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Review of Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations and Laminate Countertop Refinishing

Banish Ugly Laminate Counters With One Easy Product

Last week, I gave you a preview of Rust-Oleum's new Cabinet Transformations, an easy, affordable product which beautifully and durably refinishes cabinetry and furniture. I tested it out myself on a recent trip to New Orleans, and I'm convinced it's the greatest thing since sliced bread for those who are looking to affordably update kitchens. But where there are avocado-colored kitchen cabinet doors to update, there's usually ugly laminate countertops to boot. So Rust-Oleum has also introduced Countertop Transformations, an equally simple and inexpensive way to transform your worn, damaged, or, more likely, dated countertops.

Considering that the average age of the American home is 35 years, there's about 1.4 billion sq. ft. of laminate in the country. Unfortunately, laminate isn't quite à la mode. In a survey, Rust-Oleum found that granite (followed by quartz) is the countertop material most coveted by Americans. So they created a DIY-friendly product to help homeowners get the look of natural stone for only $250. It's really fascinating how this product works, so read on to hear more about it.

What do you need?

Just like the counterpart cabinet product, Countertop Transformations is a layered system in a kit. Nearly everything you'll need is included except for some household tools, which you may already own, including rollers, brushes, paint trays, painter's tape, disposable gloves, and rags.


How it works:

The first step is to scuff up the surface of your countertops with the kit's diamond-embdedded sanding tool. This brand-new product is hands-down the best sanding tool I've used — it's literally embedded with real diamonds, which are super tough and make sanding quick and easy. I'm crossing my fingers Rust-Oleum will offer it for sale separately.Next up, using a roller brush, you'll apply the adhesive base coat to your scuffed-up countertops. It's a water-based, nonpeeling, one-part formula that has a very low odor and a tar-like consistency. Begin by painting the back edge of the countertop with a regular paint brush.

Next you'll spray the wetting agent onto the counters, which helps to keep the surface open and wet for the next step.

Now here comes the fun part! You'll use the included rotary chip dispenser to spread the kit's decorative chips across the surface. The decorative chips are not only what will give your countertop that natural stone look, but they also enhance the durability of your counters. The chips are made of colorfast, finely ground vinyl and are nonfading.

Don't be fearful — just have at it and go wild with the chips. You can't really put on too many, but you'll just want to make sure you've covered the whole surface area. To help with that, the kit includes a sample swatch that you can use to compare the surfaces.

When it's finished it should like the above.

Now you'll use the chip scraping tool to scrape away excess chips. After that, you'll sand the surface with the diamond-embedded sanding tool. This will give your counters the smooth feel of those granite counters you love.Using a wet rag, you'll wipe away the dusty particles from the surface.

For the final step, you'll roll on the two-part activating protective top coat. Again, for the edges, you'll watch to use a brush to make sure you can in all the crannies. Then, you'll wait for it to dry! It'll be shiny and ready for light use in 48 hours and fully-cured in a week.

The top coat is a silicon epoxy that's chemical-resistant, nonyellowing, UV-resistant, water and stain resistant, low-odor, and low-VOC. It also bears the HomeShield Antimicrobial Protection Mark, meaning that it's engineered for high performance and long-lasting protection against mold, mildew, algae, and bacteria. It's also been tested against all sorts of stain-inducing items like wet sponges, wine, mustard, etc., so it will keep its color.

What's good to know:

  • Countertop Transformations is available in five different colors, including onyx, charcoal, java stone, desert sand, and pebbled ivory, basically ranging from white to black.
  • The product will cost you 60 percent less than installing new countertops, and it covers up to 50 square feet.
  • You can use it in the kitchen, bathroom, and even on laminate furniture pieces.
  • It's also applicable for both vertical and horizontal surfaces.
  • The chips are necessary for getting that smooth finish and part of the durability factor. So if you want something one-tone (rather than the speckled, natural stone look), you'll have to hold out until Rust-Oleum offers chips that exactly match the adhesive coat. Rust-Oleum does offer a one-coat laminate product, but it has no protective coat, so it's really just a short-term solution.
  • If you're thinking of replacing your sink, now's the time to change it. It'll be harder to get an even edge if you try to install a sink after using this product.
  • If your laminate counters are chipped at all (like so many are!), use an epoxy putty to fill them in before you apply the system.
  • The countertops hold heat up to 285 degrees, so be sure to use trivets for temperatures higher than that.
  • The active amount of time required on your part for this project is four to six hours, but the whole project will take about two days, including drying time. So it's a great weekend project!
  • You can learn more details, see before and after photos, and virtually visualize your makeover on Rust-Oleum's Countertops Transformations website.
Join The Conversation
RobynnLansyn1362620793 RobynnLansyn1362620793 4 years
A friend of mine tried this in Vancouver, but her description was very confusing. But this is very cool, and it looks fairly easy. I would love to have granite counter tops! I think I'll try it on a sample first though.
graysntx graysntx 4 years
To follow up on our problem with not having enough of the top coat - we contacted Rustoleum a second time with our complaint & they sent us an additional quart of the epoxy - free. We finished our countertops & we LOVE them. As I stated previously, this is not difficult to do, just messy & it is well worth the time & definitely a great value for the cost!
Carol2627781 Carol2627781 5 years
My sister and me did this on mu counter tops a yr and half ag .. they still look great , only downside is there was not enough of the epoxy top coat to make it smooth like granite , I receive many compliments even though its not really smooth ; His Joy Carol
deborahb45231 deborahb45231 5 years
I would love to try this, but I was really hoping for a white countertop. Is there another adhesive base coat or chips available in a white option?
Amanda2482191 Amanda2482191 5 years
I used this product 3 years ago on my kitchen and am now applying it to three bathrooms.  It is a fabulous product and is holding up well in a highly used kitchen, but there is a learning curve to applying it.   First recommendation, make sure you watch the DVD that is supplied, don't just read the instructions.  The DVD is very helpful in giving you a visual of what to do.   Second recommendation, focus your perfection efforts on the stone coat!!!  The primer coat is no problem, the seal coat is no problem, even the epoxy will self level ... the focus should be on getting the stone coat perfect, as any imperfections will magnify through the epoxy!!!  I actually had to do the kitchen counters a second time they looked so hideous the first time around.  While I followed the instructions, I did not have a full appreciation for how "perfect" the stone coat had to be.  Every ripple and ridge will show through big time!   Third recommendation, make sure you tape ... and make sure you remove the tape between EVERY layer of every level when it's still wet!  A pain in the butt for sure but you will regret BIG TIME letting the products dry on the tape!   If you can get the stone coat perfect, then your results will look identical to actual granite.   I also notice that every demonstration example uses a counter with a rounded edge.  That's too simplistic, most kitchens do not have rounded edges.  On a flat edge you end up with a rough stone edge but that's okay because it actually looks great, like jagged unfinished stone edges.   Having now used this product repeatedly I highly recommend it.  When we got a quote for granite for the kitchen it was going to be over $5,000 for a very small kitchen ... this same look cost a small fraction of that.
jmac2009 jmac2009 5 years
Has anyone tried Rust-oleum Countertop transformations on darker cabinet to light. The previous owner of this house sponge painted hunter green on creme... I want to try ivory over it.
dsgseholt dsgseholt 5 years
There are no words to express how horrible this product is. We had peach colored laminate countertops. We used the countertop restoration, and at the end of the day, we still need new countertops. There is not enough paint for the first step. Don't get me started on the sanding. My whole house is destroyed by a dusty film from sanding the countertops. Cleaning up the mess from the sanding step has already taken one week. There is still tons more! We did every step exactly like the instructions said. The pictures on the packaging and website are completely misleading. There is no way anyone could possibly ever get the results like Rustoleum shows in their pictures. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT! Use your money to just buy new countertops.
Fixerupper Fixerupper 5 years
Can this be applied to the oak edge of a counter, so in the end the countertop will look like a thick granite slab? Thanks to everyone previously for their feedback!!!
Fixerupper Fixerupper 5 years
Does anyone know how this finish holds up to scratches?
raven778944 raven778944 5 years
I tried this product in charcoal on my very old yellow laminate countertops. While the countertops look way better than they did before, I do have a few complaints: 1. During the sanding process it is very easy to sand through the thin coating exposing the old countertop- but you do have to sand until smooth or you will end up with a gritty texture. 2. They give you just enough base coat and top coat. I will be purchasing more epoxy top coat. 3. Rustoleum advertises this as a quick and easy weekend project, but considering the drying time between steps, and 1 week it takes the top coat to fully cure, you won't regain full use of your countertops for a little over a week. 4. Seems overpriced for what comes in the box- and with the special rollers and other items I had to buy I paid 160.00 for 30sqft kit + 40.00 (rollers, paint trays, plastic sheeting etc...) + extra top coat = over 200.00 tips: - follow the directions exactly and make sure you are using the correct rollers for base coat vs top coat - try to save a little extra base coat if you can in case you need to touch up spots after sanding - do not try to work in sections unless there is a clean break in the countertop like a sink or appliance- not a seam where 2 pieces of countertop meet or you might end up with clumpy spots - do not even think about doing this without a shop vac. The decorative chips will get EVERYWHERE. It is like glitter art. You throw a bunch of chips at the glue and see what sticks. I probably vacuumed a couple pounds of chips when all was said and done. With all of that being said, I am still much happier with my countertops than I was when I started. I would not have been as happy with the countertop paint Rustoleum sells for 30.00 since it is just a coating. The chips create a dimensional look that helped to mask some of the imperfections. Overall, I would recommend this product over replacing countertops if you are on a budget.
falcon57 falcon57 5 years
has anyone used this product on square corners All the pictures I see of the product is on rolled edges and I have an old square edge kitchen worried about the paint sticking to edge
Diamondragirlbf Diamondragirlbf 5 years
Its great to be able to breathe new life into things one already owns.
astringer astringer 5 years
I am an avid do-it-yourselfer and I am not completely satisfied with this product.First of all the epoxy basecoat cut it real close for a appox.40sq.ft counter top and with the reccomended high density roller it seemed not to cover thick enough.Another pint would probably been sufficient.Also with this large of an area we had to do it in sections per instructions;in doing this you can see where we stopped and started again through the finish coat.Should have a longer work time than the 20 minute time alloted.Final finish has streaks in it like roller streaks.A lighter color might have turned out better but we used onyx .
chatty-katty chatty-katty 6 years
I just bought the kit today, haven't even opened the box I am hoping to do this within the next two weeks. Before I start if I am going to need additional epoxy I would like to get it before I start...what exactly do I need
Charmed0531 Charmed0531 6 years
I just saw a commercial for the Rust-Oleum cabinet and counter refinishing kits and found love at first sight. My husband and I are looking to redo our kitchen, but on a budget, and this seems like the perfect product. Our counters and cabinets are perfectly good, but just not the design we want. Thank you so much for this article. I am always afraid of buying DIY products without hearing success stories. It's good to know that this product can actually be used by an average homeowner and still have it look good. Thanks!!
kml636 kml636 6 years
Thank you for featuring this product! I am so dying to try it on my TEAL and PINK formica in my bathrooms!
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