Not too long ago, I worked on a beverage bar makeover in our family room. One of the surfaces that really needed an update was the beige-pink laminate countertop. I didn’t want to spend the money to replace it, so I learned how to paint your countertops instead. Wow, it was so easy I wish I had done this a long time ago.
After doing a little research, I came across a primer and topcoat that were designed specifically for countertops. They are made by Giani and come in a kit with everything you need to simulate granite or you can buy everything separately. I purchased the black primer and the top coat because I just wanted shiny black counters for my bar. Here is the link to watch Giani’s How-To videos.
Best Tips for a Great Result
- Do all of the preparations in the instructions. The surface must be completely clean for the primer to adhere.
- Repair any holes in your laminate before you prime.
- Purchase high quality foam rollers to apply the primer and topcoat.
- Use long strokes when applying the edging primer with a foam roller
- Tape off your painting area and cover nearby surfaces with plastic
- Wait 24 hours between coats
- Allow the final topcoat to cure for 14 days before using the counter
This is what the Giani products look like. I purchased Step 1 and 3. I also picked up 2 6-inch foam rollers from Home Depot.
This paint tray is from 1995. If you have an old paint tray, just use foil to line the tray and then throw the foil away for easy cleanup. Plastic wrap works too!
I did a test board to see what the primer looked like. It is thick and almost goes on like a gel.
This is the topcoat.It is alot thinner than the primer and will dry clear and shiny.
This is what the bar looked like before I got started. The counters were in good shape, but I didn’t care for the color. I was concerned about painting the wood edge too. But it turned out to not be a problem. Whew! I also removed the little laminate backsplash pieces before I got started. These pieces were stuck to the counter top with very stubborn adhesive that was a bear to get off, but the surface has to be completely clean and smooth to get a good result. I scraped, used rubbing alcohol and a palm sander to finally get all of the glue off. You will also want to remove all of the caulk between the backsplash and the counter, and remove the caulk around the sink too. The instructions suggested using clear caulk when you are done, but see below for why i didn’t.
I also sanded the varnished wood trim to help the primer adhere.
If you are going to paint your cabinets, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to tape off and put plastic over everything. For my project, I painted the counters after I had painted the cabinets and I did not want to get any black splashes on them.
Start by using a medium foam brush to get into the corners, around the edge by any walls and around the sink. I made a mistake by using a too small foam brush and using short sideways strokes with the foam brush. Doing it that way left brush marks in the primer that I had to sand out before putting on the second coat.
This is what the counter looked like after two coats of primer (still a little wet). The coverage over the old laminate color was amazing! And you could not even tell that the counter had wood trim.
This is after two applications of the clear topcoat. Another mistake I made was using a clear caulk around the sink. After the tape was removed, some of the primer had seemed under the tape and looked uneven. I used a razor blade scraper to get the black primer off the sink, then I re-caulked with white silicone caulk.
This is the finished look with 2 coats of primer and two coats of topcoat. I only sanded once, after the first primer coat to remove the foam brush marks, but otherwise it is completely smooth and shiny. Just a note – the counters take 14 days to cure once you are finished.