How to do a Sturdy & Stunning Granite Contact Paper Countertop Makeover


Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Doing a contact paper countertop makeover has been a popular way to inexpensively cover up an old ugly countertop. Granite contact paper is typically used as it resembles a real granite countertop  and while if done well it looks awesome, this comes with a variety of inherent problems. Well, we’re going to show you how to fix almost all of them on one fell swoop! And if your looking for other great inexpensive fix-up ideas check out our Frugal DIY Bedroom Makeover Ideas and our Classy Living Room Ideas on a Budget.

PROBLEMS WITH A CONTACT PAPER COUNTERTOP

  1. Seams. There’s no way around having seams and even with pattern matching they tend to show. With granite paper you can’t match patterns and they show up more. Accept it.
  2. Water can get under the seams.  If it does, they will start to peel up.
  3. It’s easily damaged because, well, it’s paper. In a kitchen you can’t cut on it or put anything hot on it. In the bath room no curling irons can touch it.
  4. Edges peel up. If your countertop has a straight edge as the one shown below, the paper will peel away easily where it meets together when anyone rubs against it.
  5. Be careful. You just have to be careful because it can be nicked with anything sharp or discolored easily.

Those are some pretty big issues considering all the work you go through to put the stuff on. And it does take a good bit of work.  But we found a way to make it more sturdy and long lasting. You still can’t set extremely hot things on it or cut on it but water and peeling should not be an issue which is the biggest problem in a bathroom.

NOTE: This is best done in bathrooms mainly because you can’t cut or place hot things on it even with our method. However, if you’re really careful in your kitchen, go for it!

How To Make a Contact Paper Countertop Last

Water Based Polyurethane Gloss Finish.  Because it’s water based it doesn’t harm the contact paper.  It seals over the seams and edges so water cannot get in. It protects the surface and all your hard work. The only type I found is linked below and made by Rust-Oleum. A little goes a long way. It’s a bit pricey but we use it for all types of things such as my post on how to build a Large Surface Home Office Desk.  Buying it in the two quart package can save you almost $15.   This is of course optional. You can  just treat your contact paper with great care. But if you have kids or just don’t want to worry about being extra careful you don’t have to use it.  But if you have edges of your counter like mine, I’d still suggest gluing them somehow as they will find a way to peel just from leaning against them.

FYI This does make it more of a permanent thing. You cannot easily remove the paper later. You would have to do some light sanding to get through the gloss.

Contact Paper Countertop Supplies

NOTE: Once companies realized people were using granite contact paper to cover counters they raised the price of that type so its a bit more costly. Buy enough to cover your counter. If you’re  using a pattern that you can match you’ll need more.  One roll “barely” did my small countertop.

Time Frame

This job could be done in a day and ready to use the next day but you’d need to start early to allow yourself to get all the coats of varnish on.

How Long It Took Me
(I’ve never done this before.)

Covering small bathroom vanity: 2 Hours
Clear Coat: 1 day due to drying time of 2 hours in between each of three coats.

 

Download Reminders

Should you decide to not use clear varnish grab one of our free reminders to print and/or frame and  set on  your countertop! Photos of them printed up are at the bottom of post. Various sizes!Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Instructions

  1. Scrub and clean your countertop thoroughly and wipe with a clean dry cloth. You want to make sure there is nothing left on it to make the contact paper not adhere to the surface.
  2. Having someone to help makes it go much faster and makes the paper easier to handle.
  3. This project takes patience. If you hurry it up you’ll mess up.

This is what our bathroom looked like before we repainted our walls.  The house must have been a rental because at some point they had painted over wall paper. Sad but true. For the moment we were looking for a quick fix up so we did a little sanding and hole filling and added a new coat of paint.   Eventually we’ll redo the entire bathroom the “right” way and also replace the vanity but for now we were looking for a quick inexpensive facelift. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! The walls had been painted here. But the counter top still needed some work. It appeared that some past owner had also painted the countertop. It wasn’t too bad of a job, however, they went over everything including the part of the back splash that was metal. I debated what to do and finally decided I would paint the metal parts metallic silver. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!I chose Martha Stewart’s metallic silver as it’s close to the real thing. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I masked off everything with painters tape.

Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I probably didn’t need to do the inside parts as those would be painted over anyway but I was thorough. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I painted two layers of silver paint on all the trim parts, allowing it to dry in between coats. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

It looked quite a bit better in my opinion. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Now it was time to start on the counter top itself. I grabbed my roll of granite contact paper. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

There will be some measuring involved on parts but for the larger areas you just unroll and start. Again, your surface should be cleaned spotless and free of any soaps etc. so that the paper sticks well.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

The trick is to make sure you have no bubbles and that it’s even as you lay it out. Use a credit card or something similar to help smooth it down as you go.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

When you come to the sink you will carefully press up to it and down into the area around it. Because our sink was curves as many are we were only able to go so far and then needed to start cutting small slits that allowed us to press the paper closer to the sink. Cut a large hole out for the sink, making sure to give you plenty of paper to work with on all sides. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Notice how I cut the paper and moved on. At some point you might run out of paper and have to make a seam. I did not due to how short my counter was. If you do have to make a seam you can decide ahead of time where you might want to have it fall for atheistic purposes. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Once I had my paper laid longways across my counter, I’d go back and do the detail work around the rest of my sink. I make small slits with my X-acto knife, part way down and NOT TOO FAR, just enough to allow me to push the paper around the edge of the sink and curve it around as shown. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Again, you want no bubbles. This might require some lifting and re-positioning. It takes patience and time. Go slow.  Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

You want your paper tucked tightly next to your sink. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

More slicing down to allow for the curve. Again, do not go down too far. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Trimming off extra. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Moving onto the other side. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

The front edge.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

The paper was not deep enough to go to the back which is where I thought I would rather have my seam as apposed to having a seam vertically down my sink.  I decided this would show much less.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I cut a piece of paper a bit larger than the area and moved it around to determine where the pattern was the “best”. Remember you can’t match granite exactly.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I then put it in place and rubbed it down.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

My piece was going to need a seam at some point. I decided right behind the facet was perfect. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

After it was in place I carefully trimmed it with my knife.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I cut the pieces for the backsplash and added and trimmed those, seaming if needed.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I was now ready to trim around the sink. I trimmed a bit high to start. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Then I went back and trimmed it where I wanted it. You’ll notice my sink has a brown area where it was caulked years back. I plan on re-calking around it, so that’s fine.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I bought a tube of waterproof DAP acrylic latex silicon caulk. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I squeezed out a bead around my sink.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Because it is water based I wet my finger slightly.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Then I smoothed it out.  Don’t use too much water or it thins it out too much.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

If you mess up,  you can quickly wipe it off with a damp rag and add more. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Make sure to wipe off any extra with a damp paper towel. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I now have a nicer edge to my sink. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I now need to cut the pieces to go on the edge of my counter. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! I cut them larger and added them on.  Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Corners like this are tricky and these areas problematic if the contact paper is not sealed with something as they tend to come up if leaned against. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I then trimmed the sides.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

More trimming.Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

As an added precaution, I dabbed some clear glue under the corners. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Now comes the part that makes your new countertop last. The clear finish. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

I added a light coat of this everywhere on my counter where I placed the paper. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Make sure its brushed on evenly. Let it dry 2 hours or until its not tacky. I then added another coat, it dry as before and added one more.  Once the last coat is on, let it cure 24 hours and its set!Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

You now have a beautiful new countertop that will last a good long while. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Here are some close ups to show the details. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

  The seams are noticeable but because of how the human eye works, most people won’t see them unless you point them out!Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests! Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

You can choose to use this humorous poem to set on your counter or tape to your mirror  if you don’t use the clear coating. Or even with it!Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Here’s a more standard reminder. Both are a free download on the top of this post. Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!Transform your bathroom for only a few dollars with a contact paper countertop. You'll be amazed at how beautiful it looks & so will your family & guests!

 

 

 

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