The 10 Best Instant Granite Countertops
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in December of 2016. If you're looking to update your old kitchen or bathroom, consider faux granite countertops to achieve that high-end appearance without dropping thousands of dollars. Some consist of advanced, paint-like substances with incredible durability, while others are simple sheets of thin vinyl or multi-layered veneers, complete with realistic textures, that offer a near-instant transformation. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
July 02, 2019:
There are three popular routes to turning your countertops into simulated granite surfaces. There's the easy and inexpensive method from manufacturers like Luna and DC, which is flexible, inexpensive, and easy to apply. It's not particularly durable, though, and doesn't look the very best. A step up from that is laminate, which is headlined by popular names such as Formica and Wilsonart. It's available in several grades, and some types, especially Wilsonart's advanced line, look remarkably like real stone and perform very well in a kitchen. Then there are multi-layered, paint-like products that create an essentially permanent bond to the old surface. Rustoleum, Giani, and Daich provide three of the most effective of this long-lasting type of finish. Giani and Daich, in particular, use real stone chips to leave a realistic and high-grip surface, but all three of them are highly durable and can transform any countertop in just a couple days of work.
Why Instant Granite Countertops?
Instant granite solutions won’t have this same toughness, so you’ll need to treat them more carefully, just like your original countertop.
If you’ve been taking your old countertops for granted, it’s probably because granite has earned a reputation as an eye-catching and luxurious material with superior durability. This super-hard rock has been the choice for sculptures, memorials, and monumental structures throughout the ages because it spoke of a certain social status and wealth, and although commercial kitchen countertops are a much more recent use, for most, they still carry the same associations. For many homeowners, though, the problem is that redoing a kitchen with granite countertops can be a pain in the budget; this material runs between $45 and $200 per square foot depending on quality and thickness, and it’s not unusual for an installation to run into the thousands of dollars.
Enter the instant granite countertop. Instead of requiring a costly remodel, these inventive solutions give you a granite look without the high price tag and outside labor. Faux granite solutions come in two types, those that you paint on and those that stick on (sort of like contact paper), making them perfect for competent do-it-yourselfers. In just an afternoon, you could completely update the look of your bathroom, kitchen, or garage countertops, whether you’re doing so for a stylistic refresh or to cover up ugly and stained surfaces.
Before you jump in, you might be wondering how instant granite countertops stack up against the real thing in use. As you might expect, these budget-friendly solutions don’t offer the same durability as granite, but really, there aren’t many countertops that do. Granite is extremely hard — so hard, in fact, that knives and hot pans won’t hurt it. Instant granite solutions won’t have this same toughness, so you’ll need to treat them more carefully, just like your original countertop. But, as with granite, these imitation materials are easy enough to clean: simply wipe up any spills with warm, soapy water. Plus, you can change them more easily, should you decide that you need a new look.
You don’t need any special construction knowledge to install instant granite countertops, just some patience and a few common household tools. Most people find that an average-sized countertop takes only a couple of hours to cover; the hardest part will be taking the perfect Pinterest- and Insta-worthy pics when you’ve finished. A few tips will get you started on the road to success.
And of course, if you’re using a painting kit you won’t need all these tips, but you’ll still want to start with a clean, smooth surface and follow all given directions.
First, remember the old carpenter’s adage to measure twice, cut once. In other words, be absolutely certain about your measurements, because once a sheet is cut, there’s no un-cutting it. When you’re certain that you’re ready to trim your material down to size, use strong, sharp scissors so that you don’t rip the sheet or create jagged edges (upholstery scissors work well).
Then, before you start, you’ll need to ensure that your old countertops are smooth and in good condition. Fill in any cracks or dents and lightly sand the surface if it’s at all uneven. If you leave any bumps or misshapen areas, the covering won’t go down smoothly, thereby ruining the faux granite look.
Once the surface is smooth, give it a thorough cleaning. You don’t want anything left on the surface, from particles of dust and debris to oily spots. Then, wait for the counter to air dry completely. Even if you’re in a hurry, you’ll probably want to avoid drying it with a towel, as you might be putting more fuzz and fluff back on your clean surface.
Next, place the adhesive paper or film down gently, smoothing it as you go. Some types of instant granite countertops come with a specialty tool for this, but if yours didn’t, a squeegee usually works just fine. When you get to the edges and corners, use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the sheet and make it more pliable. Note that warm is the operative word here, because if the sheets get too hot, they could melt.
Finally, always follow the directions that come with your instant granite countertops. And of course, if you’re using a painting kit you won’t need all these tips, but you’ll still want to start with a clean, smooth surface and follow all given directions.
Quick Decor Ideas
Instant granite countertops are so popular because these materials give you a relatively inexpensive and easy way to revitalize your decor. But faux granite isn’t the only option you have for breathing life into a well-worn style. We’ve got a few other ideas for quick, simple projects that’ll reinvigorate your home.
For ultra-low-hassle, replace your old drawer and cabinet knobs; look for bright colors or funky shapes as eye-catching accessories.
For instance, you can re-do your walls with removable wallpaper. Sometimes called peel-and-stick wallpaper, these adhesive sheets, usually crafted from vinyl, smooth onto your wall like a sticker, then peel off without leaving any damage behind. Best of all, this type of wall covering comes in a huge range of fun prints and patterns, such as faux brick, making it perfect for accents and backsplashes.
If it’s your bathroom that’s in need of some TLC, you’ve got several quick and simple options. For ultra-low-hassle, replace your old drawer and cabinet knobs; look for bright colors or funky shapes as eye-catching accessories. You could invest in a set of matching pump bottles for your hair and body products, too, which eliminates unsightly plastic bottles. Adding a bold shower curtain and coordinated towels will complete the pulled-together look.
You can also make your home feel more inviting with plants (and refresh the air in your living space while you’re at it). Grab some terra cotta pots and decorate them with washi tape, paint, ribbon, twine, or stencils, then add some leafy green vegetation. If you’ve got a black thumb, simply opt for low-care houseplants such as the spider plant, peace lily, aloe, snake plant, or dieffenbachia.