Concrete Counters/feather Finish Over Formica! "My Version!"

7 Materials
$50.00
8 Hours
Medium

Edit/update!!! So my mother in law contacted me the other day, to tell me how well her counters are holding up! Since I’m sure many of you are curious (I was also curious... and frankly scared to hear!! LOL) I asked her to take some photos of them, six months after we finished! Scroll down to the end for the updated photos!! They look amazing!!! I’m so happy to report this wonderful news!!!!

Since using the feather finish on my dining table, I have wanted to try counter tops. Ours are granite, so I had to find someone with Formica or something that would look better, covered up! My in-laws purchased a new home and guess what? Formica counter-tops! Perfect! So....here we go! This transformation was done in less than 24 hours and it's AMAZING! I admit, after reading tutorials and watching instructional video after video, I was nervous... but this was probably the easiest project I have done to date, with the most gratifying, drastic result!
Before. Formica, old sink
We started by moving the appliances out, found an amazing farmers sink...at Ikea! While my husband and father in law moved the old one out and made some cuts for the new one, I sanded down the Formica with 80 grit sand paper and a palm sander.
Supplies from Lowe's
They didn't have Henry brand feather finish, so I took a chance and bought the equivalent. It was exactly the same and less expensive. Perfect! We bought the concrete pigment in buff, charcoal and Terra-Cotta. The plan was do to layers, starting with the darkest first, with each layer a different, lighter color, then sanding through at the end to reveal multiple colors, adding texture and depth.
Charcoal layer
The first coat is the most time consuming, you have to make sure not to miss any spots- it doesn't need to be thick, in fact, I make the "batter" much more thin than recommended. It just goes on easier and gives you more time to move it around.
Not sure if this was buff or terra-cotta
You can see the darker layer underneath. Every tutorial says to sand each layer. I did not. After doing my dining table, I realized as long as you don't leave it "clumpy", the only layer that really matters is the last. The last layer gets sanded all over, with different pressure in different spots, to bring out the colors.
Final layer had no pigment added
Ready to sand!
You can see color peeking through!
This is the fun part! It's so amazing to see your work coming together!
Here it is! This is exactly what I wanted. Both warm and cool tones, bringing all of the different shades throughout the house together.
After sanding, I used helmsmans spar eurathan. Everyone talks about "food safe", etc. After doing my table, which is used frequently, I realized the best top coat is the easiest and least expensive. The thing about these counter tops that makes it truly unique, is that no matter what happens, chips, burns, etc. It's so easy to repair! Literally mix up a little powder and smooth on with your finger! Let dry (BTW, I used my blow dryer to speed layers along) and because I used so many colors, it will always blend/match! Show me ANY other counter tops easier to fix!
My husband putting in new sink
If anyone is searching around for this type of sink, you know, they are very expensive., some places charge nearly 1000.00! They have them at IKEA... ready for this? $200.00!
After sanding I added metallic edges
I purchased some silver and gold "leaf" rub and buff from hobby lobby. I blended and blended. The counters almost look like they are zinc or some kind of natural stone. They are gorgeous. We used a dark gray calk around the top.
Love them!
My new favorite project!
Need a new dishwasher!! Lol
The entire project cost less than 50.00 and took less than 24 hours!
Six months later!!
Still looks like new!
She’s still so happy!
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Jessica Hoffman

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

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Have a question about this project?

56 questions
  • Neelam Ali
    on Jun 5, 2017

    My formica contertops have a seam in the corner and the material has puffed up around it because of water( the sink is right next to it) . How do I resolve this problem before the process of changing the countertop finish?
    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Jun 17, 2017

      Pull off or cut all lose areas, sand surface down and build it up to make it level with the rest of the counter. You may need to replace the area with plywood if it's a drastic difference (not level) from the Formica.
  • Barbara Jean Bond
    on Jun 5, 2017

    The house we just bought has ceramic tile flooring for the countertops In the kitchen. Not very attractive. Will the concrete process work on mine? If not any suggestion are greatly appreciated.
    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Jun 17, 2017

      Yes it should! I did my extension Dining table and just spackled the groove where the insert would go to make it level. I would probably do the same where the grout is- but in reality, the feather finish would work just like the grout, so maybe as the first step, use the feather finish and level the lines where the grout is. As long as the surface is stable it should be fine. :)
  • Dianne Siobhan
    on Jun 25, 2017

    At what point did you add the rub and buff?
  • Ruthie
    on Jul 12, 2017

    How do you keep the stuff from sliding off front and side facings?
    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Jul 13, 2017

      hi. It sticks. As it starts to dry, you sort of take your finger and shape it around the edges, corner and wherever else you need to be a bit more careful. As each layer dries, just keep building. It's very simple and looks great!
  • Irene Gronewald
    on Sep 8, 2017

    where did you purchase "skim coat? i went to home depot they did not have it or laquer

  • Wendy Buchanan
    on Mar 2, 2018

    Does the rub & buff stay put, being as it’s on top of the top coat/sealer? Or is it something that would need refreshing & reapplying often?


    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Mar 3, 2018

      I will let you know! So far so good. I just checked with my mother in law and she says it’s looks like the day I finished it :)

      with that being said, I’m not sure she cooks very much LOL

  • Bronxgirlcl
    on Mar 2, 2018

    I have green granite look counter tops and one thing describes them... ugh. ..I'm thinking of doing this but can't take the appliances out. Do I have to? I know sanding is very messy but the way the kitchen is set up there's no way to remove the appliances easily and I'm way too old to do that anyway. Love the look of these counters. Must try to do at least the island and see how it turns out. Thanks . Beautiful job. Your in-laws are very lucky .

    • Jlnatty
      on Mar 2, 2018

      I think moving the appliances is to aid accessibility to the end runs of the laminate countertops next to appliances. If you can't do this, if you have even a 1/8th inch space between your stove and countertops, I would drape in heavy plastic secured to the stove top with painters' tape, drape the back cover the entire top and front, tape securely - in the front where you can reach to the floor, tape to the flooring. Same for fridge. Once the concrete work is all dried and sanded, remove the plastic. You can buy plastic rolls (used to drape furniture, to close up openings in doorways when sanding, and to cover floors and furniture) at home improvement stores and online too.

  • Retta E Moran
    on Mar 2, 2018

    I would love to do this but my counter top is tile, can you do this over tile? I also have an antique sink that cannot be removed.

    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Aug 1, 2018

      I did my bathroom without removing the sink. It worked. And as far as the tile, you will have to use it like joint compound (thicker where the tiles meet/grout lines) and then top it off smooth.

  • Valerie Sheppard
    on Mar 2, 2018

    if there is some damage to the counter tops (slight bulging/popping up) would this technique cover it?

    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Mar 3, 2018

      I think to do it properly, ((I’m assuming you have laminate/Formica that’s bulging?) I would remove the bulging part as much as possible: you don’t want anything under the surface that isn’t flat. You can cover small indents (think of joint compound) but remember, this isn’t poured concrete. These are thin layers, very similar to joint compound-

  • Natasha Walls Mcconnaughy
    on Mar 3, 2018

    is it possible to do this to my counters without removing my sink????

    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Mar 3, 2018

      Absolutely. It’s much easier (and probably the “right way”) if you remove the sink, as you will be able to reach All of the spots that may otherwise get messy without removing it.

  • Elizabeth Pullan
    on Mar 4, 2018

    How eaisily does it chip? I worry about the cement adhering to the counter top and lasting!


    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Mar 4, 2018

      Personally, I haven’t experienced chipping with any of my projects, using this material.

  • Kathy
    on Mar 6, 2018

    What did you seal it with ? Does it scratch?


  • Kathy
    on Mar 6, 2018

    What did you seal it with ? Does it scratch?


  • Kathy
    on Mar 6, 2018

    What did you seal it with ? Does it scratch?


  • Kathy
    on Mar 6, 2018

    What did you seal it with ? Does it scratch?


  • Kathy
    on Mar 6, 2018

    What did you seal it with ? Does it scratch?


  • Betsy Payne Blackstock
    on Mar 9, 2018

    When did you put on the sliver and gold?

  • Betsy Payne Blackstock
    on Mar 9, 2018

    When did you put on the sliver and gold?

  • Sharon Peters Lueking
    on Mar 26, 2018

    How did you do the edges? Like to keep it from running off? My countertops are rounded over the edge, do you think this would work?

    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Mar 26, 2018

      As it sets it gets thick. You can literally use your finger and smooth it on :) easy!

  • Sandy Teeler
    on Apr 12, 2018

    Could this process work over old tile....she asked hopefully!

    • Jessica Hoffman
      on Apr 12, 2018

      Absolutely! You may need additional layers to fill in the spaces in between the tile- or you could use spackle underneath- to smooth it all out.

    • Sandy Teeler
      on Apr 13, 2018

      Thanks so much!! The kitchen turned out fantastic. You did a great job!


  • Lori
    on Apr 21, 2018

    I love the floor. Can u tell us about that?

  • Lisa
    on Apr 24, 2018

    They look !fantastic!! I love it. I also love how the floor color makes the countertop POP!!!! What is that gorgeous floor -- wood,, what type?? It all goes together so well!!!

  • Karen Ann Richardson
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How did you do the countertop edge?

  • Karen Ann Richardson
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How did you do the countertop edge?

  • Karen Ann Richardson
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How did you do the countertop edge?

    • Sonja
      on May 18, 2018

      There are several videos on YouTube on these feather finish concrete counter tops. They just put in on the sides with their hands and/or trowel. You may have to make sure the cement is a little thicker than the very thin/watery mix that this person says she uses to get it to stick though.

  • Billie
    on Jul 11, 2018

    COULD THIS BE DONE OVER EXISTING CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS THAT NEED A FACELIFT

  • 1cs1267
    on Dec 17, 2018

    How long ago did you purchase the sink Ikea? I've not been able to find it ...

  • Michele Thompson
    on Dec 20, 2018

    Love love live this idea. My question thou is........don't u have to frame out the counter

  • Charlie0526s
    on Jan 8, 2019

    Why grit sand paper did you use for the final sand?

  • Terry Stone
    on Jan 23, 2019

    Were the edges of the counter more or less time-consuming?


  • Jw
    on Jan 23, 2019

    Love love love. Wondering if this could be done of tile?

  • JoAnn Green
    on Jan 23, 2019

    I would love to do this, I didn’t see instructions on how to do the edges, or sides. Mine have a slight curve. Any help on the sides??

  • Trish
    on Jan 23, 2019

    Has anyone tried this on Corian countertops?

  • Theresa
    on Jan 23, 2019

    I love this! Did you use the Rub and Buff after sealing it or before? Thank you

    • CJ
      on Jan 24, 2019

      Hi Theresa, she said in an older reply that she used the rub and buff before the poly seal coat.

      You can read all of the previous questions and answers by clicking "see all questions" at the top of the question section. It takes multiple clicks to get all when there are so many!

      This is a popular post, she had such beautiful results with this project!

  • Kris
    on Jan 23, 2019

    Did you put another layer of poly on after using the rub and buff?I love that stuff. Use it on everything from picture frames to furniture to clay projects.

    • CJ
      on Jan 24, 2019

      Hi Kris, she said in an older reply that she used the rub and buff before the poly seal coat.

      You can read all of the previous questions and answers by clicking "see all questions" at the top of the question section. It takes multiple clicks to get all when there are so many!

      This is a popular post, she had such beautiful results with this project!

  • Kris
    on Jan 23, 2019

    What tool did you used to apply the feather-finish?

  • Shelley Maas
    on Jan 23, 2019

    My kitchen is dark. It faces north and has to the 9' ceiling oak cupboards. I rent. I've been looking at painting faux marble, so as to go lighter. This is faster...but too dark. How light can my base be, and could I go for a "distressed" white marble look with black-grey veining??

    • Ahilly
      on Jan 23, 2019

      Since you are renting, before painting you need to ask your landlord if you are allowed. A quicker solution might be using Contact paper (Lowe's or Home Depot) for a good selection, including marble in different shades.

  • Jeanne Creel
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Great job. I want to redo my countertops but did not understand all the steps. I am 76. How difficult would this be for me to do.

  • Nicole Napeahi Lemon
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Is there a non glossy finish? I really liked the look of it before the gloss was put on? What would you recommend?

  • Mercedes Benz
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Good job! Where did you purchase that sink?

  • Bettye
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Did you just trowel the front of the counter top? Did you have a dripping problem? Looks wonderful!!

  • Bettye
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Did you just trowel the front of the counter top? Did you have a dripping problem? Looks wonderful!!

  • Christie hicks
    on Jan 25, 2019

    Love it came out great . what type of flooring I love it too . great choice

  • Rose
    on Jan 30, 2019

    I’d love to redo my dining table w/this. How did you do yours

  • Melissa Danger
    on Jan 31, 2019

    Need to know how you did the front and side edges of the counter top. Looks amazing!!

  • Pam
    on Jan 31, 2019

    Did you paint the concrete on or use a trowel?

  • Kimberly Urban
    on Mar 8, 2019

    Would love to know how you did front edge!?

  • Mark Geiger
    on Mar 9, 2019

    I have been looking for ways to update my dated countertops but could not find any inexpensive way. Here it is. It looks amazing. My question is how did you apply it up the ends and the sides without gravity taking over and it falling off? I can't wait to try this. Thank you for your inspiration and ingenuity.

  • Scherie Henderson
    on Apr 11, 2019

    What did you apply this with? How did you do around the edges?

  • Vanessa Jimenez
    on Nov 28, 2019

    hello! I have rounded edges. I really like the look of the square edges. Do you think it would be a bad idea to try and square them off a bit?

    • EmmaSurf
      on Feb 23, 2020

      Most of the countertops with rounded edges are a thin sheet of formica over porous filler, like mdf or pressed board. You would need to cut them sand and seal it and hope it didn't crumble. The safest way would be probably to chop off and add a filler edge of wood, like a 1x. You could also but a Formica edge strip instead. I think for a budget project probably better to live with rounded edges as if the squared off starts to cause problems there's no going back.

  • Pat
    on Feb 23, 2020

    Did you do anything to the cabinets?

  • Rachel
    on Feb 24, 2020

    Do you have to use the color? can you just keep them the plain concrete color, and would you still need to do 3 layers?

  • Tracy A. Fening
    on Feb 24, 2020

    I must have missed something. How did you lay down the concrete? Did you just trowel it on?? How thick? How did you do the edges?

  • Kimzbizz
    on Feb 27, 2020

    How did you apply the batter?

  • D'Ann Foster
    on Mar 1, 2020

    Dud you just mix the silver & gold buff into the concrete or buff it in before the top coat?

  • Margie Hood
    on Mar 24, 2020

    you didnt show the blending process at all ... you went from putting on the PRODUCT to the END ..?????? ANY ADVICE

Join the conversation

2 of 93 comments
  • Heather
    on Mar 30, 2020

    Beautiful!

  • Teresa
    on Apr 8, 2020

    I want to do this project but the link to your blog has been hijacked by some other site from another country. Please fix or give me blog address direct. Thanks, Teresa

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