How to: Cement countertop overlay
I love the look of cement countertops so, when I was planning my own home kitchen renovation, I looked into poured concrete options and realized that I didn’t love the price. After some crafty research I found a cement overlay product that gave the look of poured concrete, but was basically an overlay to an existing surface. And when I realized that not only would I be able to retain my existing counters that I was going to scrap anyway, I would also be able to come in at about one tenth the price, that cemented the job.
A poured cement countertop for my 40 square foot countertops, would’ve come in around $2,000 or about $100 a square foot, not including installation. My cement overlay ended up costing less than $100 in materials for about 20 square feet.
Before taking on the countertop, I started on my kitchen island. It needed a size increase, so I cut a piece of ½” plywood to 3' x 5'. I framed out the bottom with furring strips, to give it the dimension of added depth, while keeping it relatively lightweight and sturdy.
After the island went pretty smoothly I was confident to take on the countertop redux. This renovation was part of my kitchen Renovation Realities episode on DIY network that I took on with my friend, Kat. You can catch the full episode during a regular re-airing of the show. I used a mix of photos from both projects below to fully capture steps for each.
There were several countertop pieces that were custom cut to my space, so the fact that I could put the overlay directly onto the surface saved me from measuring and recreating the shapes. The finishing coating that I used on these surfaces is a product called Cheng Concrete Sealer. This was the only cement finish that I could find that was also food safe. I've been using these countertops for over a year and they've held up great so far! It appears to be a real concrete solution to countertops!
Plastic sticker pattern (optional)
Heat gun (optional)
Concrete dye or natural stain (optional)
2 one-quart measuring cups (one for water, the other for dry concrete mix)
5 gallon bucket
palm sander and sandpaper
Examples of my finished countertop and kitchen island