Southern Mom Loves: Refreshing Your Kitchen on a Budget: Giani Granite Countertop Paint {Review}

Refreshing Your Kitchen on a Budget: Giani Granite Countertop Paint {Review}

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I received Giani Granite Countertop Paint from Giani Granite in order to facilitate an honest review. All opinions are my own.

When we bought our century home, we knew it would take a lot of hard work and time to update and repair a house that had been neglected for so long. It hadn't had any updates since the 80's, so it wasn't that just had issues

I'm going to walk you through how we updated our kitchen on an extreme budget by transforming our countertops with a Giani Granite Countertop Paint kit. If you didn't catch the last post where we ripped out the backsplash, repaired the wallboard, and painted our kitchen in preparation for the transformation, you can read it here; I included a tutorial for the repair portion just in case you needed some help there. Are you ready to see the transformation?


Before and After removing the backsplash, repairing the walls, and painting.

To recap the last post: 
"...since we're slowly replacing the appliances, I knew we didn't have the funds to complete an entire reno, so I started researching ways to update our kitchen on a small budget. I knew if we painted, it would brighten the room up substantially. I could live with the cabinets (for now), but the countertops and matching backsplash were pretty awful. They were cream-colored with gold flakes embedded in them. I'm sure it was the height of fashionable finishes in 1980, but in 2014 they aren't even in the running."

"I remembered seeing that there are paint kits that could transform your countertops, but wasn't sure if I could actually make them look like the samples. Professionals painted those samples, right? And I also remembered they were pretty expensive in the Home Improvement store that I saw them in. Hmmm.

So, I started researching online. The first company I came across was Giani Granite. They provided plenty of tips and tricks, videos, and also customer pictures; Those looked amazing and gave me confidence that I could do it too. Also, the price tag was was about one-third of the kit that I saw in the store!
After convincing myself I could do it, I was excited. I contacted Giani Granite and they were so kind! They provided me with their Sicilian Sand Granite Countertop Paint Kit to review."

Continuing where I left off, we had a freshly painted kitchen, but it still needed help. I have future plans for the cabinets, and the unfortunate choice of rubber bumpers lining the walls and under the cabinets, but for now, I'm ready to start with the countertops!

The Giani Granite Coutertop Paint kit comes with most of what you need to complete an entire countertop transformation.

And in addition to Sicilian Sand, they offer other color options: Chocolate Brown, Bombay Black, White Diamond, Roma Red, Emerald Green, and Sapphire Blue.

From the website:
Giani Granite Kits are ideal for upgrading Formica, laminate, Corian, ceramic tile, butcher block, cultured marble and traditional granite countertops and vanities. Each Kit covers 35 square feet or 16 running feet of standard 24" wide counters, which is the typical amount of countertop area in a kitchen. A quick, fun and easy 'paint-by-number' process for beginning painters.  
  • Project time: 4 hours of painting and 16 hours of drying. 
  • Water-based safe and low odor. 
  • Hides any existing stains, scratches or burns. 
  • Granite color is adjustable to your decor. 
  • Durable automotive grade clear polyurethane topcoat. 
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. 
  • Use and enjoy your new Giani granite countertops the next day  
Each complete Giani Sicilian Sand Countertop Paint Kit includes the following:
- 12 Oz. of IronCore Primer-Base Coat
- 6 Oz. of Brown Feldspar Mineral
- 6 Oz. of Inca Gold Mineral
- 6 Oz. of White Limestone Mineral
- 16 Oz. of Automotive Polyurethane Topcoat
- 6" Giani roller arm and two roller pads
- 4" Giani granite paint sponge
- 2" Foam Brush
- Black Practice Poster Board
- 'Paint-by-Number' DVD for beginners
- Illustrated Instructions

Although it comes with almost everything you need, you'll still need a few painting and household supplies. Some of these are optional, and some you probably have around the house, but here is the complete list of additional supplies from Giani, and also some I found helpful:

You can find the following 2 brushes in a cheap kit at Walmart in the Art supplies section. Just make sure the 1/2" brush feels very stiff:
  • 1/2" thick stiff artist's paint brush 
  • a very fine artist's paint brush (for veining)

Extras that made the job easier:
  • a roll of Contractor paper (also called Builder's Paper or Paper Drop Cloth)
  • 2" Foam Brush (they include one in the kit, and you can either clean this one or spend an extra $1 or two and skip that step. You'll use one for Priming, and one for the Clearcoat.)
  • a pain can opener or screwdriver to open your cans and a hammer to close them
  • Caulk tools for removing the caulk around your sink and to smooth out your finished line.

I began with prepping my countertops: Scrubbing them thoroughly with SOS pads, then triple-rinsing them with water. After allowing them to dry, I started taping off walls and cabinets.

TIP: When taping, carry a joint knife, paint scraper, or other thin, flat-bladed implement with you. You can use it to tuck the tape edge into a tight or hard to reach space, and also to square off your tape in places like corners, and it will leave you with a straight edge for the next length. 
Tucking tape with a joint knife
To square off your tape, use a length of it, then place the flat edge of the knife across the tape at a 90 degree angle and use it as a hard edge to tear the tape off. It will square off your current corner and leave you with a squared off starting piece. Handy. If you're painting and taping off windows, it can save you a ton of time there too.
Tearing tape with a joint knife
I am so glad I picked up a roll of Contractor Paper because I would have paint all over my cabinets now without it! You can apply 3-4 pieces of your tape to a length of paper and cover your cabinets and appliances with it.
All taped off and ready to paint!
Once you're all taped off, it's time to play! <Ahem> I mean it's time to get serious. :)

First, the Priming step. If you bought a roll of Contractor Paper, you can use a length of this to work on. Make sure to shake your can well, and if you use the foil to cover your Roller tray, clean-up is super-fast.

The priming was a quick job; It took an hour or so to complete by myself.

It needs to dry for 8 hours before the next step, so I did this after the kids were in bed, and by morning, it was completely dry!

Now it's time for the minerals. You'll use your paper plates here. I cut my sponge into 3 different-sized pieces, but looking back, I should have cut them into 4 or 5 so that I would have extra sponge pieces to dab up runs. I used a wadded piece of paper towel, but sponge would have worked much better for that. This is where you'll also use your stiff-bristled artist's brush to get into the corners where your sponge won't go.

I started by practicing on the included paper, and once I got the feel for it, great results came quickly. Not bad, huh?

It's advised that you can either do an arm's-length area with all of the colors before you move on to the next area, or do each color over the entire counter-space before moving on. I tried both methods, but had more luck with the consistency of the finish when doing an entire counter with the first color, then the second, and so forth. If you covered up too much of the black, you can lightly sponge on some of the primer and you're good!

This step took the longest. I had about 70 sq. ft. of surface and edges to do and it took me about 4-5 hours to complete.

The minerals need to dry for 4 hours before the next step, so I gave it the night. By morning, it was dry and ready to sand.

TIP: Sand lightly. I made the mistake of applying too much pressure on a countertop edge and sanded it down to the original counter in one swipe! Good thing it was a very tiny sliver in an out-of-the-way area. I would advise when sanding the front facing edges of the counters to use just the paper without a block. Put the pressure on your pointer finger only and run it lightly back-and-forth down the center of the facing, that way the edges get a lighter sanding. 

Make sure to wipe up any sanding dust or debris up with water and a clean cloth, and let the counters dry again.

The clearcoat was almost as easy as the priming. The most important thing to remember is to keep the brush wet; Don't let it dry-roll.

Also, once applied, you should go over it rolling in the opposite direction than the initial application. Put the pressure on the leading edge of the roller to help eliminate any roll marks behind you. Use a light touch. The Topcoating Tips video on the included DVD really helped me on this step.

Once the first topcoat has dried for 4 hours, you can sand again for a super-smooth finish. Wipe clean, allow to dry, and apply your second topcoat in the same way you applied the first.

You should remove the tape as soon as the second coat is dry to the touch. Use a utility knife to score along where the tape meets your countertops to make sure you're not pulling up paint layers with the tape.

If you have some mistakes, now is the time to clean them up before the paint cures.

I had some areas where the paint bled under the tape, so remember to make sure your tape is well-adhered by running your fingertip over the edges. I thought I did it well, but I obviously missed a few spots. You should keep some of your wall and trim paint handy for touch-ups afterwards.

There were also spots on the sink edges I wanted to get cleaned up before I caulked them. I used a flat-edged razor (the kind that go into a box cutter) and ran the flat edge down the curve of the lip, which popped up most of the paint there. If you have stubborn spots, and your sink finish can take it, use the corner of the razor to scrape those up.

You can also use your fingernails. This is preferable on more delicate surfaces.

My clearcoat is dry and I've cleaned up the paint around my sink edge. Now it's time to caulk.

You don't actually need a caulk gun; They make caulk in squeeze-tubes, but I would recommend a tool like this:

It's a flexible rubber caulk tool that will help you finish with a neat and uniform line.

Run a thin line of caulk (I am terrible at this!), and smooth your tool over it, which will scrape up the excess caulk. If you have stray caulk, wipe it up with a wet paper towel and you're done!

Be careful with your new countertops; The paint takes 14 days to fully cure. You can begin placing light objects back after 3 days, but I would wait for the big, heavy stuff like microwaves until at least a week has passed. Don't use harsh chemicals on your new finish, or chop directly on the counter.

Ready to see the Before and Afters?

It was so much easier than I thought it would be to get great results, and I'm so glad I took the plunge! I'm enjoying my new kitchen, and I feel like even with the updates that are not finished, it's a beautiful room I can live with.

You can find Giani Granite Countertop Kits on their website, along with instructions, videos, and tips and tricks to get you started. They also carry individual items, like cleaners that are compatible with your new paint finish, and some of the extra supplies you will need. If you need a kit for a smaller space, like a bathroom sink, they carry those too.

Giani is also active on Social Media. You can stop by to ask them any questions you may have or just say "hello"! Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

So what do you think? Are you ready to transform your countertops with Giani Granite Paint?

Update: I've been meaning to update this post for a while now. Sadly, it did not hold up well. It started chipping and peeling after about a year and two years later, it looks pretty terrible in busy spots. We're looking at replacing the countertops altogether now. If you're looking for a cheap facelift for your kitchen (which is what we wanted), I would spend a bit more to get new laminate put down or get replacement countertops cut.

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