I have an exciting makeover to share with you today and it took less than 3 hours start (filming, photography, learning curve) to finish! Let me introduce you to the countertop vinyl that will take your kitchen from builder’s grade laminate to posh luxury: Instant Granite®. (sponsored post)
Our kitchen is 13 years old, which really isn’t that old, but as times and tastes have changed, so has the style – which makes our 2005 ‘warm and dark’ look, dated. Hubby is not on-board with me painting out my cabinets (yet), but a countertop change can be a budget kitchen upgrade if you use Instant Granite®. My friend had quartz kitchen countertops and they look fantastic but since money is tight, I thought I’d use some instant granite to make our kitchen look better.
*I was provided Instant Granite® to makeover my kitchen counters in exchange for writing this article and posting a tutorial. All opinions are sincere and my own – this stuff really is amazing.
Let me show you my kitchen before the Instant Granite® updates:
This photo is pretty forgiving – what you can’t see because you aren’t here, is the damage to the wood edges of the counters. Scuffs, scratches, faded areas where we’ve washed the finish off. The countertops themselves have some paint, mod podge and crazy glue drips on them that I can’t get off.
Another thing you can’t see is how dark my kitchen is. I used natural lighting for my photographs, but I did have to up the exposure because IRL things here are much, much darker.
I searched online and found that the majority of adhesive vinyl counter film companies only sell rolls that are 12″, 17.5″ or 24″ wide. Workable I guess, but tedious if you have to patchwork your budget kitchen upgrade together.
Then I found Instant Granite®!
I was able to buy rolls of instant granite that were 12′ long by 36″ wide! In layman’s terms, that means a cleaner finish, fewer seams and less work – sign me up!
Here’s a time-lapse demo for you to get an idea of the instant transformation:
All Instant Granite® patterns are created from actual pieces of granite or marble. Working closely with a team of graphic designers, we capture high-resolution scans of granite and marble tile to create a true-to-life repeating pattern for our products. Ours are not computer generated renditions of stone; ours are pictures of the real thing.
I do have a full tutorial on YouTube to help walk you through the installation at the bottom of this post, but for now, I’ll share a few photos and tips:
First, and probably the most important step, is to clean your counters. Grease, butter, even chemical residue from glass cleaner can interfere with the adhesion of your Instant Granite. I don’t use chemicals on my counters (I prefer ENJO), but a hardy washing with Krud Kutter and a thorough rinse will get you started on the right foot.
Pre-cut your instant granite to length plus a 2″ overhang for any edges. This allows for the adhesive vinyl to wrap completely under your counter edges to keep water out and your lines clean.
The 36″ width is more than enough to cover most counters without any seams.
If you do have to seam your faux-granite, overlap the adhesive vinyl by about 1/8″. This will be barely noticeable because the granite pattern is incredibly forgiving, but will ensure that your seams don’t split apart over time and that no water will sneak underneath.
If you do have an over-sized counter, like our 93″ by 43″ kitchen island, run your seam as far from the sink as possible. In the photo below the 36″ section of Instant Granite is running the length of the counter and completely surrounds the sink without any seams. The additional section runs the length of the counter, but away from the sink area. (see video)
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I won’t lie, cutting the sink section took a bit of thinking, but it certainly wasn’t difficult; I cut a hole in the instant granite that was slightly smaller than the sink and then lifted it over the faucet and adhered into place. A utility knife run tight to the edge of the sink will give you a beautiful finish. Ideally, you’d want to use a sealant around the sink to keep things water-tight and keep up the look of real granite (real granite would have a sealer around the rim of the sink) and a sealant will also help hide any little boo boo’s that you might have made in cutting around the rim.
Instant Granite® products are fade resistant, easy to clean with most household cleaners, removable, and designed to not damage countertops. Our unique “No Bubble” adhesive allows you to avoid the hassles of a messy “wet” installation. The tacky adhesive cures in the first 48-hours after installation, yet is still easily removed years after.
Wrap the overhanging contact paper around and under your counter edges and cut off any excess. If the underside of your counters are rough (porous), then you’ll want to use liquid nails to hold the instant granite in place, or cut your granite at the bottom edge and forget about the under-wrapping.
For corners I pulled one side of the adhesive film down and stuck it to the counter. I cut a 45° angle from the top of that corner to the end of the overhang and then adhered it in place with the angle wrapping around the corner slightly.
To finish the corner, I pulled the remaining section of film down and stuck it in place, then used a utility knife to carefully cut a line straight down from the counter top. This will put your seam exactly at the corner, and the overlap will ensure no water is able to sneak under. (there is a video on the Instant Granite® website that shows this step)
Wanna see the budget kitchen upgrade in full-view?
It was tough to come up with something that wasn’t black that would go with my backsplash. I think the yellows and beiges in this faux granite compliment the cupboards and flooring beautifully and are subtle enough not to overshadow my stone. Instant Granite® has a selection of granite and marble images (actual photos, not computer generated stone patterns) that you can choose from.
I find before and afters to be the best way to see the dramatic change this budget kitchen upgrade made:
If you are thinking of a budget kitchen upgrade, I have even more great news for you; for a limited time, Instant Granite® has a coupon on their website for 20% off as well as free shipping!
Maddie and I created this brief video to show you how easy installation was on our giant kitchen island.
Light, bright, glossy and EASY – and a budget kitchen upgrade.
Thank you Instant Granite® – I couldn’t be more pleased!
Have a great one!