Countertop Makeover With Giani Granite Paint Refinishing Kit


Submitted by Red Hen Home


I have issues with my kitchen.

The problem is…there’s nothing really wrong with it….

it’s just not me.

The alder cabinets have weathered to an unbecoming yellow.  The counter tops are in perfectly fine shape, except they’re gray….and I am neither a yellow NOR a grayperson!

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This is what my kitchen really looks like.  No…actually, it’s cleaner than usual.

So I’ve been dreaming of replacing my counter tops and painting the cabinets, and I thought maybe 2012 might be the year. (If we didn’t have to spend our tax return on things like hot water heaters and water softeners, that is—that’s what happened in 2011!)

But Christmas came a little early this year!

Giani Granite offered me the chance to review one of their counter top refinishing kits, and I jumped at the chance!  I figured, if I loved it—I wouldn’t have to shell out the money for new.  If I hated it…I wouldn’t really be any further behind!

Decisions, decisions…Giani Granite offers SIX different color choices, but depending on how you apply the paint, you can get many different looks.  I chose Sicilian Sand, to go along with my dream of a lighter, brighter kitchen (and yes, now that I’ve painted the counter tops I REALLY want to tackle the cabinets).

The process is not particularly difficult, although there IS a difficult step (I’ll get to that later)..actually two.

First, clean your counter tops very well.  I used an SOS pad and rinsed twice.  And yes, I used the SOS pad even on the wood edges of my counters, since I was planning to paint them too.

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Next, I taped above the backsplash and on top of my dishwasher.   I also taped around my sink.

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You have to remove all silicone caulk, as paint will not stick to it.  Lucky for me, I only had caulk on this little section (it covered the seam between the countertop and backsplash), because it’s a buggerto remove!  This little cabinet was an “after-thought” added to my kitchen, and the color on the top never did match the rest—another good reason to paint!

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Next, you roll on a primer/base coat of black.  As far as I can tell, ALL the color choices use this same black primer.  It’s water based, but not latex.  It sticks really well, especially where you drip it on the floor—but then you have another use for those SOS pads you just bought…

Anyway, the base coat has to dry for 8 hours at 70 degrees.  I did this after I got my little kids to bed, and just left the heat turned up for the night.

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See?  I covered up the ugly wood edges!  That made me so happy.

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The fun part came the next morning!  Using an included sea-sponge, I applied the three accent colors over the base coat.  You do this in sections, using all three colors at once.  This gives the layered, blended look I wanted.

Here’s what it looked like after one color (middle section):

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Now two:

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And finally three:

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I didn’t stop there.  I went back over the sections with more dark or more light color, working in “flows” of color to get a more natural look.  In addition, I also did a little color mixing so I actually hadfive shades to work with and not just three!  I really liked the extra depth of color this gave me.

You can kinda-sorta see a lighter “flow” in the bottom left corner.  I think that’s my favorite part of the whole counter!

Giani Granite countertops counter tops

After the color-work has dried for four hours, then you apply an automotive polyurethane.  That’s the tricky part!  This stuff is very thin, and it dries reallyfast.  It has a great shine, but if you accidentally roll over a spot that has started to dry, or if you miss a spot—you’re going to know it, because it will leave a dull spot, or you may see a roller line.

Although I watched the DVD that came with the kit and read the instructions carefully, I had a very difficult time getting a smooth finish on my large peninsula.  Too late I found that there were  more helpful videos available on-line.  By that point, I literally had 7 coats of poly on the peninsula!  It’s still not perfect—

but I. am. done.

It’s good enough!  I don’t thinkanyone but me will notice the imperfections.

You can see that I didn’t do a great job of pressing down my tape.  Learn from my mistakes!

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I had to go back with a small brush and touch up where the paint bled.

On the main sections of my counters, there is a metal strip the hides the seam with the backsplash.  I don’t know if it’s “recommended” or not…but I just painted right over it!

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The second hardpart of the process is that it takes 14 days for the polyurethane to fully cure.  That’s a long, long time for a family of eight to go without their counter tops!

We “make do” with folding tables here…

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…and here…

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…and yes, it’s putting a crimp in my holiday baking and candy-making!  However, we are still trying to sell our house, and I figured the ONLY time I could take two weeks “off” from having it ready for a showing was in the two weeks before Christmas!  NO ONE is going to be house hunting right now…right??  (So far, it’s working!)

Now, I fully recognize that it’s difficult to see the difference in the “look” from photographs…but trust me, it’s there.  Instead of grays I have warm shades of brown, and I *don’t* have that wood trim anymore!

So while I still can’t fully use them, I briefly added a few accessories so you can see what they look like…

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And now I want to paint my cupboards more than ever!  I’m thinking a light almond color would be really nice in here.

Giani Granite

So what do you think?  Is this something you would ever consider trying?  A Giani Granite refinishing kit costs around $80.  Compared to $3500+ for real granite, I think I made out pretty well!

Here is where you can get the chocolate brown color at Amazon, 


Meet the Author: Justin

Check back soon to learn more about this author. Read More


  1. says

    This is a fabulous transformation. As far as the cabinets are concerned, I’d paint them a color that blends well with the appliances. Almond would probably be too warm against the cool white appliances. Just a thought. Enjoy your new counters!

  2. Shirley Lupton says

    As soon as I get the money, I am going to do this to my kitchen and in the main bathroom. Thanks for the post.

  3. Camellia says

    I also used a Giani Granite kit about 2 months ago and I love the results. It is holding up very nicely. I too had the ugly wood edge and now it all blends for a cohesive look. It’s a good product and I suggest following the directions completely. It doesn’t say you have to wait 2 weeks to use but to wait 2 weeks to set anything heavy on them.

    • says

      Yes, I misunderstood that part. When the Giana representative saw that, she assured me I could start using my countertops, so I really did put them to work with lots of Christmas baking and cooking!

  4. Jenica says

    I really want to do this to my counters. I also have the ugly wood trim! My worry though is how it will hold up over the long run.

  5. says

    Unbelievable I have been looking for this post since I moved into my new house. We have the same kind of counter tops only Blue yikes!!!! (No Really Blue) its the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen. I’m going to start investigating this as an option. I had seem this on regular counter tops but non with the wood trim so Im really gonna gives this some serious thought I didn’t think you could just go over the wood. Yours turned out amazing good job :)

    • says

      I had two kits, but I only needed the basecoat and paint from one. I did, however, use some of the top coat from the second kit–the top coat is the hardest thing to get right, so I had to “do it over” a couple of times!

  6. says

    I used the Giani Countertop kit a year and a half ago the one thing I would do differently is use the Enviro Tex Lite for the top coat I hear it is amazing… I am actually going to redo mine this summer!!!!!


    • susan s says

      Did you end up using the Envirotech? I, too am thinking of going this route The pictures I’ve seen look amazing with it

      • says

        Susan, I am not totally sure, this was a guest post, there should be a link to the author’s post at the top of the page, you could hop over to her blog and ask her, I am sure she would love to help you out! Good Luck with your project!

  7. jessie says

    Hey, your counters turned out FANTASTIC. I was originally going to go with butcher block counters from Ikea but my counters are 9 inches longer than the longest board and so I thought of this as an option. I noticed how much counter space you had. DId you have to buy more than one kit? I was thinking I may need two. I know it says it covers 35 sq ft, but does it ‘really’?

    • says

      I had two kits, but I only needed to use extra top coat from the second kit. And that would be because it’s the hardest part to get right! If you’re better than I am–you could do the 35 sq. ft., plus a little, with one kit.

  8. Peter Farmer says

    Very nice work. Hats off to you for the extra care you put into getting the look to work. Your choice of color was great too!

    I just completed refinishing our kitchen countertops a couple of months ago as well, but we used the SpreadStone Countertop Refinishing Kit by Daich Coatings. It’s a actual stone surface you apply with a roller as easily as painting. The results were AMAZING and authentic for about $125. For me this was the best bet, since I am not super creative and was looking for a faster, less labor intensive project.

    If anyone is interested in checking it out, the product we used is at

    Happy remodeling!

    • Pam says

      I was about to order the Daich kit when I saw a few bad reviews. All said that it looked great initially but that it did not hold up. I noticed your post was dated two years ago. Can you tell me how it has held up?

      • Peter Farmer says

        Hi Pam,

        You are correct. We installed our Spreadstone countertop finish just over two years ago and I am happy to report that it has performed extremely well. No issues to speak of yet. Several of our friends have followed in our footsteps with the Daich countertop kit and they have all reported similar positive experiences.

        Like you, we also considered reviews before we chose the Daich kit and we found that the Daich product had far more positive reviews than negative ones. Of the very few negative reviews we encountered, we always take those with a grain of salt.

        The other big factor for us was the product actually being made of stone. Basically, we had a choice between paint and stone. Naturally, we preferred to go with the real thing, so we chose Daich.

        If you check back with me again next year and I will be glad to give you an update. Otherwise, good luck in your search!

    • Janice Long says

      You’ve had the SpreadStone on your counters for about 2 years now. How is it holding up? Are there issues with scratch marks, hot pots, etc?

      • Cass says

        Hi Janice! If you’ll head over to Korrie’s blog (linked up at the top of the post), she can give you more details, as I know she’s posted an update on the countertops there. Thanks for reading!

      • Peter Farmer says

        Hi Janice,

        The SpreadStone Countertop is looking great. We are very pleased. No issues with hot pots or scratch marks.

        We also found that we had a lot of the clear coat left over after the project was completed, so we figure that if we ever get a scratch it would be pretty straightforward to dab on a little clear coat and fix it.

        But so far, two years later, it looks great and adds a very nice accent to our home.

  9. Marion says

    We just did our cabinets Rustoleum cabinet transformations product worked awesome, you can make them darker or lighter there is 24 colours to choose from, from white to greys to cherry etc, there is a video on there website. Your countertops look very nice. Enjoy!

  10. says

    Awesome job!!! You can definitely see the difference. Would you mind sharing what other colors you decided to add so you were working with 5 instead of 3 colors? I’m thinking about doing this to my kitchen countertops with Giani Granite’s chocolate brown and would love to make it look as natural as possible. Thanks in advance. = )

  11. Amanda says

    Quick question – Giani states that one kit covers around 35 sq feet…yours looks like more. Did you buy two kits or did one do just fine? Thanks! :)

    • says

      Amanda, although I had two kits, I only needed the extra top coat from the second one–and that’s just because I kept messing it up 😉 Otherwise, one kit would have covered close to 40 sq. ft. on its own.

  12. Dana says

    Thank you so much for your indepth explanation of this process!!! My counter tops are HORRID!!! They are the fake butcher block that has a beige color painted over them.
    I’m soooooo going to try this. Thanks for the heads up on the 14 days. I will have to move into my dining room for that time, but it seems worth it!


  13. Jan says

    I also did this to my counters recently and they looked awesome until I decided to do a tile backsplash and paint the cabinets. I used the bombay black kit and there is just too much brown in it for what I did with the rest of the kitchen. I did find out however that if I lightly sand the finish to scuff it up some and then sponge on more paint, and reseal. You can also used a water based acrylic, the kind you get at dollar stores and craft stores. That will be my next project, adding more greys into my counter so it goes with everything else better. Another hint, I bought goldleaf flakes and sprinkled them on the counter as I was sponging. When all was dry, I lightly sanded and wiped before I did the topcoat and the result was awesome, gold flecks like real granite. People can’t believe that the counters are painted, although mine are like a cross between marble and granite as I did some patterning and veining.

  14. Sue says

    Hi just ran across your blog post about painting your countertops. I have seen this done before and all I’ve seen “LOOK” gorgeous but I would love to know how it holds up over time. How long have you had yours painted and has it been durable? Do you have to be more careful with it than before you painted it?

    • says

      After a year of living with the countertops, I can’t say that I was perfectly happy. They held up for about 4-6 months really well, but then I started noticing more nicks and dings. The worst spot was where someone put a hot pot lid down on the countertop, and it pulled up some of the top coat and and paint, leaving the black undercoat exposed. You have to know, though, that I do a LOT of cooking and I have six children! It’s a pretty hard working kitchen. We ended up selling our home about 11 months after this, and I was able to ‘disguise’ some of the dings with leftover paint. You could tell the finish wasn’t exactly the same, and I was worried about that–but we were able to sell our home quickly despite that!

  15. says

    I would worry about the safety of having food, especially hot food, coming in contact with automotive urethane. Sounds not safe. Also, just as a side note and I don’t mean to sound like Ms. Grumpy, but I would be a little turned off by this if I were looking to buy this home. Right now I’m looking for a house, and I’ve seen dozens! Many of them had do-it-yourself projects like this that I knew I’d have to rip out. That turned me off and I decided to just move on to the next house. What’s done is done, but if I were you I wouldn’t paint the cabinets for the same reason. It will take the new owner a lot of time to strip them if they wanted all-wood. Just invest in some really great cleaners to take the years of grime off and change out the hardware! :-)

  16. Ben says

    Nice job on the countertop and the process you used. You were saying you had an issue with the tape not being pressed on enough resulting in some creep up under the tape. I would recommend a tape called Frog tape. It’s a little expensive but is great for preventing this type of thing.

  17. pauline says

    Your counters look great. I have butcher block laminate countertops. There is an L-shape in one corner & there is water damage in that seam w/waves & a couple areas where that is pretty bad. I had strategically placed my microwave in that corner. Is it still possible to still do the granite paint refinish IF I sand this corner down smooth beforehand? Would the corner seam need revealed before doing the basecoat? I had waited so long to be able to afford to replace the old counters…this would keep it within my budget.

  18. Carrie says

    I did mine three years ago and let me tell you that this stuff does NOT hold up. It peeled, it bubbled and it scratched. Awful awful stuff and I plan on spending this holiday stripping it off. I am going to try a Daich product because it looks easier and does not have the cure time that the Gianni product has, It also says that it does not have the smell that rustoleum has. The smell on the Gianni was really bad. Free or not, I would not use this product again.

  19. james clary says

    I did all our countertops 2 years ago and it looked good for the first year and then the top coat started peeling and when there is very mucy humidity the tops get sticky. I would not ever suggest anyone using this product unless you want to spend more money on taking it off. I even bought extra product for more top coats. The countertops are embarrassing for people to see.

  20. busybee527 says

    I used Giani to re-do my guest bathroom countertops which were pink. I am extremely happy with the results and went further and did the countertop in my laundry room. Now I’m looking for more projects to use my leftover Giani paint.

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