I’ve kind of skipped around a little bit on the kitchen renovation stuff. BUT when I was still thinking I should just put a band-aid on the kitchen issue (issue being that it’s ugly), I did some budget-friendly things to make it look a little better. I resurfaced the kitchen counters, added new drawer pulls, and whipped up a DIY backsplash.
And since I still hadn’t shared the tutorial for how I resurfaced the countertops (for less than $50), I figured I would share that today.
While this tutorial is more of a temporary solution for me because I’m planning to make some more expensive changes soon – which you can read about here – it’s a great budget-friendly option for anyone looking for a simple solution to their ugly laminate countertop woes. Click through to learn how to resurface laminate countertops for under $50.
Materials Needed for Resurfacing Laminate Countertops
- countertop coating (about $30 on Amazon)*
- paint roller
- paint brush (one that won’t leave brush marks – like foam)
- sandpaper or sanding sponge
- old cloth and mild kitchen cleaner
- respirator mask
- painter’s tape (and painter’s plastic, if needed)
- old sheet or drop cloth
*This countertop coating can be tinted to 16 colors, but you’d have to purchase it at a home improvement store in order to have it tinted a particular color (light grey, beige, charcoal, etc). I decided not to get any tinting put in at all because I wanted the counters to be white (which is the color of the countertop coating without any tint added). If you want to paint your counters white like mine, you can order it online and do not have to go to a home improvement store (though it is available there too).
Quick note… While it may seem like countertop paint is just like regular paint, I can promise you it’s not. It is a different consistency (that is unfortunately not as easy to apply as regular paint), is much more durable (and cleanable) when finished, and has a VERY strong smell when painting. So, you want to make sure you use a respirator and do your best to let air circulate while the coating is drying.
How to Resurface Laminate Countertops (Instructions)
Start by sanding the entire countertop and backsplash / lip areas to rough the surface up a little and help the paint stick permanently. Then, wipe away any debris and clean the surface with a mild soap and water. Wait for the surface to completely dry before moving onto the next step.
Next, tape off any areas that you don’t want the countertop coating to stick to and make sure to cover the floors with something as well, just in case. I used painter’s tape around the fridge, the sink, the backsplash, and underneath the countertops. Then, I added a painter’s plastic underneath the counter to protect the cabinets below, along with an old sheet on the floor. Better safe than sorry on this one.
Then it’s time to paint. I’d recommend starting at the back and working your way forward, so you’re not leaning over the paint when it’s wet. Start with the backsplash lip and paint a thin layer, as shown in the photo below, working your way to the crevices and then painting about an inch or two on to the counter as well to make it easier for the next step.
Then grab a paint roller and cover the remainder of the counter (top and then sides / edges) with a thin layer of countertop coating, again working your way from the back to the front.
You will definitely need to apply more than one coat for this project. But you’ll have to wait for each coat to completely dry to the touch before applying another coat. It took me 6 thin coats to go from a black countertop to a solid white one. But if you’re going from a light counter to a darker one, it will take less coats than mine.
Once that first layer of paint is completely dry to the touch (somewhere between one hour and two seems to be the sweet spot), add another thin layer of paint to the entire counter and backsplash (if applicable), the same way you did the first time. Then wait for it to dry to the touch again before adding another coat. You’ll know you’ve added enough thin coats when you can no longer see the previous counter color at all and the new counter coating looks solid and even.
Once all the coats are on and you’re happy with the finish, remove the painter’s tape and let the counters cure for at least 72 hours before using. It will be dry to the touch within hours, but if you put stuff back on the counters too soon, it can cause chipping, etc. So, wait the full 3 days if you can, before using the counters as normal.
And that’s how to resurface laminate countertops for under $50. It’s really a pretty easy project, even though the coating itself is a little bit of a pain to work with because of the stickiness (before it dries) and the strong, strong smell.
BUT if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease, it’s definitely worth the investment. It is far, far, FAR cheaper than replacing your countertops, even in a larger kitchen where you would need multiple cans of coating to complete the job.
Let me know if you have any questions!
UPDATE: I painted the counters about two months ago now (as of 9/6/17) and they’ve held up really well, with the exception of a tiny 1/2 inch area near the lip that chipped off. It happened BEFORE the coating was fully dry (I think early on day two) when I sat something on it for an hour or so and then picked it back up, along with the paint. Whoops! So, be sure to wait the full 72 hours if you can.
What do you think of the finished countertops? Have you ever tried painting countertops before? Let me know if you have any tricks or tips for the process, if I missed anything.