If you’ve been dreaming of getting rid of those laminate countertops, or maybe just transforming them into something more beautiful keep reading for this helpful post on how to add concrete over laminate countertop to really transform your kitchen from bleh to amazing! Instead of breaking the bank and buying all new countertops, you can save a few bucks by remodeling your current cabinets!
Late last fall, we did a DIY kitchen remodel. I painted the kitchen cabinets, we built a range hood, and added molding to the upper cabinets. I really wanted to replace our builder grade, 1980’s formica countertops with concrete – until I talked to a neighbor who had actually done this.
He explained how they built molds, rented a concrete mixer . . . and the whole messy process! It just seemed like too much of a project to do on our own. But, I didn’t give up and kept searching the internet and Pinterest for perhaps an easier DIY concrete countertop.
What is a concrete overlay?
Concrete overlay is a system of resurfacing a countertop with a thin layer of concrete. It’s typically applied over existing countertops in order to give the space an entirely new look without having to replace the entire countertop, which can be an expensive venture.
The process usually involves mixing polymer-modified cement, coloring pigments and other materials with water. The mixture is then spread evenly over the existing surface and allowed to dry for about 24 hours before it can be properly used.
Concrete overlay has become increasingly popular due to its versatility and affordability. It provides a durable finish that will last for years when properly sealed. Plus, you have the advantage of being able to customize your countertops by adding different textures, colors and patterns – so get creative!
Is a concrete overlay easy enough for me to do?
It depends on the complexity of your project. If you’re looking for a straightforward, basic resurfacing project, such as a single color or texture without any intricate designs or patterns, then it can be relatively simple to do yourself.
I would suggest completing this project with a second set of helping hands if possible. If not, do not stress because you can totally do this by yourself, it would just be faster with two people.
I found a few different sites, but when I saw this particular PIN on Pinterest, I noticed a product that I have seen in our garage called, Ardex. Ardex Feather Finish is a patching compound used by flooring professionals to patch or skim coat an uneven subfloor.
When I showed my husband the information I had found, he agreed that this would be a doable project for usWith this method, you are basically re-coating your existing countertop with the Ardex Feather Finish – which is a concrete product.
Where can I find Ardex Feather Finish?
You can find Ardex Feather Finish at many local home improvement stores, as well as online retailers. The product is usually sold in small bags or buckets, depending on how much coverage you will need for your project.
If you’re unsure of the size, I’d recommend measuring the area that you want to cover and then purchasing the appropriate quantity.
Additionally, it’s important to thoroughly read and follow the instructions on the package, since proper installation is key for achieving good results with Ardex Feather Finish.
Check your local hardware stores, Lowes or Home Depot and then check online if you’re not in any luck finding some locally.
Supplies for DIY Concrete Countertop over Formica
Other tutorials say to sand your formica countertop to prep. Since my husband has used this product a lot, he didn’t feel this step was necessary because the product is made to adhere to most surfaces.
I did thoroughly clean the countertops before we started.
How much Ardex do I need?
How to Concrete Over Laminate Countertop
Prepare your Ardex Finish
You definitely want to mix small quantities of the product – because it does thicken and set quickly.
Here is the consistency you will want – (yes, that’s one of my spoons)! I would recommend mixing with something other than a serving spoon!I would recommend using a disposable container to mix your concrete in and use something like a disposable paint stirring stick or something that you can toss after this project.
Apply your Ardex Finish
Simply pour or scoop some of the mixed Ardex onto the old countertop and then use the tape knife to spread it evenly over the surface.
As you can see in the photo below, we did not remove our existing sink.
I found it a little easier to go into this part of the project with the thought of adding more concrete to the edges than I thought I would need and then sanding it out to get the rounded edge that I was looking for.
I liked the look of the natural gray concrete, so we skipped this step and moved ahead to sealing the concrete.
Sealing the concrete counters
The last step – waxing the counters
Do Concrete Counters Stain?
As far as stains – again, you need to be careful. Anything like oil, salad dressing, spaghetti or pizza sauce, etc. can soak into the concrete and will leave a stain (even with the sealant and wax coatings).
Remember, I have three young men who still live at home, so they aren’t very neat or careful about anything!
The wax DOES repel water.
Other Tips for Making DIY Concrete Countertops
- If you have a backsplash that comes right down to the counter tops, you can use some painter’s tape to help protect it. You’ll want to protect it not just from the concrete, but the dye if you’re using it, the sandpaper sawdust and any sealer and wax that may damage it during the project.
- If you’re trying to cover the area where the counter meets the backsplash with a little vertical concrete slab, I’d recommend trying to use a wide putty knife. It’ll be easier to spread it out and get a nice smooth finish.
- I suggest laying some drop cloths or some kind of craft cloth down underneath of your work space so you can protect the floors.
- If this is your first time working on a DIY project and you’re not super confident in your DIY skills, I would mix a small batch of the concrete up first and work in small sections. If you mix too much up at a time it will dry out and you will waste the product and spend more money on your feater finish countertops than you originally intended to or really needed to.
- If you’re doing quite a bit of countertop square feet, I would consider covering the rest of the kitchen with some protective plastic, plastic sheeting, or something because when you go to sand the concrete, the concrete dust will go everywhere. I mean everywhere, even when you don’t think it will end up on the other side of your kitchen, it will.
- Always have a shop vac on hand for projects like these so you can clean up as you go along. It will help make cleaning up at the end of the project a little easier as well.
- Work very carefully when dealing with the sealer, it can be easily splashed and make a large mess.
- Keep in mind that when you add a sealer it may change the color of your concrete. This is especially important if you added any concrete dye to the concrete to make it a specific color. It’s always best to keep a semi open mind as you are doing a DIY project like this as you may end up with something slightly different than what you originally planned out, but something that is still incredibly beautiful.
- Good luck and have fun with this project! It’s an amazing way to update your countertops quickly and with a lower price point. If you run into any problems along the way, we’re here to help so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.
At the end of the day, your countertop will be unique to you and tailored to what you wanted in terms of results. With proper care and upkeep, the new concrete countertop should last for years to come! You may even be encouraged to try new projects around your home with a newfound feeling of confidence after completing this job.
After seeing how fun this project was to turn your boring builder grade countertops into beautiful concrete ones, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get more IDY projects done and checkf