearing?

  8. Scott says

    Your countertops look excellent. I’m looking to do a high gloss on my cabinet doors. Do you think the EnviroTex Lite would work for the doors?

  9. cheryl says

    I am actually liking your countertop more the “inspiration” countertop! Amazing, I living in an apartment but so badly want a house I can “fix”. How long ago did you do it and how is it holding up to wear and tear.

  10. Erin says

    Hello, I LOVE your blog and outcome!! I am looking to refinish my countertops and I was wonder what the durability of your new countertops is?!? Is it holding up well, no dings, or scratches? Thanks so much!!! I look forward to hearing back from you : )

  11. says

    Just an updated for those who have asked, so far the counters have held up very well. We treat them nicely (don’t put hot things directly on them and always use a cutting board) and haven’t had any issues at all. I do have one spot that yellowed slightly after my husband set a hot pot on it, but if the base color paint color was darker, you wouldn’t have an issue with that. Now we’re just more careful about using trivets.

    They wipe down well and still look as shiny as the day we did it. I love them so much I’ve even recently used the same technique in my guest bathroom. Hope that helps!

  12. Elaine says

    I’ve been toying with the idea of painting the counter tops. Yours look fantastic and have given me the motivation I needed. Now to convince my husband that this is doable.

  13. Angela says

    I love this idea! What do you think instead of glitter painting the countertops and then using a crosshatch pattern (to hide any flaws)?
    Sounds like it would work…
    Thanks in advance for your reply.

  14. Cathy says

    How did you do the enviro tax on the laminate backsplash? Did you just pour it on top and let it run down? How do you keep it from pooling and spread evenly?

  15. says

    Good Lord Woman! That is a huge job! The shine is fabulous. I found this post while looking for “painted white countertops”. I took the plunge and did mine (and an accent wall) in a limey/grassy green seven years ago and they have discontinued the touch-up paint. Eek Gads. On the fence about what color next – I thought about white – which is highly foreign and exotic to a person whose home looks like Mexico.

    While the green looks great/fun/happy – the area behind the faucet has never been sealed properly (I used a glossy food-friendly poly) and will try the Enviro Tex Lite sealer you have recommended next.

    For poly bubbles, I just sanded and used a tack cloth. Can you do that with the Enviro Tex?

    Love the white – love!

    Will keep you posted with photos either way.

  16. says

    Absolutely love this!! Great job on your countertop remodel! This is exactly what I was trying to find this evening for my own project that I’m working on! Thank you so much for sharing your countertop remodeling project with us and especially all the details that you included!! Well done! :)

  17. Sheryl says

    We jut recently faux finished our bathroom counters. This was our first time using Envirotex Lite. It turned out great but we encountered similar problems (wavy backsplash, areas that were missed etc). We are debating whether to put on a second coat to fix these problems or if it is possible to touch up those areas. I am curious what you ended up doing to those area you mentioned? And how did it turn out? Thanks!

    • says

      Sheryl, this was a guest post so I am not sure what exactly how they fixed it. There is a link at the top of the post to the original blogger, i am sure they would love to help you out.

  18. jane says

    it looks great! thinking of doing this at the weekend! what did you smoothen it with and how did you do the ‘backsplashy’ part? and how long did you wait to remove the masking tape? thanks :)

  19. says

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve been attempting to do this in my tiny little kitchen. I have a few questions for you. I’m doing white countertops with some tan/brown colors and after layering and adding glitter it ended up looking pretty bumpy. Will the environtex go over it to make it all look smooth or do I need to sand those parts out before I even try it? I also wondered if I should just coat the polyacrylic a couple times to make it smoother before I do the environtex? We were thinking of trying to use a blowdryer instead of the blow torch, just to save a little more money. If you could e-mail me back you have no idea how much better that would make me feel about all of this. Thanks so much!

    Lara

    • says

      Lara, these are some good questions. If you could click on the link of and conntact here I am sure she would be glad to answer your question. Thanks Lara.

  20. fabulosa says

    I been thinking about this for a while. My counters are blue formica, they are in good shape, but they looks old and tired. Good idea, thanks

  21. ronda peyton says

    i have been thinking of painting our countertops, and this has made up my mind to give it a try, yours looks great!!!! thanks

  22. says

    Oh my cow! Your counters turned out amazing! I’m definitely tucking this post away for future. We have old blue-ish counters and I’ve been wanting to go the paint route but I had only seen the granite. Now I have to decide on which way to paint it! And I hadn’t heard of EnviroTex. I love how shiny and stone-like your counters look!

  23. Karen says

    I love them. I have been considering doing this, but it scared me. You make it look doable. How many packages of envirotex did it take?

  24. says

    Beautiful! I was hoping to attempt this in my own home but was saddened to find out invirotex is not available in Canada! I would have to order online. I was wondering if you (or anyone) could tell me how much you had to purchase in order to finish your entire kitchen? I want to make sure I purchase enough so I don’t have to stop mid project and wait for two weeks! Haha. Thanks :)

  25. Bonnie says

    As I was reading this and looking at the photos, I was wondering WHY you would put in new cabinets BEFORE you did the countertop. Then I got to the bottom and saw the before and after pic. They weren’t new cabinets, you just redid them. They look so good, I thought they were new. HAHAHAHAHA. Good job!!!! I may attempt this.

  26. Meagan M. says

    Hi Cassity,

    This is amazing! My husband wanted to use the Rustoleum Counter Top Restoration kit but when I showed him this he was blown out of the water! It also helps that we have identical kitchen layouts so it’s easy for him to visualize how our kitchen can look one day.

    Not sure if someone has mentioned this already but were you able to find the name of the base color you used for the countertop?

    Also, any hopes of you posting some info on how you painted your kitchen cabinets? I am trying to convince my husband that we can do this without the Rustoleum kits.

  27. Megan says

    Hi there!

    I realize this post is from a few years ago, but I stumbled across it while trying to research the best way to paint my linoleum kitchen countertops. I absolutely LOVE the way yours turned out – they look amazing! Nice work ;)
    I have a few questions – first off, I’m wondering if (because of the high gloss finish of the Envirotex) fingerprints show up on the countertops? The way they do on the screen of a cellphone? This may be a dumb question, but I have to ask haha.
    Secondly, I’m wondering if there’s a comparable product to Envirotex that may be a bit more cost effective? I did find coupons, as you mentioned you used when you bought it, but I’m just wondering if you know of any products that can do the same work for a bit less $?
    Thirdly, because a primer and seal are both used, does the type of paint you use matter?

    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi there! Thanks so much! I have never been asked the fingerprint question before. haha, I would say they show prints about as much as granite counters. I usually don’t notice fingerprints, but I’m always wiping them down anyway due to living with a three year old. :)

      As for comparable products, I haven’t ever used anything else, or really heard of anything similar. If you do find another product, my only recommendation would be to make sure you do a little research to make sure it will be food-safe when it’s all done.

      And for the paint, I would say no, it doesn’t matter. For this project I used latex paint, but I (more) recently painted my bathroom counter using the same method and used craft paint to get a more stone-like finish. It worked just the same. You can see that here if you’re interested: http://designingdawn.com/around-the-house-guest-bath-counter-makeover/

      I hope that helps!!

  28. Ruthie says

    I was in search of an economical way to redo my tiny vintage trailer countertop. I didn’t want to purchase a 4×8 sheet of anything (like Formica) to use only a portion of it. I love your tutorial and am up to the point of applying the ETLite. It’s looking great! Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *