Home Improvement Kitchen Kitchen Decorating & DIY

DIY Kitchen Countertop Options

Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

It seems that this week was more about planning than actually working on projects for me (especially after my DIY fail on Monday), and one thing that I’m trying to figure out is how to DIY some inexpensive but awesome kitchen countertops for my budget makeover.

Of course, in the big box home improvement stores, you can find Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations. I’ve heard amazing things about this product, but I haven’t tried it out yet. Here’s a countertop makeover using the Rust-Oleum product from Woven By Words.

countertop makeover with RustOleum countertop transformations

And then a few months ago, my mom sent me a link to a similar product from Daich Coatings called Spreadstone. From the pictures I’ve seen, I think I prefer this one a bit more over the Rust-Oleum product. It’s made from real stone, and has a more authentic stone appearance in my humble opinion.

spreadstone countertops, diy countertop refinishing

And if you’re a granite person (which I’m not), there’s Giani Granite Paint, which creates one of the most authentic granite looks I’ve ever seen. Here’s a countertop painted with the Giani granite paint from Red Hen Home.

diy countertop using giani granite paint from red hen home blog

Those are all great options for DIYers, but honestly, none of them made me excited about tackling my kitchen countertops. They’re just not quite what I’m looking for.

After seeing my inspiration kitchen yesterday, it probably won’t surprise you that my first idea for my own kitchen was to research “DIY copper countertops” and “DIY brass countertops.” I knew it was a long shot, but you never know if you don’t try, right?

I came across this wonderful tutorial on Lilliedale on how to do your own copper countertops.

DIY copper countertops from Lillidale blog

To reduce the costs, they actually used 16 oz. roofing copper materials. The countertop is stunning, but I think the results (as well as the price and the effort involved) are more worthy of a final kitchen remodel than an interim budget makeover. So I ruled that out as an option.

Wood, stained with just the right color, can can add warmth to a kitchen much like that gorgeous copper color, and I know I can purchase some pretty inexpensive butcherblock at IKEA and install them myself, because I did it in the condo kitchen.

Or I could DIY something similar to butcherblock, since I now have a seemingly endless supply of free 1″ x 4″ lumber. (The lumber that all of the polystyrene tiles in the house are nailed to on the ceiling.)

But I’ve had wood kitchen countertops for the last few years (as well as wood countertops in this bathroom and this bathroom), and since this interim kitchen is my chance to really have some fun and take a few chances, I don’t really want to rehash ideas that I’ve already done.

One thing that I’ve wanted to try for quite some time is making my own concrete countertops. I actually came across this company a few months back that sells different edge profiles for pour-in-place concrete countertops. So you build the form (which looks easy using their products), attach the edge profiles you want, pour the concrete countertops in place right on top of your cabinets, and then snap the plastic edge profile away to reveal a beautiful edge.

concrete kitchen countertop - diy pour in place countertop using an ogee edge profile

(By the way, if you decide to pour your own concrete countertops, be sure to look up a person named Buddy Rhodes on YouTube. He’s evidently a leading expert, and I found his videos very helpful.)

But that might also be a final kitchen remodel option. I’ll admit, for my interim kitchen, I’m looking for something a bit easier. (Perhaps I’m still feeling lazy after the whirlwind two weeks of projects when my father-in-law was here.) 🙂

So that leads me to a concrete top coat called Ardex Feather Finish, that you can use right over existing laminate countertops. Have you heard of this stuff by now? I first heard of it on Kara Paslay’s blog.

I really like the idea of this product, but I don’t think that the gray color would play nicely with the green that I have planned for my cabinets. I think it would make things start looking a bit dreary.

But I’ve learned that the company that makes Feather Finish now makes it in white! Here’s a concrete waterfall countertop that almost looks like marble that Kara did using a base coat of gray followed by the white.

concrete countertop using ardex feather finish in white

I think that looks amazing! So as if this moment, I think this is the direction I’m heading. Can you envision those beautiful marbly white countertops with dark green cabinets and brass accents? Ahhhh…I very well may want to carry my interim design over to my final kitchen remodel. 🙂

What other inexpensive kitchen countertop options have you tried or seen?

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Angela Herrington
    February 28, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I wonder if the last option could be used to hide seams on laminate countertop? We have been given 2 brand new looking laminate countertop pieces, but I need a 9 foot piece on one wall. I’m considering buying a farmhouse sink with a front panel that sticks out a little so that I can use two smaller pieces on the long wall, but I’m not so sure about combining the current color and the style of the farmhouse sink. Did you see anything about seams during your research?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Syble Mc
    February 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I’m interested to see some results with the countertop make overs. And I love that green, that’s my kind of green. It is so weird how exciting someone elses project can be. Great job girl.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Yes, I can envision the white marble countertops with the green cabinets and brass/gold accents. With a little red in there, it would look downright Christmas-y. The white countertops, as well as the opening into the den/dining room, will hopefully brighten up the green nicely. My past experience with using that color still has me skeptical, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s you!

    And gosh, golly, gee, girl, you need a break from all the whirlwind of the past few weeks! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nicole DeBoer
    February 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I have custom painted over 25 countertops in our small town using an oil-based process. My first countertop (my mama’s) was done 8 years ago and still looks fab. Zip-strip your old counters, sand lightly, prime/seal with oil-based primer (tinted as your base coat), let dry for 48 hours. Then do a creative faux paint treatment using 3-5 additional colors of oil. The applicator (like a sea sponge) can vary depending on the effect you want. The idea is similar to Rustoleum, but with more modern and customizable results. It takes a lot of patience and time, as you want the paint to dry hard as a rock before using your counters. Plan on 4-7 days dry time before putting your coffee pot back on the counter. Good luck with whatever you decide. It will be beautiful, I have no doubt.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Hi Kristi,

    After reading your post I remembered seeing a review on rustoleum painted countertops at the ugly duckling house.

    Maybe the issues (like wet paper/things getting stuck to it and scratching easily) don’t happen with all brands and finishes, but depending on how long you plan on keeping the interim kitchen it might be worth considering what could happen to the countertops and if it’s something you can live with.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I too do not find granite to be “all that”.But, what to do has been the question. I liked the copper idea and recently have switched that idea up for zinc.And, I sort of like the concrete counters with recycled glass mixed in.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

    You might also check into some other products: Skimstone, Encore, Milestone, Granicrete, AuraStone. Artworks Spokane has a web site describing each of these. AuraStone is one I’m thinking of trying because it looks like you can set goods from the oven or stove directly on it; and it would apply right over my current counter. I look forward to seeing what you do. You do such good work!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    i’m in the process of building concrete countertops for my kitchen. its a pretty extensive process. i’m using the cheng concrete system. so far i’ve built the forms out of melanine (?) boards, siliconed them, and they’re sitting on plastic sheets waiting for their denatured alcohol rub, adhesive and placement of the pretty aggregate stones i purchased. tomorrow we rent the concrete mixer and concrete vibrator and start pouring. then they “cure” for 10 days. then 3 rounds of slurrying and polishing. then the install and final reveal. not a terribly expensive project either. i think i’ve spent about $250 in materials thus far. i’m really excited for the installation. i’ve been remodeling my kitchen since last summer and i’m ready to be done!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I can SOooo envision the white counter tops with green cabinets — especially if the green is one like Malachite! Bee-u-tee-ful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Angela J
    February 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I’m not sure it will work on that concrete top coat (the Ardex Feather Finish), but staining concrete is an option out there that might give you the copper-tone results you initially desired. (Such as the second photo on this site: http://www.tampaconcretefloorpolishing.com/)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    A friend of mine did an apartment kitchen counter with the Rust Oleum products and they look beautiful. She said that following directions was very necessry and giving each coat time to completely dry. Personally, I love the look of the concrete coating, especially the white. That would look bright and beautiful with your green cabinets. I can’t wait to see this room take shape!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for giving me some great ideas – I have a new cooktop coming so I need a small countertop to go next to Uba Tuba granite on the L-shaped sink side of our kitchen. which we are not removing. We will be redoing the island and I don’t want the dark granite there too (it’s shows every single fingerprint and spot, and I can use it hopefully somewhere smaller). I also have to redo some gross mauve formica countertops in another house and this might be easier than painting! Thanks – we are channeling projects!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    The first project I tackled in our old kitchen was the countertop. A previous owner had painted over the old laminate and it was in awful shape, dirty and covered with scratches. I needed to do something really inexpensive and after lots of searching online, I decided to use tile even though I’ve never tiled before. I found some 13 x 13 inch porcelain tile at HD in Venetian Ivory and used Linen grout. For approx. $80 in materials, we now have nice clean countertops and no longer worried about what dreaded germs are lurking in that old painted one.
    I also installed a beadboard backsplash using tongue and groove planks and now working at trimming out the edges etc.

    I also contemplated that feather finish concrete but couldn’t find it near me (Canada)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sherry Leggett
    February 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Just a thought… Concrete or even a top coat of concrete-like stuff could end up cracking when you level the house. Maybe something with a little give would be better for interim. I just love the copper counters but copper is quite soft. How would it stand up to frequent use? Can you seal it or something to keep it from changing to green over time?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Ooohhh. You just made my day. I’ve been researching concrete countertops for a year and feel so overwhelmed. I’m grateful to get info from a trustworthy source. You’re the best!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    There is also a light concrete now for countertops I’ve read about. Whatever you decide will be great I’m sure.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Heidi Fawn
    February 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    After over a year of agonizing I have finally decided to use the pour in place concrete counters. A friend of ours is starting a counter pouring business and agreed to do ours for the cost of materials so that he has more photos for his portfolio. I am doing white with a little light gray mottling. Now that they are getting popular there is a huge choice in colors and edges. I’m so excited!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Kristi, wanted to thank you for the information on Kara Pasley. The walls in my diy fixer up home are terribly beat up but I may be able to resurrect them with an ardex product she uses. Had never seen her blog before or one someone posted in your comments yesterday by a Canadian named Karen. Anyway both are keepers. Thanks.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol Fraley
    February 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Loving your thought process on the countertops! Ten Seconds Studio has a metal paint that you might be able to achieve the copper look. http://www.tensecondsstudio.com/videos/012412.html

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Have you tried looking at your local Habitat For Humanity Re-Store (sells donated building supplies to the public) or similar style store or searching on Craigslist under “materials” and counter top? I haven’t researched any of the products you mentioned but I wonder if the chemicals used are food safe? I really like the look of concrete counter tops. I’ve seen the counter top laminate sheets at Home Depot where you can make your own. At our townhouse we bought laminate from a local man who owns a counter top shop and made our counter tops for us. I don’t think they would be that hard to make yourself. He had a huge book of laminate samples. We knew we were selling in a few years and we wouldn’t get our money back on stone counter tops so we went with laminate. I love all of your ideas for the kitchen. It’s going to look great!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      I wanted to add on to what AmyF said. When we redid our kitchen, we went with laminate because of several reasons: It is durable, inexpensive, and comes in some beautiful finishes and colors. Plus, a realtor friend said that when it’s time to resell, we would not recoup the money if we had gone with pricier materials (granite, marble, etc.), as the house is older and in a very middle-class neighborhood.

      I love laminate for all those first reasons. Modern laminates are not what your mother had! Two pieces of advice, based on personal experience. One, go look at the supplier’s selection so that you can see what a large piece looks like—DO NOT rely on your contractor’s tiny samples (they are often discontinued anyway.) And two, DO NOT choose a glossy finish. It reflects light and points out any imperfections. Choose satin.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim George
    February 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Hey there Kristi! I’ve actually used the Rustoleum Countertop Kit (Desert Sand) for my laminate countertops..and they look great and have been holding up pretty good. Im certain your kitchen will look fab no matter what though. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I wish I could remember the name of the concrete skim type kit I used a few years ago to put it in the danger list! LOL Honestly, I don’t know if it was the kit or me. I felt like I was going with the painstaking directions but I absolutely hated the result which looked nothing like a concrete counter to me.

    Ha, well the true final result was me going to Ikea for new counters.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Brad W.
      February 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      IKEA is my plan “B” if the Daich product doesn’t work for me!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brad W.
    February 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I recently came across the Daich countertop materials too. I was somewhat discouraged by the Rust-Oleum process but the Daich product is what I am looking for. The ease of it and it seems that I can’t really screw it all up. It will be about $250 for my needs. I’ll keep you posted on how it all works out.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Robin Louis
      February 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      How did your counters come out and are they holding up? A lot of reviews state the clear coat turns yellow with any amount of heat and the area around the sink that often gets wet makes the clear coat get a foggy look to it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Id love it if you do concrete, I’ve been wanting to try it in our old farm cottage… Need to check if feather finish is available in Australia 😉 as I would just want to pour it over existing tops.
    A beautiful mess recently did a standard grey one, looks amazing with their old (similar to yours)but brightly painted ‘happy yellow’ cabInets!
    Love Claire x

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Decoupage is another option.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Debbie @Dewdrop Gables
    February 28, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    We just finished redoing our kitchen, painting ceilings, trim, walls, cabinets and installing new flooring. The counter tops do not match at all now, but my husband will not let me do anything with them. I’ve suggested a couple of the options you mentioned and he’s absolutely against touching them (he says he just installed them…yeah, over 10 years ago!! haha). I would love to see what you end up doing, maybe then I could show him and he’s see it really is necessary.
    Debbie 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 1, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Love the copper counters!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 1, 2014 at 6:17 am

    I have been mulling over the idea of pouring my own concrete countertop.Thanks for the tip on Buddy Rhodes,. Great informational videos.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 1, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Another resource from a DIYer at GardenWeb Forum. Check out the poster named”circuspeanut”, she gives a step by step.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I found this while pinning today and thought of your plans for a green kitchen


    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      March 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      I love that green! And kitchens with cabinets that deep green are hard to find. I’ve searched and searched. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Can you add color/dye to the Feather Finish? That sounds like something I would like to try if my sink size doesn’t change.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 2, 2014 at 12:00 am

    We did the ardex product over our laminate counters about 6 months ago. My main tips are: try to make sure each batch you mix covers the entire countertop because each batch has a slightly different color. Also, no patching, touching or smoothing spots after its had a few minutes to dry – get it in the next coat, otherwise it’s noticeable even after you sand. And, invest in a professional grade sealer – do not skimp on sealer and do at least 3 coats. Staining is the biggest complaint about these counters but we still don’t have any stains – not even slopped red wine. Also, the blogs make it look a lot easier than it is – I think because most tutorials I saw weren’t doing an entire kitchen. For your first project with this product, you may want to practice with something smaller, or have a buddy help you with the counters. You have to move fast when applying. It took 5 days start to finish for us because of the drying times between coats. The sanding process creates as much dust as drywall sanding so close off your room and wear a mask. We love our Ardex countertops and have been extremely satisfied with how they look and how they’ve performed. We would do it again. P.s. get a trowel thingy that is round at the top and not square.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 2, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Absolutely in love with the copper for the countertops! That is going to be stunning! Can’t wait to see that in your final kitchen design.

    Also loving the white marble look with the green. For an inexpensive interim solution, would you consider applying some laminate over your existing counters? I saw this Carerra marble laminate that reminded me of the color you liked in the Ardex picture:


    Also on this web site there were matching already-formed edges that you can apply with wood glue:


    Hubby and I used this method to cover some green laminate countertops in our kitchen several years ago, and it turned out really well. It wasn’t super labor intensive, but it did need 2 sets of hands due to the size of the pieces. Prep was to sand and clean the countertop, and then we applied the new laminate with the laminate contact cement, rolled with a roller, and trimmed with a router. We used wood edges at that time, but would have used the laminate edges if they’d been available.

    PS – I am another among your readers who totally think you can build your own custom cabinets in your final design. I’m dreaming of being able to do that someday. I think I’d order the doors ready-to-finish, but the cabinet boxes and drawers/pull-outs I’d love to build myself.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      March 2, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Hmmm…I’m not sure if I’d be up for laminate. And not because I have anything against laminate, but because I’m already quite excited about trying out the Ardex. 😀

      But that laminate is really beautiful! I hadn’t seen the carrara marble laminate before.

      Oh, and I think I have pretty much talked myself into building my own cabinets. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sally A.
    March 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Hi Kristi!

    If you’re looking for easy countertops, I found this on Carmella Rayone’s blog http://www.assortmentblog.com.

    She likes soapstone, but not the cost, so she used furniture grade plywood with a 2” edge band, then painted it with chalkboard paint, then sealed it with paste wax. She said she is very pleased with the durability. You can read the details here…
    although I think I covered everything…it’s that easy!

    If you don’t like the dark color, I imagine you could use any color of paint? Let me know what you think!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Hello, I am remodeling my kitchen on a very tight budget my kitchen has orange laminent counter tops from the 70’s I was planning on using the Gianni granite kit and then I also came across the ardex concrete and I love the idea. I was wondering if you have used it and how are the results. I am very new to diy so any and all tips are appreciated


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jan Bradford
    March 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I’m planning on a kitchen redo in the near future, too. I like some types/colors of granite in small doses, like a serving board, but I am in love with soapstone (or its related versions) and concrete counter tops for practicality in dealing with heat, scratches and stains. Plus, they look high end for less end costs. I also intend to have a counter off to the side that is covered in copper sheeting. I LOVE the look but don’t want it in large expanses. It’s a little like wearing too much “jewelry” in the room. Maybe as important as the material is the color you chose. It makes all the difference in how well the whole redo comes together. Mixing materials within reason works very well, too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Elizabeth Sagarminaga
    March 3, 2014 at 1:19 am

    What an inspirational blog! Thanks for giving me staggering ideas; the faucets that you have used in kitchen are marvelous. Loving your thought process on the counter tops. Really, your kitchen will look fabulous.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    FYI Ardex Feather finish is actually a flooring product that is used to float floors level and also as a skim coat on top of vinyl flooring like a primer so that anything will stick to it. I never thought about using it on countertops as a surface but it would make sense that it would work. I would think that you would need to do several coats of it and countertop profiles could be a problem. I would scuff up existing laminate with a fine grit sandpaper so that you have some tooth. Also, there are now paint primers for laminates and great spray paints with metallic finishes. Use several coats and finish with a clear acrylic coat to seal. I only cut on my granite island not any other countertops so if you use a cutting board there should be no nicks.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Hey Kristi,

    Always love your posts, they contain a lot of information as well as options while you keep the budget in mind. This is great for DIY motivated people who want to keep their kitchen innovative while keeping their pockets full and their hands busy! Thank you for the post on the Copper roofing alternative, I may have to borrow that idea for my future kitchen =)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 1, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Hey great article. The photo with the number 12/19/2010 is actually my mother in laws home. Lol

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Deborah Stevens
    February 24, 2016 at 4:01 am

    I would like to try the silican sand if you can still get it