DIY Before & Afters DIY Home Improvement Kitchen Kitchen DIY Projects

My FINISHED Refinished Concrete Countertops (Clear Coated With Polyurea)

My refinished concrete countertops in my kitchen are done! The concrete countertop clear coat that I chose to use is called polyurea, and it’s probably the strongest clear coat that you can use for concrete countertops. It’s what companies use to refinish garage floors.

If you missed the first two posts in this project, you might want to go back and get caught up. You can find those here…

And you can find the second part right here…

If you’re all caught up, let’s move on…

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In the previous posts, I shared about grinding the previous steps in refinishing the concrete countertops — grinding the countertops, priming the countertops, and painting the countertops. All that was left was sealing the concrete countertops.

I chose to have the local garage floor refinishing company do that part for me since the product they used — polyurea — really isn’t readily available to the general public at this time. (Hopefully that will change in the future.)

So here’s how the countertops turned out with the clear coat. And y’all, I couldn’t be happier with the results! I took these this morning after the countertops had all night to dry.

refinishing concrete countertops - 34 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula

I ended up going with a shinier finish than I had originally planned for my refinished concrete countertops. Polyurea is naturally very shiny — somewhere between a gloss and high gloss finish, I would say. In order to create duller finishes they have to mix in an additive that’s like a super fine white-ish sand. The more of this additive they mix in, the duller the finish gets.

But again, it’s like super fine sand. And when you add super fine sand to a surface, what do you get? The feeling of sandpaper.

refinishing concrete countertops - 35 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula close up

So the matte finish feels something like a 220-grit sandpaper. That’s probably fine for garage floors, which is what these products were actually made for, but it’s not really good for my refinished concrete countertops.

refinishing concrete countertops - 36 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula close up

So I had him mix in a little of the additive just to dull the shine a little bit, but not so much that I would end up with countertops that felt like sandpaper, and therefore, not a matte finish.

refinishing concrete countertops - 37 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - long countertop on wall of cabinets

I think the trade off was a good one. I was hesitant about the sheen at first, but when I got up this morning and saw the sheen in the morning light — somewhere between a semi-gloss and satin finish — I really liked it.

refinishing concrete countertops - 38 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - long countertop on wall of cabinets

I mean, these countertops look brand new now. Actually, they look much better than they did two-and-a-half years ago when they were actually brand new.

refinishing concrete countertops - 39 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - countertop to right of stove

I wish I had done this a long time ago.

refinishing concrete countertops - 40 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - countertop to left of stove

As you can see, the finish has a bit of a slight orange peel texture to it, but it’s not bad at all.

refinishing concrete countertops - 41 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula close up

It’s a very subtle texture that won’t affect the ease of cleaning at all.

refinishing concrete countertops - 42 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula close up

But I feel like you really have to be looking for it to notice it. From a short distance away, it’s not really noticeable.

refinishing concrete countertops - 43 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula close up

And I’m so glad that I went to the extra effort to fix all of the ogee edges with Bondo and sand them smooth, filling all of the air bubble holes, cracks, etc. But I did miss a few, like this air bubble hole right on the bottom edge of the countertop.

refinishing concrete countertops - 44 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula close up

But that’s okay. 🙂 I got all of the major ones that were really noticeable and bothersome to me.

refinishing concrete countertops - 45 - finished counteretop with the clear coat polyurea sealer - peninsula

So to answer a few questions…

What is polyurea?

Honestly, I have no idea. I looked it up and got 16 words into the Wikipedia definition before I had to start looking up additional words to understand, and finally gave up. I’ll just say it’s really, really strong stuff. It’s what they use for spray-on bed liners in trucks. If you can spare a few minutes, go to YouTube, search “polyurea” and just watch a few videos. You’ll be both entertained and amazed at this stuff.

Until I learned about polyurea, I had planned to refinish and reseal my countertops with the strongest sealer I had found during my two or so months of research on the topic. That sealer was the Stonelok E3/2K2 Countertop, which is an epoxy and urethane sealer.

Polyurea is about 20 times stronger than epoxy. Yeah. It’s super strong stuff.

It’s also really thin and kind of runny, which surprised me. How could something that goes on so thin be so strong? It just takes one coat, and it takes about four hours before it’s dry to the touch. But after he applied it and left, I had to babysit those darned countertops for about an hour, catching and wiping away the polyurea as it gathered on the bottom edge of the countertop and formed drips. It took an hour of doing that before it started setting up enough so that it wasn’t so runny and drippy.

I also had to be on dust/bug duty until it was set up enough so that things couldn’t get trapped in it. I had to fish out two fruit flies, one tiny little moth, and three fruit fly-sized pieces of green lint that came from who-knows-where and got trapped in the clear coat.

During that first hour, getting those things out was easy because the clear coat is pretty self-healing when it’s still really wet, leaving no visible marks where I dug them out with my fingernail because those small areas just filled right back in with polyurea.

Does the polyurea clear coat have any color to it?

NO!! Phew! I was so relieved. I woke up yesterday morning in a very slight panic thinking, “Oh my gosh! I worked so hard getting the color right, and what if the “clear” coat isn’t really clear?! What if it’s yellowish or has an amber tone to it like oil-based polyurethane?!

So I sent off a quick text asking Mike if it’s truly clear. He assured me it was, but I was still nervous. I was anxious to see it with my own eyes. I even had my doubts as he mixed it up right in front of me and started pouring it onto the countertop, because it looked like a super light gray. But as he spread it out with the roller, it was clear. No gray, no yellow, no amber. Just clear.

It will bring out the color of whatever is underneath it just a bit (just like how water-based polyurethane, even though clear, will still bring out the color of the wood just a bit), but it’s clear with no yellow or amber or any other color to it at all.

Where can I buy polyurea clear coat for my concrete countertops?

Unfortunately, I’ve searched and searched and haven’t been able to find a source that sells amounts that a DIYer would need for a small project like this.

My suggestion is to contact a place that refinishes concrete garage floors, and ask them specifically if they use polyurea clear coat (as opposed to epoxy).

The company I used is called Garage Force, which is a franchise, so they obviously use polyurea clear coatings. See if there’s one of those in your area.

How much does it cost to refinish concrete countertops?

I can tell you how much mine cost, but of course, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be the same price in your area.

For all of the labor and materials for about 50 square feet of countertops, I paid $275. That included the grinding of the countertops to make them smooth, priming with their special primer, and then the clear coat. But remember, I did all of the sanding and painting myself. If they had done that part for me, the price would have been around $400.

Is the polyurea concrete countertop clear coat food safe?

Once it’s fully cured (and I forgot to ask how long that takes) yes, it IS food safe!

Will the polyurea clear coat on the refinished concrete countertops stand up to chemicals?

Yep. I asked him what would happen if I spilled mineral spirits on it. He said nothing would happen.

I asked him, “Hypothetically, if I wanted to strip these in a couple of years and refinish them another way, what would I use to remove the polyurea? What chemical would I use?”

After all, you can go to Home Depot and buy strippers that are specifically made to remove urethanes and epoxies, right? He said there’s not one that would remove polyurea. If I wanted this removed, it would have to be removed with a grinder — the type of grinder that he used to smooth my rough concrete countertops in the first place.

Can you cut on the polyurea clear coat?

I mean, technically, yes. After all, it’s food safe, and it’s super strong and durable. But if you’re really sawing away with your knife directly on the countertop, it might leave some small scratches behind. The good thing is that it can be recoated every few years if needed.

But I don’t cut food directly on my countertops. I’ve never done that. I have a cat who loves to sit on countertops, and even though I clean the countertops before cooking, and don’t allow her on the countertops when food is being prepared, the idea of putting food directly onto countertops kind of makes me cringe. Heck, I didn’t like putting food directly on the countertops even before I had cats, though. I like cutting boards. I’ll always use cutting boards regardless of what material my counteretops are made of.

Can you put pots and pans directly from the stove onto the concrete countertops with a polyurea clear coating?

He said he thinks that’s fine, but he’s going to double check for me. The Stonelok countertop sealer, which is epoxy/urethane, is safe up to 400 degrees. So if that can handle high heat, I’m almost certain that the polyurea can as well. But I would just suggest to use caution. And really, how hard is it to put down a hot pad?

Again, that’s another thing I really never do. I have no problem using a trivet or hot pad under my pots and pans.

So I think those are all of the questions I got about the polyurea clear coat that I used on my refinished concrete countertops, but if I’ve missed one, please let me know! If I don’t have the info, I’ll certainly try to find out for you. And keep in mind that this can be used on garage floors, patios, interior floors (e.g., if you want to remove your carpet and just have them coat the concrete slab). It can be used over existing tile, concrete, and much more.

And while different companies will have different products and colors available, the Garage Force locations can mix their colors in any Sherwin Williams paint colors, so the color choices are vast.

Anyway, let me know if you have any other questions about my refinished concrete countertops, and I’ll do my best to find out the info!

Update:

Want to see what my refinished concrete counterops with the polyurea clear coat look like a year later? You can see them here…

Links to other posts and helpful sources/products mentioned in this post:

Want to see how I poured my own concrete countertops using a fairly easy pour-in-place system? You can see that project in the following posts…



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38 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Theresa P
    March 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

    They look so good and so much like your inspiration photos! YAY! I feel like you can see the multi-layered sponging a little more now that the top coat is on. That may just be because these photos were so close up. Regardless, I really like them! They look great! It makes such a difference to have them so light and white! Congrats!

    When you ultimately get your woodshop set up, will you have them do the floors out there?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      March 30, 2017 at 10:25 am

      I hadn’t even thought of that, but what a great idea! I’ll definitely consider it.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Joyce
    March 30, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Beautiful!!!!!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sharon C
    March 30, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Your countertops look gorgeous and so fresh and bright. So happy for you Kristi and now it’s another BIG job ticked off your to do list. Your kitchen is going to look like a whole new kitchen once it’s all back together with your new cabinetry color! Can’t wait for the new reveal.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tara C
    March 30, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I really love the finished product. I think your sponge painting the gray paint added a nice touch. I don’t think you could have found a better solution for your countertops!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    March 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

    They look great! I like the subtle look you created with the colour and love that you still have the white appliances – now they really match! I think your kitchen will be very beautiful with the teal cupboards and all this clean, white area around it.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Karen
      March 30, 2017 at 10:43 am

      and it’s a project you can stil tick off in March 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Bonnie
    March 30, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Love them! Can hardly wait for the finished kitchen reveal! Love everything you do…

  • Reply To This Comment
    Andrea
    March 30, 2017 at 10:49 am

    These are beautiful! As far as cutting and setting hot pans directly on the counters. I never understood the want or need to do that. Like you, I’ve always used cutting boards and trivets. It’s just good practice and common sense in my book. I even broke a Correlle dish in half by placing it on my quartz counters (just filled it with hot food). I mean it’s possible the dish had a hairline and the shock of hot food on a cold counter was enough to complete the fracture. So bizarre it just popped in half. Always a good idea to use trivets and cutting boards. 😀

  • Reply To This Comment
    Rebecca B
    March 30, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I really like the end product! The shiny finish really looks good. Much much better than before. Now the countertops look “finished” rather than “raw.” (and stained)

  • Reply To This Comment
    Chris
    March 30, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Your countertops look great! I like the very subtle painting job you did and agree it looks better than plain white. I will look forward to an update in a year or so on how they’re holding up.
    It would appear that understanding polyurea requires a background in organic chemistry. The polyurea.com website does however have a list of some contractors but it’s by no means comprehensive. I had to google “polyurea waco texas” to get Garage Force’s name to come up because they weren’t on the list.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Cathy
    March 30, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Fantastic girlfriend! They look great – all your hard work, stressing really, really paid off

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jolyn j
    March 30, 2017 at 11:38 am

    They’re beautiful! Between your kitchen, the pantry and the breakfast room I can’t wait to see how it all works together. Bravo for you, Kristi! I’m in an apartment with a nice landlord & I certainly can’t complain about the rent. I’m going to go through all your condo pictures I can find and see if he’ll let me do anything like it to the apartment. Congratulations again on your counter tops, you amazing woman!

  • Reply To This Comment
    TaraRG
    March 30, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Awesomeness! Looks great next to the subway tile. Your efforts really paid off big time. Looking forward to seeing your pretty countertop with the painted cabinets 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sheri Hepworth
    March 30, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Wonderful job!! It all looks great!

  • Reply To This Comment
    chiflipper
    March 30, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    You are fortunate Garage Force was willing to do such a small job. Your countertops look great and, from what little I know of spray-on bed liners, should look good for years to come. If that stuff can stand up to gravel, tools, etc. kitchen use should not present a problem.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Linda
    March 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Love love love them! I agree with you on using cutting boards and trivets. Anyone who has/had house cats know they will be on your countertop. There’s no getting around that ;). But I won’t give up my cats because of that, I’ll clean up after them.
    Can’t wait to see finished teal cabinets in there now 😉

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mark E Tisdale
    March 30, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Wow – the final result is just fantastic! Personally I like the glossy shine – especially on the counters near the windows with the outside light hitting them. Just looks great to me!

    Babysitting them while little bugs and particles of lint landed in them might have pushed me over the edge, though! LOL

    Mark

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tirsa
    March 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Oh Kristi, you crack me up. Only you will know where those tiny holes you missed are. Hope they don’t bother you in the long rung. The countertops look great!

    I’m enjoying the last bits of green while it lasts. It looks so good with your new countertops. Can’t wait to see them in teal as well

  • Reply To This Comment
    Gail
    March 30, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    The slight texture on your countertops reminds me of mine, which are “leathered” granite. I just love them! There is something deeply beautiful about them; almost like art! Hope you enjoy them for many many years!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Dale
    March 30, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    So pretty, bright and clean! I personally love the gloss!!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jan
    March 30, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    So pretty! I like the sponge painting. It does add a nice touch.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Ellen W.
    March 30, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    They look great!!! I didn’t think of it until you said the word trivet, but I have a friend who traveled throughout Turkey and uses Turkish tiles for her trivets. They would look fantastic with your kitchen colors and chairs.

  • Reply To This Comment
    lilybean
    March 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Kristi,

    I am not a fan of the result perhaps its because they don’t look like concrete counters anymore.
    The gloss looks plastic in the photos, it may just be the photos or the light. As long as you love them thats what matters!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Julie B.
    March 31, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Cutting boards are used to protect your knives as much as the cutting surface. Cutting on the counter may not ruin your counter but it will certainly ruin your knife blades.

    The counters look great!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Linda S.
    March 31, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Kristi,

    I have a question. Can you put the clear coat right on top of the concrete without the white plastic layer and the painted layers so the concrete shows through more?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      March 31, 2017 at 9:24 am

      If by “you,” you mean me, then no. It’s too late for that. But if you just mean in general, as in, can it be done, then yes.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Linda S.
        March 31, 2017 at 9:37 am

        Just in general. Your countertops look great just the way they are!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Vivian
    March 31, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    That is some miracle stuff! Awesome, glad you got the look you want for a really reasonable price! I love the new “track” that you are on with your home …. can’t wait to see the next project!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Katy
    April 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    If it’s a little rough, you could try “sanding” it with a brown paper bag. Like the ones from the grocery store. I’ve done it on surfaces coated with regular poly and it gives it a SUPER buttery smooth feel.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      April 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      I actually sanded it with sandpaper. It smoothed out the “sand” additive quite a bit, but didn’t affect the actual polyurea coating at all. Not a scratch anywhere. It’s amazingly tough stuff! So my countertops are quite smooth now.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Chelle Ellis
    August 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    It’s months later, how are you liking these? I need a solution for a Pinterest fail on the counters in a home my mother bought recently as well as a possible cheaper solution for Formica counters in a house we are closing on, in a color I’m not in love with.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Casey
    October 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I am in a simillar situation, i was really excited when I found this post. I did have a couple questions. Did they spray or roll the polyurea on? What was the brand of primer they used?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      October 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

      The polyurea was brushed onto the edges and rolled onto the large surfaces. I have no idea about the primer, but it’s all part of the same refinishing system. In other words, it’s not something that you can just go to Home Depot and pick up yourself.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tami
    July 11, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Omg I have the exact situation poured concrete with lots of discoloration! I loved it when it was new but now really hating it-considered painting it and have searched the internet high and low to find what u can do! Thank you so much for the valuable info!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Shawn
    December 5, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Now that it has been almost 2 years since your refinished your countertops, how is the polyurea holding up? Did you discover it’s heat resistance? Thank you for all the info.

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