How to Install Concrete Overlay Countertops for Less than $100*

Learn how to install concrete overlay countertops. You might also like these wood countertops

My countertops in my home were probably very expensive when they were put in. I suspect that they’re quartz, so very pricey. But they were so ugly. Like no paint color on the planet can make them look good ugly.

concrete overlay countertops

And they were bringing down the whole vibe of my kitchen. No matter what I did, they just weren’t looking great. So we decided to find a budget friendly solution until we can do a full kitchen remodel because who knows when that will be. Learn how to install concrete overlay countertops!

*This portion of the countertop makeover was closer to $25 because we already had a lot of the supplies.

Things to Know Before Installing the Concrete Overlay Countertops

  • Feather finish sands very easy, so don’t worry about imperfections while working. This stuff sands like joint compound, not concrete.
  • It’s probably best to alternate between a medium thick coat, thin coat, medium thick, thin coat.
  • If you’re using concrete dye, don’t worry too much about the batches perfectly matching. The slight variations in color will give it a really cool effect. Even a batch of un-dyed concrete will vary from batch to batch, so expect it.
  • One box of feather finish was plenty for our countertops. I bought 3 because I didn’t think 1 sounded like enough. Now I have to return the extra.

My countertops before

old quartz countertops before resurfacing

Can you even handle all of this beauty? đŸ˜‰

Concrete Countertop Overlay FAQ’s

What is concrete overlay?

Concrete overlay is a thin coat of concrete over an existing countertop. 

You can use it over any existing countertop, as long as it’s stable without cracks. 

Concrete overlay versus concrete countertops

Concrete overlay allows you to use your existing countertop. In our case, the Corian would be extremely difficult to remove and possibly destroy the cabinets in the process. Plus, they are incredibly heavy. 

Full concrete countertops are also very heavy. Most cabinets need to be reinforced to be able to handle the weight. 

What is the cost for concrete countertop overlay?

We bought 3 boxes of Henry feather finish and ended up using one. The concrete cost us $15 a box. The concrete dye was about $7. The sealer we ended up using cost about $70. For under $100, we were able to give our countertop a new look!

What kind of concrete do you use for concrete overlay countertops?

We used feather finish concrete. There are 2 brands that I know of: Henry and Ardex. They come in a box and are found in the flooring aisle because they are used to level sub-floors for tile installation. 

Feather finish concrete is applied in thin coats, as the name suggests. This allows you to keep the weight light and control the amount of coverage. It’s a lot like paint: lighter coats are better because you can always add more. 

How to Install A Concrete Overlay Countertop

Supplies Needed

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Prep Work for Concrete Overlay Countertop

  1. Remove your faucet and any appliances that are in the way. We have a slide in range, so it had to be moved. Thank goodness for furniture sliders! We also taped off the tile backsplash. remove faucets before resurfacing counters with concrete
  2. Protect your home from dust. That meant taping up doorways with plastic drop cloths. You may be tempted to skip this step, but I’m really glad I didn’t. Our sander has an amazing dust collection system, but there was still dust everywhere. tape off doorways to contain dust for concrete
  3. Thoroughly clean your countertop to remove any grease. Wipe down your tile backsplash as well. Any invisible grease spots will show concrete dust.
  4. Sand your countertops. Our countertops are indestructible, so they didn’t even show a mark. (Laminate sands much easier.) Be sure to wipe away all the dust.rough up existing countertop before applying concrete

How to Resurface Countertops with Concrete

  1. Mix your first batch of concrete. Put water  (and dye) in your bucket first and then add the concrete. This makes your concrete mix much smoother. Your first batch will be the biggest, but you still need *much* less than you think. You might need 2 cups of mixed concrete. Your mix should be the consistency of pancake batter. When using the drill attachment, set your drill to low. Mixing concrete is hard on tools and even though we have powerful tools, it’s still best to not overdo it.
  2. When the concrete is mixed, let it sit for 5 minutes. All of the bubbles rise to the top and you will need to mix it again for 1 minute. This keeps the mixture workable for a longer period.
  3. Trowel a very thin layer onto your countertop. Because our countertop was so glossy, we did a slightly thicker 1st coat for our concrete overlay countertops. My husband did the majority of the countertops with a large trowel, while I worked on the edges using a putty knife and my fingers. (It didn’t stain my hands or irritate my skin, but my nails are pretty gross looking.) You want to build up the edges pretty thick. It sands very easily, so don’t skimp.applying concrete to countertop
  4. Let it dry. The first coat took longer than any other coat, probably about 1 1/2 hours. Don’t worry too much if you didn’t get 100% coverage on the first coat. first layer of concrete on countertop
  5. When it’s dry, lightly sand it. Be very careful on the edges. You don’t want to remove too much.sanding concrete countertop overlay
  6. Repeat steps 4-7 until you’re satisfied. For our last coat, we used the trowel to make swirl marks, then we watered the remaining concrete mix down to make splatter marks on the surface. This was my husband’s idea, and I was nervous. So this step is optional if you’re happy with the results already. Sand until smooth. making texture spots on DIY concrete countertop overlay
  7. Once it was dry, it’s time to seal it. I’m breaking that part into a tutorial of it’s own because we wanted to use an extremely durable sealer.finished concrete overlay countertop

They look beautiful like this and I wish we could have just added a thin layer of wax, but we wanted to make them extremely durable.

how to resurface countertops with concrete


Want to learn how I sealed my concrete?

Sealer for Concrete Overlay Countertops 

Curious how the whole kitchen turned out? Click here for the final reveal!

Pin for Later!

update kitchen for less than $100

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7 thoughts on “How to Install Concrete Overlay Countertops for Less than $100*”

  1. Emy you have totally inspired me to take the plunge with my matching lovely baloney looking countertops! I love how yours came out and can’t wait to do mine!!!!! Thanks for sharing this tutorial!!

  2. Im curious about how well the overlay has held up. I’ve got concrete countertops that I’m not happy with and I’m thinking about doing an overlay. My fear is that it will just crack and crumble away with use, bc its just a thin layer. Most of the time when you see repaired concrete driveways, the repairs don’t last. Have you found this to be the case in overlays?

    • Hi Tiffany. Our overlay is holding up great, but we also put a pretty intense sealer on it. We used epoxy which hardens and it very durable.
      When we did our concrete, I went in knowing that it might not work. It was over slick corian countertops. I’ve been very happy with the results.
      The box we bought was $15 and it took about 1/2 a day to apply it, so to me it was worth the cost and effort to try something new. Driveways use a different product and are subject to much harsher conditions than a kitchen. I would try it out but start saving up for your dream kitchen countertops in the meantime (just in case.)
      Good luck!

    • Hi Sarah, I used featherweight concrete. There are 2 brands: Ardex and Henry’s. It can be found in the flooring aisle (it’s used to level subfloors) and it’s in a box.

      Thanks!

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