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Can Granite Film Really Fool The Eye?

We install a vinyl granite film on an old countertop to see if faux really is fabulous. Here’s what we discovered.

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This countertop is covered in a sheet that mimics the look of granite. Would you believe it's not real? Image: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Dying to give your house some high-end glam at bargain basement prices? Welcome to our ongoing “Why You Should Fake It” series on faux products that mimic the look of big-ticket items.

Today, we look at vinyl adhesive sheets that aim to give your old countertops the look of polished granite for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

OK, we were skeptical, too. So we tried it out for ourselves.

The problem: An old solid-surface countertop in my mudroom/office.

The fix: EZ Faux imitation granite adhesive film.

I had salvaged the countertop during a demolition project a few years ago, and it has annoyed me ever since. It’s scratched, rust-stained, and generally sad-looking. I’ve been dying to replace it, but real granite isn’t in my budget. Actually, no “real” material is in my budget, so a good-looking fake for less than $100 seemed ideal, if too good to be true.

Before

I ordered 18 square feet of the Ubatuba-style film, which arrived in a roll along with a plastic squeegee tool and a utility knife.

Materials

Since I have a times-three learning curve on most DIY projects, I opted for a “wet” install, which requires spritzing the film and countertop so you can reposition the film when you don’t get it right the first — or second — try.

Wet install

For the most part, the install was easy. I wiped the surface clean with a microfiber cloth, measured and cut the film around the sink — I didn’t want to take the thing out — then smoothed the film over the countertop. Working from the middle to the edges, I ran the smoothing tool along the film and easily removed most of the puckers.

Only the edges gave me trouble. The film didn’t adhere to the underside of the lip, and covering the right angles where the two sides meet was messy, like trying to make a wrapped package look like a solid block.

But, customer service told me to heat up the film with a hair dryer, which softened it and allowed it to grasp the lip. I got creative and made a few patches, filled in gaps with a black Sharpie, and solved the messy edge problem. The whole install took about an hour.

When the sun hits the surface at a certain angle, you can see a few bubbles and puckers and realize it’s not real granite. But when the sun hits me at a certain angle, I don’t look so good, either.

Compared to my old countertop, the new faux top looks 100% better. In fact, after I finished the install, a neighbor dropped by and oohed and aahed and thought it was real Ubatuba.

After

You can buy the film online at Appliance Art, the manufacturer, or EZ Faux. A 3-by-6-foot roll is $60; a 3-by-12-foot roll is $95.

So, for the price of a nice dinner, I’ve got a nicer counter. It’s not the real deal, but it was a real steal.

Have you installed a granite film on a countertop? How’d it go?

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

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