Giani Granite is the kernel of an idea that set us on the path to revolutionizing the world of home improvement. For decades, Do It Yourselfers fell into a very small group of savvy, handy, and, what seemed like, impossibly brave people. It was almost as if DIY was an elite title, as if there was an unfairly distributed genetic component to those who could build, repair, and renovate with a sense of confidence and ease. But we realized it was all just perception when we made the first Giani Granite Countertop Kit. It was flawed thinking, nothing more.
As people who fell outside that tiny pool of skilled craftsmen and women, we just knew we could create products and a process that we could do ourselves. And if we could do it, so could everyone else. With 5 DIY granite styles and the education to go along with them, we’ve been working tirelessly to help everyone realize and harness their ability to transform their spaces, all on their own. That was 11 years ago.
Now, with several additional countertop kits, cabinet paint, brick transformation kits, and garage door makeover products, we realized it was time for a re-think of how we could best serve our rapidly-growing community. We returned to the beginning.
Giani Granite is now in its second generation. Available in both a 100% Acrylic formula, and with our Ultra Epoxy Resin Topcoat, we aim to give DIY-ers more choice when it comes to their home improvement journey. And it is that, a journey - one packed with wondrous new discoveries and achievements! So, we thought we’d break this down a bit and help you choose which Giani Granite Kit is right for you.
1. The Formula
Our 100% Acrylic formula kits are closest to the original classics. We reformulated all 5 styles to contain only water-based, acrylic components. And yes, that does include the topcoat, both the High-Gloss and High-Gloss Glitter versions. The IronCore Primer, the Mineral Colors, and Topcoat are all still safe, very Low VoC, and give off almost no odor. We want to instill the confidence that we care about the safety of you and your family, which is also why we applied the same safety principles with our Ultra Epoxy Resin Topcoat. In coatings terminology, it's made with 100% solids, and if you’re thinking that sounds like the formula contains no liquid, you are spot-on!
Liquids in coatings are generally either water or solvents, the latter being what contains the VoC content. Our Epoxy Topcoat contains no liquids, therefore, no solvents, and no VoCs. That’s right, it is Zero VoC! So, whichever style kit you choose, the environment of your home will remain unchanged. We want to leave your home better than it was before, gorgeous and not smelly.
2. The Look
This is where the rubber meets the road, the tell-tale difference between the two styles. Which one should I choose, and why? Well, it really comes down to one simple thing: the finished look.
The Topcoats in the 100% Acrylic Formula kits have a high-gloss, slightly textured finish when fully cured. If you’ve ever seen granite countertops in person, you’ll notice it has a bit of “tooth” when you run your hand over the surface. That’s exactly how our Acrylic Topcoats feel - just like natural stone. It’s durable, water-resistant, and with proper care, will last you for years. We still hear from people in our community who bought an original Giani Granite Kit - like from 2011 original, and their countertops still look gorgeous!
Our Ultra Epoxy Resin Topcoat kits have a smooth, polished, very glassy look. Think quartz countertops. With engineered surfaces like Silestone© and Cambria©, there is no texture and they have a slick, reflective quality. And just like the Acrylic Topcoats, our Epoxy is durable, water-resistant, and will last as long as you love the color. Since we introduced Ultra Epoxy Resin three years ago, folks tell us daily how grateful they are for the option.
Look closely at the picture below of our White Diamond Kit applied over a standard laminate countertop. You'll see the differences in the look of the 100% Acrylic and the Ultra Epoxy Resin Topcoat versions.
3. The Application
The differences are minor. With both style kits, the primer and mineral color applications are identical. The only change is how you apply the topcoats. Since the Acrylic Topcoats are rolled on from a paint tray, they don’t require as much protective preparation, while the Ultra Epoxy Topcoat is poured directly onto the surface of your countertops and then gently spread to fully coat them. In order to allow the epoxy to self-level, and flow off of the counter to coat the front edges, we include a couple of plastic tarps so you can protect your cabinets and floor. You’ll spend a little extra time applying the tarps, but not enough to set you back when you’ve planned for a weekend transformation. That two-day time frame applies to both the Acrylic and Epoxy Topcoat kits.
4. The Cure Time
With both styles of kits, you only have to wait 48 hours before you can gently use your kitchen again. You can serve food, make coffee, wash dishes, and rest your glass of wine while you wind down at the end of the day. The only real difference is the time each type of topcoat needs to fully harden. The Acrylic topcoat takes 14 days and the Ultra Epoxy Topcoat takes 7. Epoxies dry and harden as a result of a chemical reaction by mixing two components, whereas acrylics reach full hardness by the process of water evaporation and absorption, which takes a bit longer. That’s it! Once each topcoat cures for the full, allowed amount of time, you are free to use your counters how you need/like/want.
5. The Cost
Time to address the elephant in the room. Why is one more expensive than the other? It all boils down to one simple thing: formula. Without getting into the deep weeds and dredging up unpleasant memories of 10th Grade Chemistry, epoxies are more costly to make. Due to the raw materials used, the manufacturing processes, and the time involved, they inherently carry a bigger price tag. That stated, it doesn't mean that one is inherently better than the other. Both of our topcoat systems are easy to work with, exceptionally strong, and designed specifically for the high usage, wear, and tear of countertop applications. Regardless of which look you choose, you can rest assured that you're getting good stuff!
Pretty painless, eh? And to make it even more palatable, here are the instructional videos for applying both styles of kits, so you can actually see the differences. Now, all you have to do is grab a kit, and get started.
Cheers, fellow DIY-ers! We got your backs!