Gel stain is a type of stain that can be used on various surfaces like wood. Gel stain is one of the most common types used due to its strong pigmentation and easy-to-use application. But can you use gel stain on laminate countertops?
While gel stain adheres better to porous surfaces like wood, it can still be used on non-porous surfaces like laminate countertops due to their consistency and thickness. The key to using gel stain on laminate countertops is to properly prep the surface before application.
In the rest of this article, I’m going to walk you through;
- What a gel stain is and how it works,
- Reasons you can use gel stain on laminate countertops,
- Downsides of using gel stain on laminate countertops,
- How to use gel stain on laminate countertops,
- And some important tips to keep in mind.
So if you want to know more about using gel stain on laminate countertops, then keep reading!
What Is Gel Stain?
Gel stain is a type of pigmented stain that comes in a gel-like consistency. It’s one of the most popular types of stains used by woodworkers and DIYers due to its easy application and strong pigmentation.
Gel stain is a type of wood stain that was innovated in the early 1990s and has since become one of the most popular types of stains used by woodworkers and DIYers.
Gel stain is a pigmented stain that contains pigment particles suspended in a binder. The binder is what gives gel stain its gel-like consistency.
When applied to a surface, the pigment particles bind to the surface and create a thin film of color.
This means that gel stains do not get absorbed into the surface they are applied to but rather gradually build up, similar to the way paint does.
The main difference between gel stains and paint is that gel stains will never completely cover the surface as paint can.
This is because the pigment particles in gel stain are not as fine as those in paint and will always sit on top of the surface. This gives gel-stained surfaces a more natural look than painted surfaces.
The beauty of gel stain is that it’s straightforward to apply and doesn’t require special skills or techniques.
You can wipe it on with a rag or brush, and it will evenly coat the surface. Gel stain is also very forgiving, so if you make a mistake, you can easily wipe it off and start again.
Reasons You Can Use Gel Stain On Laminate Countertops
There are a few reasons why using gel stain on laminate countertops and laminate materials, in general, is an absolute possibility. So of those reasons, these are a few of the most common.
1. Gel Stains Do Not Require Porous Surfaces
Your typical wood stain would require a porous surface to work. This is because most wood stains rely on absorption to achieve their final look and color.
On the other hand, gel stains do not require a porous surface. This means you can use gel stain on laminate countertops without any issues–given that laminate is a non-porous surface.
This is one of the reasons why gel stains have become so popular over the years. Their versatility allows them to be used on a wide variety of surfaces, both porous and non-porous.
So if you’re looking for a type of stain that can be used on laminate countertops, then gel stain is definitely the way to go.
2. Gel Stains Are Versatile
This is an awesome benefit that is often overlooked by most people. The fact that gel stains are so versatile means that you can use them in a variety of ways.
For example, you can use them to create two-tone or ombre effects, glaze over existing finishes, and even touch up damaged areas. This versatility makes gel stains an incredibly handy tool to have in your arsenal, regardless of your skill level.
Also, if your laminate countertops are paired with a wooden finish or cabinets, you can use gel stain to match the colors and create a cohesive look. Again, this is something that would be very difficult (if not impossible) to do with other types of stains.
3. Great For Countertops With A Waterfall Edge
Due to their non-runny nature, gel stains can be a great option for countertops with a waterfall edge.
Waterfall edges are becoming increasingly popular in kitchens and bathrooms, but they can be difficult to work with when it comes to staining.
This is because traditional stains can run down the sides of the counter and create a big mess. Gel stains, on the other hand, will stay put and allow you to achieve a clean, professional-looking finish.
So if you have waterfall edge countertops and are looking for a type of stain that won’t run or create a mess, then gel stain is definitely the way to go.
4. Gel Stains Are Very Easy To Apply
One thing I’m personally impressed with is how easy gel stains are to apply. You can simply wipe them on with a rag or brush, and they will coat the surface nicely.
As mentioned before, gel stains are also very forgiving, so if you make a mistake, you can easily wipe it off and start again.
This makes gel stain an ideal choice for those who are new to staining or aren’t confident in their ability to apply a regular stain evenly.
5. Gel Stains Come In A Wide Variety Of Colors
If you’re looking for a simple yet extraordinary way to change the look of your laminate countertops, then gel stain is definitely the way to go.
This is because gel stains come in a wide variety of colors, so you can easily find one that matches your style and taste.
You can also mix and match different colors to create unique and custom effects. So if you’re feeling creative, gel stain is definitely the way to go.
Downsides To Using Gel Stain On Laminate Countertops
Of course, no product is perfect, and there are some downsides to using gel stain on laminate countertops. However, here are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to use gel stain on your laminate countertops.
1. Dry Time Is Longer Than Other Stains
One of the biggest downsides to using gel stain is that it has a longer dry time than other types of stains.
This means that you’ll need to be patient and allow the initial application to dry completely before applying a sealant or another coat.
Depending on the brand and type of gel stain you use, this can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. So if you’re in a hurry, gel stain is probably not the best option.
2. Can Be More Difficult To Achieve Consistent Coverage
Another downside to using gel stain is that it can be more difficult to achieve consistent coverage.
This is because gel stains are thicker and do not spread as easily as other types of stains. As a result, it can be more difficult to achieve an even coat–if that’s what you’re after.
This is something to keep in mind if you’re planning on using gel stain for the first time. Of course, it’s always best to practice on a scrap piece of the laminate before moving on to your countertops.
3. May Not Be Suitable For High-Traffic Areas
If your laminate countertops are in a high-traffic area, then gel stain may not be the best option.
This is because it can take longer to dry and cure, which means there’s a greater chance of things getting smudged or ruined before it’s completely dry. So if you’re planning on using gel stain in a high-traffic area, it’s best to keep this in mind.
Despite these downsides, gel stain is still an excellent option for those looking to change the look of their laminate countertops.
If you’re patient and take the time to apply and cure the gel stain properly, then you’ll be able to achieve excellent results.
4. Requires A Topcoat For Protection
Another downside to using gel stain on laminate countertops is that it requires a topcoat for protection.
This is because gel stain does not contain any sealant, so it’s important to apply a topcoat–preferably one that’s water and heat resistant–to protect the finish. Without a topcoat, the gel stain will be susceptible to damage from water, heat, and everyday wear and tear.
So if you’re planning on using gel stain on your laminate countertops, make sure to apply a topcoat afterward.
How To Use Gel Stain On Laminate Countertops?
Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros and cons of using gel stain on laminate countertops, let’s take a look at how actually to use it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use gel stain on laminate countertops:
Step One: Clean The Countertop Surface
- The first step is to clean the countertop surface.
- This is important because you want to make sure that the gel stain will be able to adhere properly.
- For best results, use a cleaner or degreaser solution to really deep clean the laminate surface.
- Once you’ve cleaned the surface, rinse it off with water and allow it to dry completely.
Step Two: Apply The Gel Stain
- Once the surface is clean and dry, you’re ready to apply the gel stain.
- For best results, use a foam brush or a lint-free cloth to apply the gel stain in long, even strokes.
- Work in small sections, and be sure to wipe off any excess gel stain with a clean cloth.
- Allow the gel stain to dry completely before applying another coat.
- Allow each application to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.
Step Three: Apply A Topcoat
- Once the gel stain is dry, you’re ready to apply a topcoat.
- For best results, use a water- or heat-resistant topcoat.
- Apply the topcoat in long, even strokes, and be sure to allow it to dry completely before using the countertops.
And that’s it! Now you know how to use gel stain on laminate countertops. Just remember to take your time, work in small sections, and be sure to apply a top coat for protection. With a little patience and effort, you’ll be able to achieve excellent results.