In the summer of 2013, we first used Rustoleum Countertop Transformations to bring our kitchen counters into this decade. It’s been over three years since that initial application and the counters have held up extremely well. On my first Throwback Thursday, I’ll look back on one of the first major projects that started this DIY obsession of mine.

Project Cost

Total – $231

Looking Back

About six months ago one of our dogs nearly burned down our last house by accidentally turning on the stove and igniting a nearby oven mit. Thankfully, the only real damage was a burnt spot on the kitchen island. As we prepped to put our house on the market, I found myself resurfacing the counters on the kitchen island for a second time. After three years, the initial application has have held up extremely well. With the obvious exception of an actual fire, I’ve seen no signs of wear or chipping. The counters are easy to clean and don’t stain. Numerous people complimented how they look and can’t believe they’re “painted”. Suffice it to say, I would recommend this product. Rustoleum’s manual and video tutorials are quite good. Read them carefully. Watch the video. And follow the instructions. I won’t bother repeating instructions that are readily available. That said, here are the top three things you should know that you won’t find in the manual.

Mask off the walls.

A lot of people ask me if this project is hard. It’s not hard. You don’t need special artistic skills, but it is messy. The decorative color chips go everywhere. If they don’t, you’re not using enough and it probably won’t look as nice. The first time we did this, we masked off the cabinets and floor to avoid paint drips but didn’t worry much about stray chips hitting the walls. I figured they’d brush off easily. That was not entirely true. While you can pick them off one by one, they tend to stick to walls. I ended up repainting much of the kitchen and made sure to prep more thoroughly when doing the second application to repair the island.

Use an electric sander.

Technically they do put this tip in the manual. It’s under the things-not-to-do category. But I strongly disagree. We used an electric sander like this one for the initial laminate sanding and for grinding down the color chips both times we did this project. It makes the job so much easier and yields a smoother finish, which in turn gives you a more stone-like, high-quality look. I’d recommend hand sanding the edges, but as long as you’re careful not to sand too hard, you’ll be just fine using an electric sander for the flat surfaces.

Schedule for lighting.

The first time we did this it was about 10pm by the time we were ready to apply the protective top coat. Since it’s clear, it’s difficult to see exactly how evenly it’s applied. We were scrambling to find all the lamps we could to see well enough to get an even finish. When we were fixing the island, we made sure to schedule our project so we could apply the top coat with the help of natural sunlight. It was much easier.

The Results

Here’s a look at our finished kitchen. We refinished the cabinets shortly after completing the countertops. These photos were taken more than three years after the initial application.

I’d love to hear about your experience with countertop renovation projects. Have a question I haven’t addressed? Leave me a comment below.

Disclosure: To support the cost of running a blog, this site contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase a linked product, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only recommend products I actually use and love. Thanks for your support.