Paint a Countertop to Look Like Granite
The EHT staff came across an interesting paint system at the 2009 National Hardware Show that offered a way to decorate an existing countertop surface to look like granite. The product is called Gianni and it includes a kit that covers approximately 35 square feet of countertop—that’s roughly 16 running feet of standard 24-inch wide countertops. The idea is to use a combination of black primer and mineral paints of various color tones to mimic the natural appearance of granite. It provides a simple and inexpensive way to redecorate an old Formica, laminate, Corian or wood countertop without having to cut and install new sheet laminate or invest in more costly new materials and/or labor.
The Gianni kit is available in two styles: Sicilian Sand and Bombay Black. To spruce up the old, white laminate countertop shown in this article, we used the Sicilian Sand style, which provides a rich combination of soft, neutral stone tones. Here’s how the project went …
As with any painting project, the first step is to thoroughly clean the work surface.
Clean & Prep
As with any painting project, the first step is to clean and prep the surface to be painted. Remove any obstructions from the countertop surface—I even pulled the sink. Use a quality household degreaser to scrub away dirt, grease and debris, and fill any deep cracks or nicks with wood patch or laminate repair filler. Allow the filler to dry and then sand flush with the countertop surface. Cut away any loose caulk from the sink or backsplash.
Next, mask off the countertop and backsplash with a quality painter’s tape. The bathroom walls had previously been painted with a special two-part reflective paint, which was expensive, difficult to use, and damages easily from painter’s tape. (I won’t be using that type of paint again). Still, after all the hassle of applying it to the wall, I didn’t want to damage the finish, so I used a prototype of Frog Tape’s new self-sealing masking tape specially formulated for delicate surfaces (www.frogtape.com). I nabbed a sample at the Hardware Show and, prototype or not, the stuff worked like a charm.
The Gianni paint system comes in a five-phase kit, including: IronCore primer; three different shades of mineral paint to be applied successively; and a glossy topcoat.
Pour a small amount of the IronCore primer labeled “Step 1” into a paint tray. Use a 2-inch foam brush to cut-in the primer around the corners and edges of the countertop and backsplash. Use narrow brush strokes to minimize marks. The Gianni kit includes two paint trays, the foam brush and a roller.
Next, use the roller to apply the primer over the surface of the countertop. Work in 3-foot sections, rolling a single direction with overlapping strokes. After completing each 3-foot section, roll back over the primer with long, straight rows to reduce air bubbles. Repeat this process in 3-foot sections across the rest of the countertop. Make sure to roll out any paint runs before they dry. When finished, thoroughly clean your roller and brush with warm water, because you will use them again to apply the glossy top coat. Allow the primer to dry for 6 hours.