8 Ways to Cover Kitchen or Bath Countertops
Tile Over the Old Countertop
Tile is great for covering all kinds of surfaces—walls, floors, and showers—and there's no reason why you can't use it to cover up your old countertop.
Glazed ceramic and porcelain tile are the most stain- and heat-resistant, plus they come in a vast range of sizes, shapes, and colors. Natural stone tile also works for this application, but the stone must be sealed periodically to protect against stains.
Tile can be installed directly on top of the old counters, provided they are flat and are stable enough to prevent the new tile from cracking. If your counters can accommodate a little extra thickness, it's best to start with a layer of 1/4-inch cement board glued to the countertop, and lay the tile over that.
Tile is extremely durable and generally easy to clean, but the grout joints are prone to staining and collecting grime. To minimize stains and deep-set crud, be sure to seal the grout as soon as possible after installing the tile, and reapply the sealer every few years, as recommended by the manufacturer.
How to Repair and Refinish Laminate Countertops
Tired of your worn-out laminate countertops? Weary of looking at the same old stains and battle scars? Does the color remind you of a bad childhood dream?
Take heart, intrepid homeowner, there’s good news. You can repair your chipped and aging laminate countertops using simple techniques and, in some cases, common household products you probably have around the house.
If you're looking to give your countertops a whole new look but are watching your budget, you can completely transform them for less than $300. Refinishing kits and tough peel-and-stick vinyl coverings are tailor-made for the DIYer, and the results are dead ringers for real granite slabs.
Related: Updating a Kitchen Countertop01:02
Here are the DIY Basics for updating a kitchen countertop with tile.
Want to spend even less? Paint laminate tops to make them look like granite, using your creative chops to produce beautiful, durable results you'll be proud to show off. As a bonus: You’ll be recycling your countertops while they're in place, keeping your old counters out of landfills and contributing to sustainability.
Small scratches, gouges and chips can be fixed with laminate repair paste or a color-matched repair pen, available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. Choose the color that most closely matches your countertop color. $8.
Once hardened, you won’t have the opportunity to sand any excess without damaging the surrounding laminate, so fill each blemish carefully, and don’t overfill. The object is to camouflage the defect.
Stains can be removed using a paste made from baking soda and water. Put the paste on the stain and let it work for a couple of hours — don't rub. Gently wipe off with a paper towel.
For more stubborn stains, try a little nail polish remover on a clean rag (use white rags so you won't get fabric color on the countertop). Other solvents to try include paint thinner, denatured alcohol and acetone. Use sparingly.
Strokes of Genius — Painting Your Laminate
Transform your laminate countertops using paint — the ultimate DIYer’s friend. Faux granite is one of the most forgiving of all decorative painting projects — the mottled look is easy to get using sponges and a dabbing motion, and you can just keep going until it looks right. It’s ideal for large surfaces, such as countertops.
Take note: The quality of your finished countertop job is very dependent on how good your prep work is. Follow these guidelines:
- Clean the countertop with soap and water to remove dirt and smudges. TSP works great for reliable cleansing but isn’t the most environmentally friendly product; instead, opt for a commercial “green cleaner,” or make your own from equal parts warm water and vinegar.
- Follow with a wipe of denatured alcohol. Don't touch the countertop again! Your fingertips have oils that contaminate pristine surfaces.
- Got a curious kid or a cat that sheds? Keep kids and pets out of the work area.
- Remove old caulk from seams around sinks and faucets.
- Repair chips and large cracks (more than 1/8-inch wide) with a two-part epoxy putty. Let the putty dry thoroughly, then sand the putty smooth.
- Apply painter's tape to everything you don’t want to paint, including your sink, faucets and backsplash. Make no mistake — applying painter’s tape is more of an art than folks often realize. Take your time and make sure there’s good adhesion in all those little places, such as where a faucet base touches the countertop.
- To ensure maximum adhesion for the base coat, de-gloss the entire countertop with 100-grit sandpaper. Wipe up the residue with a tack rag and check for any missed spots with a flashlight.
- Apply a good-quality oil-based primer and let dry for at least 4 hours.
To get a granite look, you'll apply at least three different shades of paint, working from light to dark, or vice versa. The first coat is your base coat and should completely cover all surfaces.
Add subsequent layers with a sponge, dabbing in random patterns. Here are some tips:
- Study real granite at any home improvement center. If you find samples you like, note the various colors and hues so you can reproduce them at home.
- Apply coats while the previous layer is still slightly damp. That way, the colors will blend slightly.
- Add grain with a feather lightly swiped across still-damp paint. Use this effect sparingly.
- Add veins with a fine-tipped artist brush dipped in a contrasting color — pure white or black are good choices. A little bit goes a long way.
- Lightly sprinkle pinches of gold or silver glitter flakes over the last coat of paint (but before applying the protective topcoats). Natural granite often features flecks of quartz embedded in the stone.
After painting is complete, apply at least two acrylic polyurethane topcoats, using a dense foam roller.
Countertop Refinishing Products
Pre-assembled kits help the DIYer get all the ingredients together. Most kits include pre-selected paints so the final color blend is realistic.
- Armor Garage specializes in tough coatings for garage floors, but their expertise extends to refinishing products specifically for laminate countertops. Each Armor Granite kit covers about 50 square feet of countertop, and includes all brushes, rollers and finishing coatings.
This product offers thicker coatings than typical countertop refinishing products, and the finish is heat-resistant — a rarity for painted finishes.
Armor Granite kits are pricier than most, and colors are somewhat limited. Prices range from $279 to $$320, depending on the color of the finish.
- Giani Granite paint kits come with various tones of paint that you apply one at a time to create that mottled, granite look. Two coats of clear sealer (included) protect the paint.
There's a wide variety of colors to choose from, and a paint kit with topcoat, color layers and protective finishes is only $70.
- Countertop Transformations from Rust-Oleum is designed specifically for laminate countertops. The kit features stone-like chips that are sprinkled onto the wet surface of the base layer to create a granite-like texture.
A critical step is de-glossing the existing surface to ensure good adhesion. This kit includes a diamond-embedded sanding block specifically made for thorough de-glossing.
Kits come in many colors. You'll pay $250 for a kit.
- Countertop Tranfauxmations is a tutorial — not a full painting kit — that guides you through the process of painting your countertops. You get an instructional DVD, a guide to paint combinations (using Benjamin Moore paints), a brush and a dabbing sponge for $45. Or, spend $15 to download the instructional video from the website.
Cover Your Assets
Not that artistic? Peel-and-stick vinyl sheets from EZ Instant Makeover mimic real granite, even stainless steel and nickel finishes. A 3-by-12-foot sheet is $90.
You can apply the sheets in minutes, although good surface prep is vital, as any defects will show through the sheet. De-glossing your countertop surface (and wiping up any dust with a tack rag) helps long-term adhesion.
Abuse Won't Cut It!
As you might imagine, DIY painting, refinishing kits and stick-on products are tough, but they're not invincible.
- Don't set hot items on them — use a trivet or hot pad.
- Don't cut or pound on them — use cutting boards.
- Wipe up spills immediately.
Pro Services for the Un-Handy
Like the idea of a low-cost kitchen makeover but don’t trust your thumbs? Pro refinishing services will re-do your laminate countertops for you. You get all the benefits — no tear-out, fast turnaround and a complete budget-friendly countertop redo — at a slightly higher price. Plus, you'll have an experienced pro doing the work.
You'll pay $400 to $650 for an average kitchen countertop refinishing, and the pros will be in and out of your home in about four hours. A five-year warranty is standard.
- Get-A-Grip products are made for refinishing cabinets, ceramic tile, and both laminate and cultured marble countertops.
- Munro Products specializes in cabinet refinishing, but also makes a system called SurBond for refinishing laminate countertops.
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DURABLE: Our products are thicker than most of our competitors made with our 5 layer process includes a Top Coating for protection against Heat (up to 240 degrees), Fade, Scratches, Water, and Tears. “Made for High Traffic Areas” The vinyl is removable without sticky residue. High quality and realistic look. Our Self-Adhesive Film is manufactured in an ISO 9001 Certified Facility which provides high-quality product consistently.
SAFER: Our 5 layers protect your food against exposure to plasticizers, Ink, and other chemicals. Safe for food preparation and gives you the ability to use any cleaners to protect your surface from bacterial and germs. We take the health of our Customer and Family Serious. Produced in an ISO 9001 Certified Facility also listed in RoHS as well as the MSDS.
We take the health of our Customer and Family Serious. NON-TOXIC: NO INK, NO GLUE, NO SMELL, NO ODOR, NO PAINT NEEDED!! We are made to use for Countertops and High Traffic Areas. NOT flimsy shelf paper!!
QUALITY: Contact us for a COMPLEMENTARY SAMPLE Via Amazon and Compare why EZ FAUX DECOR (Est:1999 USA) has been on The Rachael Ray, QVC, Today Show, HGTV, DIY, Steve Harvey Movies, TV, Theater. Why? It’s Safe, Easy to Use and the most Realistic Looking, “We stand 100% behind our products and service” with a 5 Year Warranty
How to Install a Vinyl Sheet to Your Countertop
One of the ways that homeowners choose to cover their countertops is with a vinyl sheet material. This vinyl sheet is really a vinyl laminate that is attached to the surface of the counter with some adhesive. These vinyl sheets are available in a wide variety of colors and textures. Installing the vinyl sheet to a countertop is something that can be done by any do it yourself homeowner.
Step 1 - Gather Materials
Before starting any home improvement project it is a good idea to assemble all of the tools and materials that are necessary for the job. This will keep the project rolling along without a trip to the home improvement center.
Step 2 - Prepare Countertop
One of the many benefits of installing a vinyl laminate on a countertop is that you can apply it over other counter coverings that are flat. If there is a laminate already on the counter, but you want to change it, then you can easily lay the vinyl sheet right over the top. However, tile countertops will need to be removed.
Step 3 - Cut to Right Size
Vinyl sheets are very simple pieces of thin laminate. They are very pliable and easy to work with. When the need to cut the sheets to fit a section of the countertop, a utility knife or a pair of scissors is all that is needed. You will want to use a straightedge also to make sure that the cut is straight.
Step 4 - Spread Adhesive on Countertop
Before the actual vinyl sheet is laid on the surface of the countertop you will need to apply the adhesive. Once the surface of the countertop is clean, you can brush on the adhesive with a paint brush. When you apply the adhesive you want to make sure it covers the entire surface of the countertop and it is evenly distributed.
Step 5 - Set Vinyl Sheet on Counter
With the adhesive on the countertop you need to set the vinyl sheet quickly. Start at one corner and lay down the vinyl along the length of the countertop. Wiggle it slightly in order for the adhesive to bond with the bottom of the sheet.
Step 6 - Roll Vinyl Sheet Flat
A rubber roller is very useful when applying any sort of vinyl sheet or laminate. This is what will lay the vinyl flat and get rid of any air bubbles. It also forces the adhesive to bond permanently to the bottom of the vinyl. Run the roller over the vinyl from the back to the front.
Step 7 - Trim Vinyl Sheet for Perfect Fit
It is better to lay a piece of vinyl sheet on the countertop that is a little wider, and longer, than what you actually need. Use a utility knife to trim up the edges for a professional look.
Laminate, Formica and Vinyl Countertops: Economical and Beautiful
It might sound strange to get excited about countertops, but when you work in our business, it’s an endless source of fascination. There are so many amazing options that home buyers and home owners have at their disposal. In fact, we’ve discussed the many varieties of countertops you might consider for your home.
Your choice of countertop depends on many factors, including your budget, your taste and how you’ll be utilizing the countertop. Though you might think that more expensive countertops are better than budget-friendly options, you might be surprised to find out that the budget-conscious countertops have come a long way in recent years. That’s why we want to take a closer look at options like sheet vinyl and Formica laminate countertops.
For the sake of brevity, we are going to group laminate, Formica and vinyl into one broad category of budget countertops. Sheet vinyl and Formica are a type of laminate. Laminate is simply a material built by combining several layers of said material.
The Benefits of a Laminate Countertop
If you still balk at the idea of having Formica laminate or sheet vinyl countertops, you should really take the time to check out what today’s market has to offer. Laminate design and quality have grown leaps and bounds in recent years, and many of these countertops hold their own when compared against their more expensive counterparts.
Aside from being visually appealing, they are also durable. Laminate countertops resist stains, heat and impact rather well, even in comparison to pricier materials, according to Consumer Reports.
One of the most obvious benefits of sheet vinyl, Formica and other laminates is that they are incredibly affordable. They are available at a fraction of the price of quartz, granite or other highly sought-after options. Laminate is also easier to replace. If your granite countertop is damaged, you’ll be out a lot of money, time and effort. If your laminate countertop is damaged, it’s a much easier problem to fix. If you’re relatively handy around the house, you might even want to replace laminate countertops on your own.
Of Course, Laminate Countertops Aren’t for Everyone
Some people have their heart set on granite, marble, quartz or wood countertops. If your budget allows and that’s your preference, then you should absolutely go with your first choice. Many home buyers even heavily factor in the type of countertop in a home before making a home purchase, so it’s worth noting that investment in higher-quality material might make your home more appealing to buyers if you eventually sell it.
Ken Thieneman has worked with clients with a wide range of preferences for their homes. As custom home builders, we are happy to accommodate the preferences and needs of our clients. If you aren’t sure what type of countertop you’re looking for, we’re happy to discuss all the amazing options you have available.
If you’re considering buying or building a home in the Louisville area, give us a call. Many clients come to us thinking that a custom home is too expensive, only to discover that it is completely within their budget. We’ve built a reputation for building high-quality homes on time and on budget. Contact Ken Thieneman today to talk about building the custom home you’ve always wanted.
If your kitchen needs a face lift, but a full renovation is out of the budget, consider using flexible vinyl for kitchen countertops to revive your space. Sheet vinyl for counters is inexpensive, available in a wide range of colors and patterns and is so easy to install you can do it yourself even if you've never tackled a home improvement project before.
Why Update Your Kitchen Counters?
Your kitchen countertop sets the tone for the rest of your kitchen. It's large, gets a lot of use every day and its color should be the jumping off point of the rest of your kitchen palette. So if it's tired looking, scratched, peeling or just really outdated, you may want to consider replacing or updating it.Related Articles
In addition to gaining an entirely new kitchen look at a fraction of the cost, updating your kitchen counter also allows you to do the following.
- Change the color scheme of the kitchen, including the wall and backsplash color
- Replace an old kitchen sink and faucet with newer models
- Pick up a color from the counter to change outdoor hardware on your cabinets
Best of all, a new kitchen counter gives you a sanitary, scratch free, stain free work area that can make your whole kitchen feel new again.
When to Use Flexible Vinyl for Kitchen Countertops
There are a lot of kitchen countertop choices on the market today. If you're planning on replacing the entire counter, or you currently have a tile counter in your kitchen, flexible vinyl is not for you. If, on the other hand, you want to give your kitchen a fresh new look without the expense or inconvenience of replacing your counters, flexible vinyl for kitchen countertops is a great choice.
Sheet vinyl is applied directly to any flat, clean and existing kitchen countertop. So if you have old, peeling laminate or scratched and stained solid surface counters, you can apply flexible sheet vinyl right on top. This allows you to get a brand new counter in a matter of hours, saving on the contractor costs as well as the removal and disposal costs of your old counter and on the material itself.
Choosing and Installing Flexible Vinyl
Sheet vinyl for kitchen counters is really a very thin, flexible form of laminate. It comes in rolls large enough to cover your counter, its edge and a 4-inch backsplash in one sheet with no seams. This gives you a clean workable surface.
Sheet vinyl comes in a wide range of colors, both solid and patterned to look like stones such as granite. Choose a color or pattern that will give you options for wall color, sink and faucet color and backsplash tiles. These components are often the least expensive parts of a kitchen renovation, so changing them with your counter will give you a complete kitchen update for much less.
Once you have your vinyl, clean your existing counter well. Remove any loose edging from around the counters by pulling it away completely. Measure your counters, taking into account any edging, backsplash and sink cutouts and mark an area on the floor nearby with these measurements.
Spread out your vinyl on your floor template and cut it to fit with a pair of scissors. Make all your cuts now; once the adhesive is in place, you'll need to move quickly.
Paint the adhesive onto your existing counter, covering all areas where the vinyl will go, including edges and backsplashes. Apply the vinyl from the furthest corner inward, smoothing it with your hand as you go. Once it's flat, use a rolling pin and apply pressure to the counter to move out air bubbles and bond your new vinyl to your old counter. Drop in your new sink and faucet and you can start using your new counter immediately.
Do It Today
Giving your kitchen a facelift with flexible vinyl for kitchen countertops as your starting point is easy and inexpensive. A little paint, some new cabinet hardware and a new sink and faucet and you've got a brand new kitchen. Why wait? Update your kitchen today.
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If you don't have the funds for a complete kitchen renovation or even if you're renting and aren't allowed to decorate but would really love to there are many changes you can make that are temporary.
One of these changes is peel and stick countertop covering.
These coverings will make a huge difference in your kitchen. But they won’t cause you to lose your shirt or your security deposit!
It’s even a good way to try out how a new countertop might look, before you invest your savings in one and find out that you don’t like it.
Whatever your reason for wanting to change up your kitchen countertops, peel and stick is a great option (and also a top wallpaper option too).
I believe these are the best choice peel and stick countertops available...
Best Peel And Stick Countertop Buying Guide
Choosing a Pattern
One of the great things about peel and stick countertop coverings is that, if you don’t like it, you can just take it off. This is definitely not the case for any other kind of countertop.
When it comes to choosing a pattern, try and visualize how it will look in your kitchen first. It will need to complement the kitchen cabinets.
But it will also need to go well with your appliances, the flooring, the sink, and the oven. So there is a lot to think about.
As well as the pattern, you also need to consider the overall finish. Although a shiny finish is the most popular option, primarily due to marble being a very popular style, a matte finish is also possible.
If you have chosen a wood pattern, then it will likely have the appearance of polished or waxed wood. Even if the wood has a rustic appearance, the nature of PVC and vinyl means that it will likely still have a shine.
Depending on your budget, you can even buy a few different kinds of coverings and try them all out. Or, depending on your supplier, you might be able to order a sample.
If you have a rented home, then one of your biggest fears is going to be causing damage to it. This will be especially true if you have a landlord who doesn’t take kindly to problems arising.
Renting can be a perilous way of finding a home but it is one that many people cannot avoid.
Causing damage to something as expensive as a kitchen countertop is a big worry. This is one of the reasons why peel and stick countertop coverings are such a good idea.
But, although it is very unlikely that they will cause you any problems, there are a few ways that peel and stick countertops can damage your kitchen.
One cause of damage is if your countertop isn’t suitable for peel and stick. Most countertops are compatible.
But some will not work well if they are not entirely smooth, have a wax finish, are already damaged and so no longer have a clean finish, or if they are uneven.
If, for example, your countertops are made from waxed wood, then peel and stick might not be a good idea. Wax is a difficult substance to work with anyway and it can be difficult to clean.
Depending on the wax, the adhesive of the peel and stick might not readily come off a waxed surface as the wax might cause it to stick more.
If the countertop is damaged, for example, if the smooth finish has chipped away to reveal a more textured underlayer, then peel and stick might not be suitable.
This is because the adhesive may get into the more textured and grittier areas of the surface. The peel and stick might not even work at all. Peel and stick countertops require a smooth surface. Otherwise, the adhesive won’t work as well, if at all.
Applying Peel and Stick Countertop
Applying peel and stick correctly is a simple process but there can be hiccoughs. The main issues are air bubbles and the material not sticking properly. But these are easy issues to solve.
Air bubbles appear when the peel and stick hasn’t been applied closely enough to the countertop. It’s important to move slowly and not to lay the peel and stick down all at once.
The adhesive not sticking properly is usually a problem with the countertop material, rather than the peel and stick. To make sure the adhesive sticks properly, make sure to clean the countertop before applying the peel and stick.
One of the most important things to consider is why you want to switch up your current kitchen countertops. If it’s due to your countertops being damaged, then you have a few more things to consider than someone who just wants to change things up.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to consider durability. The majority of peel and stick countertops are made from PVC or vinyl. This means that they will be as easy to clean as standard marble or granite countertops.
But, there is a chance that they will become warped if they become hot.
So, if you are used to placing hot pans straight onto the countertop, it’s important to find heat-resistant peel and stick countertops. Peel and stick countertops aren’t heat-resistant as standard.
Peel and Stick vs Real Countertops
Although peel and stick countertops look very realistic. They will still be very different from the real thing. This is especially true if you do not apply the peel and stick properly.
The vast majority of peel and stick countertops are made from PVC or vinyl. These are strong and durable materials. But they won’t have the same finish as real countertops.
But, if you don’t (or can’t) spend a lot of money on new countertops, then peel and stick is pretty ideal. Even the cheapest options are of good quality.
The main issue comes from the application. You will need to be very careful as peel and stick can easily wrinkle or bubble.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does peel and stick countertop cause damage?
It shouldn’t! The whole point of peel and still countertop covering is that it is temporary. They can be used for lots of different surfaces. But they are mostly intended for rented homes.
If they cause damage to the original countertop, then you didn’t get the product you ordered and should request your money back.
It might not be much but it will go some way to balancing out the money that might be taken out of your security deposit for repairs.
Is peel and stick vinyl durable?
This depends on the overall thickness and quality of the peel and stick countertop covering that you choose. If you buy something thin, then there is a chance that it can rip or become damaged.
But if you buy something thick, then it should last you at least a couple of years.
The adhesive is also important for durability. The stronger the adhesive, the longer the peel and stick will last. But, on the other hand, you don’t want anything too strong. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to remove when you move out.
Can you put peel and stick on tile countertops?
This depends on how much work you’re willing to do. Peel and stick works best on very smooth and clean surfaces. Tiled countertops have very uneven surfaces.
So if you lay a sheet of peel and stick onto the tiles, it will likely wrinkly and bubble.
A workaround for this is cutting individual pieces of peel and stick to go over the individual tiles. But, this is a lot of work and might have the finish you’re looking for. Instead, you can get peel and stick tiles. These will likely be a better option.