Resurfacing kit a quick fix for battered counters

Rust-Oleum’s Transformations kits better for counters than cabinets

Published: June 12, 2014 03:45 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Rust-Oleum

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Love the look of granite but not the price? Ditto beautiful handcrafted cabinetry? Rust-Oleum claims its do-it-yourself coatings for countertops and cabinets can help transform stained laminate counters and worn wood cabinets. But can you really get the kitchen of your dreams from a box?

Using Rust-Oleum’s Countertop Transformations to give a laminate counter the look of granite wasn’t easy. The process involves plenty of manual sanding using the diamond mesh sander that comes with the kit, applying an adhesive base coat, spreading color chips, sanding the chips, which was a tedious task, and adding a top coat. With a lot of practice, time, and attention to detail, the result was a good-looking, glossy, and dimpled surface that was softer than laminate. So it was less resistant than laminate to cuts, scratches, and chipping in our tests, but it resisted stains and heat well.
Bottom line. You wouldn’t mistake these resurfaced counters for granite, but if your laminate is marred yet  structurally sound, the kit is cheaper than having new laminate counters installed. Two small kits cover 60 square feet—a typical kitchen has 56—for $296. The $235 large kit covers 50 square feet. Always use a cutting board for food prep and a trivet for hot pots to protect the softer surface.

We used Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformations in Pure White. The small kit costs $100 and covers 100 square feet, enough for the average home’s 17 cabinets. The process starts by removing the doors and drawer fronts from cabinets and removing hardware. Using a deglosser and scrub pad on exposed surfaces to give them a thorough cleaning was next. Typical furniture refinishing followed, taking care with the paint and avoiding drips. We applied the optional glaze, but it was the last step that was the most difficult. The top coat is a clear layer meant to protect the base coat and glaze. Even our paint expert wasn’t able to get a smooth, bubble-free surface.
Bottom line. Skip the kit and use a high-quality paint applied with good brushes to transform your worn cabinets.

Best from our tests
Quartz and granite top our tests of countertop materials. See our countertop buying guide for full Ratings and recommendations. We also have cabinet buying advice although we don't test individual brands.

—Kimberly Janeway

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