Last Updated on February 10, 2019 by Kristi Linauer
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wish I had done this a long time ago.
As you can see, the finish has a bit of a slight orange peel texture to it, but it’s not bad at all.
It’s a very subtle texture that won’t affect the ease of cleaning at all.
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.
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.
But that’s okay. 🙂 I got all of the major ones that were really noticeable and bothersome to me.
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!
Want to see what my refinished concrete counterops with the polyurea clear coat look like a year later? You can see them here…
Helpful sources and products:
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…
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!