My pantry has several cabinets and a small section of countertop. Mainly I use this space for growing indoor plants and storing food. The countertops are extremely outdated laminate; which unfortunately extends up as the area’s backsplash. I wanted a project that would cost under $100.00 and be unique/functional.
First, I removed all the cabinet doors and hardware. I wanted to paint these a dark gray to offset the white subway tile.
I’ve seen a few other blogs outline their use of thin layers of ‘feather’ concrete over a solid wooden base. I decided concrete countertops and a subway tile backsplash would give a modern, chic, and solid look.
- Sandpaper ($5.00)
- Ardex Self Drying Cement ($26.00)
- Subway Tiles ($23.00)
- Tile Adhesive ($12.00)
- Gray Grout ($14.00)
- Concrete Sealer ($22.00
I began by sanding the laminate surface to give something for the concrete and tile to adhere to. Use a rough grit and sand both the countertop and the backsplash.
So to begin, I made up a batch of the Ardex Self Crying Cement. I used a drywall mud pan ($4) and standard 8 inch flat taping knife ($7). I mixed the cement per the packages direction to create a toothpaste like texture. I then spread the paste on top of the laminate in 1/4 inch layers. You can still see the laminate countertop after the first layer drys.
You will need to allow each layer to dry before putting on the next layer. Sand off uneven sections after the surface is dry. I decided to add one layer per day and 5 layers total.
After the 4th layer was dry — I sanded it down to a very smooth surface. personally, I didn’t like the look of the cement when it was super smooth. This is why I added a 5th layer and allowed it to maintain some texture. I would encourage everyone to continue spreading on layers until you like the look
Next, you will require a sealer to insure the concrete countertops do not absorb water and have a glossy finish.
I bought a concrete sealer from Lowes for $22.00. It’s a very large gallon container and I used approximately 10% of the bottle for this small section of countertop. I filled a plastic disposable cup and rubbed the sealant onto the countertop with a sponge. I personally felt that three treatments of sealer was good for this job. It ended up with a glossy finish and does not absorb water (I checked by dripping water from my finger tips).
To finish the project, I installed a subway tile backsplash and reinstalled my newly painted cabinet doors. Overall, I’m happy with the look.
We will see how this holds up over time. It feels sturdy to the touch and hasn’t cracked in any locations. The rough but shiny look gives this section a very modern feel.
Let me know if you have any questions.