Have you used a "Countertop Transformation" product and can you tell me about it?
May 20, 2011 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Have you used one of the Countertop Transformation products (of the two I know, Rustoleum and Modern Masters) in your kitchen, and can you share your experience? Is it worth it? Does it look nice?

I recently learned about these products and am intrigued. I need new kitchen countertops but can't deal with installing new ones ($ and effort-wise), so am considering this product.

It looks simple but difficult to do - in other words, not complicated, but a total pain in the ass. I'd only do it if I were guaranteed really great results.

I have less than 50 sq ft of countertop to do.

Have you used this? What did you think of the process? Does the product live up to your expectations? Look good? Pitfalls? Is there another brand with which I am not aware that's better?

Any info you'd like to share would be welcome. I will obsessively babysit this thread if you have questions about anything I left out. Thanks, all.
posted by tristeza to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I live in a Dallas apartment that has had the bathroom and kitchen laminate counter tops 'resurfaced' as part of a general remodeling. I'm not sure what product they used, but I have to admit it's durable, looks nice, and you can hardly tell they kept the original countertops (I'm a former real estate agent and can usually spot 'updates', which was done here!). The surface is rough, looks sprayed on, is easy to clean, and appears very modern.
posted by rtodd at 7:21 PM on May 20, 2011

This question was the first I've heard of "countertop transformation", but I'll be watching the answers with interest since my counters also suck.

But I thought I'd chime in with an informational derail: Rustoleum and Modern Masters appear to be the exact same product. More specifically, Modern Masters is a brand owned by Rustoleum, and both of their domains are registered by RPM International, "A World Leader in Specialty Coatings and Sealants". Sketchy.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:47 PM on May 20, 2011

Response by poster: Rustoleum and Modern Masters appear to be the exact same product.

Ah, makes sense, as they have the exact same process, elements, instructions, etc. I have a feeling one is for Lowe's and one is for Home Depot ( i.e. their "store brands" of each)
posted by tristeza at 7:57 PM on May 20, 2011

I tried Modern Masters. I'm pretty crafty, in fact, I am crafty and good around the house enough that we remodeled our kitchen solo last year. In the beginning, we were just planning on resurfacing the counter, replacing the linoleum floor with tile, putting in a new sink, adding a garbage disposal, and repainting the walls.

In the end, we had to buy an entirely new counter. This was because we tried the Modern Master's SkimStone for a new counter surface and it was an unmitigated disaster. There are numerous YouTube videos attesting to the ease with which a couple (or even a housewife) with zero handyman skills can easily transform their counter into a gorgeous SkimStone creation.

I was persuaded. I'm good at this kind of stuff. And we worked our butts off scraping, sanding, leveling, etc, etc. I spent most of a weekend on it. It took longer than the tiles, some of which we had to cut with a tilecutter to put in place. I literally burst into tears at the final result. Our landlord saw the final result and proclaimed it "the weirdest shit I've ever seen, and I lived through the 60's...and the 70's."

In the end, we had to entirely replace the counter. We only spent $150-$200 on the supplies, which was great, because it left us space in our budget to replace the countertop which was the only option after we finished our SkimStone "creation". Luckily our landlord didn't evict us on the spot, because it looked like we had poured lumpy blueberry shake all over our kitchen .

In a nutshell: I would not recommend SkimStone in any way, shape or form. On the upside, if you want some SkimStone, I still have all the supplies. I won't take any money for it (because I don't want to contribute to some other poor schmuck having to spend $500 unexpectedly replacing their counter) but if you're in the L.A. area and don't mind cans that have been forcefully kicked several times, they're yours for the taking.
posted by arnicae at 8:00 PM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]

Oh, and:

Process: Painstaking and tedious. Each step takes longer than you would expect.

Pitfalls: Buy 1.5 more than they tell you to get (we had to make several emergency trips out to the store). Be extra special careful measuring the dye, because you will need to measure it in 1/4 tsp increments and boy, being specific matters. It would have been very easy to go too dark if we hadn't used an old syringe to precisely measure.

Also, in addition to looking like lumpy batter, it wasn't very water tight even after multiple sealing attempts. It already looked stained after two days of use (while we were waiting for the company demolishing and removing it to arrive).

Lived Up to Expectations: Probably the worst product of all time. We painstakingly followed each of the steps and the result was utter disaster.

One final comment: I went back to the store and the guy who sold it to me said that he had people come back in pretty frequently complaining of poor results. He said that he didn't know of anyone who had used it more than once.
posted by arnicae at 8:06 PM on May 20, 2011

Response by poster: OMG arnicae, you poor thing. That sounds hideous. I think that the product I'm looking at is different than SkimStone; it better be, I'm reading reviews of it and it sounds horrible.

The ones I'm considering use plastic chips and sealer rather than tile/stone pieces. God, I hope it's a different one......
posted by tristeza at 8:10 PM on May 20, 2011

On a recent episode of the Antonio Treatment on HGTV someone used an epoxy that looks like metal or concrete to make cool looking durable counters out of plywood. The results on my TV looked awesome. I have no idea how it might look in real life. Epoxy can be fun to work with though... Maybe google around and see what you find out about the product used in that episode?
posted by jbenben at 8:45 PM on May 20, 2011

Hmm...just watch out what your purchase. In my research prior to purchasing, I discovered that ModernMasters and Rudd have exactly the same product but MM is oriented towards consumers and Rudd towards contractors/builders/bigger organizations.

This took several phone calls. I found that the people at Rudd were more willing to be candid about how X = Y = Z.

Just make sure it isn't MM Skimstone.
posted by arnicae at 10:13 PM on May 20, 2011

I can't comment about any DIY products, but we had our bathroom countertop resurfaced by our son-in-law who does this for a living for apartment complexes. It's only been about 2 months, but it looks tons better and has held up perfectly so far. I believe it is a 2 part epoxy. He has to wear a respirator while he sprays, so this stuff is probably more industrial strength than what you're asking about. I would like to have our bathtub done next.
posted by Daddy-O at 12:20 AM on May 21, 2011

We used Granite Transformations which covers your old countertops with a granite-and-epoxy blend "skin". It is most definitely not a DIY project, nor is it particularly cheap. The cost is pretty much in line with full granite countertops. The advantages are that there is no demolition involved (so installation took less than a day) and they never need sealing. But the results (even after 1.5 years) are absolutely beautiful.
posted by DrGail at 5:22 AM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Family HandyMan magazine has an article on a couple doing this exact process (can't remember which product they used though) Results looked pretty slick. That same magazine has several articles on using graniye tile and other similar materials to do other transformations.
posted by emjay at 8:08 AM on May 21, 2011

I saw that Antonio episode and remember clearly that they were using MARINE grade supplies - which explains how it works. If the epoxy and sealant are impervious enough to keep a wooden boat afloat, one assumes it's strong enough to serve as a kitchen countertop...? They used a "faux metallic" look paint and then the marine epoxy to seal it.

I don't have anything else practical to add, but I'll be watching for your results, as I have a similar situation ("high end" Formica from 1992 that I'd like to resurface in some way rather than replace...)
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2011

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