We knew that we couldn’t afford new countertops. Even with all that money we saved buying appliances on Craigslist.
We also knew that even if we could afford granite that it is porous and that skeeves me out in the “my four kids are piglets” category and we didn’t need more hidden bacteria in the house.
Furthermore, we decided granite would be a very unwise investment in these economic times and with the plummeting value of our house.
I was not willing to buy new laminate counters and have PhilBillPaul deep in another installation mess. Instead, we did extensive research on how to resurface our existing lovely almond laminate countertops.
We looked at options available at our local Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Option #1: Laminate sheets you can overlay and stick on your old laminate counters. Frankly, those are worse than the original laminate, in my opinion.
Option #2: Counter transformation kit from Rust-Oleum®. I wasn’t crazy about the speckled finish or any of their colors.
One Sunday afternoon while I watched Tiger-free golf, I spent the day with my friend Google and found two other options.
One was Granite Transformations which PhilBillPaul nixed almost immediately because they have no prices on their website. He’s a tough consumer and believes you need to at least give a price range or he won’t even call.
The second thing I stumbled upon was Giani Granite. After I spent the whole afternoon reading their website and blog reviews, I knew I had found the winner! I always try to read product reviews from real people in addition to testimonials on the company website.
I took some screenshots of different kitchens on several blogs and then showed PhilBillPaul. We both decided the price was right at $69.95 for a kit that covers 35 square feet. It really came down to us both agreeing that it is paint and if we hated it, we could go to plan B.
(We didn’t have a plan B but we would make one if we needed to.)
Giani Granite Countertop Paint Kit
Our favorite selling points on Giani’s website were these:
- Water-based safe and low odor
- Hides any existing stains, scratches or burns
- Granite color is adjustable to your decor
- Durable automotive grade clear polyurethane topcoat
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Sunday evening I told him I was going to email the company, tell them I have a blog and if they would send me two kits, I would review their product. Nothing to lose and if they didn’t respond, we would order the 2 kits we needed.
Monday morning I received a lovely email saying they would be glad to send me 2 chocolate brown kits for me to review. This was better than Craigslist. Woo hoo!
Then I realized PhilBillPaul was going to make me paint.
Step-by-step counter resurface project
Here is my pictorial review and believe it or not, we did this in one weekend…
98% photo credits to Scary Baby except the first blurry one which is mine.
On Friday night, PhilBillPaul prepared the old countertops by using wood fill putty & spackling compound to repair some chipped and broken places and then cleaned them with S.O.S pads. I stayed in my bedroom because we had a big fight.
He did a good job – amazing how things look better when they are clean.
Yes, we are removing everything from top of cabinets and aren’t re-hanging the goofy baskets, thank you very much. Please stay focused on the countertops.
Since he did do all the prep work, I broke down and painted the black iron core primer base on all the surfaces.
Most painting falls to me because of his failing eyesight. The black primer went on very easily and covered very well. We didn’t even open the second can in our other kit. The black base coat needs to dry for 8 hours before the “fun” part can begin.
After watching the excellent DVD (twice) included in the kit, it was time to practice with the 3 mineral paints that you apply one at a time in the order of numbers on cans. I like simple instructions I can follow.
The kit includes a piece of black poster board and sponge that you can cut into several sizes. At this point, I was apprehensive about ruining our whole kitchen.
We liked the three mineral paint colors but I was paranoid that we didn’t want dark counters and it would make the kitchen too dark.
The practice poster board is very helpful. Maybe we should have picked the lighter kit. Breathe, Sherra – it’s just paint. We decided that I would add more of the lighter two mineral paints to keep it on the lighter, neutral side.
You work in small sections and don’t want to create a pattern. It should be random so it looks more natural and granite-like.
If I was doing it again, I would have left more black and added more chocolate. Dark would have been fine. I’m a spasz.
You have to wait 4 hours before you can apply the topcoat that adds the shine. This is the part I was most excited about. And most nervous.
This was with just one coat! I watched that section of the DVD three times and still wasn’t sure I could do it right.
Four hours later, I added a second coat. The biggest tip is not to dry roll this topcoat as it will leave lines. You have to keep the topcoat product on the roller and roll a very thin coat but not let your roller make that dry sound that happens when you paint walls.
The maximum third topcoat was added on Monday morning after spouse peer pressure. I should have stopped at two. I used every last drop of 2 cans and I liked it better with two coats. Yes, I’m blaming PhilBillPaul for this bad call. No one can tell except us. In the right light and if you bend over and hunt for my mistakes. Please don’t.
All in all, I did a pretty good job. Our pictures would be better with some daylight. We are night owls and do our best work after dark. Then again, with more light you might be squinting at your computer trying to see my roller lines.
Giani recommends that you wait 72 hour hours before putting your small appliances on the counter. Since we were going to put up a backsplash and work on our dated honey oak cabinets, we decided to ban the children from the kitchen. We may continue working in the kitchen indefinitely so they stay out of it.
Seriously though, while we are doing other work, it has given the counters time to cure and harden properly. We are very, very happy with the results!
I think the big box stores need to work with Giani Granite and get their kits in their stores. Immediately.
Things I think Giani Granite should change:
- Put everything in the kit. They have a “Save-a-trip” kit for $12.50 that is buried in 2 or 3 clicks and hard to find. I would raise the price of the whole kit to include everything you need. This still keeps the kit under $100 and that’s a win/win. Please don’t make me go back to the store with PhilBillPaul on the weekend!
- Add a trial size of their cleaner to the kit. Make us fall in love with the cleaner so we’ll order it but you’ve got to reduce the shipping on that. Right now, I can’t see ordering a bottle of cleaner for $4.50 and paying $9.75 to ship it.
- Hire me to re-do their website. Needs BIGGER, gorgeous photos of all the before and afters. Type is too small. LOTS of material for Typo Tuesday. Make the shopping experience more user-friendly. Don’t make me click the “Add to cart” button to see the price. Embrace your fabulous price point and put it everywhere!
Even if they don’t change anything and they don’t hire me, this granite paint kit is hands-down the best thing on the market to give your kitchen counters a new look at a fraction of the price of new counters. Giani Granite really made us say “WOW” at every step.
PhilBillPaul has brought people into the house to show them our handy work. LOVE having people stop in and see our giant mess.
Let me know what you think and if you would tackle a DIY project like this. With or without your spouse?
Disclosure: While Giani Granite provided us with two paint kits to review their product, our opinions are our own and you know I’m not afraid to share my true and unbiased opinion on most anything. 😉