Thursday, February 24, 2011

Countertops - Answers to some questions.

Ok - first of all - THANK YOU!  The comments have been so sweet that I am blown away.  I am so new to this blogging thing and I have to admit prior to today, my followers consisted of my sisters and a few friends.  Now I have REAL PEOPLE!  Persons I don't even know who are interested in what I have to say - its crazy awesome.  LMAO!  I have blog friends and it is wonderful.  Thank you for making this so fun!

Secondly - I have no idea really what I am doing.  So, with that being said, if you want to put the pics and information on your blogs, etc then go right ahead.  Someone asked me to post on their blog - if you tell me HOW to do that, I will be more than happy to comply.  I feel like such a blog dork and I totally need you blog experts to help me along.  Thank you! 

Now to the questions and comments....

Most of the information I had ascertained was from Google.  The site that gave me the final oomph to just dive in and get started was http://www.thriftyfun.com/.  The pictures and discussions on that website were awesome.  I was on that website everyday throughout every step of the process.  It was like my support group.  :-)

1.  The Blow Torch!  I was ok with the whole process until I read that I needed a blow torch to hold over the bubbles that wold come up through the poly within the first hour of pouring.  WHAT?  I bought a blow torch for $10 and I used it only because it was really cool!  The bubbles were really not an issue for me.  Yes, that was part of the $115 cost.  Think of the bubbles like when you are making pancakes - they bubble up and you need to pop them with heat so they don't dry in the finish.  You simply turn it on and move it slowly a few inches above the surface where bubbles may appear.  If you see bubbles you simply move the blow torch over it until it pops.  You do not want to touch the bubble because if you leave a mark, you won't have the smooth as glass finish.  One woman posted that while her Envirotek was wet,  her cat jumped up on the counter and then ran through the house.  She had to start all over again.  Be careful!

2.  Edges/Backsplash!  Yes, these are a little tricky.  When you pour, you want to pour in the middle of the counter and spread the solution to the corners and the edges.  You have a good 10 minutes to move it around before it starts to set.  Make sure every piece of the countertop is covered and then go back and level.  Slowly move it out to the edges and keep applying and re-applying.  After about 15 minutes, it will begin to set.  As long as the edges are covered, they will shine.  Just make sure you didn't miss any spots.  IF you get drips on the bottom of the edge, try to wipe when wet.  If not, you simply have to file them off when they have dried.

The backsplashes are a little more difficult.  Again make sure you pour on the ledge and then let it run down the front.  Make sure all surfaces are covered.  It will pool at the bottom where it meets the counter.  Take the throw-away paint brush sponges - I found for thi task, the wide ones worked the best.  Just keep bringing the up the liquid from the pool and brush it up onto the backsplash.  It will take a while for it to stick and once it gets tacky you are good.  Keep your area size manageable. 

Think of your kitchen now.  Do you really stand there and examine every square inch of your counters?  No.  And once this is done, you still won't.  Mine are not perfect and yet I can hardly notice a spot which was a little thinner or where I poured over a clump of glitter.  By the time you get back to normalcy in the kitchen, as long as you covered every part of the countertop - you won't even think about any glitches.  You will be so thrilled with result that an imperfection here and there will be just fine.  Hope this helps!  Good luck!

33 comments:

  1. Hi! I've had your countertop makeover bookmarked for quite a while, and wondered how it is holding up after almost a year. Would you do it again?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Marti! It is holing up perfectly. It is the exact same way it was the day I did it a few years ago. I absolutely love them everyday I see them. If and when I can ever afford granite, maybe I will change them out. But I am completely satisfied with the appearance and durability and have never had one regret about doing it. I am going to paint my kitchen blue in the next few months and add a backsplash so I am excited to see how the counters will look even better. Thanks and good luck! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Tracy! I'm getting ready to paint my countertops and had one question for you...I found your blog from remodelaholic and one commenter said perhaps a blow dryer would work instead of a blow torch. What do you think? I'm doing white countertops, so the blow torch makes me a bit nervous about yellowing the envirotex. Thank you for the inspiration! Can't wait to get started!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I personally did not have a big problem with the air bubbles and used my blow torch as a precaution and sparingly at that. Maybe a blow drywer would work - I am not sure. The blow dryer may distort the liquid depending on how strong the setting. I don't think you would yellow the Envirotex - it us non-yellowing. I kept the blow torch several inches above the counter and moved it back and forth. I think if you keep it moving and follow the directions on the box - there is no chance of effecting the color of the poly. Hope this helps. Good luck! How exciting - the change will blow you away! :-)

      Delete
  5. Hi Tracy, I am doing my bathroom counter now and am following your blog :) I was wondering when you dabbed on the silver and black paint with the sea sponges did u let the silver dry and then went over it with black and repeated that process? or did you just keep dabbing silver and black immediately and while it was still wet?

    thank you for any help :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley! Thank you for the follow! Actually I did it both ways. The silver paint dried rather quickly and so if I did a larger section, if I went back to dab, it was already dry. It didn't seem to make a difference. I found the less paint I used on the sponge but sponged more frequently it turned out better - more realistic. Also, when I was finished with a large section, I would step back to the kitchen door and you can see any inconsistencies much better. Sometimes it was like WHOA how did I miss that or a big glob of silver. Even if it was dried, I could fix it and it wouldn't be a problem. Once this was done and the glitter was applied, I didn't dab anymore because then it would be a mess of clumping glitter. GOOD LUCK! If you have any other questions, ask away. :-) Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Hi Tracey!
    I am getting ready to do this to the counter tops in the employee lounge of our powersports dealership. I just wanted to clarify if the Rustoleum black paint was in fact a can of spray paint. Also the silver metallic paint...was it also a spray paint? If they are both spray paints...how did you go about "dabbing" on those paints with a sponge? Thanks for your help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nichole, NEITHER of the two paints were spray paint. I tried spray paint and for me it was a disaster. You can use any paint because it is going to be coated and sealed but I had this paint laying around. You can buy any black paint and any metallic paint in the small cans and it will work wonderfully! Just use a sea sponge from Hobby Lobby or craft store and just keep playing until you get the look you like. Please let me know how it turned out! Good Luck!

      Delete
  7. I'm so impressed with your counter tops! I just purchased the materials tonight to try. I figured I would start with my bathroom counters to start and build up my confidence to tackle my kitchen. I have a couple of questions.... Did you remove your sink prior to doing the counters? And if not, how did you manage around the sink? Also, if you left the sink, did the envirotek make a mess of the sink and how did you clean it off? Also, on the back splashes... I have the pieces that are separately covered in the laminate and added. I think you said you removed these prior and it looks like you did in the before pics.... so did you do the treatments on them separately, coat them, and then add them back to your counter tops? I'm confused because you also gave instruction to pour the envirotek on the ledge and let it run down and you keep brushing it up until it sticks. Looking forward to your answers so I can give this a try! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie! So sorry about the delay in answering your questions. Firstly - i absolutely did NOT remove the sink. I taped around the sink and when I spread the resin around, I used it sparingly up to the tape - it leveled out by itself. Once it was setting, I removed the tape carefully. It worked out great! Actually it did not make a mess of the sink. Just keep using new paper towels to prevent drips and messes. My backsplashes were pieces of 1 x 4s so I removed them prior to doing the counters. I did these separately and then adhered them to the wall with liquid nails and added some resin to make it look seamless. Ironically, I am in the process of removing them to add a ledger stone backsplash. The "ledge" was referring to the front end of the countertop. As it starts to gets slightly tacky, reapply to make sure it picks up enough resin to keep the gloss consistent. GOOD LUCK! Feel free to post any more questions. I will try to offer any help I can. :-)

      Delete
  8. Hi Tracy! I'm also from OP and found your blog while researching butcher block in the area. We just moved into a new home and the kitchen countertop is awful. I can't wait to try your faux granite method on it! Thanks for all the instruction--now may I borrow your blow torch? LOL...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Tracy! Wow, I'm so glad I happened upon your post! If a person decides to do their countertop in a lighter color then I assume they wouldn't start with the black paint over the primer. Would that be correct? Thanks loads...YOU ROCK GIRL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Lady Harley! Thank you so much! Yes you would use whatever color you wanted to use as your base coat. Then you would decide which colors you want to make up your "granite". You can go to your local home improvement store and look for samples you can bring home. No matter how light you go - I would think silver metallic - even used very slightly will add some bling. Good luck!

      Delete
  10. How did you move around the envirotex? A roller? A spatula?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelli! I moved the Envirotex around with a sponge paint brush. I bought a multipack of the cheap wide ones because once you use it - you throw it away. It can get messy but I found it was the easiest way (and kinda fun) to control the liquid. Good luck! If you have any more questions - ask away!

      Delete
  11. Tracy ... WOW! I am in phase 2 of a mini kitchen redo. I took island out and made the counters a continuous U shape. Since we did this we had to do some patching to make the counters meet. So my question is with the Envirotex ... as its a complete U shape do I pour and distribute the entire counter at once? It doesn't seem like it would be enough time? Also the edge of counters (the lip), did you just sparingly bush on the envirotex after the counter itself was done? SO NERVOUS!!!! But no turning back now counters are painted so ....

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Sue! How exciting! Since the counter is continuous, yes you need to do the countertop at the same time. You have a few minutes to move it around and have the seams meet. You have to try and do it quickly but slowly at the same time. As far as the edges, use a sponge brush and dab just enough to make them shiny. Try to sponge the drips off the edges because if you let them dry, you will have to sand them off. Good luck!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh my. Oh MY! I've looked and looked at many a DIY counter redo from blogs to articles to products. THIS is the only one that seems to be the biggest bang for the buck - and easy and non-toxic-fumage as possible. I can't wait to show my husband. ::gulp:: Our kitchen is the honey oak cabinetry with a laminate counter. A forest green, leaf motif laminate counter. Egads! I've gotten used to it, I suppose, but I definitely think a counter redo (or eventual replacement) would bring the kitchen up a few [zillion] notches. Even if we leave the oak cabinets as is and just redo the counters like this (only a light granite version) and replace the aged brass filigree hardware...wow. It would be a different kitchen and probably help us last a bit longer before cashing in on a kitchen reno.

    All that said, THANK YOU for your courage, your post, your excellent instructions, AND your responsiveness to comments/questions. They have been extremely insightful. My question which you've answered but I want my own answer: It appears you've had the counter redo for about 3 years now. Would you say that it holds up as well as laminate? I don't put super hot pots/pans on my counter, but I do put bowls of hot soup or microwaved beverages on them without any harm. I also have done very light cutting (as in cutting a banana in half with a tiny knife) without harm (well, without visible harm...the leaf motif might be hiding a ton...). Just wondering if the clear coat would hold up as well to that kind of thing (obviously I still wouldn't put super hot pots/pans or do full-on chopping). You would say that the redo was WELL worth the financial and time investment? Cuz it sure looks like it was!

    Hesitant but anxiously excited that this might be my long awaited answer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dawn! Thank you!!! With your question - the clear coat is as hard as a rock. And yes I can put hot bowls of soup and sometimes I do cut on it with no problem at all. Coffee, cocoa, is all fine. They are very durable. They look probably 95% as great as the day I finished them. Very little wear except for when my sister was cutting a trim board and ran into the counter with a saw - but it was an easy fix. ;-) You will be AMAZED at how much your kitchen will change by doing this! The time wasn't really that bad - it was me who had to do trial and error to find the right products and color combo. If I did it again it would take about 3 days total and I would do it again in a heart beat! I love it! Still - I walk in my kitchen and I'm like wha??? So glad I took the plunge - best $100 bucks I spent in my house! Good luck! ;-)

      Delete
  14. One more question... Our counter has the bull nose (I know...keeps getting worse, eh?), so I'm assuming we would just have to work with the sponge brush to make sure the clear coat doesn't pool at the dip and slide off the top of the curve? (Does that make sense?)

    ReplyDelete
  15. es the edges are a little tricky. What I would do is do the surface and make sure that is all covered and pretty level. As it beings to dry, then take your sponge brush and just lightly sponge some clear coat on the front of the bull nose to pick up the shine and give the illusion of granite. Make sure that the entire front of the edge is covered. It may drip for a while but eventually it will harden. Make sure you wipe the drips - once they harden it is difficult to remove them and have to sand it - its just an awkward angle. They won't drip for very long. Please send me pictures when you're done - can't wait to see! If you need anything else - ask away! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I will totally send you pics since you are the inspiration. :-) Hubby is ALL for it! Woo hoo! Let me know how to send or post pics...cuz I'm not sure how to do that through a blog.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My niece sent me your site and it's exactly what I've been looking for. :-) I noticed most of the questions had to do with heat on the counter top. ... what about water? How has it held up over the past few years with wiping it down and/or spills?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello Gennifer! The counters are as hard as granite - seriously. Water, vegetables, food spills, hot liquid spills, etc. have not affected the countertop in any way. It is really no different than the original formica. The Envirotek surface is really non-permeable. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am going to try this technique with my bathroom vanity top and just wanted to ask you a couple of questions. You said you used a white primer and then added black paint to make it grey. Then you added a stone texture paint and it didn't work so you sanded it off. Then it said you used black Rustoleum. I just wanted to make sure that you didn't still have the primer layer on and that you just used the black paint or did you reapply a primer layer and then the black paint? Also, the other paint you used-the silver metallic and Martha Stewart glitter-did you just use craft paint from Hobby Lobby or did you get it from Home Depot? I am a little nervous about doing this so any information you had would really be appreciated. Your pictures looked awesome and I can't wait to see how mine turns out. Thanks for your help-
    Judy

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Judy! Thank you! Answers... I always made sure there was primer on the counters for the first coat. Just any old primer will do - nothing fancy. I then rolled the black paint onto all the coutners and then sponged it with Rustoleum Metallic Paint. I used a sea sponge and dipped it in the silver and then kept alternating the sponged black and silver to get the desired look. There really is no way to mess it up - you just have to like the look because once you put the acrylic on top - it is going to look exactly the way you painted it. Keep playing with it and have fun! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Tracy - I'm going to attempt to refininsh our countertops using your method. I LOVE your pictures and all the information you've provided on how to achieve this look. It definitely gives me the confidence to just dive right in! I have another question for you though - what is the blue/gray color you used to repaint your kitchen? I love it and think it would look great in my kitchen as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cami! Thank you! The color started with ICE RINK by Martha Stewart at Home Depot and then we tweaked it. I have the formula and will post it for you when I find it. But I found another color that matched almost identically. When I find that I will let you know as well. :-)

      Delete
  22. They are beautiful!!! I cant wait to try!
    I have about the same amount of counter space as you except I dont have the extra bit that you have by your microwave. Maybe even a little less than that. Anyway, my question is how many boxes of envirotek would I need? Also, I wouldn't be doing any backsplash, we're going a different route with a reclaimed wood type backsplash, so strictly for the counters and spill over for the sides, how much would I need? Thank you for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi! Thank you. The small counter took one box of Envirotek and the larger counter took two boxes. I used 3 boxes total! Hope this helps! Good luck! Would love to see your results!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi! Your counters are gorgeous! I am going to do this also, but had a couple questions. Do you repair knife cuts in the laminate before you prime it? Do you sand the laminate before priming? And last, I am really sensitive to chemical fumes, have to use low VOC paint when I paint, does the Envirotek have very low fumes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thank you. You really don't have to repair anything because the Envirotek will cover everything. You do not need to sand the laminate before you prime either. I also use low VOC paints and I am very conscious about chemicals and such. You can smell the Envirotek but it doesn't last long - maybe a day in my experience. I did mine late at night so it dried overnight and by the morning of the second day there was no problem at all. Good luck!

      Delete