Laminate Counter Refinishing Ideas – Cool DIY Hacks for Laminate Counters
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It’s safe to say that most people have spent oversized time in their own kitchens over the past year. So if you’ve kept your eyes on your dingy laminate counters more than usual, you are probably not alone.
Maybe you did something about it because you’re a tenant or you own it but don’t currently have the budget to rip it all out and put in all of the new countertops. But luckily, you have options that don’t involve an expensive renovation.
From contact paper to faux marble finishes and beyond, there are tons of DIY hacks that can help you convert your laminate kitchen counters from cheap to expensive in no time. Of course, if you are a tenant it is always a good idea to check with your landlord before embarking on a project that will change your space significantly. However, there are still rental-friendly ways to improve the budget.
Sometimes you don’t have to think about it: a complete upgrade of the laminate counter can be as easy as a fresh coat of paint. But of course, no old person who melts under your sink can do the trick. For this project, you’re looking for a specific product called Countertop Coating, which is available on Amazon for under $ 50. It’s thicker and more durable than regular paint that peels off quickly if you try it on your counters, but also has a much stronger smell, notes Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch Blog. So make sure your area is well ventilated before you start and you might even wear a respirator while you work.
As with any painting project, you’ll want to clean and sand your surface – find a sanding sponge with a beveled edge for those hard-to-reach corners, then tape off any areas that won’t be painted. Aim for long, overlapping strokes and expect to apply multiple coats and let them dry completely between coats. If you’re happy with the opacity, let it dry for three days before even using your counters. At this point, you can either leave it unchanged or add a layer of polyurethane to protect against flaking.
Cover it with contact paper.
If you’re looking for the most temporary, tenant-friendly methods, contact paper is an excellent place to start. The material is decorative on the one hand – in patterns such as granite, wood grain or artificial tiles – and adhesive on the other. The application process is as simple as measuring, peeling, and gluing. (Although you can and should expect additional success by thoroughly cleaning your countertops beforehand and allowing them to dry completely before working.)
Other useful tools for this process include a smoothing tool and pen for erasing bubbles, and a utility knife for trimming, which will make your contact paper countertops more durable over the long term. Anika DIY Life blogger Anika has resurfaced her countertops with contact paper in several rental units she has lived in over the years, and says she was initially worried about how long they would last. But 10 months after installing it in her kids’ bathroom, she said it was still very well sealed and looked exactly the same as the day she glued it on, even after spilling and wiping it down with cleaning sprays several times.
This option can be a great solution for tenants as the paper is removable when moving out. However, it’s still a good idea to have your landlord do it before installing.
Refine it with a faux marble look.
Sure, these countertop coatings can be tinted to 16 different colors. But if you’re feeling really chic, then there is no need to stop there – it’s not much harder to recreate a surface like marble or granite cheaply.
Just follow all of the above steps to get a new base layer and you have a few options. If you’re feeling creative, you can take a page out of DIY blogger Sarah Powell’s book and use a sea sponge technique of various shades of gray of acrylic paint under a layer of epoxy. The result looks almost identical to marble, and she says it held up well two full years later.
However, if this process sounds like too much work, you can always break out a can of Marble Effect Spray ($ 9), like TikTok user Brittany did in her house (see above). Hold it about a foot from the surface you want to marble, then press the button to reveal a shockingly accurate looking fiber webbing that perfectly mimics the organic breaking of marble.
Overfly it with concrete.
Finally, it is possible to give your kitchen an industrial edge without pouring your own concrete slabs. Full Disclosure: This project is both dusty and intense. So take your time before diving in.
You already know you start with a thorough clean and a good sanding. Then it’s time to mix your concrete. A Life Unfolding’s handyman, Libbie, who finished finishing both the kitchen counters and a bar top (pictured above) this way, recommends mixing small amounts so your concrete doesn’t dry out between steps.
As with Libbie, use a trowel to apply a thin but even layer of the concrete to every inch of your sanded laminate, then let it dry. (Note that in the beam top pictured here, she is laying concrete on a plywood base placed on her existing counters to give her a thicker, more substantial profile – but this is not necessary.) Repeat the process as many times as possible You need to get the thickness you want and lightly sand between each thin layer.
When you apply three light coats of Acrylaq, you get a brand new setup that will likely last a lot longer than your original laminate.