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Update countertops for a song
This countertop was painted with Giani Granite. - photo by Photo Contributed

Everyone loves granite for kitchen and bath countertops, but many homeowners find this option for adding value to their home, too pricey. When considering a kitchen update I found that granite typically costs $50 to $100 per square foot (including installation).

Gail Turner, a top real estate agent in Chicago, agrees that, "While there's nothing functionally wrong with laminate, it's not what buyers are looking for. Her advice is to install granite countertops in your kitchen and bath if you really want to sell your home in this economy.

So if you are looking for the beauty of granite without the price tag, consider paint. Giani Granite Paint kits allow you to give outdated countertops a granite look for about $70 a kitchen.

Giani's parent company, located in St. Louis, Mo., began in 1959 and now sells to paint retailers nationally and internationally. Each kit comes with the primer, mineral paints, applicators and a demo DVD to help you update your Formica, laminate, wood, tile and Corian countertops. has several before and after photos along with customer testimonials.

One kit can transform an average L-shaped kitchen countertop (which has about 30 to 33 square feet of countertop) in a weekend. I'm a savvy homeowner, but not an expert at remodeling projects and found this process to be easy enough for a first time painter. The finish has the same functionality as your old countertops as well as general care instructions; use cutting board and warming pads.

"Our product's durability has one advantage," says Tim Haas, Vice President of Sales for Giani. "If you scratch it or burn it, you can easily repair it by reapplying the minerals and topcoat. So unlike other countertop surfaces, wear and tear is never permanent."

Before you begin, thoroughly clean the area with a scouring pad and then rinse with water. Use painter's tape to protect walls and cabinets. Look for any nicks and seams and apply a fast-drying wood fill, and then lightly sand the area with a fine grit piece of sandpaper or sanding block.

For consumers who are willing to try this low priced alternative before throwing out your old counters (like I was), you will find the results well worth it. You can choose from a variety of styles and kit colors.

I selected the Chocolate Brown kit, which contains three colors: brown feldspar, Inca gold and chocolate brown. This look will achieve a natural granite style.

Although it was fun having everyone think I had granite installed, I had to reveal my new countertop secret.

How to apply:

1. Roll on the black primer and allow eight hours of drying time.

2. Lightly sponge on all the mineral colors in the order specified on the packaging. Let dry for a minimum of four hours. A simple artists brush helped me complete a veining pattern.

3. Next, apply the first clear top coat and dry for four hours. Then, apply the second top coat and wait four hours.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-650-5699.

For a standard L-shaped kitchen (about 30 to 33 square feet of countertop) the cost is $69.95

The product is also available at select Lowe's Home Improvement Centers - Check for location details.