Old counters can make a kitchen seem drab and out-of-date. Luckily, there are a few options for counter replacements that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. If you’d love to give well-worn or boring old countertops a new look without breaking the bank, this week’s column is for you.
Paint. Assuming you’re working with old laminate counters, a fresh lick of paint can give you an easy update to a dark, faded kitchen. Brands such as Rust-oleum offer special paint just for countertops that come in a dozen colors and don’t require a coat of primer if you’re just going over laminate. Many also contain antimicrobial protection which will protect the painted surface against mold, mildew and other odor and stain causing microbes.
Concrete. Concrete countertops and floors are very fashionable in home trends, but having to deal with the process of pouring a real slab can be expensive and challenging. Not to worry - you can always skim coat your current counters to make them look like the real thing. Ardex sells a feather finish which will help the concrete bond to the countertop, and while it might not have the same durability as a solid concrete counter, you’ll be able to achieve the look for a lot less.
Tile. I love the aesthetic of tile because it can add lots of color and style to a kitchen at a really affordable price. While you can technically tile over laminate, I’d recommend building new countertops out of plywood and then using an underlayment of tile backer to secure each piece into place. A tile countertop can look great, but it also involves a lot of grout which can be tough to clean. If you’re tiling, be sure to invest in a proper sealant.
Stainless Steel. If you’re comfortable building and sanding down new plywood countertops, consider wrapping them with stainless steel sheet metal. For a metal look without the real thing, you can purchase liquid stainless steel paint made by a company called Giani. Both will give your kitchen a modern look which can be brightened up with colored cabinets, or left with more natural materials for an industrial feel.
Corian. If you love the look of stone but granite and marble are out of your budget, you might want to consider a less expensive alternative such as Corian, which is a solid surface material derived from bauxite. It’s durable, comes in a variety of thicknesses and can mimic the look of marble, sandstone or other popular, more expensive natural stone materials. It also comes in solid colors if you’re after a more contemporary look.
Do you have a tip or trick to give countertops a breath of fresh air without spending a ton of money? I’ve love to hear from you - send me a message on Facebook at facebook.com/odonnellbros
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.