Not everything you read online is a good idea.

This and other amazing insight.

Brought to you by… Ardex Countertops.

 

I haven’t been blogging lately because my spirit was crushed.

I am so dramatic.

When we bought this house, my eyes lit up with the possibilities.  I was so excited to tackle every single project the moment we were handed the keys.  I just wanted to dive in head first and not even check the water depth first.  A year in and my enthusiasm was yet to bend.  Then came the ardex kitchen countertops.

We started renovating our kitchen to give it a quick pick me last June.  We just wanted to put some lipstick on a pig and be satisfied with it until we could gut it and set it up better.  I just wanted it to look pretty while I had to live with it.  When we moved in, it was filthy.  So gross.  It looked like somebody had murdered a marinara monster and it’s marinara guts had sprayed everywhere.  Everywhere.  Inside of cabinets, under the countertop.  Everywhere.  It was filthy.

So we started by stripping and painting the solid wood cabinets.  Great start.  It didn’t go smoothly.  If I were to do it over again, I would have used different primer. But that was last year and they have held up great.  I’ve touched up a couple spots, but they’re seriously in great shape.  Maybe I’ll post pics of that soon.  Let me get to that.

We knew we also wanted to paint the walls (obviously), replace the floor, and do something with the disgusting pink countertops.

As you know from the blog, the floors went perfectly.  Everything went down quick and easy and they turned out beautifully.  They’re still one of my favorite things in this house – if not THE favorite.

But the countertops.  Ugh.  The countertops that killed my blogging sharing spirit.  The paint we knew wasn’t going to work.  We just knew it.  $20 and your countertops are gorgeous?  Ha. Ha. Ha.  Even before we decided to “just try it” – I had my heart set on concrete.  I had all of the tutorials pinned on how to pour your own or the -ohlala- “quick and easy and cheap” alternative of just skimming on some concrete topper known as Ardex Feather Finish.  But I agreed to try the painting first and as soon as it chipped up I swooped in with PLEASECONCRETEPLEASE JUSTPLEASTLETSTRY IT.  The hubs reluctantly agreed and I ran to the nearest supply store and ran back with my $20 bag of feather finish.

We tried it first on an old laminate shelf we weren’t using anymore.  We could NOT get it to seal.  It looked gorgeous but we test spilled all kinds of stuff on it and all kinds of stuff stained it.  I was convinced we were sealing it wrong and switched the sealant out AND bought some food-safe wax.  Flipped it over and started the experiment anew.  New application of feather finish, new sealant, new waxing.  Spills and spills and everything was fine.  Hubs again reluctantly gives in (It has to be hard arguing with a lawyer) and we rip the painted laminate off of the countertop and start applying.

I posted some pics of the during process and then nothing more.

And you know why?  Because it was a miserable, terrible, horrid failure.

OK now I am really being dramatic.  It wasn’t that bad, but I do regret doing it.

Immediately it started staining.  Let me stop right there.  I put NO LESS than 4 coats of concrete sealant on these THEN wax.  By all definitions they should’ve been sealed.  However, that didn’t help.  The first disaster was the tray from a George Forman grill left a nice ring that DID NOT come out.   I love the natural “patina” of concrete, but that was ridiculous.

Then we left for a few days and came back to find that we had missed some water behind the faucet and it had got under the concrete and swelled and exploded.  It looked like the sink had a tumor.  THere was a giant hole.  It was not a fun argument getting home at 11 at night on a work-night and finding a hole in the countertops we had just done 8 whole weeks ago.

So it broke me.  I was disappointed and frustrated and was sick of working and redoing a kitchen that I swore was going to be 3 leisurely months and done.  But instead we’re into a year later and STILL devoting most of our time to this kitchen.

So that’s why I’ve been absent.  It’s not that we haven’t worked on other rooms.  It’s that I was frustrated and done sharing for awhile. I just didn’t have it in me.

So what’s changed?  We redid the countertops again over the weekend.  For the THIRD time.  And final time.  Because this time we didn’t take shortcuts or try some “quick and easy” tip we found on one blog that NEVER mentioned it again.  We bought a sheet of laminate for $90 and my husband and his dad relaminated the countertops.  I opted out because of previously mentioned feelings of self defeat.  But they’re done and ready to be installed and they’re beautiful.  They are leaps and bounds better looking than the concrete was on it’s best day.  People judge laminate.  But its a beautiful, durable, affordable option.  And I am really excited to blog about this kitchen and whole house again.. because those laminated countertops have restored my enthusiasm.  And I needed that.  I finally feel like sharing again.

 

 

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Rustoleum Countertop Paint

I read up a lot on Rustoleum countertop paint.  I hated the idea of it.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I loved the idea of slapping paint down on a countertop that is pink and dirty and disgusting and it suddenly looking lacquered and beautiful and flawless.  I hated the idea that it didn’t live up to its promises like a high school boy.  Every thing I read said either you needed to seal it or it’d let you down in a heart beat.  Buttttttt sometimes people…sometimes I… don’t listen.  Kevin & I went back and forth on it for a few weeks (probably longer) and had initially said no, we aren’t going to waste our time, let’s just re-laminate them.  But we got to looking at prices of laminate and delivery costs.  We determined we couldn’t just buy a cheap countertop because of the awkward corner sink area.  We’d have to rip off the old laminate and put down a new sheet on top of it.  We’d have to buy a gigantic sheet so there wasn’t a seam.  It started to seem like a whole lot of work and money to drop on laminate.  So we decided, hey for $20 this countertop paint can’t really be a complete waste of time.  So what if it only lasted 6 months?  In that time we could save up and come up with a different idea for the countertops.

The bad news?   It lasted just days before it got dinged up.  The good news?  Even with how dinged up it is, it was still “good enough” that we got rid of the pink dirt and came up with a better idea (but more on that later).

It’s now December.  We actually painted these countertops in early September.  Over 2 months ago.  So I feel like 2 months is a good “use time” that I can give you a fair review of my thoughts.

Let’s start with how we did it.

 

Countertop Painting

 

 

So yeah.. that’s it.  Seriously there isn’t much to it.  Just move quick and try not to pass out from the smell.. Actually do as I say not as I do and wear face masks n’at ’cause that stuff smells like you are swimming in nail polish.  Which every time I mentioned that Kevin said, “well thats basically what it is.”  I get it, Kevin.

So what’s my beef with the countertop paint?

It’s cure time is ridiculously long.  Yes, I know the can says just a few days, but they lie.  We painted this on a Wednesday evening & got up Thursday and left town until Sunday.  We didn’t touch it until Monday evening.  So it cured LONGER than the minimum.  And it chipped as soon as we sat something down on it.  Kevin brewed coffee & sat it down on the countertop & it left a ring here it had melted the paint.  We don’t drink super hot civil lawsuit degree coffee.  It’s just standard heat.  It melted the paint.  Then the rest of the chips came from less-than-standard things… like accidentally dropping a wrench and some other tools in random places.  It chipped it up like crazy.  Then a few weeks later, we sat a chicken on a platter on it and spun the platter to carve and it left a huge scratch in the paint.

HOWEVER – after that first month or so, the paint stopped chipping so badly.  I’d say if you could let this stuff cure for 6+ weeks before touching it, it may just work the way its supposed to work.  I don’t know who has the luxury of not using their kitchen for 6+ weeks, but if that’s you, then this $20 paint should work great for you.

With that said..We haven’t had much problems with it since the chipping stopped a few weeks ago.  It looks crappy now because we did so much damage (I’ll post pictures of that later probably) early on.  So we started brainstorming other ways to redo the countertop.  I’m not sharing just because I don’t want people to try to talk me out of it (I am looking at you, Billionaire).