My husband and I recently bought a house. The house was a foreclosure built in 1959 and was in dire need of some updates. Unfortunately it also needed all new plumbing, electrical, windows, floors, etc. I was hoping we would have enough money left over from fixing those previously mentioned items to get a new kitchen- boy was that naive. We barely had enough to get those things done let alone a whole kitchen remodel, which as most people know can get up into the tens of thousands of dollars. Yet I still HAD to do something about this kitchen! I figured I could at least paint the cabinets and put some new hardware on the doors and drawers for relatively cheap, but what can you do for counter-tops? It was the most hideous laminate counter-tops and I could not leave them that way. After doing some research online, I found a product that I was willing to try. At this point I figured even if it looked terrible and didn't work, they couldn't be any worse than they were.
The product I ended up going with was called Rustoleum Counter-top Transformations. It's a do-it-yourself way to change your counter-tops that's relatively inexpensive. Each kit contains enough product to cover 20 linear feet or 50 square feet. I have quite a bit of counter space so it took me two kits, but even then it is much cheaper than getting a new counter-top. I was able to get 1 kit for around $150 at Home Depot. The kits come in 5 different colors: onyx, charcoal, Java Stone, Desert Sand, and Pebbled Ivory. I used Charcoal and was very happy with the results. The kit comes with a diamond sanding block that you use to scuff up the counter-tops. Then you roll on the paint color and immediately cover it with the "flecks" they give you. You let that dry for about a day or two then come back and vacuum up the leftover "flecks". After that you sand down the top to smooth it out and then put on a clear coat. It is ready for "light" use in about 48 hours, but takes about 7 days to fully cure.
I loved the end result, however, if I were giving any suggestions to anyone who wanted to do this, I would tell them to do it with a second person (especially if it is covering a large area), and that it does take a couple days to go through the whole process(just because of the dry time). I would also warn you that this gets MESSY. Mostly just with the flecks. Make sure you put some sort of tarp on the floor for easy clean up and TAPE the edges of the counter-tops so you don't get it on the appliances or walls.