Counter Tops Transformation

Last summer we worked hard to get every little thing done to make our house ready to sell. One of the eyesores of this house has been the dark green kitchen counter tops.  If we were going to purchase new ones we of course wanted granite or Corian and then it wouldn’t do to put so much money into the counters when our cabinets aren’t all that great. New counters would have also led to a new sink and faucet.  It’s been a quandary ever since we bought this house 8 years ago.

A few weeks ago when we were in Texas at Rita’s house, I admired the makeover of her guest bathroom and one of the things she had done was a resurfacing of her faux marble counter top and sink with something called Miracle Method.  At the time, I  assumed this kind of work had to be done by a professional contractor.

Two weeks ago we went to the local home improvement store to buy paint for our pantry shelves when I noticed Rustoleum had kits for counter tops.  The store had samples of how the counter tops would appear at the various stages of refinishing and it sure looked a heck of a lot better than what we had.  We didn’t need to think long before we bought the Pebble Ivory kit.

A video included in the box was very informative along with detailed instructions and so we wasted no time getting started.  The kit will cover up to 50 square feet and we were just barely under that when we measured but figured not having a back splash to cover would help.


This is “Before”


The first step was to remove the grout between counters and backsplash area.


The kit included a diamond hand sander block to deglaze the counter tops.  It only took a few seconds and we knew we were at the point of no return.


Next Steve taped off the backsplash and put up whatever we could find to protect the floors, lower cabinets, and wall.

On the left is Steve’s brother Bill who moved out here from Kansas in January and stayed at our house for two months while job hunting.  Now he is at another brother’s house in Colorado Springs. I have to mention that when we got back from Mexico the house was absolutely spotless.  So clean that the next day I actually went looking for dust or a smudge mark.  Nothing.  When Bill told me what all he cleaned I was astounded.  He even removed a couple of spots off the carpet that a professional carpet cleaner wasn’t able to get out last summer.  He polished stair spindles, cleaned the 10 globes of the light fixture over the stairs which had never been done, cleaned all the floors and more.


The base coat must be applied quickly because it has to be wet when the decorative chips are sprinkled on top.  It was even recommended to have a humidifier going which we did since the climate here is dry.  Bill used a brush for edges and Steve rolled the middle.


Looking good already except Steve was very worried there would not be enough base coat to put on as thick as he felt was necessary.


Steve and Bill did half the counter top with base coat and spread the chips before it might start drying before starting on the second half.  This spreader for the chips is included in the kit.


Here’s what it looks like after the chips are on


The counter tops needed to dry for 24 hours.  The next day when Steve vacuumed the enormous amount of loose chips there was a big oh-oh.  We didn’t get good coverage and you can see that in the middle of the picture and there were other places as well.  And he had not even started sanding yet.  We sure weren’t going to apply the protective top coat at this point.

Rustoleum advertises they have a 100% satisfaction so I called them the next day.  There was no wait to talk to a customer service person and the lady I talked to was very helpful.  I explained the problem and she asked if we wanted an extra kit sent out or a refund.  I wanted to be sure we had the extra kit on hand by the weekend rather than wait for a new one to be shipped and perhaps be delayed. She said just email copies of the original and replacement kit receipts along with a photograph and they would sent us a check for the second kit.  Five days later the check was in our mailbox and sales tax was included.

This past weekend Steve put another base coat on top and spread chips again.  NOW we have good coverage.  I think because we were so close to the 50 SF limit and also by putting a light coat over the dark, we challenged the kit to the maximum.  It’s too bad Rustoleum doesn’t separately sell cans of additional base coat.  Even if you don’t think you need it, it’s critical to have extra on hand because once you start there’s nothing you can do if there is a problem.


For this second go-round we bought plastic drop cloths.  A shop vacuum is a must for this kind of project.


On Sunday Steve sanded and sanded.  The kit includes a sample of how smooth the counter tops need to be before the top coat is put on.  There will be more sanding this weekend and finally the top coat.  Then it takes a week to completely dry although after 48 hours I can put light things on the counters.

Even though what was supposed to be a two day project turned into three weekends, we are extremely pleased.  The kitchen is so much lighter and even looks bigger now.  Hopefully this $250 (plus 2 brushes, 2 rollers, and drop cloths) expense will pay off in helping to sell the house.

Note:  There are pictures of the finished countertop project on another post at