Oops, I Did it Again...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ha! You know I've just been waiting to weave a Brittany Spears lyric into one of my posts. Anyhoo, "What did I do again?" you ask? Me and my sassy little self painted another laminate countertop...the one in my son's bathroom to be exact.


Here's how his bathroom looked when we moved into the house.


Obviously, the room had been decorated for the previous owner's 4 year old son....and it wasn't quite my teenage son's taste (I know...shocking isn't it?).

We took down the dinosaur wallpaper border, painted the walls tan (Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert) and changed the towel rods about a year ago, but I kind of left it at that.

The old grey-blue laminate countertop wasn't horrible, but it wasn't exactly from this century either. And since I couldn't afford a new fancy schmancy granite countertop (or even laminate for that matter), I had to improvise...enter Paint, stage right.



I shared a tutorial with you when I painted my master bathroom countertops a few months ago, but I'll go ahead and do it again since I did do a couple things a little differently this time.

STEP ONE:

Before you do a thing, decide what you really want the final result to look like. Grab a sample of tile that you like from the store and examine the colors closely. Try to identify 3-4 colors in the sample, and then find paint colors to match.

I'd also do a sample board first (with the painting techniques below). The first time I did this I was really nervous, and it helped to feel like I knew what I was doing before I touched my countertops.

STEP TWO:

Clean your countertops really well. Make sure you get any grime out of corners, etc.


STEP THREE:

Lightly sand the countertops and then wipe any dust off.

STEP FOUR:

Apply one coat of oil based primer (I used BIN - you can see it in the photo below). Let it dry at least 12 hours...24 hours if possible. I know it feels dry after a couple hours, but it really needs time to cure.


STEP FIVE:

Apply a base coat of one of your 3 or 4 paint colors. This should be the color that's most prominent in your inspiration sample of tile (or whatever it was that inspired you). I used the wall color as my base coat...I figured it was a pretty save bet that the counter would work well with the walls that way. Also, my base coat didn't seem to have quite enough coverage, so I actually applied a second coat (waiting about 8 hours in between coats).


Let your base coat dry really well (I'd say at least 24 hours) before the next step. You might be blending a little and you need to make sure the base coat is totally cured so it doesn't chip or smudge.

STEP SIX:

This is the tricky part. I'm sure there are many ways to add your "stone look", but I'll just tell you what I did, 'kay?

I took a big fat sponge (see photo below) and lightly dipped in a a color that was darker than my base coat but not super-duper dark. I then blotted it on a paper bag to get some of the excess off....and then just went for it. I basically tried not to over think it and just blotted the paint consistently over the countertop, making sure to let the base coat still show through. I think it looks more natural and stone-like if you don't over think it...let it be a little random, but consistent (you don't want giant patches on one side and only a few on the other side...keep it somewhat uniform).



I read that a good method to try was a "splatter method", so I decided to give it a shot. I dipped a (clean and unused) toothbrush in some dark brown paint, and blotted the excess on a paper bag. I then I held the toothbrush over the counter with the bristles facing down and ran my finger through the bristles so that splatters of paint landed on the countertop (see photo below). It kind of worked...but not as well as I'd hoped. Some of the splatters looked more like shooting stars than splotches of stone, so (I didn't panic) I used my sponge to soften the splatters that looked weird.


After the splatters dried for a minute, I went back and continued to layer the darker (or medium) paint color and then added a little of the base color back in...all with a sponge (the same sponge actually). I just kept playing with it until everything looked uniform and stone-like.

Word of Advice: I was way too timid when I painted the countertop in my master bath. You seriously can't mess this up. Add lots of layers until you like the finished product...it's okay. Real stone isn't meticulously perfect...it's a little chaotic and imperfect. It's okay! As long as you choose good colors you'll be fine.

STEP SEVEN:

You still there? Okay, good...Once you're happy with how your countertop looks, let it dry and then apply about 4 coats of polyurethane - sanding lightly in between coats. I used a gloss finish this time and I like it a lot.

Also, last time I said that every paint person I spoke with at Lowe's, Home Depot (and one guy at) Sherwin Williams told me that I couldn't use polyurethane over latex paint. You all said those people were nutso crazy lunatics and that you've been putting polyurethane over latex from the dawn of time...I chose to believe you (since I'm pretty sure you all know much more than my local Home Depot employee...no offense HD).


IN CONCLUSION (does this sound like a research paper?):

That's it....as far as the counter's concerned. I still need to frame out the ginormous mirror, replace the faucet, and replace the light fixture, but baby-steps people....like Socrates said, "Rome wasn't built in a day"....actually I doubt it was Socrates that said that, but he could have :-).

54 Suburbanites Said:

Jen R. said...

It looks fantastic! Those guys are crazy.. I poly over everything!

Trica (Tree' - ka) said...

Wow! I didn't know you could do this! Does it hold up well? I may have to try it since I have blah gray counters everywhere.

Lynette said...

Wow - looks incredible!! Great job - lucky for your son he has such a talented mom - but he knows this already, right?

TheOldPostRoad said...

He better be thanking you for removing those dinosaurs. I can't wait to see the whole room! Great job!

LuLu said...

loving it...
LuLu

The White Farmhouse said...

The room looks great! I can't wait til my husband goes out of town so I can try this on my ugly countertops.

Lisa said...

It looks fabulous!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Fabulous! Good for you for taking it one step at a time. :) Glad your teenager doesn't have to stare at dinosaurs anymore. ;)

Lou Cinda said...

This DOES look great! I wonder how it would hold up in a kitchen!

Beautiful job!

Lou Cinda :)

Sjn said...

it looks great! Do you have to wait or be careful of what cleansers you use now?
I have soooo many renovation projects, I am a bit overwhelmed so I haven't done anything.

A Touch of Country said...

So beautiful! I love it and the step by step tutorial. Thanks a bunch!

Yansy said...

You did an amazing job. I love how everything turned out. If you can stop by my blog and tell me what you think of the little forest I created in our master bedroom.

Christina said...

Wonderful post. Looks great and the price sure beats buying a new one.

I would love to see an up close picture too.

TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo said...

Your step-by-steps are fantastic! I would love to hear how they are wearing over time. I would love to attempt this project, but it is in my kitchen and I am scared stiff to even begin to seriously think about it. Please let us know how it goes.
Such bravery and such a great end result.
*Tricia

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

Fab-u-lous!! I'm going to link to this. You make it seem so easy. I cannot believe how good this looks!!

Carrie said...

That looks great. My house is full of speckley gray blue countertops. I'd love to try this.

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Catherine@Simply Natural said...

If I post you a plane ticket, will you come to Australia and do mine for me?

samantha said...

WOW. I had no idea that you could paint countertops. We have UGLY UGLY TEAL countertops in the kitchen that I would love to change out, but the cost would be crazy right now. I will look into this option some more. Thanks

the undomesticated wife said...

I'm so glad I saw this post in my google reader. I've been telling hubs we need to do this in our kitchen. I'm going to show this to him!

Rona's Home Page said...

Our teen has his own bathroom too. I was abit surprised that he wanted to be involved in the decor. We've actually banged heads a few times. But, its good to have your kids involved in the process.

Susie Q said...

That's amazing. I've used the toothbrush trick also...I found that instead of running my finger over it...if I just smacked the hand holding the brush again my other hand so the paint flew off the brush...looks great ;D But you did really well and I am SO going to try this in our tiny master bath of the house that we rent.

Sue said...

When we had our house on the market 10 years ago, I had a small peninsula in the kitchen that had a small burn in it. It was waaay to expensive to justify replacing it so I filled in the burned area, primed, and painted it! Voila- quick, inexpensive fix for the price of primer, paint, and poly! You did an excellent tutorial for readers, AnNicole. I bet there will be more than a few little projects going on in their households. :-) Sue

Anna See said...

You did a wonderful job! It looks great, and this tutorial will be very handy!

Sarah said...

That looks great! Perhaps it is time for the faux brilliant blue marble in the upstairs bathroom to go... LOL!

~ Sarah

michellejohnnie said...

Thanks for the detailed instructions. I love your research project language. I am featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com

Daryl said...

That countertop is just gorgeous! You must be so proud of your work. Thanks for the detailed step-by-step directions, too.

Daryl

Nicki said...

I am wanting to do this in my kitchen but I really need to know how this is holding up? Would you suggest it in the kitchen????Thanks nreyn1@amfam.com or bellsandbugbites.blogspot.com

The Rauths said...

that is a great idea and turned out so nice!

Bellamere Cottage said...

I painted my bathroom floor (over the subfloor) in the bathroom in my old house. The fella at Home Depot insisted it would now work/last. It was there for about four years when we moved and still looked exactly like the day I did it. I used poly over latex too. This was a MUCH used bath as well. I say ignore the fellas at HD. I did a brick pattern and everyone had to touch it to be sure it wasn't really brick. :-) Gotta love an inexpensive solution.

Blessings,
Spencer

Michelle Rayburn said...

I painted a counter in my home and I used very similar colors! Too bad I didn't have your terrific tutorial back then. Nice job on the directions.

Michelle
www.TrashToTreasureDecorating.com

Richella said...

I love this project. Thank you for the detailed instructions about how to do this. I have a laminate countertop that's not bad. . . but I see here that it could be a LOT better. Thank you for the inspiration and the how-to knowledge!

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking said...

Thanks for such a great tutorial. We've got basic white laminate countertops in all the upstairs bathrooms. I might have to get brace and try this. It's an amazing transformation.

Jan @ bobbypinsboardwalk said...

You are amazing!

Athena Llamas said...

Interested to know how you clean it an how it holds up to moisture in the bathroom. I'd very much like to try this!!!!!
Nowreck@gmail.com

ppruitt said...

You can put oil based on top of water based ie polyurethane over latex.

You can't put water based on top of oil...polycrylic over oil based paint.

There are exceptions to this rule. Some oil based primers will allow latex over top.

OTOH, I had a Lowes employee swear I couldn't use a regular holesaw to cut another hole in my stainless steel sink. He wanted to sell me the $45 hole saw. Bought the elcheapo and cut the hole just fine. LOL

Jennifer Van Deusen said...

I love it!

Jennifer Van Deusen said...

I love it!

Jennifer Van Deusen said...

I love it!

Virginia Llorca said...

There is oil based and water based poly. I am guessing with latex paint go with the water-based. I think the opposite may be true you can't put latex over oil based product. I dunno. I have had every paint crisis. Just do it with the other if it blisters. I've had krylon blister over Krylon. Whatever. . .
Gonna try it in the kitchen. Small amount of counter.

Melissa Curtis said...

I painted my entire kitchen counters and cabinets 8 years ago from an old beige fleck to a black with white trim and I loved it. I did put the poly over everything and it worked out wonderfully!

uptowncincy said...

THIS IS FANTASTIC! I've been trying to figure out how to improve our gross grey kitchen counter.

Thanks!

uptowncincy said...

THIS IS FANTASTIC! I've been trying to figure out how to improve our gross grey kitchen counter.

Thanks!

Art By ASM said...

Thank you! I've been wanting to get rid of the marble blue looking counter top in my bathroom and everyone said I couldn't paint over laminate! I have a pretty cherry wood bathroom but the owners before decided blue was a great complimentary color....ick! So now I can get rid of it and paint over my hunter green 70's cabinets in my kitchen and counter top! The kitchen is the only room they didn't redo. It's my most important part to me though but I hate the colors! Thank you again for the tutorial!

Annamaria

Butterfly81012 said...

So I got a heavy duty, scratch resistant oil based poly will this be ok over the latex paint? I assume yes. How long did you wait between each poly coat? Thanks
Steph

Unknown said...

So let me get this straight...
You used oil based primer, then acrylic paint, and then polyurethane? How did the acrylic paint stick to the oil based primer?
Im really excited to try this on my kitchen countertops but which types of primer, paint and poly to buy?!
Thanks so much for your help!
Emily

ericakennedy87 said...

Question! Now that it has been a few years since you painted your countertops-- How are they holding up?

Britt-to-the-any said...

^^ I have the same question as I am looking to do mine soon.

Lady Sparrowhawk said...

Latex will cover oil, but oil rarely will cover latex. Oil based products need pores to sink into to cure and dry properly.

That being said, there are hardly any purely oil-based polys out there now-a-days. There are a ton of water based, or modified oil which can cure over latex paint. So the guys at HD might have had the right idea, but they were just misguided in their advice.

I know this because I worked for a local lumber yard in my area and was playfully referred to as the "paint goddess" for apx 5 years.

I love the tutorial, and might just be trying it one of these days!

Ms. Random said...

Wow! I really want to try this in the kitchen.

texaslivingandloving said...

I came across this a while back on pinterest and am family going to be trying your method in our master bathroom. We bought a foreclosure and the house needs a lot of work. I'm excited about trying this. I hope it turns out as well as it did for you. If it does I will be doing this in my kids bathroom as well. Thank you for posting this.

Yvette Romero said...

I read somewhere that polyurethane eventually turns yellow...is that true?
romeroyg@yahoo.com

Yvette Romero said...

I read somewhere that polyurethane eventually turns yellow...is that true?
romeroyg@yahoo.com

Daphne Lewis said...

My daughter sent me this link from a pin on Pinterest, and I am interested in trying it on counters I have in a house I'm going to sell. I am also wondering about the last question as to whether the polyurethane will turn yellow and am researching that. If I find anything, I'll leave another comment.