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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kitchen Countertop Update & Giani Granite Paint Review

I know you are all waiting with bated breath to know my final decision regarding our countertops so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer!  See here and here for my other posts regarding this dilemma.  I recently finished painting one section of our countertops with Giani Jet Black Granite Countertop Paint Kit. Before I get in to the details, here are a few before and after photos:

Kitchen after2




While I am happy with the black color, I will tell you a few reasons why we have decided NOT to move forward with painting the remainder of the countertops with the Giani Countertop Paint.  Keep in mind that I only used one paint color, not the kits with multiple colors that are for a true granite effect.  Also, the following statement are based purely on my experience and opinions, they are in no way meant to offend anyone who has used and loved this product. 

1.  I am not happy with the coverage of the black base coat. In hindsight, I should have done two coats of the black.  There are a few areas where there are some “holidays” where the paint did not fully cover.  I imagine you wouldn’t have this problem if you were using other colors on top of your base coat to create a true “granite” look. And of course it would have helped if I had shined the bright spotlight on the countertop BEFORE I started to apply the protective top coats! You can kind of see what I mean in here:

IMG_29272.  We have a dog.  A dog who sheds.  This is not good when painting!  The solid black shows every imperfection and every tiny little pug hair or piece of lint/dust/fuzz that happens to fall onto the wet surface.  It would be impossible for me to get a clean finish.  And that would drive me crazy, knowing there are little hairs & what not stuck in there!  I would see them every time I cleaned.

3.  I’m not totally satisfied with the overall finish.  While the countertops are shiny, I expected a more high gloss finish.

4.  It really does look like we just painted our countertops.  While they look great from a distance, up close you can clearly tell they have been painted.  With the rich dark color of our cabinets and the fancy glass tile backsplash that we want to get, I think this will just cheapen the overall look. 


I will say that the Giani paint went on smoothly.  It was a little thinner than regular latex paint.  Application on this 6 foot area took about 15 minutes for each coat, plus drying time.  

So we are back to square one! Hubby agrees with me on this one and does not want to move forward with painting the rest of the countertops.  Now we just have to decide on what kind of countertops to get.  I have priced new black laminate, but hubby is not sold on that idea.  We plan on visiting a local granite yard later this week, but I am open to any suggestions! 

Of course we are trying to make an improvement on a budget, that is why I tried the paint in the first place.  I am thinking we just may have to start saving our pennies and wait until after the first of the year to tackle this project. 

I’m a little late, but I’ll be posting this at Serenity Now’s Decorating Dilemma’s Party, maybe someone out there can help us!

I’ll also be posting to Gina’s Transformation Thursday.


Interestingly enough, Karli over at Rocky Bella also attempted a similar project, except she used spray paint!!  She is in the same boat as we are, not really ready to spend the big bucks to replace them with granite, but unable to stand their current condition!  Check out her results here.

Stay tuned for details on my own Linky Party that I’m planning next week! I want to go forward with my idea of posting  your “decorating mistakes” so get those old photos ready!


  1. Yeah....I hear ya. Thanks for the honest post. I have green counter tops that are in great condition, but I am a blue & white person, so they don't work for me. I've considered painting them, but I just am not sure they'll really look great and be a durable as they need to be. Plus, I have A LOT of counter. Hm...I think I'll just have to wait.

  2. I think you were so brave for trying it out in the first place! Not that I doubt your talent at all, I just know that it takes a lot to paint a counter top like that in one solid color.

    I thank you much for the honest review. You are right, black is the right direction to go, just maybe not this product. I love the black and your rich cabinets!

    I will keep my eyes open for frugal ideas for you:)

  3. P.S. Can so relate to the dog fur and painting.

    1. Me too. I have 2 pugs and a french bulldog. They shed like it's their job. Maybe this isn't for me after all. You can't expect dog hair to not get into the paint. It's not realistic.

  4. Hi I'm visiting from Amanda's blog. I'm sorry your paint job didn't come out the way you had wanted it to. I do like the look of the color with your cabinets but can see what you mean about the imperfections. I think just saving some money & finding some granite may be more worth it in the long run & make you much happier & the countertops, easier on the eyes. Hope you find your solution soon. Take care.

  5. Thanks for the update on the paint. I havn't heard any reviews, but it does seem like waiting for the real thing would be the best. Granite tiles are MUCH cheaper than the slabs and can look stunning. There is also some product that they fit right over the old formica that is a granite product and suppossed to be real granite is a much thinner layer. I can't remember the name, but it comes already formed just like formica does. I left the formica on the back cabinets and put slab granite on the island and it totally updated the whole look of the kitchen. A good solution since I couldn't afford to do it all. Mine was actually a gift, because it was a granite remant. Some of the yards sell their remnants that are not big enough to do a whole kitchen at ridiculously cheap prices. At least it sells and they make something. Look forward to what you decide. Hugs, Marty

  6. what a huge project to take on.

    I thought it turned out really good, but i know when it is your counter top you see every little flaw.

    Thanks for sharing.

    barbara jean

  7. I like the could add another layer. I have been wondering about this countertop kit.

  8. Kudos to you for being brave and trying this out. It took me a year to work up the nerve. I'm sorry that you are not happy with the results. I didn't even know they made a kit for this!

  9. Black is definitely the color to go our old house, we found a black laminate with taupe flecks that mimicked granite. Was still expensive, though. Good luck finding your answer...your cabs are fab, btw!
    Thanks for popping over to my place.
    peace. cindy

  10. Hi, Christy! Thanks for linking up. :) Better late than never, I think.

    I actually think the very first "after" photo you showed looks great. So I think you're on the right track with dark countertops....

    I also love your open cabinets over the painted countertops. Just a thought...have you considered applying some kind of lighter background up there to make your accessories pop? Thrifty Decor Chick just did a post on that last night. :) It made such a difference!

    I also think it's great that you gave an honest review!! :)

    Thanks again for linking up...hope you'll join up next time too. :)

  11. I think it turned out nice. I know what you mean about the dust, pet hair issue. I could imagine it would be very hard to avoid any spec from falling onto the wet paint. From what I can see though, it looks great.

  12. Had some relatives who were able to get stone from a leftover project and were able to get it for much cheaper. You can check CraigsList or even a place like the Ikea "as is" section. Or you can also buy a stone slab and cut and install yourself (or by a contractor friend).

  13. That's to bad that you were not happy with the end result. I would surf the web because there are a lot of alternatives out there that are just as nice as granite but cheaper. Possibly concrete? Good Luck!

  14. I'm sorry it didn't turn out how you had hoped. I have been looking at this stuff and wondering how well it would come out because I had our white laminate countertops. We may just have to save for new ones.

  15. I'm glad I read this. I've been thinking of doing the same thing and recently picked up a can to purchase but put it back. I agree that it may cheapen the whole look of my kitchen.

  16. I recently purchased the Giani Paints and I will say that I was skeptical at first. I had 1978 harvest gold countertops and harvest gold appliances. The Piant and the Stainless Steel appliance paint is AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I did my entire kitchen for $159.99 for EVERYTHING! the final cost if I purchased all materials from a store: $ 12,000.00 !!!!! It’s an amazing product!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED~!

    Where to purchase: I bought directly from the website.

    I had magnetic surfaces so there was no priming needed in my case. For the countertops, I cleaned as recommended, and started painting! I had no prepartion needed.

    Pictures are available: please email: if interested. I used the Black Bombay. It has pearl formica, black, and bronze........GEORGOUS

    Kevin Mullins
    Culloden, WV

  17. You do take a chance when you use a product other than the way it is recommended. I bought the Gianni black granite. I assume you simply used the black primer first layer. If you had used the primer and the black mineral second layer, you would have achieved better coverage and a more realistic look. I used all 4 layers and my friends think I had granite countertops put in. Even up close it looks great! I have indoor dogs and a cat so I used a tack cloth just before I painted to be sure there was no dust or hair. I like it so much I am going to use it on my bathroom in the lighter color.

  18. Dear Christy,

    Thank you for your review of the Jet Black Kit, and we apologize it didn’t meet your expectations.

    We know it sounds corny, but our single focus is to provide you with an easy-to-use product that’ll make you extremely proud of your countertops. And we didn’t do that –

    To fix it, first of all – we’ll provide you our standard money-back guarantee. Secondly, we offer you any of our standard “granite” kits – totally on us - to apply right over your existing finish to correct it.

    Your experience will be much better with the GIANI granite kits because they use a different primer, multiple layers of colored minerals and a different clear topcoat. Bottom line - they’ll work great for you! And there are five colors for you and your husband to choose from!

    Christy, thank you again for your feedback, because that’s how products get better! And please give our GIANI “granite kits” a try, because we’re confident you’ll become a wild GIANI granite fan – just as 3,006 people have so far. What do you say?

    PS - the Jet Black Kits have been permanently removed from the market because they don’t meet the quality standards of GIANI granite.

    PS - you've done a great job with your blog. It's very informative. Congratulations!

    Tim Haas
    Client Services
    GIANI Granite

  19. Giani Counter Top Paint - I had usable but very ugly counter tops, I painted them with the Giani Counter Top Paint and I liked the look, but then a few days later they started to peel. I have spent over a week trying to correct this issue to no avail. Giani refunded my money, but now I have unusable kitchen counter tops and that means my kitchen is also unusable....please do not try this in your home. Giani knows they have an issue and refuses to do anything to inform customers before they are out $800.

  20. Hi, full disclosure, I work for GIANI Granite. Kammyo did a great job with her countertops – they looked like granite. She followed all the instructions to a tee and put in a good effort.

    However, it appears that the “Greased Lightning” cleaner used to prep the countertops may have left a residue which blocked the Primer from adhering to her countertops – because the Primer did adhere in most places.

    We are in the midst of confirming this at the moment after learning yesterday about the cleaner. We aren’t certain of this, because it’s improbable to test all the cleaners on the market. In addition, there hasn’t been a need to do this because this is the first incident of its type out of 2,146 successful GIANI applications. If this is the case, we’ll be certain to strongly convey this in our Instructions.

    The single goal at GIANI is to provide a countertop which Kammyo is proud of – so it’s extremely frustrating that this has happened to her. We’re really making a difference in people’s kitchens. As is standard, we quickly offered to refund Kammyo’s money – which we did - and send a new Kit to redo Kammyo’s countertops. But we understand because of Kammyo’s specific time constraints, that this normal course of action does not work.

    We understand Kammyo’s frustration. She is a very talented and a gifted Do-It-Yourselfer. We know for certain that if Kammyo had the time, she could remove whatever residue is blocking her countertops from the Primer and recreate the beautiful granite Kammyo had created before. Tim Haas GIANI Granite

  21. Just thought I’d leave a few of my thoughts on this process. First of all, I believe the “ideal” application for this process is old formica countertops. As a person with sort of a utilitarian outlook, I would *never* use this product on Corian countertops as suggested-it would compromise the entire premise behind the Corian product. We decided to try this product on temporary housing in a mobile home we purchased to live in while we built our new house. The old formica countertops were just plain ugly, and this was a possible affordable solution to ripping the countertops out and starting over. I am not new to painting, but painting countertops is a new concept for me. I ordered the product straight from the manufacturer online, and it promptly arrived on my front doorstep. My first suggestion is to not only clean and degrease the countertops well as directed, but to do it twice in more commonly “used” areas, such as around the sink and stove. Because I didn’t do it twice, the primer did not “take” as well in those areas. I ended up sanding those areas and reapplying. Our backsplash is ceramic tile. They suggested a layer of primer on tile prior to priming. I would go one step further and suggest a light sanding after priming-it will stick better to the ceramic tile with a light sanding. It is very easy to get wrapped up in trying to make the pattern look “random”, as granite would normally appear. Definitely wear gloves!! I also suggest having one small paintbrush and one tiny one for those little hard to reach areas. Plan on allowing the process to dry overnight, and plan on going back for random touch-ups before the final clearcoat application. The instructions will tell you it’s OK to do that, and it does help add depth to the look. One last suggestion is if you buy two kits, as I needed to do, designate one of the large sponge rollers for the primer and the other for the topcoat, instead of using the same roller for the two different appications. Plan on spending an entire weekend on this project if you want it to look right. The instructions are pretty straightforward. We’re giving the clearcoat plenty of time to cure (as suggested) before using the countertops. The final “look” improved the appearance of the countertops, so now we’ll have to see how they hold up over time. I can provide photos to anyone interested in seeing the results.

  22. Hi Kate
    I would love to see photos of your results. I have ugly counters and I am considering using this product. However, I do alot of cooking, and wouldn't know what to do if they started to peel. We can'y afford to replace the whole countertop at this time. Please let me know how they are holding up.

  23. I just finished my countertops using the graini sicilian sand. Mine is slightly different in when I first put it on it came out great, however it was the wrong hue to match my backsplash. SOOO I went to lowes and got their signature paint - brush pearl - put on this basecoat plus pearl coat over top of my giani kit mineral layers and redid the minerals with sponge over again on the pearl layer. I wish I had left some black to show though, but it still looks goregous. It has multiple layers and looks like stone. I would like to do the wet sanding because i want the counter to be smooth, but I'm scared to sand it -that it may take out my beautifulk layers. Anyone have any expeirince with using the wet sanding finish. If you do pleaseemail Jan at want to finish them this weekend. Thx awesome website

  24. Hi Jan,

    This is Tim with Giani Granite and congratulations on your handiwork! - It sounds like you did a great job! -

    While we don't strongly promote using other paints with Giani because of concerns with compatibility - it may be done - and it sounds like you did it wonderfully! -

    In addition, you may consider lightly sponging back in some more of the Giani Black Primer to bring in more of the black that you were looking for -

    With regard to your inquiry - you may wet sand your Minerals after they've have dried for at least twelve hours - It's optimal to test the impact of sanding in a small area first - because they will lightly reduce the last Mineral the most.

    Many people actually prefer the light reduction because they feel it creates a more blended granite pattern -

    Listed below for your review are the steps on how to wet sand . . .

    1) Use a very fine grit #600 waterproof sand paper. You may find this at Home Depot or Lowes in their Paint Department
    2) Purchase a sanding block with a handle and a rubber bottom that has clips to hold the sand paper - This is also in the Paint or Drywall Department
    3) Pour a small puddle of water - about the size of your palm - onto your countertop and use the water as a lubricant to make light back and forth motions within your arm's reach - to lightly smooth your Minerals

    It doesn't take many swipes to smooth it down. Wipe up the water with a towel and feel for smoothness and check for appearance. Repeat as desired.

    Note - your Minerals will look dull and scuffed - and that's OK - because their vibrancy and clarity will come back when the clear topcoat is added.

    Don't use the sanding block on your edges because it's too focused. Take a small piece of the sand paper in your hand - and use it to lightly sand your edges.

    When you're done with your sanding. Wipe up all the dust with a clean towel a few times. Allow it to dry for at least an hour - and then you're ready for your Clear Topcoat!

    Jan - contact us with any further inquiries and enjoy the beauty you and Giani created in your home! Tim

  25. This Black is now just meant as a primer. The Giani Granite... when Painted as granite, is a fantastic product. I have had my bombay black counters for two and a half years now and LOVE them! They are Gorgeous! From a distance they look black but up close you can see rock designs. I am a big fan of Giani Granite.

  26. Used Giani Granite in the Emerald Green last Fall. Came out gorgeous -at first.

    We noticed that despite applying two of the topcoats the shine seemed uneven. There were also a couple small nicks that went down to the original countertop. Talked to Giani and they said that the paint shouldn't chip anymore once it was fully cured. Sent us some new paint to touch up the nicks.

    Unfortunately, it has continued to deteriorate over that last months with more chips and, more recently, paint peeling off. Finally looked so bad that we decided to just redo the countertops again. Spent about 9 hours today getting the Giani product off the counter. In some places it just peeled off in sections. Other areas took painstaking scraping and sanding.

    We are going to paint with Rustoleum countertop paint. Won't have the depth and dimension of the Giani but hopefully it will be more durable. I loved the look of the Giani countertops, had followed all of their directions correctly and was very dissapointed that the product didn't hold up more than a few months.

  27. Hi Pamela-
    We had to stop shipping for about 2 weeks last December partially because of the weather but also because we received a couple of responses similar to yours. We completely fixed this temporary issue. We are so sorry you purchased during this time. Giani would be happy to refund the money you paid for these kits. We have had nothing but happy customers since Feruary's product updates. If you call we would be be happy to help you in any way. Thanks- If you call ask for Tim 800-650-5699- Giani Granite

  28. Similar to the above post - Used Chocolate Brown Giani Granite kit late last summer and it came out great.

    We have used nothing but the Giani cleaner (and anti-bacterial soap and water) to wipe and clean the counter tops.

    Just recently the paint has started to chip and peel in different sections. It started out as real small chips and we would repair them as they surfaced, but now they are getting bigger and in different sections of the counter tops.

    We followed the directions to a tee and was really impressed with the original results. But the repairs are starting to become overwhelming. It was almost like 9 months, then it needed to be completely overhauled.

    We are beginning to look for a replacement counter top.


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