Thursday, November 10, 2011

Counter Transformations (a review)

     When my husband and I were viewing our house to consider purchasing, there were a lot of things I loved about it.  I loved the big open floor plan, the huge corner lot, the extra bay on our garage and the master bathroom.  But, we knew if we bought it there would be a never-ending list of changes to be made.  Of course we wanted to remove wallpaper and paint to our tastes, but I was also envisioning different flooring, carpeting, landscaping, appliances and of course, new counters!

     There is nothing inexpensive about new counters.....until now.  After searching forever for any idea to turn our mediocre laminate counters into the focal point in our house that they should be, I finally found Giani Granite.  I recommend checking out the photos on their website as well as their facebook page.  In fact, facebook is what had me hooked on trying this product.  Here is my review and how-to:

     Giani Granite Paint kit contains almost everything you will need to take on this project and covers 35 sq. ft.  Not bad for only $70.  I purchased 2 kits, as I have a lot of counter space and thought I may go over.  Included in the box:

  • Primer
  • 3 colors of mineral paints
  • Clear topcoat
  • 1 roller and 2 roller pads
  • 1 foam brush
  • 1 sponge applicator
  • Written instructions and demonstration DVD
  • Practice board

     So before we begin here is the before of my kitchen counters:
and a close-up:

     There really was nothing wrong with my counters.  They just weren't my taste.  This is precisely the reason why I would never be able to convince my husband or our budget that we need new counters.  We didn't.  I did.

     First steps were to wash the counters per the instructions with SOS pads. Fill any deep seams with wood patch, and tape off all the areas around the counter that I didn't want to paint.  Then the fun began.

- Black Primer.  To hide all that was of my former counters.  This was a bit of a shock, and definitely the point of no return!

     I let this dry overnight although, instructions show only a 4 hour drying time is needed.  I then started the process of sponging the mineral colors on with a few variations of my own to the instructions.  My kit was the Chocolate Brown, and in addition to the 3 included colors I also added metallic copper acrylic craft paint. But we'll get to that. 

-Before touching my counters I practiced on the included board.  I strongly recommend that you do not skip this step.  I tried numerous techniques and tools, many that were not mentioned on the DVD.  By the time I was finished, my practice board looked horrific, but I new exactly what I was going to do, and what not to do.  I left the board on our table so my husband could see it before he left for work.  No reason I couldn't have a little fun.  Later when I spoke to him he admitted he was terrified that I was about to destroy our kitchen when he left for work that morning.  Priceless. Anyway....

-I cut the included sponge in half, and then cut a tiny part off to use on corners.  I then sponged each color per the instructions.  However, unlike the instructions, I allowed a short amount of drying time between each color, and I also used a damp clean sponge to dab back over the first two colors immediately after applying them.  Allowing a little drying time between colors gave them each a crisp color as opposed to a more blended look.  Sponging off with the damp sponge gave the first two colors, which were the lightest, a softer look.  After adding the included colors I then lightly added the metallic copper craft paint in the same manner.  Again I allowed all of this to dry overnight.

-Next using the smallest artist brush I could find and the black primer, I painted veins throughout the counters.  In some areas I traced along where black was already touching other colors and in other places I just drew them in wherever I liked.  It was very random.  I then allowed to dry overnight again.

-Using 600 grit sandpaper I lightly sanded everything.  Just enough to scruff it up, but not really remove much color.  This broke up my harsh vein lines and gave them a much more natural look.

-Finally I applied 2 layers of topcoat as instructed.

     My new kitchen:

     I have to admit that pictures don't do this product justice.  I have never sponge painted anything before.  To be honest I've never considered my self anything close to artistic.  But they are correct in advertising that anyone can use this product regardless of skill or experience!  I couldn't be happier with the end result!  We have been using our "new" counters for about a month now and they are living up to our expectations.  With 5 people in our home and our kitchen being the center, they certainly see a lot of abuse.  Not bad for only $140 and enough left over to do my bathroom!!

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  1. Wonderful review- thank you so much and your counters look awesome! :)

  2. Absolutely AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing. We bought this 2 months ago and have been scared to try it. But reading this has given us the 'GO AHEAD" and skip the fear!! Thanks again!
    Candy B

  3. Thank you Candy! I'm glad I could be inspiring, and I can completely relate to the "fear" Nothing like slapping black primer over your countertops!