Most helpful customer reviews
607 of 609 people found the following review helpful.
This stuff REALLY works!!!
I had gray laminate countertops in my kitchen. There's nothing wrong with them and they're fairly new, so we couldn't justify the cost of tearing them out and replacing them with granite. I found this product online and was skeptical but figured I had nothing to lose. Before my kit arrived, I was so anxious to get started that I watched the how-to video and practiced a few times on black poster board with leftover paint I had lying around the house. I wanted to figure out what worked before I started on my counters. Here's what I learned through trial and error:
-I used a foam roller pad to roll on the primer. A fuzzy pad tends to leave roller marks.
-Instead of the included round sea sponge, I bought a cylindrical sea sponge, poked a hole through the middle, attached it to a mini roller frame, and used it to roll on the mineral paints. I found this gave me more even coverage and a more random pattern, and avoided those round sponge impressions.
-Instead of dipping my sea sponge into the paint, I brushed it onto the sponge sparingly with a paintbrush. Too much paint on the sponge will make it look very fake and is hard to correct once it's on your counter. But it's easy to add more if you need to.
-I took my project a step further and added gold leaf flakes and brown glitter, as real granite often has a sparkle to it. After I had finished painting, I sprinkled the gold flakes sparingly and randomly over the counter while the paint was still wet, then mixed some ultra-fine glitter into the top coat, and rolled it on as directed after the paint had dried. I think it made my countertop look even more like authentic granite.
I think the end result looks amazing, and even up close, it's hard to tell the counters were painted. You definitely need to take your time though, and also be careful not to overwork the mineral paints, or you'll end up with a smeary mess. Practicing a few times first definitely helped me.
506 of 515 people found the following review helpful.
Looks great, and a year and a half later...
By S. Radler
.... it still looks great! We used the Sicilian Sand kit in our kitchen in July of 2009, over cheap, ugly green Formica. The application was just like it was explained in the DVD, so be sure to watch that first. Also, I found practicing on the black poster board that Giani included in the kit to be helpful as well. We were completely satisfied with the results and everyone who sees it can't believe it's paint; it looks like real stone. The finish has held up like iron -- no scratches or fading, except for one small ding on a 90-degree edge that we accidentally gouged when moving a heavy piece of furniture. But touchup was easy with our leftover paint.
We did have one slight problem with the application in that the clear top coat dried a bit streaky in one spot, I think because we did not apply it correctly. I told the company about it, and some months later when the clear top coat formula was improved, Giani sent us a free can of it. We didn't even have to pay for shipping. THAT is excellent customer service and standing behind your product.
I would not hesitate to use this again on other countertops, and I recommend this to everyone I know.
544 of 561 people found the following review helpful. See all 1010 customer reviews...
Great product, but there IS a learning curve to get best results.
By L. A. Stanley
I did my master bath vanity top with this product several months ago. The product is great, and the surface still looks just like it did when I finished it. It is a tremendous improvement over the previous laminate that came with the house. Another reviewer mentioned problems with the topcoat going cloudy and bubbling up from standing water. I have not had that experience at all. I don't have constant water on my vanity, but I generally don't bother to dry up day to day splashes. I was thorough when applying silicone caulk around the edges of my sink, so no water is getting underneath the topcoat. Getting water underneath the top coat will definitely ruin the finish. (I am not implying that the other reviewer failed to caulk properly; it could have been a a bad batch of topcoat.)
I do have some minor quibbles with the finished appearance, but they are due to my errors during application. Now that I have made those mistakes, hopefully I can do a great job next time.
10 Things I've Learned:
1. Prepare surfaces exactly according to directions. Scrape off every trace of old cracked caulk (and smoothly apply new paint-able caulk), or you'll have small ridges and creases where the backsplash and vanity meet.
2. If you're applying over laminate that has black seams along the edges of the backsplash or between sections, sand and fill until smooth. If you leave any cracks or ridges, they will show through.
3. Be careful to get your painting tape on straight and exactly where you want it. Use a hard straight edge (like the edge of a putty knife) to press the tape down firmly to reduce paint getting under it. Like another reviewer said, you will want to have some touch-up wall paint, just in case.
4. Remove the sink/stove before painting, if feasible. It's tricky to get the mineral colors to look exactly right all the way up to the edges of the sink/stove. If you paint with the sink/stove in place, be very careful to apply the mineral colors consistently all the way into the crease. Otherwise, you'll have a black rim around the sink where the primer shows through.
5. If you have a round sink, resist the impulse to work in a circle around the sink...you'll change the pattern of the mineral colors, causing a subtle halo effect around the sink.
6. Another reviewer suggested using a paintbrush to apply mineral colors to the sponge, rather than dipping the sponge into the paint. I think that is a terrific idea, especially when doing the backsplash and front edge. The mineral colors are thin and run easily on vertical surfaces if applied too heavily.
7. Practice, practice, practice the mineral colors application until you get colors and textures that look realistic to you. Black posterboard is cheap and a few minutes of practice could save you a lot of time and frustration fixing your counter later. You can also try out a few different shades and then carry them into the room and see how the colors will really look before start painting. You may decide you want to go with a darker or lighter color than you first thought.
8. If you do mess up the mineral colors, as long as you haven't applied the topcoat yet, let them dry and paint over them again. If you have runs/drips, or if you want some of the primer black to show through in the finished product, sand the dried mineral colors before repainting. Be careful not to sand all the way through the primer or you'll have to start over.
9. Be very careful with the topcoat application on vertical surfaces; it runs easily. (If you get runs, you can sand the topcoat and re-apply.)
10. Remove the painter's tape exactly when directed. Also, it is crucial to carefully score the tape with a sharp utility knife before removing it. Otherwise you risk peeling off all your work along with the tape.
Not a tip, but a preference: I really liked the smoother finish from doing the optional sanding step after the minerals coat and after the first topcoat. In my opinion, it's worth the time. Just be careful not to sand off too much color or you'll get a lot of the primer black showing through.
This kit is pretty much infinitely customizable. The instructions that come with the paint tell you how to make "veins." You can use water-based acrylic paint along with the mineral colors, so the color possibilities are limited by your imagination. One person who reviewed a different color kit suggested flicking a toothbrush to apply tiny spatters of silver to emulate small quartz crystals. I am planning to do my kitchen counters next and I will try that on my practice boards - if it looks good I will use that technique on my counters. You could use gold to emulate mica flakes, or a shade of green, brown, or bronze for an accent.
You can also order single cans of any mineral color direct from the manufacturer. (Amazon sells most of the mineral colors, and Amazon is cheaper to get a single can when you consider shipping costs, but as of the date of this review Amazon does not sell all of the colors.) I recommend going to the manufacturer's website in any case for more pictures and ideas. When I was planning my bathroom counter, I was torn between the chocolate brown kit, which I thought would be too dark, and the sand kit, which I thought would be too light. I ordered the sand kit plus a can of the chocolate brown paint. I used small amounts of the chocolate brown to get a slightly darker color and more "depth." When I have the time, I plan to redo that vanity to fix the mistakes I made the first time, but I will probably keep the colors the same.