New Countertops

We decided to replace the countertops on our 32′ CHB. The original off-white laminate countertops had seen their better days — they were stained and chipped with rough patches, epoxy drips, etc…

countertops_before

Originally, we had intended to replace the countertops with a Corian type product, or granite/marble, or concrete, or laminate again. But every product we looked at had problems — too expensive, too heavy, too heavy and expensive, ugly, or not DIY friendly. So we looked into refinishing the existing ones.

There was a post on trawlerforum.com that a member replied to, mentioning a new RustOleum product for refinishing laminate countertops. The local Home Depot had a “Charcoal” kit in stock for ~$150, which we picked up, along with the necessary brushes, rollers, tape, plastic, and other necessary accessories.

That night, we removed all the hardware from the countertops and sanded the existing laminate down, per the instructions. About an hour later they were ready for the next step. We taped every seam and edge, and laid plastic dropcloths around the stove, fridge, drawers, and surrounding areas. Then we laid think layer of the supplied base coat epoxy down, and covered it with the supplied chips. And then we went home.

Total work on day 1: ~2 hours.

The next day, we returned to the boat, and vacuumed up all the loose chips, and began sanding the remaining ones smooth. In a couple places we hadn’t put down enough base-coat epoxy, and the light countertop showed through on close inspection. In another couple places, we sanded too much, and again showed white. We used a sponge to add a bit more base coat, and chips, and let it sit to set up (not the full 6 hours suggested by the
manual… but we took our chances). Then we rolled-and-tipped the surface coat over the entire countertop. We left the boat for 5 hours or so to let the top coat set up. When we returned that evening it looked fantastic — and we cut and removed the tape, trim, and dropcloths, and went home.

Total work on day 2: ~4 hours, spread out over ~9.

The following Friday, we went down to the boat again to finish up. The top coat was entirely cured, but when it dried it shrank. Some of the flaws in our sanding and top-coat rolling showed through.

countertops_after

Personally, I wish the top coat remained the same as it was when it was tacky, but not cured — but the product clearly passes the 2-foot quality check, and excels at the 5-foot-away check. We caulked every seam with black silicone, installed a new faucet, and put in some LED lighting.

Total work on day 3: ~2 hours.

Finished product: For less than $200, and a weekend’s work, we have “new” countertops. They look as good as any laminate we saw, and it was much much easier to install.

IMG_20120503_202627
All in all, a good buy, and a good product.

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