Another Laminate Countertop Solution

By Kate Riley February 22, 2011

There’s been a few emails, wondering what I think of the new Countertop Transformations kit by RustOleum, the latest product to hit the market, offering a relatively inexpensive solution to existing laminate countertops, compared to the expense of replacement.  countertop transformations

I used the kit two weeks ago while attending a RustOleum event in New Orleans. 

As we all know, fabricating and installing new countertops is pricey, and in this economy, not something all of us can be investing right now.  But there are so many kitchens out there with outdated laminate or Formica countertops ~ those leftover yellows, avocado greens, and burgundies from decades past.  Short of replacing them, what choices does a homeowner have?


Carmell recently posted on my Facebook Page the following:

“Hi CG!  I just want to thank you for your post on the RustOleum Cabinet Transformations.  I am looking forward to the countertop one too.  I showed my hubby and I think I’ve finally have him convinced that we should do this in our kitchen.  We can’t afford a complete reno right now.  The kitchen is so new so why not save the money for something else?  Here is what it looks like right now. 

carmell kitchen

Picture dark cabinets with granite counters and lighter walls.  *swoons*  I wish I had 10 kitchens in my house so I can redo them all in different cab/countertop combos!” 

Good news Carmell, take a look at Kelly’s Before & After, submitted to RustOleum after using both the Cabinet and the Countertop Transformations products.


kelly before and after

Nice upgrades!  Way to work with what you’ve got, I say!  

And isn’t that the truth?  Short of a hefty renovation fund, we really do have to work with what we have, and so often, just a fresh coat of product will save us from the insanity.  There’s hope for your kitchen Carmell, and plenty of color combinations available with these new products!

I had a hands on experience using this Countertop Transformations product two weeks ago, and I also sat in on the roundtable discussion with the head folks at RustOleum after the workshop. 

Quite frankly, my initial reaction to this product was lukewarm.  While I’m very much excited about the Cabinet Transformations kit, I was sort of ‘meh’ about the countertop solution.  I do believe RustOleum is on the cutting edge of a novel concept: empowering the homeowner to refinish or recoat a laminate countertop rather than replace it, and in a way that will take on moisture, heat, and the everyday wear and tear that occurs in kitchens.

rustoleum countertop transformations


Here is what you get with the kit:

countertop kit

The product works like this:

(sorry for the mediocre picture quality, they were taken with an iPhone)

First, you scuff up your existing countertop with the sanding tool provided.  Next, you apply the adhesive base coat with a brush/roller combo.  The ‘open’ drying time is about 20 minutes, but you can use the wetting spray (included) to keep working with the product.  Given the short ‘open’ time, this step requires focus, no walking away once you start!

sand and adhesive coat

After a nice thick adhesive coat, you use their chip dispenser to spread the decorative chips. 


chip spreader

Be prepared, this is extremely messy.  The chips mostly land on the countertop, but they also fly everywhere within 2 feet, including the floor and surrounding appliances.  It’s best to have everything covered with a tarp and also taped off.  Wait 24 hours. 

The next day, you scrape then sand the chips down ~ there’s a sample included in the kit so you know how smooth you want the new surface.  

scrape then sand

Finally, you apply the innovative protective coat, the one that according to the R&D folks at RustOleum, gives the same protection against moisture, heat, and wear and tear, provided by the original laminate countertop. 

prot coat 3


The entire process takes at least 48 hours, and nothing is allowed to touch the countertop between coats and while it cures, which will be inconvenient for a few days.  It takes a week to fully cure.  

The full How To Guide is here, and you can also play with different cabinet and countertop combinations with the online virtual tool.  It comes in five colors, three dark and two light, all of them have the speckled pattern which results from the color chips.  For additional product usage, including bathroom countertops, take a peek at this gallery of ideas.  Want more reasons to pick this product?  RustOleum had come up with ten of them.  If you’d like to take the plunge, be sure to measure your countertops with their online tool.

cabinet and countertop solution


The Pros:  1) It’s a great quick fix if you have a laminate countertop that you can’t stand anymore, or are looking for a relatively inexpensive way (compared to replacement) to give your kitchen a fresh new look, either for yourself or for resale.  2) The directions and application are easy to follow.  3) The surface appears very durable after examining it up close.  It feels thick like it will stand the test of time, and it does come from a company with a long reputation for durability, they back it with a money back guarantee.  4) The colors are nice, three darker shades and two lighter shades that will complement just about any cabinet color or stain.  5) The kit is low odor compared to the other RustOleum laminate countertop solution (see below).

Showroom sample, finished countertop in ‘charcoal’:

finished countertop


The Cons:  1) In my opinion, it’s pricey retailing at $249.  I think this product should be less expensive for the DIYer.  For double that, you’re looking at a starting point for brand new laminate countertops with small kitchens.  Save up some more dough, and you could be looking at 12 x 12” granite tile countertops.  2) You have to like the speckled look, there’s currently no ‘single color’ alternative with this kit.  I questioned whether the vinyl chips are really necessary, and according to RustOleum, they contribute to the durability of the product.  It would be nice to have them come in the same color as the adhesive coat so they blend in for those who’d prefer that option as an alternative to the speckled look.  3) It’s messier than the countertop coating with the requirement of the vinyl chips on top of the adhesive coat with the chip dispenser ~ they get everywhere.  4) As of now, the only sheen available is gloss.  I’d like to see a less shiny, more matte protective coat available. 

rustoelum countertop paintNote there is yet another RustOleum alternative, their laminate renewal countertop coating.  I found three links you may want to check out.  First, Kristy at My Pretties painted her canary yellow laminate countertops with it.  Sarah at Ugly Duckling House also used the same to refinish her kitchen countertops in gray.  Finally, be sure to read about my friend Mrs. Limestone’s recent countertop paint job at her kitchen condo hideaway.  Beware, all three report bad fumes with this particular solution, but the end look is a definite improvement.  

Want to know what I think of the new Cabinet Transformations kit?  Read my opinion

Any questions about this new laminate countertop solution?  Be sure to ask, I’ll answer them in the comments!  Tell me your thoughts. 

Do you have outdated laminate countertops or know someone that does?  Would you be willing to try this new Countertop Transformations product? 




  1. I am wondering whther or not this product will work on cultured marble. I have a hiddy CM top in my guest bath and sure would love a new look for it.

    I don’t often comment but I read your blog every day and you have inspired me to get back working on my house after a long hiatus – thank you!

  2. Ooh, that is pricey, but it does appear to create a big transformation. I’d have to look into pricing countertops in my area before I decided if the time and elbow grease would be worth it (and also the nagging of my husband to help). ;)

  3. CG, have you thought about testing out the Giani Granite countertop paint? It could be another option for those who don’t care for this speckled look. I’m curious about this product but can’t bring myself to take the plunge and try it.

  4. I concur…$249 seems to be pretty steep given how thrifty most DIYers are. I am sure it will come down in price given time. I have to say – regardless of the hard work and cost it looks pretty good. I would love to see it up close with a more critical eye! Thanks for sharing this with us!!

  5. I saw this product last year and have been so curious about it. I’ve shown it to so many of my friends but none of us has been brave enough to try it given the price point. Sure would love to try it, though!

  6. That is pricey! I thought they were far less than that!
    I re-did my laminate to look like granite for less than $30!
    In fact, it’s a guest post over at Pretty Handy girl (find it here:
    I really hope it comes down in price because I’ve had many comments on my blog about how they love my counters but are too scared to try it & I think they want a ‘commercial’ kit to feel like it’s ‘ok’ to paint your counters!
    Thanks for your opinion!

  7. I read your post on Rust-oleum’s cabinet kit and decided to give it a try for my kitchen last weekend. I’m not quite yet done but I’m sorry to say I probably wouldn’t recommend this to someone else. It took way more than the suggested two coats to get thorough coverage. We ended up using another paint on top for better coverage. If I had to do it over again I’d follow your initial advice and do it in an oil based paint.

  8. I honestly don’t think I would try this product. The price is steep, and I don’t like the finish enough to spend that much. I think the concept is good, but they need more options with the finish. When we wanted to replace the beige laminate countertops in our house, we ended up going with the VT Industrias laminate countertop at Home Depot (in Valencia Coral). A lot of our friends think it is granite when they come over, especially because of the full-wrap edge. I think each long piece was $109, and we bought two for our galley kitchen. The best part is that we installed them ourselves in less than an hour, and they are super easy to clean!

  9. I just read about Giani granite, too! The blogger who used it said it was quick, easy, and looked pretty darn good in the end. $60 is way better for my budget than $250!

  10. ~Just curious…what happens if your back splash piece is serperate from your counter top? I have a nice laminate countertop new just 3 years ago but the back splash essentially sits on top of it and is sealed with caulk. If that makes sense. It isn’t all one piece. If that helps. I wonder if this product would still be ok to use if your back splash and countertop weren’t all one piece? Other wise…super cool other then the price and speckle.

  11. I actually hired a guy a while back to do this for us because we knew that the protective coat needed to be stronger than those provided at the local Home Depot. He used a sprayer because he also does tubs, but we love our “new” countertops! It looks like this product is similar to what we had done, and if it holds up as good as ours has, it’s definitely worth it. Our house smelled for a week and it looked like an episode of Dexter!

    If this product had been out when we had ours redone, I would have snatched it up in a heartbeat!

    And I just want to recommend to people out there considering painting their countertops and adding a clear protective coat, DON’T DO IT! It’s a waste of time and won’t hold up to the heat and wear and tear on your counters!

  12. The price is definitely is a little steep. We had our kitchen and bathrooms professionally done for $400 total. That looks like the only downside!

  13. We looked into this option when considering whether or not to replace our counter tops. We would have had to buy two kits to cover the square footage of our tops putting the price at around $500. We ended up buying brand new laminate for $400 during a sale. Since this product is so spendy for a quick fix, I think you’re better off putting the money in a savings account for new counter tops down the road. It’s ok for things to be a work in progress!

  14. Hi CG! My boyfriend and I plan to try this product out on our countertops this weekend. We would love to be able to re-do our countertops but it’s really not an option. We may do the cabinets later but we aren’t sure. I’ve been reading a lot of reviews about the older version of this product and bubbling seems to be the biggest problem people have so we shall see. We have pretty ugly typical 90s white-ish laminate countertops now so you can’t get much worse. Depending on the durability of the surface when we are done, we are also considering putting an additional top coat of sealant on – have you heard of anyone needing to do this or doing this? I plan to do a post about it on my blog and I’d be happy to provide our experiences for your readers next week. [I only have 6 readers so it would probably be more beneficial for you :)]

  15. My husband and I just bought an old 70’s ranch fixer-upper complete with lime green carpet, terrrrrrible laminate floors, avocado appliances, and looovely grayish-pinkish-hideousish laminate countertops. Hubby has been hard at work DIYing the place before we move in, and since new countertops are waaay down on the list of priorities, we have decided to use the $20 Rustoleum Countertop Coating in Pewter. He hasn’t gotten to that step yet, but I’m excited to see how it turns out, especially after seeing the results in the links above. Thanks for the great post–I hadn’t gotten around to looking for after pics of this product yet–and you did it for me! I’ll be sure to let you know how it comes out.

  16. It’s the price that’s the killer…I was excited till then. My kitchen is itty bitty (galley-style) and not much counter space. I could spend a smidge more than that and get REAL brand new counter tops without all the headaches. Sorry :-)

    Cabinets thumbs up … Countertops thumbs down

  17. WOWZA! That’s a pretty steep price. We waited around and found in-stock granite style laminate at Menards marked down to $3.99 a linear foot on Black Friday!!! We finished our kitchen counters for just over $100. I cannot see spending that much on paint, sorry.

    Thanks for the review though!!

  18. I’ve looked at these products and wondered how well they would work. We have really ugly white laminate with a wood edge. Would either of these work on the wood or would we have to tape that off? I want to redo our cabinets as well, but all the steps for the rustoleum product seem just as involved as priming and painting, so I would probably go the familiar route.

  19. Many thanks for this review! I wasn’t expecting it to be so expensive. You are so right, it should be cheaper for us DIY folks. My kitchen has a large counter made for people to sit and eat, so I know it would take two boxes, so this is just not a cost effective solution for me. I also can’t see how I would keep my cat from getting up on the counter for at least a week….just no way! While it’s good to know there are finally becoming some options, your review was what I needed to hear. Thanks so much!

  20. I just recently used the Giani Granite countertop paint and LOVE it! I would recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive and easy way to udpate your countertops. Plus you can really experiment with it and create a totally custom look.

  21. For some unknown reason, the person who built our house chose white countertops (straight white!). I really wanted to do this to our counters (I would have gladly paid $250), but is doesn’t work on Corian (I was so excited when I saw it in the store, my husband is the one who was smart and read the label and informed me it wouldn’t work for our counters). I don’t want to replace the counters yet because the are fairly new and besides being white, are in great shape. This would have been nice to help disguise the scratches and stains that white seems to highlight. We are just starting our family and figure our kids will scratch, stain, and ruin these counters, so we don’t want to replace them until the kids are older and aren’t so destructive. I wish they would make a product for Corian counters.

  22. Wow, that transformation is incredible! We’re renting right now and the counters are dark GREEN – ughh!! I might see if I can talk the homeowner into letting me try this :) Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  23. I was all ready to forward this link to my dad and offer to do the counters in his rental condo until I got to the price. I’d rather spend double that and get a solid wood counter from Ikea, or even new laminate.

    Just in response to Kate, we had a house with white Corian counters and if you take care of them, they last for a really long time. The white looked amazing with a modern glass back splash. Just a thought for a change that would cost less than new counters (Corian is expensive!) and might make you fall in love with the white :)

  24. I think this is a fantastic alternative to new countertops! We saved and are replacing our blue laminate next week but if that wasn’t the case, this definitely would have been something we would have done – an awesome DIY choice!

  25. I’ve been so spoiled with granite countertops and vanities, because that is the business my husband is in. I’ve know friends to purchase the pre made laminate counters at lowes or home depot for $100 & redo their kitchen. Also, a great alternative like you said CG is doing granite tiles over the existing laminate or if you need to save some $ do a nice looking tile- just make sure to use a dark grout color as the joints will stain- I recommend a professional for both of these as my husband has seen so many DIY disasters.

  26. I was looking at the Giani products too, my main beef is that it still looks like laminate (albeit granite-patterned.) ( I would rather get new laminate.

    I have a question: I would like copper counters. I think a burnished copper with white cabinets would be wonderful, a real “working” kitchen that’s still elegant. Is there a non-tacky way to do this that won’t break the bank?

  27. I so wish this product was out three years ago before… we had to replace all of our kitchen countertops!

    I am going to try the Cabinet Kits that you mentioned last week on my two bathrooms, I can’t wait!

  28. I know this is a bit “low tech”, but I painted my kitchen counter tops with melamine paint and a sponge roller and they lasted for 10 years…..I did have to be careful about putting hot things on them (just used a glass cutting board), but for less than $50, it was a great solution! I think you guys have the same product there, don’t you?

  29. I tried this product the past weekend and would NOT recommend it. It is very labor intensive and extremely messy…the chips and dust go everywhere! I would recommend taping all your cupboards shut and covering everything else within 2 feet. In response to Carri K., no the chips and adhesive base coat will not stick to the caulking between your counter and backsplash, nor will it stick to the top edge of the backsplash. While in theory, this is an innovative product, with the work and mess and poor ending quality, save the expense and save for new countertops!

  30. Like every product, one must follow the directions to a “t” to get it right. This product seems to be a good solution for all those landlords who want an inexpensive fix. Many a time they need to freshen up when a new tenant comes in.

  31. Where is Rustoleum for a giveaway on $250 products that some people REALLY wanna try when you need them?!?!?! Hehehe. Rustoleum? Are you listening?!?! :)

  32. My mom and dad tried the Rustoleum a couple months ago for their laminate before selling their house.

    At first glance, it looks good. Up close, I wasn’t a huge fan. My countertops are just butcher board covered with laminate (though I’d prefer just butcher board), and I think something inexpensive like that is a better solution than this. But that’s just my opinion.

    I do, though, think it’s a great idea, particularly for someone who needs a quick, inexpensive fix.

  33. I think it’s a fabulous idea, and a really great product.


    $249 is ridiculously expensive. I was expecting less than half that. (More in line with the Cabinet Transformations kit.)

    They should also make the vinyl chips available separately, so you can mix and match to come up with a color you like. (A little Java Stone mixed into the Ivory, or a little Sand mixed into the Charcoal . . . you get the idea.) ;)

    So, Rustoleum, there’s my .02 . . .

    Now, if I could get my landlord to spring for the cabinet refinishing kit . . .

  34. Hi
    I actually wanted and got this kit from santa for Christmas.
    It is awesome. Our counters were a pebbled formica and in good shape, but i wanted a smoother top.
    And found this gave us a nice compromise for the time being.

  35. My counter tops are in horrible condition. I would LOVE to try this. I am glad that you list the pros and cons. That is really helpful.

  36. Wow. Are we really painting laminate countertops now? DIY has gone off the tilt.

    I might do this for a flip or rental I was just trying to make look good enough to sell….but I would not want to live with it.

    We replaced our laminant countertops in our old house and it was not that expensive or difficult.

    The only real plus I see is that it is keeping more construction waste out of the landfills.

  37. It looks good but – pricey! I did it the low rent way – sponge painting layers of silver, gold, teal and green (with a little bronze for contrast), let dry, & then cover with Ultra Glo from TAP plastics. It’s been more than a year now and it looks great and is wearing well and the total cost was about $35 and some time. The only downside is the Ultra Glo is really fume-y – need good ventilation. I also painted a vinyl bathroom floor fuschia and coated it with several coats of polyurethane & it’s wearing great too even though the guys at my local hardware store thought I was nuts to try it. But if you hate what you have you don’t have anything to lose so you might as well experiment!

  38. I looked into using the Countertop Transformation a year ago and decided it was too expensive for me. I ended up using the Rustoleum Countertop Coating. It was only $15 on sale. I used the Cobblestone color and used a sponge effect to get more of a marble look rather than a solid flat color (you have to work quickly because this stuff dries/hardens fast). I like it a lot and after a year it is holding up pretty well, there are a few chips and scratches but it should be easy to touch up when I get around to it.

  39. Wow! I just looked at my site stats and saw that I had over 4000 visitors on Wednesday and CG was my top referrer! Thank you for posting about my counter top paint project! They are still holding strong at 14 months! Best $20.00 I’ve ever spent!

  40. I would love to try this because my house was built in the 60’s and has the original countertops. They are gross!! I would for sure blog about it if I got the chance.

  41. In the process of using modern masters countertop transformation in canyon brown. So far so good. It was $100 on sale (Lowes) and when i got to the register is was marked down further to $62! My only complaint is that they could give more base coat adhesive. I sanded today only to find out i sanded a couple spots too thin so i had to SCRAPE the base coat can to repair those areas. So i cant finish til tomorrow. The next countertop i do will be without the color chips because that step just adds more time. Looks good so far do we’ll see!

  42. We have recently(withing 2 years) installed a new counter top (Formica 180FX) that was easily discolored when we used a crock pot on it. The crock pot had 1 inch feet on it that allowed air circulation and it still discolored. Needless to say we are not happy with the Formica company for not stating this problem upfront and then they did little/nothing to help solve the problem. We are wondering if something like this product would be the way to go to help with our problem or if there is a “spot” restorer that would be a better solution?

    • Hi Henry and Cyndi, lots of people have damaged their laminate countertops with heat, it’s common. The only other solutions I’ve read about are gently scrubbing it out with a non abrasive cleanser or patching it, but behond that the RustOleum product will certainly cover the problem spot.

  43. I also find this price a bit steep. When I bought my place a few years ago, I hated the colour of the laminate countertops (beige! yuck!). I wasn’t prepared to redo my kitchen straight away so, to make it liveable for the interim, I washed the counters with TSP, scruffed them up with sandpaper, put on a coat of good quality primer, then 2 coats of white melamine paint. Looks fantastic! Cost under $50. Its been 4 years and still looks great. I also hated the tiles in my bathroom – bright yellow and green checkered pattern with black trim with the floor black and white and cream tiles. So, I washed them with TSP, then painted a coat of top quality primer and painted it all white with 2 coats top quality EXTERIOR oil paint. I did this before we moved in as it is toxic, we opened all the windows and wore masks to do it. We had to wait a quite a few days between coats as it takes time to dry. It looks fabulous and alot less expensive than re-tiling a bathroom. I just used peel & stick square tiles in white on the floor.

  44. I actually kinda like the transformation kits that Rustoleum makes. Overall, it’s always better to just replace a countertop, but as you mentioned, that can get pricey. I think the transformation kit isn’t perfect, but I think products like that are a nice alternative to broaden your options. Thanks for breaking this down, and providing some nice before & after pictures!

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