August 8, 2011

Giani Granite -- The look of slab granite without the cost

We've all been there.  We walk through the home improvement stores and think to ourselves 'geez, I'd love that (insert item of choice here) but its just so darn expensive!  Maybe I should just get this mid priced, less attractive model instead."  Next comes a forlorn sigh and we walk away feeling defeated.  Granite, particularly slab granite, is a good example of this kind of financial reality check.

Well what if I told you that your kitchen countertop could look and feel just like granite for a literal fraction of the cost?  You'd probably say that I sound like an infomercial right?  Infomercial or not I have recently become acquainted with a product that will do exactly that.

The company is called Giani Granite and their product is pretty cool!  I live in an apartment so unfortunately I wasn't able to do my kitchen countertops like the product is designed for but no matter, I had a desk kicking around from after we refurnished our office with more functional pieces and since I was considering getting rid of the desk anyway it seemed the perfect practice piece.

I rolled it out to the living room and set it up on a drop cloth alongside a polystyrene board that I intended to complete as well for my portfolio.

I gathered my materials:

I followed the instructions and prepped the surface by thoroughly cleaning it with a good de-greaser, taping off, and filling/sanding wood patch in the big chips on the laminate.

Next I used the primer on both the board and desktop.

Then came the really fun part -- the application of the minerals!  I didn't want a finish that was too light, I wanted more of the black to show through so it would achieve a very speckled granite look.  I followed the steps on the board first, all three in the order the directions stated, and used a little creativity to add a bit more light or dark in various places.  When I felt it was complete I stopped, rinsed out the sponges and brushes with water and waited overnight for it to dry.

The next morning I was blown away by how awesome it already looked -- it really truly had depth like real granite!  Ready to tackle the desk in the same manner (but this time it had edges to be aware of too of course!) I got going.  The minerals applied just as nice and I used a slightly different hand in order to garner a somewhat lighter finish overall.  Using the same kit and getting two slightly different looks made my imagination start spinning with ideas!

After an overnight dry (not because the directions call for it mind you, because I had to due to my own schedule!) I applied the first topcoat.  Another necessary-to-my-schedule overnight dry and the second topcoat went on the following morning.  When it was completely dry my jaw about hit the ground.  I was blown away with its realistic feel, look and...well, judge for yourself!

Isn't it amazing?  The company sells all kinds of different kit colors, this one is Sicilian Sand.  All-in I think the desk took about 3 true days to complete including dry time and application/prep.

So what are the drawbacks?

So far the only things I can see as even potential drawbacks are that it can't be submerged in water (no tubs, sink bowls, bird baths, etc) and you can't put a pot right off the stove on top of it.  Also, because it is a finish and not a hard surface countertop cutting on top of it is not recommended.

  • It can go in wet room locations.  Laminate sink top in your bathroom to re-finish?  Give me a call!
  • The topcoat is an automotive grade resin so it can be used outside.  Want to flank your pool with a couple planters that have that granite look?  Give me a call!

What are some other considerations?

It can be used on a variety of surfaces from laminate to butcherblock, ceramic tile to primed wood and a myriad of others.  Plus its heat resistant up to 250 degrees so putting a pot on a trivet, cookies on a rack, etc. is not going to be a problem!

The product takes two weeks to fully cure (can be used in 48 hours but small appliances shouldn't be re-installed for a couple weeks) so be aware that -- if you want it to last and perform impeccably well it should be given appropriate time to cure.  Also, in more humid or colder climates that time frame can change so that's something to consider when requesting an install from a finisher or trying it yourself.  The website has all kinds of additional information and you can always write with questions!

The odor on the primer and minerals is very limited, I almost didn't smell anything at all, but the topcoat is a heavier odor.  Be cautious to work in a well ventilated area, open windows, etc.

Great news:
  • The product is water based
  • The polymers in the resin resist bacteria
  • The company carries a streak free, environmentally friendly cleaner made specifically for the Giani Granite system!  The Countertop Cleaner is only $4.50 a 22oz. bottle and will last for 2 or more months depending on your cooking/cleaning use.
Overall I'm not only excited to write about this product, but I can not wait to begin offering one of the six color options (or a custom one that I whip up!) to my clients!  Thanks Giani Granite for sharing such an innovative product!

Want to try your hand at a granite finish?  Click on Products on the Giani website and you can order your own kit. 

Want to hire a finisher like me to install it for you?  I'd love to discuss your project if you're in the Phoenix, AZ or Boston, MA areas.  Leave a comment here or follow on FB or twitter and we can begin discussing your project today!


Judi FitzPatrick said...

really does look like granite - very cool!

Karen said...

This is beautiful, Jenn, and I bet the picture doesn't really capture the depth of it, either. I looked at their site and it looks like the personalization of each artist can be achieved easily just by using more or less of the different colors. Gorgeous!

CSD said...

Thanks Mum :-)

Yes Karen that's true too because I saw a couple other application installs of the Sicilian Sand and as well as being different from each other, mine was different from them too! Its so cool, I can't wait to play more with different options/color tones.

Thanks for leaving me some comment love ladies!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic write up Jenn! You did a great job with our product! THANK YOU!

CSD said...

Thank YOU for letting me test it out!

I should also point out that fully intend to keep this desk now going to modify it slightly as we'll be using it in the kitchen area to hide the trash can and as extra prep space! I love repurposed!

Almost Precious said...

Looks very realistic Jenn. Great write-up and review, I'll definitely keep this product in mind.

Almost Precious said...

PS - Love the repurposed desk, it turned out beautifully and will make a wonderful kitchen utility cart.

whoops - word verification didn't accept my first try ... maybe they should make their "V's" look more like v's than u's, as I've never seen a round bottomed v before. LOL