"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?" - Kathleen Kelly (You've Got Mail)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Painting Kitchen Counters

I have a long to-do list for the kitchen (you can see it here). This week I finally got started...I knocked two things off the list! One was small, quick and fairly easy...I organized all the "junk" on top of my cabinets. It was becoming a storage space and looked cluttered and messy. Everything is gone besides some large cute white and red bowls! Yay!

The second thing I did was pretty major. I painted our laminate counter tops. I was super excited but also very nervous to do this. It ended up being so much easier then I had in mind and I'm very happy with the results! Here are all the steps it took, along with lots of pictures! It took a total of 2 hours and about $55 to do the whole thing.

All the supplies I used:
Dawn dish detergent
2 inch painters tape
4 inch roller
Paint brush
Paint pan

Here are all the steps:

Step #1 - Clear and clean the counter tops really really well!

Step #2 - Degrease the counter tops. You can buy degreaser at Lowes or Home Depot. My counters weren't too bad so I just used my Dawn dish detergent and it worked great.

Step #3 - Sand counter tops using a 200 or 220 grit sandpaper. You don't have to take the finish off, just scuff it up a little bit to give the paint something to grab onto.Wipe the counter tops down one more time to remove any dust from the sandpaper.

Step #4
- Using painters tape, tape off the walls, sink, stove and anything your paint might get onto.

Step #5 - Prime the counter tops. I used Zinsser 1-2-3 bulls eye water base primer. It's made specifically for smooth surfaces. It says right on the can that it's great for laminate. I did one thin, even coat of this. Allow to dry an hour before adding color.

Step #6 - Using a water based enamel paint, paint 3 even coats. Use a paint brush to cut into all the edges and small areas, then roll the rest using a 4 inch kitchen/bathroom roller. Allow paint to dry at least 30 minutes between each coat. I used satin black from Valspar and it worked really well!

Step #7
- Using a water based polyurethane, brush evenly over the dried paint. I found that rolling the polyurethane created tiny bubbles, so I brushed the entire thing instead. Brushing DID leave visible brush strokes which I wasn't happy with at first. Everyone who's seen the counter tops said it's supposed to look like that intentionally and that they look good...so I guess that makes me feel a little better! I used 4 coats and let dry at least 3 hours between each coat.

Step #8 - Allow the polyurethane to dry and harden for 36 hours minimum before putting anything back on the counter tops.

Please keep in mind that this was only the first of many steps to renovate the kitchen so this is not the final product! Cabinets are getting new fronts and will be painted white with black hardware. We'll also be tiling a back splash and painting the walls. So the counter tops will look much better when everything is done :)

Before and After pictures

Sink area

Stove area

Small area close up


  1. oh, wow. I love it! Is it posssible for you to take a close up photo of the brush marks for us? This is something I am thinking about doing, and want to get an idea of how it looks.