Trying to be as frugal as possible we looked into some options, the most expensive being ripping it all out and building a new one, replacing just the counter top (also costly) or to go with a painted solution.
We had heard about a product from Rustoleum that is designed for painting over laminate counter tops. All solid colors but it is supposed to harden and be just as durable.
It runs about $20 a can, you get it tinted at the store, Home Depot carries it and they state it covers 25 linear feet. I will say it is pretty challenging to apply. We easily needed 3 coats, one was too thin, 2 got good coverage but left un-eveness and the third coat should have been the trick.
Since this was our first time using the product it wasn’t perfect and we will need to go back and try one more coat to cover up our boo boo’s. The nice thing is, no primer is needed and no sanding, just clean the counter top real well and mask off areas really well. This stuff is hard core, need a well ventilated room for sure and it takes 3 days to fully harden.
Things to note, you need a roller designed for smooth surfaces, use a pint pan that is relatively smooth as well. And use one of the expensive brushes for the edges. Keep in mind the brush will be done, so we used a cheapy brush for the first coat and a nice one for the second. Didn’t really need one for the third. This paint will NOT wash out of a brush, or clothes. I got it on my hand 4 days ago and there is still a little left.
After the first few coats:
Once the bar top was done, it was time to move onto the lower outward facing side of the bar. Since this had a white semi gloss it needed a gray primer because we wanted to go with a deep brown. We once again chose a rustoleum product. This is their Kona Brown (no we didn’t pick it because of the dog) color and it is a gloss paint that is designed to look like finished wood, even hardwood at that.
This too was a gamble, for this part it requried one can of primer at ~$7 and the paint for ~$7 so $14-15 for the paint. Standard rollers and cheap brushes work well for this part.
I pulled back the carpet since it was easy to do after a broken pipe incident from a few years ago. This would allow me to get the base board painted better. Masked off the places I didn’t want paint and primed away. Below is a picture with the primer done. Doesn’t look too bad just like that, almost a beach bar kind of feel.
Once that was dry (primer dries fast BTW) it was time for the kona brown. When I opened the can it was red! However, after stirring it for about 10 minutes it turned a dark brown (whew).
This took two coats, first coat interestingly enough gave off the appearance of like a hardwood floor. I was tempted to leave it to give a more used feel, but we were going for a little fresher look so I went ahead and did a second coat, this was the result. Keep in mind I suck at taking pictures, you really need to see it in person.