Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just a little, easy, inexpensive kitchen redo

Chapter One

     Wherein we find our heroine, Vindaloo Tiramisu, in a counter-productive situation...

You've read about my dream kitchen before.  And because I am impatient and a bit of a dreamer, and I believe that one day all my dreams will come true (I obviously still need some psychoanalytic Jungian-based therapy for that), I decided to come a little closer to my Dream Kitchen by attempting to effect some change in my much-beloved but down-at-heels kitchen.  I decided to redo the countertops and put in a new sink and faucet.

I've had these brief bouts of psychosis before.  You would think that experience would have taught me something.

But nonetheless, I carefully budgeted and planned for this project.  I figured it would cost me about $500, something I could afford, since the $50,000 redo was definitely not in the budget for 2012.  Or any fiscal year in the next decade.

This is what I wanted to get rid of:

The manufacturers of Comet loved me!
So I did:

Actually, I didn't remove that pathetic enameled cast iron sink.  My husband and all of his brute force did.  Note the surrounding white laminate countertop.  It is the last time you will ever see it alive.  I am determined to have sleek, black countertops very soon.  This, you see, is part of my psychosis.

I had read a little (remember, "a little" is the operative phrase here) about a product called Rustoleum Countertop Coating.  Unfortunately, the "little" I read was only what the manufacturers of Rustoleum products wanted me to know about this product.  The good folks at Rustoleum said that it was easy to use, that it would restore my laminate countertops and that it would provide HomeShield TM AntiMicrobial Protection.  What I didn't read was the string of posts on someone else's blog from all the people who had less-than-stellar outcomes with this product.  The reviews are mixed, but there is a significant component of folks who are unhappy with the finished results.  Like moi.

I never did like doing my homework.  But since it only cost $25 for a quart-size can, plenty to cover my kitchen countertops generously in less than 4 hours, I thought I was getting a lot of bang for the buck.  Economy, beauty, efficiency.  I was sold.  Down the river like the proverbial victim of a circus huckster. 

So after the first coat, I was initially very excited.  Ladies and gentlemen, step right up!  See the transformation of old, outdated kitchen countertop for just pennies!

Wow!  Looks (almost) brand new!
When the coating first goes on, it's shiny and glossy and you think, "Gee, this is going to be great!"  But there is something that is influencing your thinking besides the temporary escape into your fantasy world of having an almost brand-new counter (for just pennies).

Fumes.  And lots of them.  This product is very potent.  If you are sensitive to respiratory distress, I would suggest you forgo using this product since it literally will assault your lungs.  It is a solvent-based epoxy and even with windows and doors open, fans going and a mask, it is very strong and will sting your eyes and throat.  I have to wonder how many brain cells I sacrificed in the name of cosmetic alteration, not to mention whatever damage may have occurred to my liver and kidneys.

To wit, the list of toxicological information starts with the chemical n-Butyl Acetate.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have compiled a nice, tidy little report about this chemical and reading it post-use makes me extremely uncomfortable, since there were eight other chemicals listed in the Rustoleum Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that were also considered toxic. I should have read this document, the MSDS for Rustoleum Countertop Coating, first.  But I did not, and when I was done applying this product, I had a raging headache and felt like a huffer who had locked himself in a closet for an extended session with a 5-gallon can of gasoline.

So then, hours later, the truth began to surface.  Instead of a beautiful, glossy finish, what I got was this:

It is what it is.

Something glossy and something nappy.  All in one!!  Apparently, this product dries so fast that your roller will begin to pick it up from the surface and make a very uneven texture.  Do you notice the texture change in the bottom middle of the picture?  It apparently takes experience and skill to get the finish to be consistent--something Rustoleum fails to mention.  Second, if you are cutting in corners and tight areas with a small foam applicator or brush as the product suggests, any coating not feathered out completely on all the edges will dry into a noticeable ridge and will be very visible under the next coat.

I'm going to file this experience in my "Live and Learn" drawer.  It's a very large drawer.

The Rustoleum Company asks that you let your countertops dry at least 3 days.  Now, what I paid attention to in my impatience for a new(er) kitchen was "3 days," not "at least 3 days."  I am here to tell you that 3 days is not enough for this product to cure.  I now have permanent marks where the feet of all my countertop appliances were placed, I have permanent fingerprints, I have permanent gouges, I have a permanent ring where a glass sat, I have a permanent ring where a hot cup of tea sat.

I am NOT happy.  Again, referring to the above picture, the greyish marks in the bottom left and upper left of the picture are from casual use.  And after more than 3 days of curing time.

My brother suggested I get a drywall sanding block and try to even out the gouges and rings, then repaint with more countertop coating, or put on a couple of coats of polyurethane.  Which, of course, is also toxic and should not come into contact with consumables.  Please note this toxicology report on the CDC website for isocyanate products--that would include polyurethane.  See the man in the white Tyvek suit and the gas mask?  See all that heavy plastic sheeting on everything?  Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.

So, back to the sanding suggestion, which makes the surface look like this:

All the gouges, all the rings, all the excitement of the previous rendition.  And then some.  And did I mention that the house still reeks of chemicals? 

So here we are.  In Nightmare Kitchen Land.  What to do?  I'm hoping you all have some suggestions for me.  Because I'm about to cover everything with Contact Paper and call it a day.  Meanwhile, I do not let anything, I mean ANYTHING come into contact with my countertops if it's going in my mouth.  Just in case.

To be continued...

1 comment:

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