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Kitchen Makeover Series Part 2: Faux Granite Countertops

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Giani Faux granite update version 1

Hey friends! I’ve been keeping busy over here at “Chateau Frugality”. As you may have seen in my previous post, Kitchen Makeover Series Part 1, I have been spending my days revamping my kitchen…on a VERY teensy budget. So teensy its a little sad actually. But I know there’s ways to get the look you want on a shoestring, so I decided to take a gamble and try some things I had never done before. Like installing my subway tile backsplash. I also decided that our drab countertops were going to have to go.

Giani faux granite counter paint

Here’s my “before” shot. As you can see, this was actually done BEFORE the subway tile backsplash was added. You’ll see why I did it this way later. I didn’t want to have to worry about taping off the grout and tile to prevent the countertop paint from getting on it, so I just did the counters first, then the tile. I just posted them in reverse because I felt like it 🙂

For this project, the lovely folks at Giani Granite sent me a faux granite countertop paint kit in Diamond White. You’ll notice my counters don’t look white, and that’s because I was able to mix the paints to get various shades of gray…which I will go into later as well. Here’s what the paint kit included:

Giani Granite Counter Paint

It basically includes everything you need. I chose the white kit vs the black kit (even though both would produce gray for an end result) because I preferred the accent “mineral colors” that came with the white kit. The Pearl Mica is like a sheer, iridescent gray color. Unfortunately it doesn’t photograph well, and sometimes lends even a blueish tone in photos, but in person its gorgeous!

The application process is pretty simple, but I highly recommend practicing your technique until you get results you’re happy with. I did the whole counter with one technique, and it turned out too “splotchy” and looked obviously sponge painted, and I wasn’t happy with it. Totally my fault because I ignored the instructions to practice on the INCLUDED black cardstock before I began. Whoops.

But seriously though, this kit is under $100, and includes enough to do a 35 sq ft countertop. They sent me a little extra because my counters were larger than 35 sq ft, so thankfully I was able to redo the whole thing when I botched the application.

All you need to do to get started is clean your countertops REALLY well. Scrape off any stuck on bits, clean with a heavy duty degreaser, then wash down two or three times with plain water and a clean, damp cloth. Make sure there is ZERO residue left behind or your paint won’t adhere properly. Tape off edges (unless you plan on tiling after like I did) and put newspaper over your cabinets down below, because there WILL be drips. I used my stove top as a “home base” of sorts, and if you choose to do this, I recommend a plastic drop cloth, which I added after this picture was taken. Oh, and get yourself a nice icy beverage, because you’re gonna get thirsty!Giani Faux Granite Counter Paint 2

Here’s a picture of the prep from another angle. It’s worth mentioning to make sure you have proper ventilation. Like any paint, these have slight fumes, and its best to have fresh air circulating at all times.

Giani faux granite counter paint 3After the countertops are clean and dried and taped off, you’re ready to start. Dump some of the black primer into a paint roller tray. Use one of the two rollers provided to roll on the primer. You want a solid, even coat. Make sure to always leave a wet edge, and have gentle pressure on the leading edge (in this case, the right side of the roller) to help prevent roller lines/marks. Your primer needs to be solid to prevent any moisture from seeping beneath it.

Giani Granite countertop paint roller

Cover the counter completely in the primer, let it dry. Only ONE coat is needed. Take care to ensure no missed spots and no drips. Don’t forget to do the edge too!

Giani Granite countertop paint drying

You should be left with a good, solid, matte black surface. Let that bad boy dry overnight before you start with your mineral colors. In the meantime, practice your technique with the enclosed practice board. Seriously, don’t skip this step, because if you’re not happy with the finished project because you didn’t practice, I will laugh and say “I told you so”.
Ok maybe I won’t laugh, but still, save yourself the headache and practice. Oh and in case you’re wondering, my upper cabinets are not always that messy. I had to take everything off the counter top for this project so a lot of the counter stuff wound up temporarily shoved into whichever cabinet it fit in. Don’t judge. And the cabinet doors? They are in my garage being painted. I like to have three projects going at all times. That’s just how I roll. (Stay tuned for a post about the cabinet project soon!)

Get your mineral dabbing station set up once everything is dry. I have a plate covered in foil (or paper plates) for each separate color, and one for mixing new shades.

Giani Granite Countertop paint take 1

My first attempt turned out too splotchy. I did not practice my technique (see my warning above). Oh, and another warning…

Giani Granite Countertop paint Lourde fingers

Make sure you wear latex gloves. They aren’t provided in the kit, but they are highly recommended, unless you like rocking the look of Lorde’s black fingertips at the Grammy Awards.

Anyway, back to discussing mineral paint technique…

Giani Granite Countertop paint take 1This was my first attempt. As you can see, its pretty splotchy, and it was worse in other areas. I decided I wanted a more subtle look, and so I re-primed, and did my mineral colors a second time. The second time around I used a sponge that was oh-so-slightly damp, to apply my mineral color, and a second sponge to “blot”. I basically tapped on my color and tapped over it with a clean sponge to meld my colors better. This seemed to achieve a better result.

Giani Granite Countertop finished

Much nicer! In fact, this photo is much closer to an accurate depiction of the color of the finished counter. It doesn’t have that blue hue from the Pearl Mica like some of the other shots. Its a nice charcoal gray, with a subtle sheen.

After your mineral colors dry (at least 4 hours or again overnight) you can lightly sand down any bumps or globs with very fine sand paper. Since I used a blotting technique, I didn’t really need to do this step, but if you found you were a little heavy handed with the mineral colors, this will help make things smooth again! Then carefully apply your top coat, for a nice glossy finish.

Giani Granite faux countertop paint

Let the clear coat dry 4 hours, then apply the second coat. Let that coat dry four hours before using the countertops, and they recommend two weeks before you put anything super heavy on the newly painted counter (which is why my microwave is currently residing in the dining room.

 

Let’s take a quick peek at a before and after shot:Giani Countertop Paint Before and After

Much better! Finally starting to come together…now I just need to finish painting the dang cabinets! You can see in some of these pictures the lighting and the orangey wood cabinets definitely make the counters look more blue than gray in some light, but that’s ok! Blue and orange are complementary colors on the color wheel, so they enhance each other. Once the cabinets are white, the blue won’t be emphasized as much. By the way, check out that handy tile work…Giani Granite countertop finish

 

Well there ya have it! The Giani Granite countertop paint was a success! It takes a bit of time, and I imagine it would be more difficult if we had small children in our house (keeping them out of the kitchen for two days while painting would be tough) but its doable. And the end result is pretty great too. So far they are plenty durable too-I tiled the backsplash after I painted the counters, and even dropping tools and tile pieces didn’t make a single scratch! The company does however recommend using gentle cleaners-nothing harsh. We are trying to use less harsh chemicals in our house as much as possible anyway, so I grabbed these Lysol wipes that clean with hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach or other abrasives and so far they seem to work nicely on the counters.

Giani granite countertop cleaning wipes

But use whatever gentle cleaner you prefer. Even a vinegar solution would be fine.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in my kitchen makeover series!

Kitchen Makeover Series Part 1: Subway Tile Backsplash
Kitchen Makeover Series Part 2: Faux Granite Countertops
Kitchen Makeover Series Part 3: Painted Cabinets (COMING SOON!)

What do you think of the Giani Granite countertop paint?

DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for some products that I recommend. For more information please check out my Disclosure Statement.

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Lori

Tuesday 28th of March 2017

How do you feel about the countertops 2 years later? I'm trying to decide if this is the way to go or not. Also, with the slate color your chose is it possible with the colors provided to make it lighter at all? I love the gray, but I think I'd be happier if it was a bit lighter. The other option is White Diamond, which seems really light. I'm not sure I want to go that light.

An Exercise in Frugality

Tuesday 28th of March 2017

Hi Lori! With the benefit of hindsight I would do a few things differently: - I feel like it wound up looking more blue than gray (which might be ok for some) and I think it was because I used too much of the mica which is iridescent so it made it have a blue sheen. - I think I either applied the clear coat too thin or needed another coat. The spot on the counters where I did the most food prep started to have the clear coat peel off after a year and a half or so and I think that's a combination of not having enough clear coat and also because I stopped being careful about the cleaners I was using.

To answer your question about the colors, you could probably achieve what you're looking for with this kit OR the White Diamond, it's really about how you apply the colors. This kit's base coat is black (not sure about WD base coat) so for this one you would just apply MORE white and leave less of the black showing. Depending on your countertop size you might have to buy an additional can of the white to achieve a look like that, but take a look at their Facebook and Instagram pages because there's tons of ideas of how people used these kits to achieve very different results. :)

Sorry for the LONG response, but I hope this helps in your decision!

Easy DIY fall Burlap Wreath

Friday 25th of September 2015

[…] excuse the paint on and under my fingernails. This wreath was made the day after Ipainted my countertops, and as you can see I made the mistake of not wearing gloves. […]

Scott

Friday 10th of October 2014

I can't believe that turned out so nicely! It really is a huge difference for what I would expect to be a fraction of the cost!

An Exercise in Frugality

Friday 10th of October 2014

Thanks so much! Yea, as much as I would love real granite, its SO not in the budget right now! This will hold us over until we are ready to take the plunge. :)

myfabfitforties (@myfabfitforties)

Friday 10th of October 2014

Wow!! It really does look like granite and the price can't be beat! What a great way to give your kitchen a whole new look without breaking the bank! I'm inspired - as I sit here looking at my old tired kitchen!! I'll definitely check this out now! The tiles look fab too - and the nail 'art'!

An Exercise in Frugality

Friday 10th of October 2014

They have a cabinet paint kit too! I haven't tried that (I'm using other paint for my cabinets) but they look great. The tiles were relatively simple too, cutting is the hardest part! My nail art on the other hand could use some work. :)

Literary Winner (@LiteraryWinner)

Friday 10th of October 2014

I've been wanting to see how these came out! They look great! I'd love to try these on my countertops but I think the world might collapse if I shut down the kitchen like that.

An Exercise in Frugality

Friday 10th of October 2014

Thanks! I am pretty happy with the results too. I know for those with kids, shutting down the kitchen might be kind of tough. We wound up eating fast food (I COULD have made something but I was not in the mood after all the painting!) but you could totally have some freezer cooking stuff or crockpot meals ready for the two days, if you plan ahead (I clearly did not!)