Concrete is invading kitchens everywhere! Instead of installing or replacing tile and laminate flooring in kitchens, many people have taken to staining the existing concrete. Concrete has even become a less costly replacement for granite, soapstone, or marble countertops. For this week's How-To Tuesday post, we thought we would discuss one easy, inexpensive option homeowners have for using concrete in a kitchen.

Believe it or not, you don't have to completely demolish your existing countertops to replace them with concrete. In fact, you can skip the "replacement" part completely by applying a concrete finishing product right on top of Formica. No stripping or removal needed!

Here's what you need to complete this project:

Ardex Feather Finish, or any comparable product. You can get this for under $20!

drywall tape knife

plastic putty knife

small container for mixing

sanding block

concrete sealer

wax (optional)

1. Start by giving your existing countertop a light sanding. The product is made to adhere well to most surfaces, so you shouldn't need to sand heavily. Clean counters thoroughly after sanding.

2. Mix your product. You'll want to do this in small batches since it dries pretty quickly. Start with a small amount in your mixing container, adding water until you reach a spreadable consistency.

3. Scoop some of the product onto the countertop and spread it over the surface with your drywall tape knife. This first coat should be very thin and will not cover the surface completely. Don't forget to cover the front edge of the counter and the backsplash. The smaller putty knife will work well for these smaller areas. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! Use your fingers to blend the product into creases or build up over edges.

4. Allow to dry. Opening a few windows or using a fan should help speed up drying time. DO NOT MOVE ON UNTIL FIRST COAT IS COMPLETELY DRY.

5. Once the first layer is dry, sand any rough parts, then clean up the dust. Proceed with the second coat in the same manner as the first. Allow to dry, and then sand any rough parts. You'll want to do about three or four coats total. 

6. When you're happy with the number of coats and everything looks reasonably smooth and finished, you'll need to seal it. Apply concrete sealant to the countertop. Let each coat dry completely before moving on to the next. You'll want about three coats of sealant.

7. When the sealer is dry, you can apply a coat of wax if you'd like, but make sure it has natural ingredients and is food safe! 

A few more tips:

Never cut directly on the counter tops. It will ruin the finish.

If you use wax, don't put food directly on the surface.

This finish will stain if certain spills are not cleaned up quickly (oils, spaghetti sauce, etc.). 

Don't worry you find that the surface becomes stained or marked over time. The fix is easy: just give the counters a quick sanding and add another layer of concrete finish and sealant. 

Have you tried using concrete in your kitchen? Was it easy or too much of a hassle? How has it held up over time? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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