How to Resurface a Laminate Countertop (in 6 Steps)

Date: January 31, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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If you know your old countertop is starting to get ugly, it’s probably because your outdated countertop is also dating your kitchen. You probably want to replace it, but the expense is something you might be worried about affording. So, forget about granite and laminate, right? Think again. You can quickly resurface a laminate countertop with our help.

So, how do you resurface and refinish a laminate countertop? You’ll need to know how to sand your countertop, clean your countertop, remove caulk for repairs, utilize painter’s tape, de-gloss with sandpaper, apply primer, and then apply several topcoats. By learning our methods, you should be able to replace your countertop for under $300.

Since there isn’t a lot of information available on the Internet today covering how to resurface and refinish a laminate countertop, we created this guide to help you out. Below we’ll discuss how you can affordably replace, refinish, or fix your laminate countertop so you can make your kitchen look lovely again.

 

Fixing Up Old Laminate Countertops

If you’re tired of looking at your old laminate countertops, you probably aren’t alone. If your countertop reminds you of something out of the 1970s and you are tired of the stains and chips you see on it, it is probably time for you to do something about it.

However, isn’t it expensive to get a new countertop? Yes, of course, it is! However, you do not have to obtain an entirely new countertop at this point. You can save quite a bit of money by fixing up your old laminate countertops and getting the look you want. It is quite easy to repair any chips or wear and tear on a laminate countertop using a few simple steps.

When it comes to fixing, refinishing, and resurfacing your old laminate countertops, you have several options to approach this issue. If you want an entirely fresh look for your countertops but you cannot afford to spend much, you can consider purchasing a refinishing kit. Many of them come at a price of less than $300. These kits are accessible for a DIYer to use and include directions and customer support. We’ll give you a bit more detail about these kits a bit later in this article.

If you want to save more on your countertops and spend less, you’ve got another option. You can use a paint laminate to give your countertop the look and feel of granite. Trust me; once you’re done, you’ll be happy to show off your new countertop. Plus, by using a painting laminate, you’ll be recycling your countertops and keeping them out of the landfills, meaning you’re doing what’s environmentally friendly, which is vital to many people nowadays.

We’ll give you more information about paint laminate kits so you can refinish your countertops later. We’ll also discuss resurfacing your laminate countertops and using the kits we mentioned above. However, first, we want to cover minor fixes on your laminate countertops, like chips and scratches.

 

Laminate Countertop Minor Fixes

Maybe you don’t feel like your laminate countertop is outdated or needs a total refinishing or resurfacing job yet. That’s fine because if you fall into this category and you simply want to repair some essential wear and tear, you’ll save even more money when you touch-up your countertops.

 

Repairing Scratches and Chips

You can repair scratches and chips with laminate repair paste or by using a repair pen that matches the color of your countertop. Both of these products are easy to find at hardware stores and only cost about $8.

If you are taking this route, keep in mind that you won’t be doing much sanding. Once the repair paste gets hard, you won’t be able to sand it down, or you might wind up doing a lot of damage to your countertops. Try not to overfill the defects and simply camouflage them.

 

Getting Rid of Stains

For those of you with unsightly stains on your countertops, you can remove those stains easily by using a paste made from one part baking soda and one part water. Then, place the paste over the stain and let it sit for a few hours. Do not rub the paste in, ever. After making it stay for a few hours, you’ll need to wipe the paste off lightly with warm water and a paper towel.

If you use the baking soda trick and you are still left with stains, we’ve got another method you can use on more challenging areas of your countertop. Grab some nail polish remover or acetone, whichever one you have, and a clean rag. We recommend always using white cloths, so you don’t stain your countertops with any additional colors. You can also use things like paint thinner and denatured alcohol if the nail polish remover or acetone does not work.

Now that you understand how to repair stains and chips from essential wear and tear on your laminate countertop, we’ll move onto discuss how you can paint your laminate countertop if you wish to refinish it into faux granite. After that, we’ll cover how you can resurface your laminate countertop using a few other methods.

 

Refinishing Your Laminate Countertop to Faux Granite Using Paint

If you’re tired of the way your laminate countertop looks and you want to update it to something more modern, particularly faux granite, then this is the section for you. If you are looking to resurface with other finishes or by using kits, we’ll cover that information in a bit after this section.

You can use paint to refinish your laminate countertops and create the look of faux granite. Many people love the look of faux granite, and they also enjoy the fact that it is easy to clean. Plus, it’s straightforward to transform a laminate countertop and give it the look of faux granite, and it works very well if your countertop is a large surface. Remember, how good your finished countertop will look depends on how much effort you put into your prep work.

So, if you want to transform your laminate countertops into faux granite, we’ve got the process for you here below.

 

Clean the Countertop

First, you’ll need to clean your countertop using warm water and soap. Focus on getting rid of whatever dirt and debris you’ve got on the countertop. If you would instead use a cleaner, TSP is excellent for cleaning your countertop, but it isn’t very green. If you prefer to use green cleaners, you can make your cleaner using equal parts of vinegar and warm water.

After you wipe it down with the vinegar and warm water solution (or whatever cleaner you purchased), wipe it down again, but use denatured alcohol this time. Once you finish, avoid touching the countertop at all costs because your fingers have oils that can contaminate your countertop. If you have any pets, especially curious kitties, and they shed, you’ll also need to keep them away from you while you are doing this.

 

Remove Caulk and Repair

Once you’ve got everything clean and ready, you’ll need to remove the old caulk. You’ll especially need to focus on the areas around your faucets and sinks when you do this. Then you can start fixing any chips or cracks you have in your countertop, as long as they are more extensive than 1/8th of an inch. Use your two-part epoxy putty to do this. Wait for the putty to dry, and then you can sand and pat it down so that it has a smooth look.

 

Use Painter’s Tape

While your putty is drying, you should complete this next step. Get your painter’s tape out and put it over everything you don’t want to paint. That means you should cover your faucets, sink, and any backsplash areas you don’t want to paint. Also, keep in mind that applying painter’s tape does require some serious focus, so take your time. Ensure that you’ve gotten an excellent grip with your tape in all of these critical spots.

 

De-Gloss with Sandpaper

Since you want excellent adhesion when you paint with your base goat, you’ll need to de-gloss the whole countertop area. Use 100-grit sandpaper for this step and make sure you smooth out the surface. Also, wipe the residue with a clean rag. When you are done, get a flashlight and look around for any areas you may have missed.

 

Apply Your Primer

Now you’ll need to apply your high-quality oil-based primer onto your countertop. Then, let the countertop dry and sit for at least four hours. Depending on the primer you use, this may require more time.

Since we are focusing on making your countertop look like faux granite, you’ll need to apply a minimum of at least three different paint tones, going from light to dark or dark to light. The first coat you’ll use will be your base coat, and you’ll need to cover the entire surface. After that, you’ll add the next two layers with a sponge and dab in a random pattern.

 

Tips for Creating a Faux Granite Look

If you are planning on using the above steps to give your laminate countertop a faux granite look, you’ll need to know some of the below tips as well to assist you:

  • Visit your local home improvement store and take a look at some real granite countertops. Study a few samples and ask about the colors you see in the patterns. If you know the colors, you should be able to create the same look on your countertop at home.
  • When you are applying the different color coats of paint, you’ll need to use each coat while the previous layer you applied is still mildly damp. You want the colors to blend a bit for that faux granite appearance.
  • You can create the appearance of grain with a feather and lightly swipe it across any paint that is still damp. Don’t overdo this step, and it should be done where you feel it’s relevant to create the faux granite look.
  • If you want some veins in your faux granite countertop, you can do that using a fine-tipped artists’ brush and use a contrasting color, like pure white or solid black. Remember, you’ll only need a little bit because it will cover quite a bit.
  • You should also get some gold and silver glitter flakes and sprinkle them over your final coat of paint and before you use any topcoat. Remember, natural granite has particles of quartz in it, so you want to recreate that look.

Once you are all done with your painting, you’ll need to apply two more acrylic polyurethane topcoats. When you do this, grab a dense foam roller. After that, you’ve created the faux granite countertop look for a very affordable price!

While resurfacing your laminate countertop into a faux granite countertop is one option for your countertops, it’s not the only one. If you want to create a different look other than faux granite without a countertop kit, we’ll cover that process for you below. We’ve got some excellent refinishing suggestions for those of you on a very tight budget.

Resurfacing Laminate Countertops on a Tight Budget

If you want to do something else besides the faux granite look, that’s fine. Don’t worry; we’ve got the steps for you about only resurfacing your laminate countertop if that’s your preferred method. Using the technique we have for you below, you’ll be able to refinish your countertop for less than $50. If that sounds as good to you as it does to us, keep reading!

Materials

  • A good paint roller
  • A foam paintbrush, or a type of paintbrush that won’t leave marks.
  • Countertop coating
  • Sandpaper
  • A clean cloth
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Respirator mask
  • Painter’s tape
  • Painter’s plastic
  • A drop cloth or an old sheet or towel you can use as a drop cloth.

Before we get started with the steps, keep in mind that the steps for this countertop coating project can be tinted to sixteen different colors. However, you’d have to buy your color at a home improvement store if you want them to tint your paint in a particular color. You don’t need to purchase the tinting if you don’t want to necessarily. It’s not necessary, and it can save you quite a bit of money.

 

Type of Paint

For this resurfacing project, you will need to have some information about the kind of paint you’ll use. Since we aren’t using the faux granite effect here, you’ll need to purchase countertop paint and not just regular paint.

That’s because countertop paint comes in a different consistency, and that does make it a bit more challenging to apply. However, it’s also much stronger and longer-lasting than regular paint. Since you probably won’t want to resurface your countertops again anytime soon once you do this, purchase the countertop color.

Unfortunately, countertop paint also has a strong aroma to it when you paint. So, that’s why we recommend that you use a respirator and make sure you can open some windows and get the air to circulate. Your home will smell for a couple of days after you do this.

 

Instructions

Unless you want to create the faux granite countertop look we described already above, you should not use regular paint to resurface your counter. That’s because it won’t last as long and create some peeling and bubbling issues for you later. So, you will need to purchase countertop paint and follow the steps below.

Step #1

First, you’ll need to grab your sandpaper and sand down the countertop and the backsplash areas. You do want to do this a bit rough because you want your new paint to stick to this area quickly. Once you are done sanding, you’ll need to wipe the countertop off to get rid of the debris. To clean the surface, use a mixture of one-part warm water and one part soap. Then, let your countertop area dry before you move onto step two.

Step #2

Now grab your painter’s tape and tape off the parts that you don’t want to paint. You should cover your sink area, any faucets, etc. Also, you’ll need to cover your kitchen floors with a drop cloth, some old towels, or a sheet. If your countertop is near your fridge, you’ll probably also want to use painter’s tape there, too.

If you want to protect your cabinets underneath your countertop, grab your painter’s plastic and put that below the counter. Since you aren’t aiming to paint your cabinets, it’s better to be safe and make sure you are covering them with something.

Step #3

You’re ready to start painting with your brush! When you paint your countertop, start at the back area and move forward as you paint. That way, you won’t be forced to lean over the wet paint as you move (trust me, if you do, it’s going to get messy!)

Begin with your backsplash lip area and use a thin layer around that area. Then, move toward the crevices and paint a couple of inches of the counter before you proceed to step four.

Step #4

Next, get your paint roller and paint over the rest of the countertop. Start with the top, then move to the sides, and last, do the edges. Use a thin layer of your countertop coating, and remember to move from the back to the front, so you don’t create a huge mess.

Remember, you are going to need to apply several coats to make this project work. However, you’ll have to wait for each layer to totally dry and touch it up before you can use the next coat. So, the next few steps require some patience.

Step #5

Make sure your initial paint layer is totally dry by touching it lightly. It usually takes about one to two hours to dry completely. After that, you’ll need to apply another layer of thin paint to the whole countertop and backsplash, using the same method you applied for your first coating.

Now you’ll need to wait for your second coat to dry again before you apply another coat of paint. You’ll need to repeat this process of using a few layers until you’ve got the color you want. You should know that you’ve done enough coats when you cannot see the former richness of the countertop at all, and your new countertop color looks smooth and stable.

Step #6

After you’ve applied all of the coats you need, and you are satisfied with your new countertop’s look, you’ll need to take off the painter’s tape. Leave your countertop alone and let it sit to cure for at least three days before you start using your countertop regularly again.

While your countertop will feel dry within hours, you want to avoid putting items back onto your countertop too quickly. If you don’t let the countertop cure, you can wind up chipping your work. So it’s best to wait the entire three days before you return to using your countertop as before.

Resurfacing your laminate countertop this way should cost you less than $50, so this method is excellent if you are on a tight budget. Also, completing the project is relatively straightforward, although working with the countertop paint can be a bit difficult because of the smell and the paint’s thickness. However, if you are willing to put up with all of that, you can have a brand-new looking countertop for a meager price.

However, if this method also isn’t for you, don’t worry! You can purchase a countertop refinishing product kit. These kits cost a bit more than $50 but are still reasonably affordable. Many first-timers feel better purchasing the kits because they come with all of the materials you need and an easy set of instructions to follow. If you think that’s all important to you, then keep reading. We’ll cover more on countertop refinishing kits below.

 

Countertop Refinishing Product Kits

If either one of the processes we’ve given you above simply isn’t for you and you feel that a countertop refinishing kit would be much more comfortable, then go for it! We’ve got some information on some of the best and most affordable countertop refinishing product kits below. If you purchase one of these kits, you’ll get all of the products you’ll need to refinish your counter and an instruction manual. If you are a beginner, this can take a lot of the stress out of refinishing your countertops!

 

Kit #1: Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations Kit, Small Kit, Charcoal

One excellent resurfacing kit that’s also affordable is the Rustoleum Countertop Refinishing System. With this kit, you’ll get a tremendous refinishing package that will work even on a tight budget. Your countertops will look completely new if you use a package like this.

We recommend the Rust-Oleum Countertop Refinishing System because it offers a low-VOC option for those of you that love going green. This product is comprised of a cement mix and makes a stone-like finish on your countertop. The finish resists stains and scratches quite well. Also, you can purchase this kit in five different patterns: Onyx, Concrete, Espresso, Slate, and River Rock.

If you purchase this system, it takes about three full days to complete your project, and that also includes the time you’ll use to dry your coats. Many countertop resurfacing kits are designed so you’ll need to apply multiple coatings, just as you would if you were painting the countertop yourself. After you use each layer, you’ll need to wait for the countertop to dry before you can proceed wholly.

Drying time can vary depending on where you live, but in most cases, you should expect to wait for about twelve hours before you re-apply another coating. Overall, this kit works very well over the long haul and is quite durable. You’ll wind up with an affordable package that can make your countertop have several different faux looks, including Soapstone.

One Rust-Oleum Countertop Refinishing System kit will let you resurface about fifty square feet of countertop safe. Also, the topcoats used by this company are food safe and approved by the FDA. You can typically find this kit priced at around $220 or less online.

 

Kit #2: DAICH SpreadStone’s Mineral Select Countertop Refinishing Kit

Another affordable option for a long-lasting refinishing kit is DAICH SpreadStone’s Mineral Select Countertop Refinishing Kit. We recommend this kit if your countertop has any unusual surfaces to cover, like plywood, tile, or particleboard, as well as laminate. What’s nice about this kit is that it is impact, heat, and stain-resistant, which is pretty impressive. Plus, it is also low-VOC and an epoxy-free package.

If you opt for one of these kits, you can purchase them in ten different shades. Those tones include Oyster, Natural White, Canyon Gold, Onyx Fog, Volcanic Black, Mantel Stone, Yosemite, Ironstone, Lodestone, and Sundance.

One of these kits will cover about forty square feet of countertop space. Also, the primer and topcoat that come included in this kit are both water-soluble. Even better, you can purchase this kit at Home Depot for just $125.

 

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered several different methods you can use to refinish and resurface your laminate countertops. First, we covered the faux granite method for those of you that want to make your laminate countertops look like granite. Next, we covered some information about using countertop paint to create other types of finishing looks. Last, we discussed a few countertop kits you can purchase to help you resurface your countertops.

Now that you know how to do it, it’s time to resurface your countertops today!

 

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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