Best paint for temporary counter top

I’m stuck between remodeling projects hand have built a temp counter top in part of our kitchen.

It will just be used as a bit of extra space, perhaps a toaster and bread box. It’s 61” x 25”.

It’s built out of 2x4s and plywood. The plywood is A/C and in very good shape.

Are there any paints that would provide a tough, easy to clean finish. I’m guessing an acrylic or oil.

You want a hard surface, fast curing film, probably with quick build. I suggest a polyurethane.
Lacquers from rattle cans would work too but on ply, even A/C, will take a lot of cans to build.

It needs to be tough.
I’d go with an oil based floor and step paint, preferably in hunter green.
Your hardware store’ll have it in a house brand.

Why don’t you just get a piece of laminate, glue it on? Cost would probably be close to paint.

I’ll second the recommendation of getting a sheet of laminate and some contact cement.

Any paint, even 2-part epoxy, will not stand up very well to countertop use, especially if it’s on plywood - the wood is too soft and any dents in the surface will become cracks and chips in the paint. The laminate surface is much harder and will withstand the normal abuses of kitchen life.

Laminate is not hard to work with - about the only trick to it is keeping it and the countertop separated until they’re lined up perfectly. The stuff goes down with contact cement, and once that stuff touches, it’s there for life with no second chances to reposition it. You will want to rent or borrow a laminate roller (aka “J” roller") and you’ll want a router with a laminate trimmer bit.

It is possible, but really tedious, to trim laminate with a rasp and a file, but you probably won’t like the end result. A proper bit in a router will be much faster and much smoother.

So I guess a laminate, would be linoleum or other covering typically used on floors.

I thought about that, but it really does not seem to be worth it for this application. We don’t even have a ceiling in the kitchen. Pretty much everything is exposed.

This counter top will not do any every day kitchen duty. It may need to last for a few years until we gut the kitchen. Until then, the counter top (and the wall I built behind it) will serve as a place to set things down and block off the bathroom.

Thanks for the suggestions all. I think I will look into a floor paint.

contact paper

You could use the linoleum tiles. The self-stick squares? They’re, like, 75 cents each, aren’t they? Especially if you can find them in a discount store.

Laminate is what is used on counters. It’s the hard plasticky stuff. It can come in a thin sheet that you can glue to your plywood, and it’s pretty cheap.

In the old days we would have said Formica, not laminate.:wink:

For a few years seems worth the effort of laminate. Even if it’s normally storage, in a larger cooking effort you may need to use it as extra food prep surface and laminate would protect it and be easier to clean.

Heck, even as a storage surface, laminate would be easier to clean and more durable than paint.

If you plan to place food directly on the countertop, paint is not a good choice.

Yeah, I think I will check into it. If I can find a place that sells it…(small community, closest big town is 100 miles away.)

I second a sheet of laminate as opposed to paint. Last time I bought a 4x8 sheet of plain white it was about $80 at Home Despot. Get a tin of the proper adhesive for a few dollars.

You brush the glue onto the mating surfaces of both items (countertop and laminate), let it dry until tacky to the touch but not still wet and then lay the laminate down on the substrate. It’s a contact cement so once the two surfaces touch they stay that way, meaning take some time (and have a helper or two) to make sure you get everything aligned right.

I’ve used the stuff for workshop projects (router table top and so forth), it’s pretty simple. A few thoughts in no particular order:

  1. Buy a bunch of wooden dowels - just cheap stock, maybe 3/4" diameter and longer than your countertop depth (i.e. if you’ve got a 24" countertop, get something a little over 2 feet). After you have brushed on the glue and it’s starting to dry, lay the dowels along your countertop. This will let you lay the laminate on top of the dowels and position it correctly without risking it getting stuck in the wrong spot on the substrate.

  2. Have an extra pair of hands and eyes (helpers). Laminate can be big and floppy.

  3. Laminate can be brittle when you cut it. There are laminate shears available or you can use a power tool (I’ve used my table saw, a circular saw and a router at various times). If you are using a saw make sure to back the laminate appropriately - with a circular saw, place the laminate face DOWN on an expendable base (like a sheet of MDF or pink styrofoam) and set your saw to a shallow depth - 1/2" or so. Use a good clean carbide tipped blade and a straight-edge guide. Back the cut line with masking tape. All this will help keep splintering or chipping of the cut edge to a minimum. If using a table saw put in a zero-clearance insert. You will probably also need to put an auxiliary face onto your saw fence since laminate is thin and may slide under the little gap at the bottom or your fence. Have some outfeed tables and helpers.

  4. Cut the laminate a little oversize so you will have a small overlap all the way around. It makes positioning easier and you’ll clean it up later with a router & flush-trim bit. Any messiness on the cut (chipping, etc) will be on the overlap portion and it’ll vanish when you flush trim later.

  5. When you are ready to actually press the laminate down to the substrate, start from the middle and work your way out to the sides, one side at a time. Pull the dowels out as you go and press down with your J-roller (or a brick wrapped in a towel), again always to the outside. You don’t want to get any bubbles under the laminate or you’re hosed.

  6. When it’s all laid down give it a final going over with your roller and then put a sheet of wood on top (anything - plywood, hardboard, whatever) and stack some weights on it (I have a couple of cinder blocks handy for this) to keep everything down while the glue dries.

  7. Once it’s all done you can use your router/laminate trimmer with the flush-trim bit to carefully trim the overhang even with the substrate. There are also laminate counter-top bits that have a slight bevel (15 or 25 degrees) which makes the laminate edge less likely to snag things. As others have said, you can do this with a file but it will take a long time, the router will do it very nicely very quickly.

The stuff is pretty tough, water resistant and unless you really go at it with a knife or a hot pot it won’t damage easily.