Even though this post is pretty old, we still get a lot of people looking at how to spray paint their counters. It's true, we did it, and we loved how it looked for many years. However, after about nine years we decided it was time to retire the spray painted counters and put a little money into butcher block. For about $300 (the cost for 2 pieces of butcher block from IKEA) we were able to change out our counters completely. If you're interested in our whole kitchen update process, and how it quickly went from a simple paint update to a whole kitchen overhaul, be sure to check out the series of posts.
Lately we've been seeing a lot of talk about "quick and inexpensive updates" meant to temporarily dress up an area on a very tight budget. One that we see over and over are people asking questions or providing tips on improving their outdated and ugly counter tops without dropping a few thousand on granite.
Now, we'll be the first to tell someone that "anything worth doin' is worth doin' right..." but sometimes it isn't the best first step. (By the way, I love that quote from "A League of Their Own.")
When we moved into our house back in 2003, were working on an extremely tight budget...I'm talking ramen noodles budget here, no joke. We knew we planned to eventually replace the kitchen counters as part of a complete renovation, so we didn't want to put any more money than we needed to into their rehab. We also didn't want to sink a lot of time into searching for some remnant pieces, tearing off the old counters, and putting in all of that effort if we were eventually going to be getting rid of it at some point down the road. But the thing is, when we moved into the house, we were faced with these hideous counter tops, now scratched and worn since their installation back in the 1980s.
To the naysayers out there, I know we could have done so many different things, including living with the green laminate, but that just isn't our style.
Rather than do anything significant, Wendy decided we should try to spray paint the counter tops. She had seen the approach on various websites and home decorating shows, so we figured what was the harm in trying?
Back when we did it, the product was called "Stone-It," but they've since changed the name to "Make It Stone." It's a textured spray paint that is an all in one application, not a two part system or epoxy product. There are several other products out there now that do about the same thing. We found the coverage amounts on the can to be just about right, so I think we bought about five or six cans when we did our project.
In true Old Town Home fashion, our timelines have been greatly adjusted over the years. And what once was considered a "short term fix" has morphed into a counter top solution spanning nearly a decade. Despite living with them for much longer than we intended, we haven't replaced the counter tops (but we surely still will...I promise) and the paint still looks great. Here are our steps if you are interested in doing the same.
1. Surface Prep
Clean and lightly sand your counters with a 120 grit paper to give the paint something to stick to. You don't have to sand really hard, just rough it up enough to take any shine or gloss off of the counters.
2. Mask & Paint
Mask off the rest of the room and spray paint all of the surfaces in thin and even coats. If you do it right, it should take you three or even four coats to really get a good coverage. If you don't do even coats, the textured paint will tend to sort of glop up (technical term), and will look lumpy and patchy.
Once the spray paint dries, apply many many many coats of water based polyurethane. I think we did eight or nine coats. The paint really looked great right away, and I wanted it to stay textured and colored the way it was, but we knew this would be a very high traffic area, so we had to put lots of poly on it. It has held up so well over the years that I'm very glad we did all of the poly.
4. Caulk (optional)
The edges to our sink and area between the wall and back splash were very uneven. Rather than trying to get the paint right up against the sink and wall, we left a small gap. Once the poly dried, we used a white silicone caulk to bridge the gap and dress up the area a little bit. You will only need to do this if you want to, but it did make it look far more finished and less spray painted.
Allow at least 48 hours dry time then enjoy your "new", "stone" counter.
Our project took about two days total, plus dry time, and ran us around $50. It was a great way to spruce up the kitchen for very little money. We've had a few chips here and there over the years, but we've glued them back into place or touched them up.
One note of warning: My parents were in town helping us move and put a cup on the counter top that was wet on the bottom. This happened about one week after we had finished the project, but the cup left a milky white ring. I sort of freaked out at the sight, but after about 20 minutes it dried and disappeared. We noticed this several other times over the first few months when we would leave a wet towel or something on the counter top, each time it faded away as the water dried. It seems like the poly just needed several months to fully cure. I can't remember the last time we've seen a splotch (again, technical term), so it seems to have taken care of itself. So this warning is more of a "don't freak out if there's a white splotch on your project" type of warning.
When we tell people the counters are spray paint, they are usually very surprised. We think it was a great way to really brighten up the kitchen with a $50 temporary fix and a little bit of effort. It's especially great if you are doing it as a way to bridge the gap between something horribly fugly and when you want to really renovate.
Do you have any experience in this department? I know others must have done similar type approaches. Please share and let us know.
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- Wendy & Alex