If your laminate countertops are getting old and worn, you may be thinking about replacing them with new ones for a fresh look for your kitchen. However, there are several methods of reviving and restoring older laminate countertops for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. With minimal expense and a little effort, your countertops can be looking like new.
Here are 3 ways you can revive laminate countertops:
- Paint your laminate countertops with faux granite.
- Recoat the plastic laminate.
- Use prepackaged refinishing kits.
These methods will save you lots of money and are relatively easy to do by yourself without hiring a professional. Read on to learn about these do-it-yourself revamping methods for your countertops. By using them, you’ll see excellent results without all of the hassle and expense.
1. Paint Your Laminate Countertops With Faux Granite
There are several steps in painting your laminate countertops with faux granite. They’re simple to perform, and it’ll take you very little time to finish them.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to renew and revive your aging countertops with minimal expense by painting them with a faux granite finish.
- Choose and purchase your materials. Study different granite patterns and note which colors and patterns you find attractive and that coordinate with your kitchen. Choose three or four complementary colors in a satin or flat latex, one as the base color and the others the accent colors. You’ll also need a green cleaner or a vinegar and water solution, alcohol, two-part epoxy putty, sandpaper, oil-based primer, brushes and roller.
- Clean the countertops with a cleanser. Using a soap and water solution, thoroughly clean the countertops to remove any soiled areas or smudges. You can also use a green cleaner or mix equal parts of warm water and vinegar to clean the surfaces.
- Wipe the surface down with denatured alcohol. Using a cloth, wipe down the countertops with denatured alcohol, which is alcohol with additives to make it non-drinkable. Try to avoid touching it again after wiping down the entire surface, as oils on your fingertips can leave marks or smudges.
- Keep all children and pets out of the work area. It goes without saying that you need to secure your pets and keep children away while doing this. They can get curious and might wander into the kitchen area, where it’s not safe.
- Remove old caulk from crevices around sinks and faucets. Using a utility knife, scraper, or caulk removal tool, take care not to scratch your work surface. Pull out any loose caulk and wipe away small pieces of debris and material. Cleaning the surface with soap and water will also help eliminate any dust or caulk shavings and rinse thoroughly. Then, wipe the seam with alcohol to remove all remaining residue.
- Repair chips and cracks with putty. If you have minor dings or damages that are more than ⅛ inch (0.32 cm) wide, you should fill these in with two-part epoxy putty and allow them to dry completely as the next step in this process. Once the putty is dry, you should then sand it until it’s smooth.
- Apply painter’s tape to protect areas you don’t want to paint. Use painter’s tape to carefully cover any areas you don’t want to paint, including the sink, faucet, and backsplash. Make sure your tape is adhering to all surfaces, and be sure even the tiny spaces are covered.
- Degloss the countertops with sandpaper. Use 100-grit sandpaper to sand down the countertops before beginning to prime and paint. Sanding will help to create a textured surface to which the primer and paint will more readily adhere. Be sure to wipe up any residue with a tack rag.
- Apply oil-based primer. Using a paint roller, apply the oil-based primer to the prepped and sanded laminate, allowing it to dry for at least four hours. You should check your primer label for recommended drying times, as they can vary from one brand to another. Choose a primer designed for sealing a non-porous surface.
- Apply 3 shades of paint in layers with a sponge. When you’re ready to paint, apply 3-4 layers of different colors, going from dark to light or light to dark. Add the layers with a sponge, dabbing in a random pattern to achieve a granite-like finish. Begin with the base color, adding a second coat if necessary. Apply each successive coat just before the preceding one is fully dry. The dampness will help you to achieve a blended look.
- Add details such as grain and veins sparingly. You can use a feather to add grain sparingly or add veins with a fine-tipped artist brush. You can also use a few tiny bits of gold or silver glitter flakes over the last coat but before the topcoats to mimic flecks of quartz that you would find in granite.
- Apply 2-3 coats of polyurethane topcoat with a foam roller. Once the paint is dry, you should apply at least two to three coats of polyurethane topcoats. Use a dense foam roller to apply each coat. Allow each coat to dry according to the instructions or a minimum of four hours.
- Sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper. Once the polyurethane is completely dry, use extra-fine-grit sandpaper to sand the surface until it feels smooth to the touch. Be sure to wipe away any remaining dust or residue from the sanding process with a dry cloth.
In case you don’t how to remove old caulk from crevices around sinks and faucets, watch this YouTube video for a demonstration:
Another method of reviving your laminate countertops is to recoat them with clear acrylic. Applying the coating is an inexpensive way to give your countertops a shiny finish. This process should prevent peeling or discoloration, spills will wipe up quickly, and you’ll have a beautiful finish for your countertops.
The steps for completing the process of recoating your laminate countertops are listed below:
- Purchase materials. You should purchase a non-yellowing clear acrylic like Polycrylic by Minwax. This acrylic is available in several sheens.
- Sand the countertops. Sand countertops well using 320-grit abrasive, removing all stains while sanding. Wipe away the dust with a cloth.
- Apply acrylic. Apply a thin coating of acrylic using a soft, lint-free cotton rag. Be sure to cover only small sections at a time since the acrylic dries quickly. Smoothen out application marks right away with the rag, using long strokes. Continue the process, moving from one section to another. It’s essential to minimize overlapping as much as possible.
- Apply a second coat. After the first coat is dry, this process of applying an additional coating of acrylic should eliminate any lap marks on your surface.
- Allow drying. Allow the surface of the countertops to dry for two hours.
A final option is to purchase prepackaged refinishing kits, which contain all the elements needed, including the pre-selected paints.
With these kits, just follow the instructions given to revive and restore your laminate countertops. They’re an easy and inexpensive way to do it yourself without the hassle of having to select individual materials.
Some popular refinishing kits on the market which you might want to try include the following:
- Armor Granite. This kit is a bit pricier than some others; however, it includes all paints, brushes, rollers, and finishes needed to complete the process. It also yields a thick, heat-resistant finish, which is unique and desirable. The only downside of this brand is the limited color selection.
- Giani Granite Countertop Paint Kit. To achieve a realistic granite look, you can use the Giani Granite kit, which includes the different tones of paint that you apply successively and the sealer needed for the finish. Available on Amazon.com, this kit consists of a wide variety of paint colors.
- Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations. RustOleum provides a kit specifically for laminate. Stone-like chips are sprinkled on a base coat of paint to achieve the granite look. Available on Amazon.com, the kit includes a sanding block to be used for deglossing the surface.
- Countertop Transfauxmations. This product can be used as a tutorial to guide you through the procedure of painting your laminate countertops. It contains an instructional DVD or downloadable file, a guide to color combinations, and a brush and dabbing sponge. Below is a link to a YouTube video demonstrating the process:
When you notice your laminate countertops looking old and worn, you can choose any of the methods mentioned here or other options for reviving and refurbishing them to make them shine again.
Each of these methods is relatively inexpensive and cost-efficient, and you can finish the project over a day or a weekend. Rather than hiring an expensive contractor to repair or replace your laminate countertops, doing it yourself is a smart way to eliminate expense, especially since they’re not that hard to do.