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!
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.
Next, I taped above the backsplash and on top of my dishwasher. I also taped around my sink.
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!
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.
See? I covered up the ugly wood edges! That made me so happy.
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):
And finally three:
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!
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!
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!
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…
…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…
And now I want to paint my cupboards more than ever! I’m thinking a light almond color would be really nice in here.
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,
I am the husband of the amazing Cassity of Remodelaholic. I love to problem solve and to design and build things inside and outside the house to make life better. I am a professional Landscape Architect by trade and love the outdoors.