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Remember when I answered all your burning questions and you asked if I ever messed up on anything. And I was like, All. The. Time.
Ok, this project was one of those trial by error projects.
Luckily, its result was stellar – stellarly good looking and stellarly cheap as well.
And I’m aware stellarly may not actually be a word.
It is now though.
Dear friends, let me show you the cheapest and easiest way you can turn those ugly laminate countertops from yesteryear into beautiful “stone” counters.
At first glance, what kind of material would you think that countertop was made of? Stone, right?! But it’s totally not – that countertop was once a regular old laminate countertop!
Let’s back up for a second. First off, these countertops are in the man cave. I showed you the whole built-in makeover last week. Before all that though, the built-ins looked like this:
Complete with shiny brownish-burgundy countertops circa 1970.
Initially when Grunt Labor and I did a “lazy job” of redoing this space, I painted the countertop. I knew good and well it would end up scratching off, but I didn’t really care because I was pregnant and just wanted to lounge around in my fold-out lawn chair and eat chocolate while I still had a good excuse to do so.
So I did, and if you’ve been pregnant before, then don’t tell me you would have done any differently. 🙂
And what did the countertop do after it was painted?
It got lots of little scratches here and there. Just like I knew it would.
A few months back when I really committed to overhauling this space, I knew I couldn’t leave the countertop as it was. I had lots of ideas – I would clad it all in pallet wood, or 1 x 4s, or pleather with nailhead trim….. Then, I had a better idea, I wanted to make it look like soap stone. I would paint it black, then come back with a tiny paintbrush and maybe add some grayish-whiteish veining.
Pssssshhhhhh…..As if I actually have the patience for all that.
After I realized that idea was a bust, I had a thought.
I wonder what this countertop looks like underneath the laminate.
So I started tearing it off….
How to Make Laminate Countertops look like Stone
- Drywall Knife, Metal Scrapers, Pry Bar or something similar
- Chalkboard Paint
- Topcoat – I used wax, but if your countertop is going in a kitchen or where water is often being used, go for a polycrylic topcoat.
Starting at a corner of the countertop or a side, gently hammer your pry bar, drywall knife or scraper under the laminate of your countertop, then pop it up.
Continue doing this until your countertop is sans laminate and all you are left with is a piece of wood. It is totally ok if you make a few nicks, scratches and such on the wood as you tear the laminate off.
Take a look at the wood you are left with and decide if the texture is “stone-y” enough for you. If you want more texture to it, you the scrapers to scrape into it some, beat it a few times with the hammer, hit it with a chain, whatever. This is also a great stress release exercise. 😉
If the wood is too rough for you, give it a light sanding with a palm sander. I did do this, as there were a few splinters sticking up that I wanted to take care of. A very light sanding is key here though.
Once you are satisfied with the texture of your wood, give it a minimum of two coats (but I did three) of chalkboard paint.
After the paint is fully dry, you need to seal the countertop. I used Minwax Finishing Paste Wax. I am not a fan of using waxes usually, but I knew the wax would keep that muted look of the paint so it looked more like stone, but still protect it, so that’s what I went for.
To apply the wax, I used my AutoRight Detailing Polisher.
I put some wax on the foam applicator, applied it to the counter, let it sit for 20 minutes or so, then came back with the microfiber bonnet and buffed it. The polisher makes it sooooo easier to apply wax to pieces.
If you are doing this countertop technique on a kitchen countertop or bathroom countertop that is going to be getting a lot of use, I would highly recommend you using a more heavy duty sealant like a polyurethane or polycrylic, which would hold up to water much better.
Here’s our end result:
And another shot:
Helpful Tips and Questions Answered:
How are they holding up?
Since this project was completed, we have actually moved out of the house where this countertop is. We were there for about two years though with the countertop and it was holding up just fine! My in-laws actually live in that house now and the countertop is doing well for them too!
Could I put food directly on the countertop?
Since you’re using a wax or polycrylic topcoat, I would suggest that you not put food directly on top of the counters.
Can I use a different kind of paint?
So I used the chalkboard paint because I had it on hand and because it had that flat, black color, but a little grayed out like soapstone looks. I think that you could use a different paint, however I would definitely suggest using a flat finish paint to get that stone look.
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