Countertop Upgrade On the Cheap with Envirotex Lite

My bathroom counters were formica... pink faux woodgrain formica, to be exact. Wishing for granite, but lacking the funds, I was hoping to approximate the look with some simple materials. I found some incredibly helpful blogs about how to transform counters using paint and a product called Envirotex Lite (an epoxy resin).  Who thought of this first?  I don't know.  But it is an amazing idea.

Envirotex Lite, the real magic in this recipe, is an epoxy resin that is often used to coat bar tops, so it can stand a lot of wear and tear.  The only places I know of where you can buy this is Hobby Lobby or Menards.  I know some people get special coupons for Hobby Lobby, but I do not, so I found a better price at Menards.

Here is my before:

Before


And After:


Painted Envirotex Lite Countertop
After


After, alternate view and close up:

Envirotex Lite Countertop
After, other view

Envirotex Lite Countertop
Envirotex Lite Countertop


Now, this process is covered in detail on a lot of other blogs, but what the heck, I will give you a break down too, along with my own commentary about the process.  So if you want to try this, here are some instructions.




Step One, Caulk and Sink Removal:


Shut off your water supply, and unhook your faucet pipes.  Keep an eye under the sink for the next few hours to make sure nothing is leaking.

Remove the caulking around your sink, and then your sink itself.  Have you never removed caulking before?  Best tool is a metal putty knife.  Have you never removed a sink before?  Best tool is a strong friend.  We ended up giving it a few swift hits from underneath to loosen it.

Also remove any caulk on the counter edges.


Step Two, Prime


Apply with a roller.  I used Zinsser primer.  Follow the directions as to how long to wait before applying a base color


Step 2: Zinsser Primer



Step Three, Base Color


I used Rustoleum flat black (oil based).  Is it strange that I like the smell of oil based paint?  Even if you do, turn on your vent (or open a window if you have one).  Allow this to dry overnight (or follow directions on the can)

Step 3: black paint



Step Four, Sponge on Metallic Paint


Okay, you can get creative here.  I ended up mixing two different colors of metallic paint, basically trying to approximate the look of stone.  I used both a sea sponge and a crinkled up plastic bag.  Just dip and dot.  Easy, and surprisingly fun.  You don't have to let it dry between these colors; you actually want them to blend a bit.  And you can go over an area more than once... layering is a good thing.  Don't worry about thickness.  It won't matter after the final steps.

I ended up preferring the plastic bag over the sea sponge, surprisingly.  Something about the sea sponge seemed to make prints that just looked like a child's craft project.  A note about plastic bags: if your bag has any lettering on it (especially red), just cut that part out of the bag or the color will bleed.

First color: copper:

Copper, applied with sea sponge


Then, second color: silver:


Silver, applied with bag


Final color, more black:




Yeah, it looks terrible after this, but just you wait.  Let that puppy dry for about 24 hours.


Step Five, Glitter


Martha Stewart black glitter.  Sprinkle around generously.  You can't see it in my pictures, but it is more evident in real life.  Some people use more than one color of glitter, but I think the black did the trick for me... I just wanted a stone like look, not a glammed out counter, if you know what I mean.  I didn't take a picture of the glitter, though, because I was too excited to move on to...


Step Six, Envirotex Lite


This was the big moment, the grand finale, what I had been waiting for!  True story, I bought a $2 remnant of formica and practiced this whole process on it before even starting on the bathroom counter... mostly because I was nervous about this last step.

Here are my thoughts on Envirotex Lite:
  1. Read the directions... for realsies, don't just skim them.
  2. You are mixing two liquids together; a resin and a hardener.  Mix exact parts of each bottle, don't eyeball it. 
  3. Use containers that you don't care about and will throw away afterwards.  You will not have a choice.
  4. Cover your counters, your floors, and anything else in the line of fire as much as possible, and even then, check everything afterwards thoroughly for drips.  This stuff has the consistency of syrup, people.
  5. This stuff does not taste like syrup, though.  If you are like me, and end up getting it in your mouth (and hair, and all over my arms...) wash it out immediately.
  6. Don't be afraid of the blowtorch step (to pop the bubbles).  It's really not that bad.  And your only other alternative is the drinking straw method, which invariably leads to #5.
Here is what it looked like after one treatment:



 I couldn't believe it... there were still little bumps sticking up from the uneven paint.  I thought I had messed up horribly.

Close up of bumps.  Second coat of Envirotex took care of this issue.


I called the company the next day (by the bye, their customer service is stellar), and they said I could apply a second coat 24 hours after the first.  So I did.  Much better.

Same spot, bumps gone!




Step 7, Wait


Yeah, it really takes 72 hours to cure.  Even after that, it would dent if I set anything down on the counter... but the dents would disappear in an hour or so.  It turns out, it takes Envirotex a few weeks to really harden, so take it easy on the counters for the next 3 or 4 weeks.




Step 8, Faucet?


Do you hate your faucet?  Now is really a good time to replace it... when your sink is sitting out, it is super easy to install (takes about 10 minutes as opposed to an hour or so for an installed sink).  Nice faucets are around $100, but can really make the difference.  I got new flex pipe tubing too, because... what the heck.


Step 9, Reinstall sink and caulk counters


Apply some caulk to the underside of the sink, and place it in.  Hook up your faucet, switch on the shutoff valves.  Caulk the counters where they meet the backsplash.  Use acrylic if you can swing it.  It is tough, but it is the best!  Maybe I should do a separate blog on how to caulk... hm.


One more look at the after:








What have I forgotten?  I can't think of anything, but if you have questions, let me know!




13 comments:

  1. Okay, JUST WOW!!!! I am reposting to Resin Crafts Facebook page!
    Thank you so much for the share!

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  2. WOW is right! You did a fantastic job, the counter looks amazing! ...just one thing :-( in the bathroom my sink and counter are all one piece. Do you think the epoxy resin finish would hold up on the sink as well? ...perhaps it's just wishful thinking. Thanks for sharing the directions anyways, I'll save them for future reference :-)

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    1. Aw, thank you so much! I think you can still do it... I would not, however, put the resin in your sink (I imagine it would clog up your drain). Maybe you could just do the counters, and not the sink? If so, I would stuff the sink with newspaper and then use painters tape to tape off the interior of the sink rim to protect your sink from spills, etc. I am just guessing here, because I haven't tried it (and I am no expert), but it seems like it could work!

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  3. This is really beautiful! You did an amazing job. I have tile counter tops, so I don't think this will work for me. Not unless I pulled all the tile out and that is not something I wish to do right now. I will file your instructions away for future use. :-)

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    1. Tile counter tops are lovely on their own, though... I can definitely understand not wanting to remove them! Some people have found ways to paint tile different colors if they want to change things up, though I am not sure how that works?

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  4. A couple of questions; 1- how did you get the epoxy to stick on the edge of the counter without running off? 2- how much did you use for your countertop, which looks to be about 48 inches?
    Love it, awesome job!! I have the same before countertop in our bath, and as much as I would love to replace it, it would cost a boat load. It is 9 1/2 get long and would have to be custom made. And that is not in my remodel budget, ha. doctyryx3@yahoo.com

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    1. Hey Rhoni,

      Thank you! :) I just measured, and the counter is 60 inches long. I think I used about 2.5 of the 1 liter kits, so bought 3 kits total. Though, you may note that I had to repour due to some unexpected bumps, so others may use less. As I was buying the third kit, I realized I should have bought the gallon kit, but what can you do. ;)

      As for the sides, when you pour, it will start to drip over. I just went over them with the foam paddle brushes I was using to spread out the Envirotex. You have to keep revisiting them until it starts to harden, because it wants to drip (and hence dry with drips hanging down). Incidentally, if you do end up with some dried drips, you can sand them off after they dry.

      Hope this helps! Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions!

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  5. Hey.. your counter looks beautiful! I'm in the process of doing mine and wondering how long you waited to reinstall your sink? TIA

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    1. Hey Alicia, Thank you! ... And very cool that you are trying this out too! I put my sink back in 72 hours after applying the last coat of Envirotex (so basically after a full cure). I would love to see how yours turn out!

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  6. Wow! That looks great! Your countertop looks like it was made from real granite. I think, we should give credit to Envirotex Lite, which helped you achieve a smooth and glossy finish. Good job!

    Ensi Hodzic

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  7. Hi. Awesome work! Did you have to cover the entire countertop with resin to fix the troubled areas? Or did you just apply resin to those areas? Mine just did the same thing and I'm hoping a smaller kit will fix the problem in one area as opposed to me purchasing 2 more gallons

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    1. Thank you, Tara! I had to cover the whole countertop on the second round to fix the bumps... I don't think there is really a way to "spot" fix for the issue, because it is a self leveling product, and will just spread out... and even if you could contain it to a small area, it would leave a mound where you had applied a second coat. Sorry I couldn't bear better news... good luck with your counter! Sounds like a big project if you are using 2 gallons.

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