Asked on Jan 09, 2019

How can I cover a tile countertop?

by Jimmy

Happy New Year everyone!!I have an old grimy tile countertop that is just disgusting. I think it is very unsanitary with the grout lines and would love to find a cheaper alternative. I can't afford a full renovation of the kitchen and looking for a DIY option. Anyone with experience with covering the tile tops with concrete? I thought about doing a coat over the tile countertops and then some other type of backsplash.Thanks for your help and suggestions.Jim

  15 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jan 09, 2019

    Hi there, a concrete finish over tile has definitely been done before with good results! In that link she went right up over the tile on the backsplash as well but maybe to keep some difference between the tile on the back could be painted?

    • See 1 previous
    • Jeanne Martin Jeanne Martin on Jan 10, 2019

      Hey Jimmy, if you are interested in painting your backsplash I've seen posts here where they used tile paint to paint tile backsplashes. If you do a little searching I'm sure you can find the brand, etc.

  • Atia Atia on Jan 10, 2019

    We had white 3.5 " tiles/grey grout installed on the kitchen countertop and backsplash when we bought the house and totally remodeled the kitchen in 1984. As much as I would sometimes consider another counter top, the one we have was done so well, long-lasting, and solid, looks great, that I cannot make myself change it. The grout was the heavy-duty cement type, not the soft grout which cracks and discolors after some time. All I do is scrub the grout regularly to keep it clean and sanitary, using a coarse brush, soap and water. I have attached interesting larger tiles on the backsplash behind the stove/range using heavy-duty Velcro. The entire almost 30' countertop is edged with an oak strip, which still looks great, cleaned and oiled yearly or as needed.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      I don't like the small blue tile as it dates my house . Also very unsanitary with the grout, I know we can seal it, but just don't like the look.

  • RaineCarr RaineCarr on Jan 10, 2019

    We hav 4x4 tuscan style tile with a darker edging. A recommendation that I have is to be careful what kind of tile that you use. Remember, if you chip it, it may not have color all the way through. We've been somewhat pleased with it. When we renovate, I'm actually looking at concrete counters.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      There are a number of tile that have chips on them. So the counter is also dated due to the chips and cracks. You can tell this was a DIY project for the previous homeowner. I have found an option that provides a curved edge and then pour concrete over the top of this. I think this is a more solid sanitary option for us and it won't just have a thing layer of concrete on top.

  • HC HC on Jan 10, 2019

    I have the same situation with the same type of tile countertops. Months ago, I watched the video that "GrandmasHouseDIY" shared so I am familiar with that application of concrete. However, I decided against doing that because after adding a concrete layer on top of the tile countertop, it would be a nightmare to renovate and remove all of it. I'd rather remove the tile and go from there. In fact, many DIY videos on YouTube offer simple ways to go about removing a tile countertop yourself. And, you can rent a hammer drill from Home Depot to remove the tiles most efficiently. Just a thought :)

    Anyhow, it's absolutely your choice how you decide to proceed. I hope whatever you elect to do, you come back and update us on the results. Cheers!

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 10, 2019

      Good advice HC, I didn't think of issues with demo down the line later. Maybe best to get rid of the tile first then decide what might be my next steps.

  • Lori Lori on Jan 10, 2019

    Have you considered a wood countertop? You can do that with nicely grained plywood cut to size and stained, polyurethaned, then edged with nice trim (to hide the plywood edges). Make it to fit over the original countertop and edge, like a slipcover for a sofa. It will raise and extend forward the countertop less than an inch. You'd only have to remove the sink temporarily to put the counter in, then reinstall the sink (not that hard to do as I built an oak countertop this past May). Later on you can easily remove it and put in something else.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      Hi Lori.... I never considered this. I did consider replacing with butcher block countertop and still might go that route. I'm still leaning on going to a poured concrete counter top and replacing the tile backsplash.

  • Lisa Lisa on Jan 10, 2019

    The first thing to check is to see how the tile surface is attached to your cabinets. Looks like this is an older kitchen, which probably only has plywood base under the tile. If the tile is set on just a plywood base, it may be possible to remove it with having to totally remove the tile. Most counter tops are screwed on the top of cabinets (although, some are nailed) through the top inside of the cabinet. If it is removeable, then your options are limitless!

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      Good advice lisa and you are correct. There is plywood underneath!

  • Margaret Margaret on Jan 10, 2019

    I used counter top paint.A but smelly when applying but it has lasted well over a year.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      I looked at paint, but really don't like the small tile and grout lines :)

  • Lesa K Lesa K on Jan 10, 2019

    Well in my opinion that red oak clashes badly with the tile color making it look much worse than it would look against a complimenting color like white, black or even grey...unless you like the red oak look and if there is a way to paint the tile with good results IE no peeling, that sounds like the easiest solution....

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      I agree.. bad decision on color .. ( previous owner :P I'm pretty sure

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 11, 2019

    Have you sealed the grout after cleaning it? This would help.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      I thought about that, but just don't like the small tile and grout lines. I'm partial to a smooth clean countertop.

  • Williamc Williamc on Jan 11, 2019

    what do you want in place of the tile?

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      Something flat and clean... and seems like the most cost effective is going to be concrete. Granite, marble, corian... all are way too expensive.

  • Williamc Williamc on Jan 11, 2019

    if you do concrete it will make it to high, and you have to remove the sink and it looks old so it might be cast Iron ( very heavy) if it was me I'd rip it off and put down 3/4" ply, and go to home depo and get a counter tops you put together, to me that would be the cheapest, and they come in all sort of colors like granite, marble, slate, etc.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      Agreed... replacing the sink also with a stainless steel sink.. which would look great with a concrete countertop :)

  • Flawless C Designed Flawless C Designed on Jan 11, 2019

    Hi Jimmy,

    If you are considering going to the mess of concrete, why not do the whole countertop versus a top coating. My husband and I are about to pour our 3rd set of concrete countertops in kitchens. We love them. While it's some work for sure, it's cheap and looks amazing, check out our concrete projects on my profile, I have two kitchens and a bathroom vanity posted. Now we are replacing our current granite countertops with concrete - you could say we are a fan.

    Other ideas for inexpensive updates:

    • paint cabinets
    • add updated hardware on the cabinets
    • add a modern range hood
    • paint the backsplash white or consider subway tiles

    Cheers and good luck!


    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      I agree..I think it is best to just pour new countertops. Looking at your profile and love what you and your husband have done! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Annette Annette on Jan 12, 2019

    I would also suggest concrete counters. My brother has done several and they are beautiful! I could ask him for advice.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Jan 25, 2019

      Thank you for the post.. after much research and deliberation, we are going to go with pouring our own concrete countertops. Will post in my profile as we do them. Thank you to everyone who has replied and commented!

  • Lori Lori on Jan 25, 2019

    I'd like to see pics of the finished counter when you're done Jimmy!

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 06, 2024

    You can cover your old counters with wide planks of solid hardwood or even hardwood or bamboo plywood. Solid hardwood is more durable and repairable than plywood (with its very thin top veneer layer), but plywood comes in larger pieces and is less expensive. Bamboo plywood offers the best of both worlds.