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A Kitchen and Can-Do Attitude: 10 DIY Countertops Anyone Can Do

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The great thing about TV stations like HGTV is that they give us so many wonderful ideas about how to fix up and decorate our homes.

The awful thing about TV stations like HGTV is that they show us a world of beautiful opportunities that may be way out of reach of our budgets.

If you’ve been looking at your kitchen, and wishing you could replace that, burned, stained and worn countertop, you may have convinced yourself you can’t afford what you’d really like.

But you’d be wrong!

Today we’d like to share ten different ways you can use a little DIY countertop magic to get just the look you want for in a very short time for very little money.

Comparing the Costs

How much money will it cost to install a new countertop? If you go with a professional installation, the average cost is somewhere between $40 and $100 per square foot, according to HGTV. Granite comes in at the high end of that list, costing between $50 and $250 depending on which slab you choose. Tile counters come in as low as $10 and butcher block averages $30.

When shopping around for new countertops, it is also important to know where you are buying from. The quality and services offered vary from company to company. Learn more about these differences before you shop.

Hiring someone to refinish your existing countertops will be less, but may still add up to more than you want to pay. The materials cost depends on your existing countertop. If you have a laminate, for example, your cost could be somewhere between $1.60 and $4.17 per square foot. Epoxy coatings could cost $2.92 – $7.17 per square foot.

Both of those are great, but it is the labor cost to hire a refinisher that will add up. You may spend anywhere between $35 and $85 for a professional installer. Since there may be several steps to your project, the length of time can add up, and eat up, your savings.

Do It Yourself

However, when you do it yourself, you can eliminate that charge and maybe spend a little bit extra on your materials. Or, you could have enough left over to buy the fixtures and learn how to install that recessed lighting that will really finish off your kitchen remodel.

One thing that frequently holds people back from trying to do things around the house themselves is their fear of making mistakes. Because a countertop is such a large part of the overall kitchen or bathroom design, any mistake would be big as well.

As they say, practice makes perfect. There is a way to practice your countertop refinishing technique as well as checking to make sure the finished product will look right with the rest of the décor of the room.

You could practice your chosen technique on a large cutting board. These boards come in many materials, including wood and Formica (or laminate as it is commonly called now), and can be found at big box home stores for as little as $15.

Choose Your Finished Look

Do you love the unique colors and durability of granite?  Or maybe you’re excited by the new trends in butcher block islands or concrete countertops. You can turn a dull, outdated Formica into any one of these “new” materials all by yourself:

  1. Butcher Blocks – are one of the hottest trends in kitchens today. Whether you choose traditional planks, an exotic wood, or a checkerboard pattern, wood counters are back in a big way.
  2. Concrete – can be done as a countertop replacement or can be an overlay on your existing counter. The tradition gray color can also be changed by including powdered dyes in the mix.
  3. Mosaic – gives you a great way to practice recycling beautifully. Create your own patterns out of bits of broken glass, ceramics or even rows and rows of pennies. Mosaics are usually adhered to a stiff board and can either replace or lay over an existing counter.
  4. Tiles – choose a subway tile to match your backsplash, natural stone or porcelain in today’s hot Moroccan styles. All of them can all make a unique statement
  5. Contact paper – a specialty paper that is waterproof and can withstand heat up to 240 degrees could turn your tan laminate into a faux marble delight with just scissors and a credit card to smooth air bubbles.
  6. Chalkboard paint — isn’t just for blackboards or furniture anymore. Its matte appearance looks remarkably like a high-end slate finish.
  7. Solid color glossy paints – add the color of your dreams to match your customized cabinets. Sealing your favorite paint color in several coats of poly can provide a long-lasting, tough shine.
  8. Faux granite – choose your colors and sponge your way to your own unique take on a granite slab. These can be done with regular paints or glazes.
  9. Faux marble – can be painted as well. You’ll need some small bristle brushes, damp rags, and your own imagination to recreate the stark or smudged veins in a random pattern across your countertop.
  10. Faux stone – finishes are also available in pre-made kits. Recreate a quartz look or add some glitter to a soapstone look with a kit that includes everything you’ll need for around $150-$250 dollars.

The cost of all of these countertop refinishes will vary according to how large your counter is, but all will be a fraction of what you could expect to pay to remove and replace your current counter professionally.

DIY Countertop Videos

Once you’re sure of the final look you want to achieve you may still be a little hesitant to get started. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of “how-to” redo a countertop videos available on YouTube.  Do a quick search for your chosen method above and you can watch someone walk through each step of the process.

Once you’ve gone through your DIY countertop project, you may be so inspired that you start looking for other ways to upgrade your kitchen. Or, you may be ready to move on to another room. Check out these other decorating tips for your next inspiration.

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