Skip to Content

DIY Concrete Countertop Over Existing Formica

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. 

DIY Concrete Countertop


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.

With this method you are basically re-coating your existing countertop with the Ardex Feather Finish – which is a concrete product.
*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  Please see my full disclosure statement HERE.

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

Container for mixing the concrete
Sanding block
Concrete Sealant

Ardex - DIY Concrete Countertop

Prepping Optional

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. 

However, if you feel more comfortable, it may be a good idea to sand your countertops down so they’re a little more absorbent since it’s a rough surface. 
I did thoroughly clean the countertops before we started.

How much Ardex do I need? 

Because you are only coating your existing countertop, you don’t need a lot of this product. We only used about half of the 10 lb. bag for the entire project to make our own concrete countertops. 
But depending on the size of your countertops and the square foot that you’re covering, you may need more or less. 

How to Concrete Over Laminate Countertop

Prepare your Ardex Finish

Pour some Ardex powder into your mixing container and slowly add water until you have the desired consistency (see photo below). 
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. 
Mix DIY Concrete Countertop

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.  

The first coating will NOT completely cover the counter –  it should be a THIN coat.  
Work your way around the countertop covering the top surface, as well as, backsplash and front edge.  
Try to keep things as smooth as possible, but remember this is concrete and it will be rough at this point.Once your first coat is dry, use your sanding block to even out the rough areas.
At this point, the surface doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth because you will be applying several coats.  
After sanding, vacuum up the dust and wipe off the countertop surface.  Now, repeat the entire process for 3 – 4 coats.    
Apply DIY Concrete Countertop
To help with dry time in between coats, we used a fan to circulate the air and it definitely helped the concrete to dry more quickly.  Do not move on to a second coat until the first is completely dry.  
In the above picture, you can see the color difference between the dried finish and the wet application. 
As you can see in the photo below, we did not remove our existing sink. 
We just applied the Ardex up to the edge of the kitchen sink and it has held up great! If you want a new sink, you could replace it before redoing your old countertops and make sure to use the concrete all the way up to the new sink. 
Edge Application - DIY Concrete Countertop
For the crease where the countertop meets your backsplash, apply some extra product along the edge and then use your finger to smooth it out – like you would caulk.
You’ll get a nice smooth finish this way.
Seam - DIY Concrete Countertop
The final finish of the front edges of the countertops were the most difficult for us!  
Basically, you want your mixture to be a little thicker for this part and you want to round the edge a bit to conceal the sharp edge of the formica.  
Because this edge will also see a lot of wear and tear, you especially want to build it up a bit.  I basically would mold the product and then smooth it out with my finger.
Edge - DIY Concrete Countertop
I’ve read other tutorials that said they used a palm sander to sand the surface to where it is smooth.  
If you do this, make sure you use a fine grit sandpaper and be careful how much pressure you apply – otherwise, you will end up sanding through your hard work!  We actually used a sanding block and hand sanded everything.  If you sand off too much, just remix more product and reapply, let dry, and carefully sand again.  The surface is never going to look “perfect”.  If that is the look you want – this is not for you.

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. 

Surface - DIY Concrete Countertop
If you want to apply a concrete stain, you would do this after the final sanding by using a concrete dye on the counter tops.  
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

We used this product, Homax Cure Seal and you will want to apply 2 – 3 coats. Again, be sure to allow each coat of the concrete sealer to dry completely before the next application.
Sealant - DIY Concrete Countertop

The last step – waxing the counters

Finally, we waxed the countertop for added protection.  We used this car wax, which is a natural Brazilian Carnauba Wax.  Just apply a thin coat of wax over the entire countertop and then use a clean cloth to buff – just like your car!  
This is a natural product and I don’t set any food directly on the countertops, so it doesn’t worry me if it’s not considered 100% food safe. If you’re worried about it being food safe, you can skip this step and just make sure to get a food safe sealer for your kitchen countertops. 
Wax - DIY Concrete Countertop
Now, for the big question – “how does this hold up over time – how durable is it?”   I would say that we’ve definitely learned a few things.
DIY Concrete Countertop
First – don’t cut directly on your countertop.  Like I said earlier, I don’t put food directly on my countertop, but shortly after we completed this project, one of my sons (who shall remain nameless)  decided he would cut a pizza directly on the countertop using a pizza cutter!  
Let’s just say that everyone under the age of 23 got the message loud and clear that you don’t put any food directly on the countertop and you definitely don’t cut directly on the countertop (that is why there is a cutting board sitting on the countertop!)

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. 

But don’t fret because if you stain your counter or cut it, or mess it up in any way, fixing these DIY feather finish concrete countertops isn’t too complicated! Now that we’ve learned what to be careful of, we are going to rough up the surface and add another quick coat of Ardex and refinish. 
Finally, I read on another blog that they had a lot of trouble with surface scratches. I haven’t found that to be an issue for us.
DIY Concrete Countertop
Basically, for us and our limited budget – the concrete gives me the look I want for very little money.  It’s just not in our budget to install new soapstone or granite countertops right now.   And, the concrete is waaaaay better than the 1980’s formica that it replaced!

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

DIY Concrete Countertop

Holly Daugherty

Sunday 11th of April 2021

This process was used on the house we recently purchased. I love the look, but ours is needing some patches/repairs both in the concrete and the sealant. Any suggestions on patching/repairing?

Doreen Cagno

Sunday 11th of April 2021

Hi, Holly.

Congrats on the new house! I would sand down the entire surface and then follow my tutorial from the beginning so it all looks uniform!

Stephen Hursley

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

My wife and I have working hard to give our home a more industrial look. We started by refinishing the cabinets and shaking up their color, then we added a nice exposed faux brick backsplash, and now these countertops are for sure the next step! Thank you so much for sharing.

Doreen Cagno

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

So glad to hear that! Thanks for sharing!

Mood Board and Plans for the Kitchen - Hymns and Verses

Tuesday 14th of January 2020

[…] This is the thing that I’m most excited about!  We’ll be replacing the DIY concrete over laminate countertops that we did back in 2012, when I first started my blog!  We looked at every countertop option […]


Tuesday 14th of January 2020

So I made the mistake of painting my laminate because I couldnt take the ugly blue anymore and it has NOT held up. Scared Im going to just make it worse. I do a lot of canning and worry this just wont be tough enough....Ideas?? Things I should be aware of?? Like cleaning it....

Doreen Cagno

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

It is tough. It's concrete. I think this is probably your best option unless you want to replace your countertops.

Inessa M

Monday 28th of October 2019

Hi there. First, many thanks for the post. I moved into a new house lately. Everything is okay except for one thing. Granite countertops seem barely sealed because they absorb water and I need to wait a long time for water to completely dry. I'm tired of that. I'm going to seal them. Now I'm seeking a good granite sealer which is easy to use. I have actually been researching some blogs, blog graniteprotect had many insights. According to this, StoneTech and also Tuff Duck are the best options on the marketplace. I wonder what you think about it. Thanks!

Doreen Cagno

Tuesday 29th of October 2019

I'm not sure. You should check with someone who specializes in granite.