Another Laminate Countertop Solution
February 22, 2011
There’s been a few emails, wondering what I think of the new Countertop Transformations kit by RustOleum, the latest product to hit the market, offering a relatively inexpensive solution to existing laminate countertops, compared to the expense of replacement.
I used the kit two weeks ago while attending a RustOleum event in New Orleans.
As we all know, fabricating and installing new countertops is pricey, and in this economy, not something all of us can be investing right now. But there are so many kitchens out there with outdated laminate or Formica countertops ~ those leftover yellows, avocado greens, and burgundies from decades past. Short of replacing them, what choices does a homeowner have?
Carmell recently posted on my Facebook Page the following:
“Hi CG! I just want to thank you for your post on the RustOleum Cabinet Transformations. I am looking forward to the countertop one too. I showed my hubby and I think I’ve finally have him convinced that we should do this in our kitchen. We can’t afford a complete reno right now. The kitchen is so new so why not save the money for something else? Here is what it looks like right now.
Picture dark cabinets with granite counters and lighter walls. *swoons* I wish I had 10 kitchens in my house so I can redo them all in different cab/countertop combos!”
Good news Carmell, take a look at Kelly’s Before & After, submitted to RustOleum after using both the Cabinet and the Countertop Transformations products.
Nice upgrades! Way to work with what you’ve got, I say!
And isn’t that the truth? Short of a hefty renovation fund, we really do have to work with what we have, and so often, just a fresh coat of product will save us from the insanity. There’s hope for your kitchen Carmell, and plenty of color combinations available with these new products!
I had a hands on experience using this Countertop Transformations product two weeks ago, and I also sat in on the roundtable discussion with the head folks at RustOleum after the workshop.
Quite frankly, my initial reaction to this product was lukewarm. While I’m very much excited about the Cabinet Transformations kit, I was sort of ‘meh’ about the countertop solution. I do believe RustOleum is on the cutting edge of a novel concept: empowering the homeowner to refinish or recoat a laminate countertop rather than replace it, and in a way that will take on moisture, heat, and the everyday wear and tear that occurs in kitchens.
Here is what you get with the kit:
The product works like this:
(sorry for the mediocre picture quality, they were taken with an iPhone)
First, you scuff up your existing countertop with the sanding tool provided. Next, you apply the adhesive base coat with a brush/roller combo. The ‘open’ drying time is about 20 minutes, but you can use the wetting spray (included) to keep working with the product. Given the short ‘open’ time, this step requires focus, no walking away once you start!
After a nice thick adhesive coat, you use their chip dispenser to spread the decorative chips.
Be prepared, this is extremely messy. The chips mostly land on the countertop, but they also fly everywhere within 2 feet, including the floor and surrounding appliances. It’s best to have everything covered with a tarp and also taped off. Wait 24 hours.
The next day, you scrape then sand the chips down ~ there’s a sample included in the kit so you know how smooth you want the new surface.
Finally, you apply the innovative protective coat, the one that according to the R&D folks at RustOleum, gives the same protection against moisture, heat, and wear and tear, provided by the original laminate countertop.
The entire process takes at least 48 hours, and nothing is allowed to touch the countertop between coats and while it cures, which will be inconvenient for a few days. It takes a week to fully cure.
The full How To Guide is here, and you can also play with different cabinet and countertop combinations with the online virtual tool. It comes in five colors, three dark and two light, all of them have the speckled pattern which results from the color chips. For additional product usage, including bathroom countertops, take a peek at this gallery of ideas. Want more reasons to pick this product? RustOleum had come up with ten of them. If you’d like to take the plunge, be sure to measure your countertops with their online tool.
The Pros: 1) It’s a great quick fix if you have a laminate countertop that you can’t stand anymore, or are looking for a relatively inexpensive way (compared to replacement) to give your kitchen a fresh new look, either for yourself or for resale. 2) The directions and application are easy to follow. 3) The surface appears very durable after examining it up close. It feels thick like it will stand the test of time, and it does come from a company with a long reputation for durability, they back it with a money back guarantee. 4) The colors are nice, three darker shades and two lighter shades that will complement just about any cabinet color or stain. 5) The kit is low odor compared to the other RustOleum laminate countertop solution (see below).
Showroom sample, finished countertop in ‘charcoal’:
The Cons: 1) In my opinion, it’s pricey retailing at $249. I think this product should be less expensive for the DIYer. For double that, you’re looking at a starting point for brand new laminate countertops with small kitchens. Save up some more dough, and you could be looking at 12 x 12” granite tile countertops. 2) You have to like the speckled look, there’s currently no ‘single color’ alternative with this kit. I questioned whether the vinyl chips are really necessary, and according to RustOleum, they contribute to the durability of the product. It would be nice to have them come in the same color as the adhesive coat so they blend in for those who’d prefer that option as an alternative to the speckled look. 3) It’s messier than the countertop coating with the requirement of the vinyl chips on top of the adhesive coat with the chip dispenser ~ they get everywhere. 4) As of now, the only sheen available is gloss. I’d like to see a less shiny, more matte protective coat available.
Note there is yet another RustOleum alternative, their laminate renewal countertop coating. I found three links you may want to check out. First, Kristy at My Pretties painted her canary yellow laminate countertops with it. Sarah at Ugly Duckling House also used the same to refinish her kitchen countertops in gray. Finally, be sure to read about my friend Mrs. Limestone’s recent countertop paint job at her kitchen condo hideaway. Beware, all three report bad fumes with this particular solution, but the end look is a definite improvement.
Any questions about this new laminate countertop solution? Be sure to ask, I’ll answer them in the comments! Tell me your thoughts.
Do you have outdated laminate countertops or know someone that does? Would you be willing to try this new Countertop Transformations product?