Giani Granite: How to paint your counters

My kitchen was re-done about four years ago (three years before I moved in), and basically included all builder-grade fixtures.  I have tons of counter space, but the counters were a marbled, salmon-pink color.  And combined with the orange-oak cabinets, my kitchen was really very “blah”.

I’ve always loved the look of granite, but I knew that I would probably have to sell all of my arms and legs to cover putting in real granite counters– not to mention that for my house, and my neighborhood, that much granite would be a silly investment (that I wouldn’t be able to earn back).  So I looked around for solutions.  Anything had to be better than the ugly salmon color.

And then I found Giani Granite online.  I was sold.  I did my research, looked at all the facebook pictures happy users have uploaded to decide what color I wanted, and drove out to Walmart to buy my kit(s).  I chose the Bombay Black kit.

This was my inspiration:

Here’s what you need:

  • Giani Granite kit(s) – each kit covers 35 sq ft (I bought two kits because I needed to cover almost 40 sq ft) $140 ($70 for each kit)
  • Painters tape – FREE
  • Butcher paper – FREE
  • An artist’s paintbrush (just a small brush to paint in the corners) – FREE
  • Tin foil – FREE
  • Paper plates – FREE

COST: $140

What to do:

1. Clean your counters WELL.  Use a mild soap and scrubby sponge to get EVERYTHING off your counters.  Then, wash them again with just water at least three times to make sure all the soap and everything else is gone.  Also, if you have caulk anywhere touching your counters, remove it all.

2.  Spend some time taping around your counters and sink.  Use the butcher paper to protect your cabinets/backsplash.  Use AT LEAST THREE lines of painters tape above the counters/backsplash to make applying giani easier.  I only used two lines in most places and had to wipe paint off my tiles several times.  No fun.

3. Paint on your primer layer.  Use the foam brush included to get around the edges, but use the roller as much as you can–smoother finish.   One coat of primer should be fine.  Don’t worry too much about lines, they’ll be covered up with the paint.

4. Let your primer dry overnight.

5. Get out your sponge(s) and cut them up.  See a good way to cut them up from the Giani directions HERE (click “View, print, or download Giani Instructions).

6. Pour your paint onto the paper plates and use the black practice sheet to try them out.

**The paint colors are numbered for the order you should use them in.  My inspiration picture suggested that I use my paints in a different order: Bronze, White, Black.  So that’s what I did.  Different combinations get you different results.

7. Start painting your counters.  Work in three-foot sections at a time.  Paint all three colors and then move onto the next counter section.  Using the colors on top of each other before they can dry creates this really cool marbled look in the paint.

8. I let my counters dry first, but you could do this right away.  Use the painters brush to get into the hard-to-reach corners and edges.  I found that using the brush was the only way to get paint all the way up to my tile backsplash.

9. Let the counter dry (I waited overnight, but I think the directions say to wait four hours).

10. Paint on the shiny top coat.  This was my favorite step.  The shiny coat is what makes the counters look so similar to granite.  Watch THIS video before you start.  It’s gives a great explanation on how to paint the top coat on (it dries super fast!) without ending up with dull patches.  I used this method and didn’t have ANY dull, dry patches when I was done.

11. Paint on your second coat of shiny top coat and let it dry.

12. Once the final top coat is dry to the touch, you can remove the painters tape CAREFULLY.  Use an X-Acto knife (or razor blade) to score between the paint and the tape, otherwise you could peel up your newly-painted counters!

Done!

Giani says to let the counters dry for two, full days before you put anything on them or use them, and then to wait two weeks before you can use them like normal.

Here is my before & after!

What have you been working on lately?

I’m linking up with My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia ‘s link up party HERE.

Painting the front door

I was looking through my pictures and realized that I never shared my newly-painted front door!

Such an easy process that makes a huge difference.  I still get compliments on my front door.

Tape off any windows or hardware you don’t want paint on.

As I was trying to figure out what color the edges were supposed to be painted, I learned that  when the door is partially opened, the side that points outside should be the outside color, and the edge that can be seen from inside, should be the inside color of the door.

The color I used was Full Sun by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection from Lowes.  I saw the color used by Younghouselove and couldn’t resist.  I love yellow!

I also went with their paint brand recommendation (or perhaps the recommendation made by the Paint Pro at Lowes when they asked) of Valspar Duramax Exterior in a semi gloss finish.

Wipe down the door with TSP to get rid of any grease or oil on the surface.

Then use a foam roller and lightly coat the door.  Thin and even coats will lessen the possibilities for ugly drips.

This is after my first coat–which is pretty good considering the red color that I started with.  In total, I think I put four coats of paint on, waiting about an hour in between coats.

And here is how my front door looks now.

It definitely pops against the navy house color that I had done this last summer.

Subway Tile Backsplash

I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting here.  Between a trip to NY for New Years (!), catching up at work, and saving my pennies for my next big project, I’ve been amazingly busy.

But, last week the tile for my backsplash project came in the mail (does it seem silly that Home Depot doesn’t have white 3×6″ subway tile in stock to anyone else?) and I was so giddy about getting started that I actually dreamed about it.

Yep, I was that excited about it.

What you need:

  • Tile & edge tile (measure the area you’re planning to tile and figure out your square footage– THIS is a great explanation on how to do that.
  • Adhesive (or thinset)  I used Omni-Grip and purchased the larger 4-gallon bucket from HD.  I used more than half of it.
  • Grout.  I used Custom Building Products in Bright White from HD.
  • Grout float
  • Square notch trowel (the size of the notched depends on the size of the tile you’re using)
  • Wet saw (if you have any intricate corners or switches to work around, you’ll definitely need one of these, but you can rent them for a day)  If you only have straight cuts to make, you can probably get along with a Snap Cutter
  • Level
  • Tape & butcher paper (or plastic)

Here is a true “before” picture.  This was taken a couple of months ago for my one-year “House-versary”

And this is what it looked like once I ripped the awful laminate “backsplash” that was already up.  You can just barely see it in the picture, but it was gross.  Super thin with really ugly metal quarter round at the top and by the counter.  Plus, it wasn’t sealed correctly and it was always teeming with ants.  GROSS.

What to do:

1. wash the backsplash area with TSP, to get rid of any oils, grease, or whatnot off the wall.  Better safe than sorry.

2. If you’ll be tiling behind an oven/range, then cut a board (or scrap) to a few inches shorter than the opening.  Using your level, nail it securely (but not so tight you can’t remove it later) to the wall.

3. Figure out where your edge pieces need to go, use the level to measure a straight line guide on the wall.

4. Lay out your tile pattern with your edge pieces and start making your first cuts.

5. Use the notched trowel to put adhesive on the wall where you want to lay the tile.  I used the un-notched side to get it on the wall initially, then switched to the notched side to keep the layer of adhesive even.

This is a great video for technique. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7vklNo2Arw

6. Lay on each tile and push in securely to make sure it’s stuck.  And make sure that you use spacers between your bottom tile and counter.  Subway tiles are amazing and self-space themselves, but if you’re using a tile that doesn’t self-space, make sure you buy spacers and use them to keep even grout lines.

7. I found it easiest (and most encouraging) to keep placing as many whole tiles as I could before I started cutting weirdly-sized pieces.  Just make sure you leave enough room for the cut pieces to add in later.

Keep going around the room until you’re done.

Then just grout according to the instructions on the box (mix, wait, apply, wait, wash off, buff, done!)

And now I have shiny, beautiful tile.

TILING TIPS:

  • If you’re buying multiple packages of tile (in one color), make sure you mix the boxes before you start to discourage discoloration lines from one color batch to the next.
  • Buy AT LEAST 15% more tile than you need for square footage.  If you have to order it to be shipped to you, expect that some will break in transit, others will break when you try to cut them.  I needed 38 sq. ft, I purchased 50 sq ft, I only had about 3-4 sq. ft of tile left.
  • Turn off the power to your electrical outlets–I shocked myself at least a dozen times when I got too close.
  • Don’t put too much adhesive on the back of the tiles.  Too little adhesive and the tiles won’t stick, too much and it will come through the crack in between the tiles.
  • Borrow, rent, or purchase a wet saw.  They’re amazing.  And a huge time saver for difficult, but necessary cuts.

I’m linking up with My Repurposed Life, to see all the links, go HERE.

I was “caught” by My Repurposed Life.  Check out some other great tutorials/project there!