Libbie B
Libbie B
  • Hometalker
  • Wyoming, MI

Changing up an Orange Formica Countertop With Concrete


We bought an older home we planned to use as a rental property. Charming as some of the features in the house are it was also tired and old. We decided to make a few cosmetic updates before renting. We started in the kitchen with painting the cabinets and then moved onto the countertops. I wanted to try a concrete skim coat I had seen on Pinterest. So, as usual, I jumped in.
Finished result.
Finished result.
Orange Formica
Orange Formica
This was what we started with (the former owners were big Coca Cola fans).
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
After taping it off we started sanding with a sander. I have to say I did not like results so I went to a 60 grid sandpaper and sanded it by hand. Just enough to take off the sheen and allow the skimcoat to adhere.
Henry Feather Finish
Henry Feather Finish
We mixed it in small batches.
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
We put several thin coats on, sanding very lightly between coats. I did this by hand also. This was DUSTY so go slow with a light touch.
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
I used a trowel to spread the concrete mix.
First coat.
First coat.
Coat 4.
Final coat
Final coat
Then we sealed it with 3 thin coats of Acrylacq.
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
I used a gloss finish because it is what I had on hand.
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
changing up an orange formica countertop with concrete, concrete masonry, countertops, kitchen design
They have been holding up really well for the time they have been in use. Part of the charm is I did not care if they were perfect. But they are holding up under semi heavy use. For around $60.00 (there was not a lot of square footage) I would certainly do it again!

Suggested materials:

  • Feather Finish  (Home Depot)
  • Acrylaq  (Amazon)
  • Sponges for application  (on hand)
See all materials
Libbie B

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

54 questions
  • Barbara
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Would this product work over ceramic tile?

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      I have heard that it will work if you rough up the tile really ​well. I know I saw it somewhere when I was searching for ideas. Keep in mind that the layers build up with the product, and the countertops would wind up pretty thick. Which I love anyway. Does that help?

  • Kimberly Rehmann Espinoza
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Looks fantastic!! How has it been holding up?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 1, 2016

      Really well so far!

    • Jewellmartin
      on Jul 6, 2017

      This is a project post that has a life of its own. Just the desperation of those of us looking for affordable ways to fix up old homes should keep readers coming back. I like the fact that you answered every question with courtesy and respect, even when the same question was proposed fifteen times. Bless you 😇
  • Sandi F.B.
    on Jun 29, 2016

    How do you get the concrete to adhere to the sides of the laminate top? A friend tried something similar and the concrete either fell off of chipped off after a couple of months. She sanded the edges to get better adhesion but still over all a failure. Then trying to remove it cleanly and try something else was extremely hard. She ended up removing the counter tops altogether

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      I think the secret was really thin layers and sanding between. They have been banged around a bit already and seem to be holding up well. I think the 3 coats of sealer is helping also. That stuff dried to a HARD surface. I did this knowing that if it didn't hold up they will eventually be replaced. I hope to by myself a year or two. So far so good.

    • Jennifer Thompson
      on Jun 29, 2016

      I'm interested in hearing the answer too. I was thinking just skim coat the flat surface an add a low profile wood trim to the front...

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Jennifer, I think that would work too!

  • Susan gibbs
    on Jun 29, 2016

    if you were to do this project again, would you change the order of doing things...paint cabinets first, or finish counter tops first? Or, does it matter? Also, just curious, why didn't you paint the inside of the appliance cabinet?

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Hey, ​Susan, I would have indeed changed the order! I simply was at a loss on what to do with the countertops and was for a brief time going to LEAVE them. But once I painted the cabinets I knew they would drive me crazy so I decided to jump in and try the concrete. I had also considered painting them, but really like the look of concrete. :). Oh, and I have since painted the inside of the appliance cabinet ;)

    • Susan gibbs
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Thanks Libbie. I kinda thought the counters should be done first. I have thought about trying the sane thing for a while. This kitchen looks much brighter, very attractive.

  • Amy
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Was one 7lb box enough to do the job or did you have to purchase more? I have roughly 16ft of counter space lol

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Yes, I had 20 ft and ended up with 15% left in the box. You should be fine. Good Luck!

    • Amy
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Awesome! Can't wait to do it! My counters need facelift til I can afford what I want (butcher block) lol

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      That is what I want to put in there eventually too!

  • Dedlund
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Did you replace tile on the wall -- "before" photos shows a top and bottom row of black tile...

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Good catch! I painted those. Used a paint formulated for tile and while it's not perfect it is an improvement. Also holding up and we beat those up making sure it would hold up for tenants.

    • Chari Cote
      on Nov 17, 2017

      What did you use for tile?

    • Libbie B
      on Nov 19, 2017

      The tile was painted. The grout lines also.

    • Libbie B
      on Nov 19, 2017

      I painted both the tile and grout. I used a primer then Sherwin Williams top of the line paint for slick surfaces. For the grout I used a paint pen for grout from Home Depot. Both worked great. It's held up really well.

  • Phyllis E. Clay
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Countertop condition? I have white Formica and the sides are a little loose. Did you have to do any repairs before starting to secure old laminate and if so, what did you use? Thanks!

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Our countertops were in great condition (just super ugly), In your case, I would reglue the laminate before starting. You need a secure surface, or I could​ see the product cracking with movement.

    • Teri Boling Moye
      on Aug 5, 2016

      Most laminate edges can be reaffixed by covering them with a towel and going over them slowly with a hot iron. The heat reactivates the glue.

  • Jmax
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Will the sealant hold up to a hot pan being put on it?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 1, 2016

      This I do not know! We have quartz in the house and I don't allow hubby to put pans directly on those either.

  • Vik5152096
    on Jun 29, 2016

    what is the name of the white paint used on the cabinets? Im thinking its a really nice, soft color for my walls.

    • Pil7677322
      on Jun 29, 2016

      Cotton i think

    • Queenbee
      on Jun 30, 2016

      That doesn't help. What was the brand of paint u used and that might make it easier since ur not sure of the name

    • Maggie Ann
      on Jun 30, 2016

      It would probably be best to wait for the post's author to answer.

  • Jo
    on Jun 29, 2016

    I love this and would like to do it to my counters. Did you remove your sink for this project and then put it back?

  • Shirley Anderson
    on Jun 29, 2016

    Won't this Crack and crumble eventually? Drop something heavy on it and crack.

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 29, 2016

      I haven't had it long enough to run a long term time test. We have dropped dishes on it and it held up. We have seen some scratched from not using a cutting board but even those sort of blended in. I'll report back after a year and we shall see if it holds.

  • Cindy Ferrell
    on Jun 30, 2016

    I have a counter top where some pieces of formic a have chipped off. Will this process hide that, when complete?

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 30, 2016

      Yes, as long as it is not coming loo​se around the chipped edges I believe the product will completely cover it.

    • Cindy Ferrell
      on Jun 30, 2016

      Thank you for your quick reply!

  • Smo4778725
    on Jun 30, 2016

    Could,you use this concrete over old small tiles son journey kitchen counters?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2016

      There are several blog posts that say you can use this on tile. They warn about be careful if you have cracks so be sure to read up on it!

  • Teri Boling Moye
    on Jun 30, 2016

    Is the finish you used "food safe", so if someone other than you and me decides to slice their kid's apple without using a cutting board...

  • Robin
    on Jul 1, 2016

    can you color the concrete?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 1, 2016

      Yes, I have seen that people use colored grout in the mix. However, some of those same blogs said their countertops had cracking issues and I wonder if the grout has something to do with it? The grey concrete color was what I was looking for so I didn't research it too much.

    • Vee Gann
      on Jul 2, 2016

      They have concrete dye, it's actually called cement color, in the concrete aisle in Home Depot.

    • Gena Larsin Stillday
      on Jul 2, 2016

      Acid stain is gorgeous!

  • Kathy McDonald
    on Jul 1, 2016

    Is it heat safe? I like granite because I can lay a hot pan from the burner, or out of the oven on it. Getting ready to chafe my counters in our new home and was always wondering about that.

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 2, 2016

      I don't think it would be heat safe straight off the burner. We put a larger butcher block cutting board next to the stove for those situations​.

  • Kelleysgirl
    on Jul 1, 2016

    I love this! Curious if you know of this would work on top of tile. We tiled our countertop a couple of years ago for a cheap update, and I hate the grout lines. Does anyone have any experience with concrete over tile?

    • Teresa
      on Jul 3, 2016

      I was just wondering the same thing! I hope someone knows the answer to this!

  • Phyllis E. Clay
    on Jul 3, 2016

    One more question...what about color? do you know if product would tint relatively easy?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 3, 2016

      I used the color that it mixed up. I have read you can tint the product. But, I'd use caution as they don't seem to ba as happy with the results. I am not sure why.

  • Brianna
    on Jul 10, 2016

    What about the vertical edges?? My husband and I arent handy at all, but I really think we could do this. Same process foe the edges??

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 12, 2016

      Yes, you smooth it on in very light coats. Sanding between each coat. It builds up slowly. Good luck!

  • Kel8575964
    on Jul 16, 2016

    Is this safe for laying/putting food on, then eating? I have young grandchildren and they are always laying snacks on the counter then picking it back up and eating. Thanks.

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 16, 2016

      ​Kelly, I carefully chose acrylaq because it seals the countertop allowing for food safety.

  • Audrey Cones
    on Jul 16, 2016

    You said they're holding up well for now, how long have you currently been living with them?

    • Libbie B
      on May 18, 2017

      They are going strong for the 2nd full year!

    • Libbie B
      on May 18, 2017

      They are. We used Impregnator penetrating sealer to top off the countertops which is food safe.
  • Erin Mirra Moloney
    on Jul 17, 2016

    What types of countertp does this work with?? Just old style laminate, or can it be used on quartz, marble, corrian too??

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 18, 2016

      I have read it also works on tile but I don't know about the others. I did scuff up the Laminate to help it adhere to the surface. Not sure how that would work on quartz and the like since it would be hard to scuff.

  • Fred
    on Jul 18, 2016

    Can you add color to this product?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 18, 2016

      ​Yes, I did not but understand from the community here at hometalk that you can!

  • Jennifer
    on Jul 26, 2016

    Did you have to remove the sink?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 26, 2016

      Hi Jennifer, YES! The product can get pretty messy. We took the sink out to protect it from the mess as well as to allow for the difference in the new the counter top height (which was maybe .25) was built up. Does that make sense?

  • Amber Fiegenbaum
    on Aug 11, 2016

    Can you do this if the original top is not one solid piece an how do you do round edges

    • Libbie B
      on Aug 12, 2016

      Amber, since this is applied wet you can use your trowel to mold it around corners. If you apply in thin multiple layers you should be fine. :)

  • Jeannie
    on Sep 25, 2016

    I noticed someone already asked about adding color...so the color yours turned out is what the feather product looks like without adding anything to it? I like the color, I would stick with that, I think.

    • Libbie B
      on Sep 27, 2016

      This is the color straight out of the box. Best of luck!

    • Betty Montgomery
      on Oct 26, 2016

      Are there other colors that this brand or others come in ?

    • Betty Montgomery
      on Oct 26, 2016

      And how long between coats and final coat like days hours etc? And did u let dry over night for the final top acrylic was added? Did u sand befr the acrylic was added?

    • Cindy Hagemann
      on Jan 14, 2017

      We did the same thing in our guest bathroom a few months ago, we let ours dry overnight, sanded and then added another light layer of the thinset concrete. We did about 4 layers in total. We added a concrete sealer, let dry overnight and then a layer of topcoat for shine. This brand does not come in colors to my knowledge, only the concrete grey color.

  • Vicki Garthwaite
    on Jan 2, 2017

    I have thought about this being cool on bathroom floors. Any ideas?

  • Pat9983839
    on Jan 10, 2017

    Can you add color,or use a print in it???

    • Libbie B
      on Jan 10, 2017

      People have used grout to add color. I have seen it and it works. You could also use a stamp to imprint on it but other than that not sure how you'd be able to use a print. It's really easy so you could play with it until you get something you like!

    • Wendy Pierre
      on Feb 7, 2017

      I just did my island with Henry feather finish over peel and stick tiles and stencils and decoupage

      , From peel and stick to Faux painted granite to Henry feather finish
  • Delta
    on Jan 20, 2017

    How many days or hours did this take? Did you wait overnight between each coat?

    • Libbie B
      on Jan 21, 2017

      Hello Delta, The directions said to wait a few hours between coats. I waited overnight between each coat as this was a home we were not living in. It took the entire weekend to complete but it was only maybe 8 hours total tops.

  • Judy
    on Jan 29, 2017

    Will the skim coat not fill the grout areas on the tile? My tile was put in without spacers, so I have very little grout.

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 30, 2017

      Not really

    • Libbie B
      on Jan 30, 2017

      I think you could make it work. It will simply be thicker and with more coats. The concern I would have is roughing up the tiles so that the product sticks to it. That is going to take some major sanding. :-

    • Alice
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Did you ever watch The Painted House with Debbie something? She loved to paint everything, including ceramic tile, and used a special primer coat to make the paint stick. I am sure a good paint store could help you with that. Then you decide how to fill the grout space. Good luck with your project.
  • Lydia
    on Feb 14, 2017

    I've seen so much on the web about concrete-overlay countertops, and SO many people, after great initial excitement, end up unhappy with their counters, almost always because of the sealer. Would you still recommend the sealer you used? Thanks!

    • Libbie B
      on Feb 16, 2017

      I would! I did recently have to reapply a spot that seemed to lose its water repellancy. But still would recommend. :)

    • Lydia
      on Feb 17, 2017

      Good to hear--thanks for the quick response! Planning to tackle this project soon.

  • Carmax
    on Feb 20, 2017

    Are there colors other than just gray?

    • Amber Marie Mercer
      on Feb 21, 2017

      You can tint concrete by adding a little bit of acrylic paint or by getting a concrete color additive

  • Marge Snyder
    on Feb 21, 2017

    Were you able to tape around the sink, or did you have to take it out and then re seat it?

    • Libbie B
      on Feb 21, 2017

      I had to take it out. Because the product builds up a bit it was the only way to make it work. :)

  • Julie Eubanks Marsh
    on May 17, 2017

    Are the products you used food safe? and by safe I mean, can you roll dough on the encounter top?
    • Jean Knipe
      on May 19, 2017

      VERY SERIOUS QUESTION CAUSE WE USE OUR COUNTER FOR EVERYTHING
    • Adrain Clyburn Mattli
      on Jul 4, 2017

      you can always lay wax paper down.
    • Ba
      on Jul 4, 2017

      If you look on the jug of the sealing coat. It shows non toxic and safe.

    • Diane Becker
      on Jul 4, 2017

      you ever try to knead dough on wax paper....impossible

    • Lara Snider
      on Jul 4, 2017

      worst case scenario I inherited my mother's Tupperware plastic that we have used to back bread, pie crusts, cinnamon rolls. It just turned 50 this year. I wash it when I put it away, and when I took it out. Dust it with flour, and I can even make gluten free pie crust. I just saw an even better product at a Pampered Chef party (Not affiliated with either, I promise!) I bet parchment paper could work too, in the same grocery aisle as waxed paper and aluminum foil. I would not ever have guessed this was concrete. It looks great, and I love having a new product, especially a non toxic sealant.
  • Jessie Housley
    on Jul 4, 2017

    How hard does the acrylac dry? I'm thinking of using it on a table we paintes instead of acrylic sealer.
    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2017

      It's pretty solid. It did dry slowly though. And we made sure to wait until it was fully dry between coats. I will use it again.
  • Adrain Clyburn Mattli
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Looks great. Do you have to work fast, since it dries in 15 minutes?

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Yes, but don't worry it does go quick. And if it dries too quickly you can sand and redo. Easy!

  • Sandy Ribeiro
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Beautiful and brighter!! Great job!
    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2017

      THANKS! We are pretty geeked at how they turned out and how ell they have held up!
  • Jetta
    on Jul 4, 2017

    I have tile in a small bathroom. Could this method be used there? Thanks.
    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I used them over formica. I would think it would be okay over tile as long as you sanded the tile (giving it something to adhere to). Good luck!
  • Deb13684249
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Did you have to take the sink out to do this?
    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Yes, it raised the actual height of the countertop a bit. We removed the sink (just set it back in when finished) and had to move the stove out. That we slid back in and did have to sand a corner to get it to fit! :)
    • Tracy
      on Jul 5, 2017

      We did this to our counter tops and did not remove the sink and it worked out well.
  • Esther Mary Morrill
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Looks great! Would one be able to color the cement? If so, what would you recommend?
    • Libbie B
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I have seen people tint them! They look great. I was actually looking for the color of concrete so this was perfect. I would check that out on Pinterest.

    • Gail lichtsinn
      on Jul 4, 2017

      lowes and other stores sell concrete stain to add to the concrete..its usually located where they sell the bags of concrete

    • Esther Mary Morrill
      on Jul 5, 2017

      Thank you! I will check it out!

  • Linda Horn Poppell
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Could you add color to the concrete?
    • Gail lichtsinn
      on Jul 4, 2017

      go to the concrete section of the store like lowes..they sell concrete stain..

  • Linda
    on Jul 5, 2017

    Is this application food-grade?
  • Hol4903190
    on Jul 5, 2017

    Love it! What color is that on your walls?
    • Libbie B
      on Jul 5, 2017

      I just love this color! It works to balance out all the grey in the rest of the house. Bungalow Beige SW 7511
  • Mry5230439
    on Jul 11, 2017

    Can I use plain plywood?
  • Megan Montgomery
    on Aug 4, 2017

    Looks great! Approximately how long did this take you?
    • Libbie B
      on Aug 4, 2017

      I took 5 days. I let it dry much longer between coats than was actually necessary. You could easily do this over a weekend. Good luck!
  • Dana Pledger
    on Aug 15, 2017

    How long have you been using your skim coated counertops now? Are they still holding up well? I ask because I wnated to do mine but read one article where the woman said hers did not hold up well after about 4 months.
    Thank You.
    Dana N. Pledger
    email: mpled3559@aol.com
    • Libbie B
      on Aug 15, 2017

      They have held up very well. They are in a rental home and after the first year I thought I would have to redcoat them but they were fine! I will probably do it when these tenants leave just to keep them looking great. Good luck!
  • Irene Gronewald
    on Sep 8, 2017

    libbie b .. went to home depot and they had neither product sooo where did you purchase yours dear???
  • Maddison.Tongue
    on Sep 16, 2017

    How did you go about handling left over mix between coats? Did the mix drying in the bucket become a problem?
    • Libbie B
      on Sep 17, 2017

      Hey Maddison,

      Hello from Grand Rapids! I mixed small enough batches that I didn't have much left in the buckets between coats. I think at one point I had a handful and I just added enough water to make it pourable and dumped that in the corner of my backyard!
  • Anna
    on Mar 20, 2018

    This is a very nice technique.


    How thick did you apply, and does it chip off?.


    Also is it a porous finish? do you need to seal?


    Many thanks

    ,


    Anna

    • Libbie B
      on Mar 20, 2018

      You apply it just enough to cover the surface and keep it uniform. You will need to seal it. I used Acrylac. When I did find a few nicks (this is in a rental property of ours), I simply sanded them down and reapplied and it looked like new.

  • Anna
    on Mar 20, 2018

    How would this hold up in a bathroom?


    Thanks,


    Anna

  • Barb C
    on Jun 7, 2018

    TY for showing us this project. Im wondering if the surface is smooth or has a texture when done? Do you know if it came be colored? Also do you know if this product or another could be mixed up thinner so it might smooth out? Like the idea of concrete counters but not the idea of the work involved in actually pouring concrete. Thanks for any advice.

    • Libbie B
      on Jun 7, 2018

      There are videos online that can help you add color if you want to. For the texture, I think if you applied the final coat with a bigger trowel (and a slighter thinner mix) you could certainly get a more "poured" concrete feel. Good luck!


  • Melanie
    on Jul 8, 2018

    I have a high top round table we use on our back porch and the Formica has started buckling. Do you think this would work on the table once I pull the Formica off or do you recommend I fix the old Formica and then try this method? We live in Florida and our humidity is high. I was trying to think of something that would work in our area. Thank you for your help

    Melanie

    • Libbie B
      on Jul 8, 2018

      Hello Melanie,


      I would pull it off if it's buckling. Save yourself the trouble if it continues to buckle under the skim coat. I think the only challenge with the humidity would be extra drying time between coats and maybe add an extra coat of sealer for safe measure. Best of luck and be sure to post pics when you are done!

  • Enizete Cofer
    on Jan 13, 2019

    Do you need to remove the sink to do the counter?

    • Libbie B
      on Jan 13, 2019

      Yes, we popped ours out in order to get under the lip of our sink.

  • Chrissy
    on Jan 26, 2019

    I have a laminate counter top with wood edge - interested in trying this but would it look the same?

    • Libbie B
      on Jan 26, 2019

      Yes, I would add a line of grout along the edge when you are done to give a more finished feel. That is pretty easy to do. Good luck and be sire to post pictures if you try it!

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