I decided at the beginning of the summer that the kitchen needed a little updating. Our appliances are mostly new and we changed the outdated knobs on the otherwise nice cabinets this spring. However, it needed some help. It could have had something to do with the 90s wallpaper that was original with the house. I stripped the paper and painted a nice buttery yellow color to contrast nicely with the sky blue counter tops we had. Well, the lovely laminate countertops had a 5″ laminate “backsplash” glued to the wall and essentially the paper I was trying to take off. I pried that off and took the paper off behind it, revealing uneven counters and some pretty messy caulking. I cleaned that up but there was no way to put the laminate back and the uneven up-to-1/2″ gaps between the wall and the counter didn’t help. After making trips to Home Depot and Lowes, I realized we could just put new countertops on, no big deal. I picked out some stock counters and we were all gung-ho until we were told that because we needed an extra food (The stock tops only come in 12 foot sections or something like that) that we would need to custom order and that would run us nearly double. What!?
Money wasn’t really the issue. We wanted these things done. So I went on a business trip and had every intention of coming home to replace the counters. While I was away, a friend “liked” a page or said something about the Giani Granite Paint for Countertops on Facebook. I was like hmm… So I looked into it. I watched a youtube video and was intrigued. After checking it out on the Giani Granite website and reading other reviews, I found there really wasn’t much to be said about them that was negative. Actually, they had surprisingly rave reviews.
I ordered my Bombay Black kit from Amazon and with my Amazon Prime membership, I got the kit in 2 days with free shipping for $75.55. Giani sells them on their website direct for $79.95 (with about $10 shipping) so I was pretty thrilled. I figured if it sucked, we were going to replace the counters anyways so let’s do this! It was a total experiment.
The kit comes with a priming paint, 3 mineral paints, and a top coat. It also comes with a big sponge, a roller with 2 roller heads, a practice paper, an instructional DVD, and a foam brush. I kind of expected the box to be really heavy but it wasn’t. The paints are really rich so a little goes a long way, which I loved.
We went to the store and bought some MDF board to use as a backsplash. We basically glued it and caulked it with paintable caulking (you will need to get rid of any silicone caulk because it won’t work with the product). I used 5/8″ board so it would look similar to granite. In reality, the granite would probably be much thicker, but we just didn’t have the room behind the sink to be any bigger. Now we are ready!
Here’s the Process
Put simply, you prepare, prime, sponge, and topcoat.
After reading the directions, you have to clean your counters. You can use a simple degreaser and a scouring pad. I SOSed the shit out of the counters to make sure all the crap and wax I’ve spilled wouldn’t affect the outcome. Again, they want you to make sure you don’t have the silicone caulking but we had already taken care of that. It is also recommended that you rinse at least twice with water. You also have to tape around the backsplash. Giani recommends 2 strips of tape and being lazy, I only did one. Do two (believe me). AND!!!! DO NOT USE FROG TAPE. Someone told me that is the only one to use because it is just soooo good. LIES. It sucks.
Once our counters were ready, I used the primer that they supply. You use the little foam brush to get on top of the back splash and in the crease of the backsplash and the counter as well as the little spaces the roller can’t reach. You have to wait 8 hours after putting the primer on. It did cover very well but I missed a few spots and after reading another review, noted the woman put 2 coats and it came out ok so I did another primer coat and it was perfect. The primer did cover very well, though.
Next, you cut the sponge into pieces and start with the mineral paints. It gives you detailed instructions on how to sponge the paint on and in what order. This was almost fun. I was nervous it wasn’t going to match from one end to the other, but the beauty of it is that you can go back and add more if you need it. There are 3 different colors. In this particular kit, it has a pearl/white/silver color, a nice glossy black, and a copper color for accenting. The accent color is used sparingly and I used it to paint some veins into the scheme. It looked like I just painted the counter at first but after the blending and adding the different colors, it looked pretty neat.
By the way, the paint washes out of the sponge and foam brush really easily with just water. Also, be very careful not to use any strong degreasers on your stove while th primer is bare… another reason I needed a 2nd coat. OOPS!
So the topcoat is the last of it. After waiting 4 hours for your spongepainting to dry, you can topcoat. There are detailed instructions and an extra video included in the DVD on how exactly to do it. I was a little nervous it would come out cloudy or with laplines but it came out nice. You wait 4 hours and do another, which really came out great. The next day you can use your counters and your dishwasher. Wait 72 until you can put small appliances back, and 14 before you should really be cleaning it. It should be totally cured in 30 days.
Ok, so it seems like a lot of waiting but it isn’t. I did a little bit here and there and even put a topcoat on before work so it was ready when I came home. The results really are great! I couldn’t believe it! The only downfall from the project was the bleeding I had from the TERRIBLE FROG TAPE and so I will have to figure a way how to get some of that off my wall above the backsplash. I totally agree with the reviews. It saved me about $600 from start to finish (including the adhesive, backsplash, caulking etc). So for a total of less than $100 I have brand new looking counters. The original counter’s integrity was great so it is great I didn’t have to waste a perfectly good top. My mother in law didn’t even know it wasn’t granite until we told her.
Thanks, Giani-you make a great product.
*disclaimer: I totally didn’t get paid to do a review nor was I supplied with the product from the company. I just love it THAT much. And don’t buy Frog Tape.