DIY Countertop Refinish SUCCESS!

Hello, all!

If you have read my previous post, you will know that I have struggled hard with these countertops. The polyurethane chipped, yellowed, and overall, just let me down.

I have experienced a range of emotions throughout this entire experience. I was ecstatic when my faux marble countertops came out looking like this:


But I was devastated with small chips of paint started peeling off within the week. I now know that is all has to do with the finish!

I used 4 coats of Giani’s Acrylic Topcoat. I chose this because the top coat is designed to be a long lasting top coat, but it did the worst job. I have used it as a polyurethane replacement, and it does an excellent job! I just would not recommend this topcoat for something that experiences severe wear-and-tear.

If I had sealed my work with Envirotex Lite, I would have been able to enjoy my faux marble countertops for many years to come.

Learning from our mistakes, my husband and I started again. We scrapped our previous countertop paint down to it’s original Formica Laminate glory.

We started here, back at the beginning:


I started by sanding the countertop with 250 grit sandpaper. My countertops have been sanded many many times before, or I might have started with a courser sandpaper.

For the initial prep and paint, I used these materials:

  • Comet or any other abrasive cleaner ($6)
  • Bath Works Etching Cleaner – I had this left over from my shower refinishing kit ($10)
  • painters tape ($10)
  • scrap bag to cover faucet (FREE!)
  • Tack Cloth ($2)
  • KILZ oil based primer ($9)
  • “better” quality paint brushes in 1″ and 2″ ($8)
  • Face mask (2 for $7)
  • ColorPlace Interior Latex Wall & Trim Paint in Semi Gloss – Charcoal Gray ($8 for 1 quart)

After sanding, I cleaned with Comet and the Etching cleaner. I followed the instruction that came with the Etching cleaner, which was to rinse off the powder with warm water after scrubbing.

I, then, painted off the areas that I did not want to be painted. I ended up getting paint of the tile, but I was able to scrape that off with a razor blade after I was finished. I did put an old paper, prescription bag around my faucet because I can get messy!

After everything had sufficiently dried, I put on two coats of KILZ oil based primer. I waited for the first coat to dry overnight before putting on another coat.

This is what the countertop looked like after the second coat of primer:


FUN FACT: you can put latex, acrylic, or any other water based paint over an oil paint, but you cannot put oil paint over latex, acrylic, or water based paints.

I then started adding my ColorPlace paint! This was the color we were hoping for on our first project!!

paint gray.jpg

I added two coats, allowing each coat to dry over night. This is latex paint, so it takes a bit longer to dry. Be careful not to get ANY water on this! We accidentally splashed water on the first coat before it fully dried, and it left weird water droplets. These mostly went away with the second coat, but if you look hard enough, you can still see the water indent.

We loved the look of this already, but we wanted to add a bit more to spice it up! Naturally, we took a trip to Hobby Lobby.

We came back with these materials:


We stared with the Metallic Lustre.  This was inspired by the tons of other bloggers that have added glitter to their Epoxy topcoat. Due to my bad luck with the Eopxy, I figured this might be a safer bet.

I started applying the White frost in large circles across the countertop. I was hoping it would blend better, but it is more of a paste than a powder.


After I had coated the entire countertop with White Frost, I started going over it with the Black Shimmer. I did this in lines because the Lustre did not blend very well. This allowed the White Frost to peek through without being overpowering.


After the entire top had been sufficiently coated in Black Shimmer, I went back over with a few swiped of White Frost. I blended this out with the Black Shimmer brush.


After this step, I put a coat of basic water-based polyurethane over the Lustre. I used cheap foam brushes for this step so I could just throw them away when I was finished! I did not want to risk a bonding issue with my Resin coat, so this is an additional “just in case” practice.

After the polyurethane had dried overnight, I sanded it some with 250 grit sandpaper. This helps the Resin bond with the polyurethane more effectively. I would avoid using oil-based polyurethane for this step.

FUN FACT: Oil-based top coats tend to yellow more quickly than water- based top coats.

We added Envirotex Lite on top of our sanded polyurethane and waited for that to cure. the top coat was beautiful already!


We let the resin run off the sides of the countertops freely. I did try to catch drips before they hardened, though, because they will “freeze” in place essentially and be very hard to remove. Here is what that looked like:


The Envrotex Lite took 3 full days to completely cure. After that was finished, I sanded down the edges pictured above, to get rid of the wavy look. I wiped down the edges with pure acetone and applied a “flood coat,” or a thin coat of resin only on the sides. If I had any major indents, this is when I would fill those as well.


Here is the final look! Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Honestly, I did not like Envirotex Lite before this experience. Turns out, all my issues were user errors! This time, with extra care, I ended up getting a perfect, beautiful topcoat.

To use Envirotex lite:

  1. Cover and tape everything you do not want to be hardened.
  2. Measure your Resin and your Hardener separately. You want to be exact.
  3. Mix your Resin by itself for 2 full minutes with a silicone spatula.
  4. Mix your Hardener by itself for 2 full minutes with a silicone spatula.
  5. Combine your Resin and your Hardener in one bowl – everything your use this with will be trash. Make sure you get everything out of your original bowls!
  6. Mix your Hardener and Resin together for at least 2 full minutes.
  7. Apply your mixture to the countertop and spread with your spatula and foam brushes.
  8. Use a hairdryer on high heat to pop bubbles that have formed
  9. Remove tape before the mixture hardens.

If you’re wondering how this finish holds up after several years, check out Dawn’s Blog! She first refinished her countertops in 2011, and they are still holding up strong!

If YOU try this at home, please let me know how it turns out!

Next week, I will be showing you how to turn a cheap cabinet into a shabby chic dream!

This page does not have affiliated links. This post was created before I became a member of the Amazon Associates program. I will not receive any benefits from your purchases.

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