One of the bigger tasks of my redecorating project was painting the formica counters in my dining room and kitchen. The counters were installed in 1996, three years after I bought the condo, when the kitchen and dining area were remodeled. I was never real crazy about my color choice, but it seemed to make sense at the time. Over the years the counters were scratched a little, especially in the kitchen but, more importantly, since I was redecorating I wanted to lighten everything up. So these counters had to go.
After reading up on the different counter installations and their required maintenance, I decided I couldn't afford any of them. And I figured if I painted them I could always just touch up any scratches or dings. I knew it was possible to paint laminate, so I read a lot of tutorials, talked products and techniques with my expert buddy at my local Ace Hardware, and jumped right in.
First step, mask everything because I tend to be sloppy when I work.
Then a light sanding ... and a coat of primer. I used Zinsser B-I-N primer. Here's also a sneak peak of the new wall color ' Behr Premier "Cafe Cream"!
For the next coat I used paint in the same color as the walls, except that I used enamel paint, thinking it would have that extra measure of strength and adhesion. Then the fun began!
The next layer consisted of about 4-5 different colors, most of which I had on hand, including white, caramel, aqua, copper, and cream. And, of course, a bunch of sea sponges. As you can see, I used a separate tray and sponge for each color and yet another clean sponge and rinse bucket to gently blend all the colors.
Then it was just a question of sponge, sponge, sponge, dab, dab, dab. I didn't try to minic marble - I just wanted a sponged finish that would be less likely to show any potential damage. This stage went a lot quicker than I expected!
Done with the dining room counter.
On to the kitchen counters.
I'm not afraid to admit it when I mess up, so I will tell you my first step in the kitchen was a mistake. For some (not thinking) reason, I decided to try a solid caramel enamel paint (Behr "Real Cork"). (I didn't take pictures.) After I had finished painting all the counters and letting them dry, I knew that was a mistake. This is a kitchen counter! Splashes, stains, scratches - all potential happenings in the kitchen and all likely to show up much more on a solid color counter. After I thought about it, I knew I couldn't leave it that way. Back to the sponges!
Since I was doing this at a different time and on a darker base coat, even though I used the same combination of sponged colors the kitchen turned out a bit more toward aqua, which doesn't make me unhappy at all!
Once I was satisfied with all the counters, I applied THREE coats of Minwax Polycrylic Clear Satin finish.
Obviously, as I would with any counter, I don't put any hot pots or plates directly on the counters. I actually have a few of my 12x12 floor tiles sitting right next to my range and they work great as hot pot holders.
It has been a few months since the counters were finished and so far so good. They wipe up well, the poly finish keeps them from staining, and they look just fine.
Once a pot slipped out of my hand and nicked a tiny hole in the counter. A little dab of paint and a coat or two of poly and I can't even see where the nick was.
I'm very happy with the end result and, best of all, it fit my budget!
On to the next project ....