I am really excited for today’s post! I am going to be walking through my DIY kitchen countertops. When we bought our home almost three years ago the kitchen had 1970’s faded yellow laminate countertops. They weren’t awful, but they weren’t awesome either. We didn’t have the budget to put in new counters so I attempted my first DIY countertop project.
I took a lot of great tips from Pinterest and they turned out pretty good. After wear and tear and a couple of years I decided I was ready for a change. We still didn’t have the budget for new granite or even quartz countertops, but I was comfortable painting them and this time I decided to go for the queen of sealers – Envirotex Lite. This stuff is incredible! It is very heavy duty, think 50 layers of regular sealer, and has magical powers to make your DIY painted counters look as close to granite/marble as you are going to get with a DIY.
When I first did my counters I was scared of the Envirotex Lite. It sounded really intense and scary, but after reading a few good tutorials and seeing the results I knew I had to do it this time around. I mainly took my inspiration from here and here. Please, please read those posts before you attempt doing this. This is definitely a project that takes planning and practice! I used pieces of cardboard to practice my colors and design at least 5 times before I attempted doing this even though I had already done my counters once before!
This is my counters before, after I did them the first time.
Now for the process!
First paint your counters with your base color (okay, really you tape everything up first). I chose a greige for my base color and I used a chalk paint so I would need to sand over my counters.
Second take the color you want to be the main tone of your counters and using a sea sponge, a plastic bag, or a paper towel (whatever works for you, also another reason you need to practice. Figure out what works best for you!) I usually use a mixture of the three. I used a cream color and after it dried I used a mixture of the cream with some glitter and a small dab of gold to give it the shimmer that granite often has.
After that dries then you can take your main accent color and start sponging it around. I used a coffee brown that had a little red in it. I also used a dusty rose/mauve color. After you get your main sponging done, I use a brush to go through and add some veins into the counter. Granite has a lot of natural veins, so this helps it looks little more natural looking.
Once that layer dries then you go back over it with your main color to blend things in. This is where it can get tedious because you go back and forth between your main color and your accent colors blending and adding to get the look you want. Once the paint is dry and before I do my final touch ups I go through and sand out some of the accent colors. This helps blend them into your main color and make the counter look like more like a natural stone.
Trust me, there are going to be moments where you are really unsure and your counter might even look a tad ugly, but if you keep going and follow the process all the way through I promise it will look great! It is very time consuming and does make your kitchen a little unusable, so I suggest doing this before you go out of town so then your sealer can cure while you’re gone. Less temptation to use your counters before they are ready:)
I would suggest letting the counters dry overnight for two reasons. The first being it will be completely dry and the second being it gives you a chance to step away from it and then you can see it with new eyes and decide it’s ready before you seal it.
To seal your counters you need to have the sealer – I used about a gallon and a half the first time. I sealed mine twice to fix some spots, but not everyone will have to do that. I am definitely not an expert, so I highly suggest going back to those blog posts above and reading them thoroughly and going to the Envirotex Lite website and reading their advice and instructions.
My biggest tips are
- Tape everything! This stuff is sticky and dries super hard, so tape and cover everything with plastic. Also wear clothes that you don’t care if they get ruined.
- Have someone help you! I definitely could not have done the sealer on my own. Laren poured and I followed behind him smoothing it out with a silicone cake frosting spreader like this. This sealer is self evening, but you do need to spread it out and you want to make sure you don’t make it thinner than 1/8″.
- Pull the tape off before the sealer dries completely. I made the mistake of waiting until it was all dry because I was nervous and I have some spots where I still have tape I need to pull off, well really saw off now.
- You will need to sand the underside of the counters. This drips and forms little round icicles, you can just use a hand sander to get them off.
- Buy a small hand blowtorch! I got mine at Walmart and it was perfect for getting rid of bubbles. After about 20 min you can start to see the bubbles forming and a small blow torch is great for getting rid of them without damaging the counters. You do have to be careful because heat can damage them.
- If you do a 2nd coat make sure and use alcohol to clean the counters before you start the 2nd coat. Also I would wait a few days before doing it.
- Your counters probably need to cure for a week so they can really withstand everything you will put on them! Hence the suggestion to go out of town right after you do them 🙂
- You can clean your counters with normal cleaner. I use Bailey’s cleaner and if I have a really stubborn stain you can use a magic eraser.
- Don’t set anything hot directly on the counter. The sealer is a type of epoxy and heat will cause it to discolor, often to a yellow color. So used hot pads or just avoid it all together.
Before the sealer
After the sealer
It is amazing the difference the sealer makes! And it is so durable. We’ve had it for a couple months now and I absolutely love it. No scratches, no dings, no stains. If you are on a low budget, but want to redo your counters this is definitely the way to go!
My next project is to redo my lovely kitchen cabinets and then maybe add some grey subway tile backsplash and then my kitchen will be finished!
Have you ever tried to DIY your counters? Let me know how it went!