Our 1970s kitchen had fruit print wallpaper and a 1970s model almond color dishwasher and range hood. And to make it even better it boasted these lovely harvest gold laminate countertops and backsplash. So, when I decided to update the kitchen, I had to decide how to update these awful laminate countertops. After considering various options for updating laminate countertops, I chose to go with the Giani Countertop Paint Kit.
Truth be told, this kitchen needed a complete overhaul, but frankly that was not in the budget. After doing a little research, it seemed that painting the countertops was the most affordable option. There are several brands of similar kits available for updating laminate countertops. with paint. Giani has a wide variety of colors and I love that it looks like granite. And the paint application process did not seem to cumbersome!
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My Other Kitchen Makeover Projects
Other than painting the countertops, one other big change I made was to put up a DIY faux shiplap plank wall which you can read about here. But I also painted the old outdated kitchen cabinets. The cabinets were painted with a gray paint and no sanding. If you’d like to know more about that project here’s a link to that post. It was an undertaking, but painting without sanding was really not hard and very doable. If I can do it you can too for sure!
So back to these updating laminate countertops. The cool thing about the Giani Countertop Paint Kit is that it came with everything I needed for the project. They have several colors and styles. I chose the White Diamond paint kit to go with the General Finishes Seagull Gray paint for the cabinets. When you open the kit, you’ll find instructions and they have a link to an online video as well as all the paint, topcoats and applicators you need. So let’s review the steps in the process.
PROJECT SUPPLIES LIST
- Giani Countertop Paint Kit – I used the Giani Countertop Paint Kit in White Diamond. The kit has everything you need, but if you want a few extra applicators I ‘ve listed them below.
- Foam Brushes
- Foam Rollers (just in case you need extra)
- Giani Paint Sponge (if you need an extra)
- Painter’s Tape: I like Scotch Blue, Frog Tape, or Duck brand
- SOS Cleaning Pads or Brillo Pads
- Wood Filler or Wood Patch
- #600 grit Sanding Paper (optional)
PREPPING LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS
Step 1: Prep the countertops
First clean to remove grease and dirt. Giani suggests cleaning with SOS scouring cleaning pads or Brillo pads. These are easy to find at most of your big box stores or Amazon. After cleaning rinse super well with water to remove all the cleaning residue.
Step 2: Tape off areas for primer and paint
Use a good quality painter’s tape such as Scotch Blue or Frog Tape to mark off the areas where you don’t want the paint to get. An example is above the countertop where it joins the backsplash. If you are keeping your backsplash you want to protect it from the countertop paint. Also tape off well around your sink to avoid getting paint on the sink. Another painter’s tape that I like is Duck brand painter’s tape that I also find at my local Walmart Neighborhood Market.
I painted my backsplash and covered it with a faux subway tile wallpaper, so I wasn’t worried about paint getting on it. This may be different for you. You can find the faux subway tile wallpaper that I used here. It looks really good remarkably. I wanted cheap and this was cheaper than the other backsplash options I considered.
Step 3: Repair scratches or deep cuts
Next, patch deep nicks or scratches with wood filler. Allow this to dry and sand and remove dust before moving on.
Step 4: Remove caulk if needed
Remove any loose caulk in the areas paint will go. Use a utility knife to do this carefully. After you paint the countertop you will want to replace the caulk with new caulk.
NOW ONTO THE FUN PART: PAINTING WITH THE GIANI COUNTERTOP PAINT KIT
Step 1: Now, you get to start the painting process with the primer
The primer will be labeled in each kit. My primer was black. It is a nice consistency that spreads nice and thin but absolutely great coverage. Start with the foam brush and apply the primer to the back part of the countertop where it would meet the backsplash and those seams and corners in the back.
Once you cover that thoroughly, use the foam roller to apply the primer to the other areas of the countertop working in small sections, rolling the primer on easy and thin. Keep a “wet edge” as you work and avoid going back over sections you already did. If you miss a spot don’t panic. Let it all dry for 8 hours and then you can go back over any areas missed!
Step 2: Sponging on the Minerals
Next comes the fun and creative part, but also the tricky part! You now get to sponge on the minerals. This is where the magic happens. TIP: It will look weird at first, but it gets better as you go and you begin to see the final outcome. Another TIP: use the practice pad they provide to try before you start. But don’t let this part scare you!
They provide a yellow sponge that you cut into four equal pieces. TIP: wear gloves. This part is messy. Work in small sections as you go. Your kit will have different colors that work together to create the faux granite look. This is so cool and really is what creates that look you are after.
To be honest my countertops were so ugly that after I put the black primer on, I was seriously thinking that even just that step alone was an improvement. But once you begin to add the minerals and work in small sections until you get the look you are after, you will be even more pleased! This Giani Countertop Paint Kit is the bomb diggity! Giani does a good job of explaining in each kit how your colors work together to create the faux granite pattern.
Step 3: Apply Topcoat
Once you are happy with your minerals application and your countertops are completely done, allow to dry four 4 hours. Then, you get to apply the topcoat. I was so happy when I opened this topcoat can and saw that it had little sparkles in it! It really is amazing when you apply this to your countertops! It is not super glossy but gives that look of a nice satiny mild gloss finish that you would see on granite.
Start with using the foam brush and apply the topcoat to the back of the countertops at the intersection with the backsplash and then the seams and corner. After that you work again in small sections and roll on the topcoat. This is similar to applying any topcoat in that the goal is to apply even thin coats in small sections. Avoid going back over areas already done as this will cause streaking. Let that first coat dry for 4 hours.
After the first coat of topcoat is dry you can rub across it to see if it feels bumpy or gritty. If it does or if there are uneven spots you can lightly sand with 600 grit sandpaper and then clean the dust before you apply the next one to two coats.
Step 4. Apply additional one to two coats of topcoat
Using the same application process, apply a second coat of topcoat. Use a light hand when rolling. If you push down, it creates lines indentions. The goal is a thin even coat without streaks. Two to three coats of topcoat is recommended to really protect your painted finish. Once dry for 12 hours, you can then re-caulk any areas needed at the seams and backsplash and the kitchen sink.
Giani recommends that you wait 24 hours before using the dishwasher and getting any water on the countertops. Good excuse to order in or go out to eat right? Well, after the 24 hours you can use the sink and dishwasher without worry. But they recommend waiting at least 3 days before setting light appliances on the countertops. But any big heavy appliances should not be set back onto the countertop until after 14 days cure time. You can read more about this in the instructions that come with your kit.
QUESTIONS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE WITH UPDATING MY LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS WITH GIANI COUNTERTOP PAINT KIT
Does the kit cover the entire area needed?
The kit specifies that it covers 35 square feet of countertop space. Yes, my kit covered all the area I needed to paint and I had leftover minerals, primer and topcoat. I am keeping these leftover supplies in case I need to touch up spaces.
Does the kit contain the proper amount of applicators?
Yes, however, I prefer not to wash the foam brush so I just purchased an extra foam brush from my craft store. The yellow sponge was sufficient but after dabbing on minerals it got pretty ratty. It did not lose pieces or fuzz though which was good. I was able to do my whole kitchen with the one yellow sponge included. It is not a bad idea however to have an extra on hand.
Was this kit hard to use?
No, this was really as easy as it says it is. At first, you doubt that it will look like the picture on the box. But the more you work to apply the layers of minerals, the more you will see that it does create the desired look. And you have control over how much of each color shows. If you follow the directions in the kit and watch some online videos you’ll get some tips before you start that will help make the process easier.
What tips do I have for applying the paint products?
Use a light hand, dab lightly, and roll lightly. This will prevent big blobs of one color and squishing out of excess paint. It’s better to go light and add more as you go than to get too heavy handed. Also roll on the topcoat lightly so it glides over in a smooth layer.
Does this kit cover countertop imperfections?
Overall yes, if it’s covering up the overall unattractiveness of your old laminate. But it is paint and you will be able to see lumps and bumps and scratches if these imperfections cannot be repaired prior. Therefore it is best to try to repair those areas before you paint. My countertops were pretty beat up and old. I can see a few bumps when I look at the countertops in certain light, but overall I don’t think anyone else will see those. It’s similar to painting furniture and using a topcoat. The prepping of the countertops before you paint is important.
Am I happy that I used the Giani Countertop Paint Kit for updating my old laminate countertops?
Yes, yes, and yes. Honestly it has made a huge difference in how happy I am with this kitchen, at least until I can do a major complete overhaul! It was a true budget way to improve the look of my kitchen. I used the White Diamond Kit which looks fantastic with the General Finishes Seagull Gray Milk Paint that I used to paint my kitchen cabinets. I am so happy not to have to look at Harvest Gold countertops when I walk in this kitchen!
How are my countertops holding up?
Honestly these countertops are holding up very well! No lie! I am pleased with this product. It has held up well to general wear and tear. I do have a large Labrador dog and she is very mischievous. She has jumped up and put her large paws on the countertops aggressively and there are a few scratch marks from that. I need to repair those. But these countertops have held up fabulously to general use in cooking and cleaning, setting down of dishes, and banging around of pots and pans. My husband comes home and empties his keys, knife, money, and other miscellaneous tools from his pants pockets onto the corner of the countertops. There is no visible wear and tear from this either. Overall I am happy with this paint kit.
SUMMARY: UPDATING OLD LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS USING GIANI COUNTERTOP PAINT KIT
I had a great experience with this countertop paint kit. And, I would choose to do it again if given the chance. Yes, I would 100% prefer real granite or quartz countertops! No questions asked, if it’s in the budget I would go for the real deal. However, given that I was on the hunt for a fairly easy budget option for updating my old ugly laminate countertops, this Giani kit certainly fit the bill!
If you are in the same boat and looking for a budget makeover option, I highly recommend that you consider checking out the Giani Countertop Paint Kits. There are several options for colors and they are available both online and in some select stores. This paint kit does not take a professional painter to use. It is very doable for even beginners! So if you are considering it I’d encourage you to go for it!
P.S. If you have any questions feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or comment below and I’ll try to reply.