faux granite counter top
For the June '11 issue of The Family Handyman magazine, we transformed a blah, boring kitchen into something really special with four simple and inexpensive projects. One of these projects was to cover the existing 15-year-old laminate countertops with a new DIY countertop coating product by Rust-Oleum called Countertop Transformations ($250 for 50 sq. ft of counter at Lowe’s, Menard’s, Ace Hardware and other retailers). The product is available in five colors that range from very light to nearly black (we used Charcoal). After using it myself, I can testify that this stuff is easy to use and it really looks great—a rich, deep tone with a speckled faux-granite look.

The big pluses of this system are it’s not smelly or difficult, you don’t have to remove your countertops (!), the instructions are clear, the kit comes with everything you need (except for basic painting supplies), and it includes a very detailed DVD. This product can be used on any laminate or hardwood countertop in reasonable condition. Burns and scratches are fine, and you can fill deep dents and chips before you use the product.

The process is pretty straightforward: You degloss your countertops (scratch them thoroughly) with the sanding pads that come in the kit, then apply the adhesive base coat and decorative chips, sand again and then apply the clear protective topcoat. The application process takes two days (including drying time), and then the countertops are ready for light use within two days and fully cured in a week.

This product is definitely worth checking out. The manufacturer compares the coating’s durability to laminate. I can’t speak to its long-term durability, but when we tried to scratch the newly resurfaced countertop with car keys, it was surprisingly tough and we couldn’t make a mark. If you’re looking for a low-cost, simple way to inject new life into your kitchen, this is worth considering.

— Elisa Bernick, Associate Editor

Looking for more ideas about transforming your kitchen countertops? Check out these great DIY projects from our Kitchens section:

- Install a laminate kitchen countertop
- How to install a countertop
- How to install granite tile countertops

For color choices and to see a video of the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations installation process, go to rustoleum.com.

You can buy Rust-Oleum's Countertop Transformations through our affiliate, Amazon.com.
- Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations Kit, Java Stone
- Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations Kit, Charcoal