Do you hate your existing kitchen countertops? Are they a hideous laminate or those old tiles with nasty grout you fear is never really clean? Have I got a fix for you! It’s not a permanent fix, mind you. It will require touch-up from time to time, but it’s a great way to enjoy your kitchen until you can afford the countertops of your dreams.

This is my friend Emily.  She hated her kitchen countertops and asked me if I could help her out.

This is my friend Emily.  She hated her kitchen countertops and asked me if I could help her out.

This fix will require an oil-based enamel paint and some polyurethane. Cost to cover a typical countertop should be $30 or less. What a deal! Read on and you’ll find photos for inspiration and step-by-step directions for finally fixing those darn countertops.

  •  Prepare your counters:
    Regardless of what your current surface is, clean it as well as you can and let it completely dry. Sand it lightly and wipe down with damp cloth. This will help your paint adhere better. If you have tile, you may choose to level the spaces between tiles. This will add time and cost to the project, but it may be important to you. I have completed the process without leveling and it’s come out looking great. Your call.
These are some before pictures of my friend Emily's kitchen.  She really needed a fix but didn't have a budget right now to support brand new countertops.  She asked for help and we employed the technique I'm talking about here.

These are some before pictures of my friend Emily's kitchen.  She really needed a fix but didn't have a budget right now to support brand new countertops.  She asked for help and we employed the technique I'm talking about here.

  • Protect surrounding areas:
    Tape off areas where walls or appliances meet the counter. The enamel paint you’ll need to use is extremely sticky and doesn’t come off as easily as latex paint. Taping and covering well can save you a lot of frustration.
     
  • Apply your paint:
    I like to use the Rustoleum brand Hammered Finish Paint. It dries with a pleasing texture and a sense of visual depth. Apply it nice and heavy. Be aware that it will take a long time to dry—as much as several days, depending on your interior climate. It’s also quite smelly, so good ventilation is a must for this project. You can paint with either brushes or sponges. Paint in good light so you can watch for any brush bristles or pieces of sponge making their way onto your counters. After I paint each section, I like to go back and use a stippling motion with the brush to give the counter a more sophisticated, textured look.
This is the same counter as above after applying the Rustoleum Hammered Finish Paint.  What a drastic difference already!

This is the same counter as above after applying the Rustoleum Hammered Finish Paint.  What a drastic difference already!

  •  Apply your poly:
    Once the paint is dry, it’s time to apply your polyurethane. Two coats, allow to dry completely between coats. This will seal your paint and help protect the finish. Be aware that over time, as you wipe the countertop to clean it, your finish may gradually wear away and prompt you to perform some touch-up.
     
  •  Wait:
    I know it’s difficult because you probably have your kitchen counter items spread throughout inconvenient areas (blender on the end table—bad look), but wait for everything to dry thoroughly  so there’s no tackiness when you touch it. Once everything is completely dry, you’re done. It’s not granite or marble, but it’s a big upgrade from outdated laminate or tile!
Completed project!  How much better does that look than in the before pictures?! **Make sure you can use oil-based enamel paints, according to your state code, before you decide to try this project.  If you are unable to, then do a little research to see what other type of hard-drying paint you could use.

Completed project!  How much better does that look than in the before pictures?!

**Make sure you can use oil-based enamel paints, according to your state code, before you decide to try this project.  If you are unable to, then do a little research to see what other type of hard-drying paint you could use.

If you give this project a go, we would love to see photos of your transformation on our Facebook page and in the before and after gallery on TheRedesignHabit.com.

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?

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