Thinking About Refinishing Laminate Counters?

Has anyone actually refinished their laminate counters with the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kit?  What did you think?  After reading this article, I’m tempted to give it a try this winter.  Let me know your thoughts on it.

Debbie Schwanbeck, Realtor with Ebby Halliday Realtors


How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

In my Mom’s budget-friendly kitchen makeover, it’s difficult to see just how much better the counters look now because her old counters were surprisingly photogenic.  They had a really pretty, subtle design, but over the years they had become stained, scratched, chipped, and were actually de-laminating from the MDF.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

Mom didn’t want to replace them because this kitchen spruce is just temporary, so we used a Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kit to give them a new look.  There are different kinds: the faux granite kit, the “Fleck” kit and the “Mica” kit.  We opted for the Mica in White, which turned out to be so pretty!  It’s a subtle change in the photos, but in real life it really freshened up the space while still keeping the kitchen light and bright:

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

But before we refinished the laminate counters, we had to make some repairs first.  Here’s what we did to repair the chips, fix the peeling laminate, and ultimately re-coat the counters for a fresh new look.

How to Repair Laminate Counter That’s Lifting From the MDF:

Before we did anything, we needed to reattach the laminate to the MDF because it was lifting:

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

We squeezed in some construction adhesive and then, using a series of clamps, held the counter in place while the adhesive dried.  To avoid dents or a wavy edge, we used paint stir sticks beneath the clamps to hold down the entire counter edge evenly.  We did this way back in the early part of the summer, and it’s still holding strong!

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse
How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

How to Repair Laminate Counter Chips:

The laminate counter had chipped in many place and I was partly to blame!  I leaned against the counter and the edge (which had been separating from the MDF) caught on the back pocket of my jeans and when I moved, I took a piece with me.  I may have done this more than once – my rear end was, apparently, the perfect height for this destruction.  Luckily Mom kept the pieces, which we glued back with construction adhesive.  For the lost chips, like the one below, I built up the chip with an adhesive putty.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse
How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse
How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

I kneaded the epoxy together, as per the instructions, and then applied it to the missing area.  I pressed it into the MDF and smoothed it as best I could.  Once it was dry, I sanded it and then the repair was hidden beneath the Rust-Oleum product.  It looks good – but not 100% – because I really should have smoothed it much flatter before it dried.  I thought I could fix any bumps in sanding but once it dries it’s really, really hard.  So if you try this trick, get it as perfect as possible while it’s still mold-able.  Otherwise, we were all really impressed with what a great quick fix this was.  And the shimmering new counter coating really does disguise the repair job – it is definitely much better than a huge missing chunk!

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

How to Refinish Laminate Counter Tops:

With the laminate glued back in place and the chips repaired, it was time to start refinishing the laminate with the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformation kit!

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

We removed the sink because we were replacing it anyway and this made the finished counter look much better (but you can work around a sink, that’s no problem).  If you try this kit, follow the instructions included – to the letter!  But here’s a brief overview so you can see what to expect.

We covered the freshly refinished cabinets with plastic and taped off the wall behind the backsplash.  Before starting, we gave the counters a good scrub with soap and water and let everything dry completely.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

Following the Rust-Oleum instructions (there’s a really great instructional video), we sanded the entire surface using the diamond-embedded sanding block provided in the kit.  This was dusty, tiring work (a dust mask and eye protection were required!), but an essential step to ensure the new finish adhered properly.  The sanding served to de-gloss and dull the counter top by creating super fine scratches.  To remove the dust, we used a dust pan and then wiped thoroughly with a damp cloth – it took a few passes to get it clean.  It was handy working together because we had two sets of eyes to check for any dust residue before moving on to the next step.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

For the base coat (which requires two coats), Mom and I worked as a team so I don’t have many photos.  I painted the base coat with a brush onto the backsplash and onto the counter a few inches, in addition to painting the edges where the stove and fridge go.  Meanwhile, Mom used the small roller provided to apply the base coat to the surface of the counter.  We applied the two coats of base coat two hours apart.  It was a bit tricky getting an even coat without applying it too thick – re-rolling, as per the instructions, was the most stressful part.  This base coat performs differently than paint, but we eventually got the hang of it.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

Here’s a shot right after we painted the second base coat application (excuse the dim photo, I don’t even want to admit how late at night we were working on this):

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

Before calling it quits, we removed the painter’s tape.  We allowed the base coat to dry 12 hours (overnight) and then applied the mica top coat – which has to be applied within 24 hours.  It’s so sparkly!  Opening this can is what prompted me to try to add glitter to my painted vinyl floor (which I’m still planning on trying when I turn our “fish room” into a cute craft room).

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse
How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

We wiped the counter with a damp cloth and allowed it to dry while we re-applied the painter’s tape.  We mixed the two part top coat, which had to be stirred for two minutes, and then we had four hours to apply the mica.  It doesn’t take that long to do, but that’s how long you have until it’s no longer good.  Once again, we brushed it onto the backsplash and then rolled on the surface, spreading out the mica so it didn’t clump.  It was challenging to get good coverage without the clear coat pooling in any areas where the counter wasn’t level, but we fussed with it until it looked good.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

Can you see that huge gap between the counter and the wall?  Didn’t see that in the reveal, right?  That’s because I have mad caulking skills.

It was definitely a full weekend of work to repair and refinish these laminate counters, but when it was all done, Mom and I were thrilled!  My Dad was less thrilled, because they had to wait two days before resuming light kitchen use and a whole week before the kitchen could be used as normal (how would he make the COFFEE?!?!), but it was worth the wait for my Mom.  She’s just smitten with her “new” counters.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

The only drawback was that the clear coat yellowed the surface more than we anticipated and it became a creamy white as opposed to the stark white we were hoping for.  For a moment, we wished we’d chosen black, which seemed more foolproof.  But once we finished the kitchen and styled the counter ever so slightly (I’m trying to wean my Mom off kitchen clutter), the creamy white worked – and looked gorgeous against the blush pink walls.  So it was the perfect choice in the end, but just know that the white will be more of an off-white, if you’re tempted to try this kit.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

It’s difficult to capture the mica because it blurs when the light hits, but just know that this counter can be REALLY shimmery when the sun hits – you have to like sparkle (which we do!).

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

When the sun or under cabinet lighting aren’t shining on it, the counter is best described as glossy – no, gleaming:

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse

Look at the pink McCoy pots actually reflecting in the surface!  This glossy finish is perfect for a small kitchen because it really bounces the light around.

How to repair and refinish laminate counters | Dans le Lakehouse
How to Repair and Refinish Laminate Counters

Would I recommend the Rust-Oleum Counter Top Transformation Kit?

Yes, definitely – but only if your counters are super sad looking.

For my Mom’s kitchen, with terribly worn out counters, the repairs plus the kit made a HUGE improvement and my Mom is thrilled!  The Rust-Oleum coating hid the scratches and our repairs, and just brightened the room.  But I think that, in some lights, it does have a “painted” look – especially because the seams are now hidden.  More importantly, my Mom has reported that you can’t put anything hot on it, not even a hot coffee pot, so it’s a little less durable than before.

If your counters are in excellent, amazing shape I wouldn’t recommend this unless they are truly hideous and you can’t stand the sight of them.  If you’re on the fence, don’t risk bunging them up because the base coat and top coat are not foolproof.  But if your counters have seen better days, this is definitely worth the time and effort.  Mom’s counters just look SO much better now.  We would definitely try this again!

This post is collaboration with Rust-Oleum, a long time supporter of Dans le Lakehouse

DFW & North Texas is still one of the most Desirable & Affordable places to live in the U.S.

From the Desk of Mary Frances Burlson, President & CEO of Ebby Halliday Companies


The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area remains one of the more affordable locations in the country in which a home may be purchased, according to a recent study by, the nation’s largest independent publisher of mortgage and consumer loan information.

Of 27 U.S. metro areas studied, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked near the middle of the pack for affordability.

Despite significant increases in home values over the past few years, DFW remained much more affordable than San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, or Miami.

The study found that a typical DFW area buyer needed an annual household income of approximately $54,760 to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median value home at $232,200. This was significantly less, for example, than the $161,950 income a San Francisco buyer would need to purchase a median value home there.

It’s clear that the Dallas-Fort Worth and North Texas area is still one of the most desirable, and affordable, places to live in the U.S.

For more information on the DFW residential real estate market, or to view homes for sale in the area, contact

Driverless cars could mean Garageless Homes in the Near Future. What do you think?


Driverless vehicles will lead to garage-less homes, says Trumark co-founder Gregg Nelson.

As driverless cars become commonplace in the next five or 10 years, builders and developers will need to rethink how they plan their new communities, like Trumark's Fielding at Wallis Ranch in Dublin, Calif.
Christopher Mayer PhotographyAs driverless cars become commonplace in the next five or 10 years, builders and developers will need to rethink how they plan their new communities, like Trumark’s Fielding at Wallis Ranch in Dublin, Calif.

The era of driverless cars isn’t far off. Automakers and tech companies are racing to make self-driving cars commercially available in cities across the country, according to this Business Insider article.

Ford, GM, Tesla, Lyft, Google, and more plan to have autonomous cars on the road within the next five years. In fact, Goldman Sachs estimates that by 2030, driverless cars could make up as much as 60% of U.S. auto sales.

Many of the country’s home builders are already considering how driverless cars will impact future residential development. Executives at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Trumark Homes have been discussing it for more than a year, says co-founder Gregg Nelson. Here, BUILDER talks with Nelson about how self-driving vehicles will reshape communities in the near future.

With driverless cars quickly becoming a reality, how is the home building industry getting in front of this new phenomenon?
At this point, I think it is in the form of discussions rather than tangible changes. At Trumark, we have been talking about the possible implications in design of our homes and our communities. We have been working on design alternatives for future projects that consider the implications of this coming change.

Other builders are doing the same. For instance, KB Home, along with KTGY Architecture, unveiled its “KB Home ProjeKt” at this year’s Greenbuild Conference, a home designed for the future with no garage.

What do you foresee as the biggest challenges when it comes to designing communities for driverless cars?
One of the biggest challenges will be to convince suburban municipalities that not all homes/home buyers will want or need a garage, or at least won’t need two spaces.

Gregg Nelson
Lauri LevenfeldGregg Nelson

The other challenge will be whether home buyers are willing to accept not having a garage, not only for their own use, but as a resale value question. Who will be those first buyers/early adopters? Who will take the first step of building a home without a garage? One evolving trend that could help lead the way is the increasing push by highly urbanized cities to move away from cars. They are doing so by pushing for greater densities near public transit stations, along with a restriction in the amount of parking allowed (in stark contrast to most suburban communities). The new trend could incorporate a maximum parking requirement instead of a minimum.

Another challenge will be how to make the transition from the current situation on our roads to a driverless environment. Obviously, this won’t happen all at once. How do we begin to incorporate the driverless vehicles onto our roads that allow people to safely take advantage of the benefits of the technology such as increased travel speed and less congestion? Addressing that will require a lot of problem-solving by the car and technology companies, along with government agencies and transportation consultants. Success will help in the faster adoption of the technology. Perhaps the carpool lanes of today will become the autonomous vehicle lanes of the future.

How do you predict communities will look in five to 10 years from now when driverless cars are the norm?
New architecture will offer the option of eliminating the garage and utilizing that valuable ground-level square footage for living space. This will be especially important in higher-density infill projects. We may see communities designed with less internal roadways and more walkable open space. We should see a reduction in land area dedicated to parking. Studies show that roughly a third of urban real estate is devoted to parking garages, and that there are eight parking spaces for every car operating in the U.S. As time goes by, this “wasted” space will be re-utilized in a way to enhance the environments of our communities.

Infill communities located within a mile or two (or further in some cases) of a transit hub will become “transit-oriented” by virtue of driverless shuttles that allow people to access transit from a location that is too far to walk, without fighting for parking at the station or the hassle of riding a bike. We are currently evaluating how to incorporate ownership of these types of vehicles into the HOA of some of the larger communities we are developing, where there would be one or more vehicles dedicated to the community to make the transit connection easy and inexpensive.

How will driverless cars affect commuting patterns and how will that affect buyers’ decision on location to buy their home?
This is being debated: Will driverless cars reduce congestion because it will be easier and cheaper to carpool, and the technology will help to solve the human-induced congestion issues, allowing for potentially higher speed of travel? Or, will it be so easy and convenient that people will choose to ride in their car for their entire commute, eschewing public transportation altogether, thereby increasing congestion? Only time will tell for sure, but I tend to think it will be a bit of both, but with a significant net improvement. If commutes become shorter and easier, we will see more buyers willing to move to more affordable communities farther from the job centers. This will help ease the tremendous pressures on the core markets and increase demand for housing in outlying market areas.

One interesting additional development is the advent of vertical take-off and landing vehicles as announced recently by Uber, which may start as piloted but will eventually also be pilotless. These could dramatically open up options for people to live further away from where they work without enduring a long commute. For example, a community like Santa Rosa, which is now a commute of one-and-a-half to two hours from the Financial District in San Francisco, would be roughly 20 minutes in a vehicle described by Uber.

What other big technology changes is Trumark is keeping its eye on?
Trumark is certainly keeping its eye on the “flying car” phenomenon as described above. The other technology we are trying to adapt to is drone deliveries, particularly in our urban projects. In thinking about this arena, we felt there needed to be a solution for the problem of how drones can deliver packages to a multi-story condominium building. Obviously there’s no front walk or porch on which to land a drone. So we designed, and are now completing, what we believe is the first drone delivery landing pad in the nation as a part of our TEN50 high-rise development in Downtown Los Angeles.

About the Author


Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor at BUILDER and has 17 years of experience writing about the construction industry. She lives in the walkable urban neighborhood of Silver Spring, Md. Connect with her on Twitter at @Jenn4Builder.


A Stately & Spacious Waterfront in a Private Setting at Cedar Creek Lake

Amazing Open Water views on Cedar Creek Lake in an upscale gated neighborhood.  This 4 bedroom/4.1 bath home has so much space.  Each bedroom has a private bath.  There are 2 living areas, a formal dining, breakfast area, storage cabinets everywhere, wet bar, & large utility room.  Tall ceilings and walls of windows let you enjoy the panoramic water view.  The master suite is upstairs and has a sitting room and private balcony.  The master bath is spacious & closet is so large – it is a room itself & even has a cedar lined closet.  Outdoors sit under the covered  or uncovered porch & enjoy the mature shade trees and watch the open water views.  The backyard is large with room for entertaining and yard games.  The boathouse has 2 boatslips, 3 jetski lifts, small sink & storage closet.  Lovely drive in with a circle drive and Porte Cochere.   Check out the listing.    Contact us anytime at 469.283.8656 or by email

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Tips for Kindle Fire Users

For those Kindle Fire users, here are some tips. I Love, Love, Love the audio play. I use it when I’m driving, soaking in the tub, walking on the treadmill, etc.