Wednesday, October 20, 2010

$2 Countertop

A brand new countertop, for $2, purchased at your local cheap-o store (aka Big Lots, which often has a lot of good house necessities, for really cheap. Wouldn't ever buy food there, but other stuff is good!).

A client of mine at work mentioned to me that 10 years ago when they bought their house, she couldn't stand the Kitchen countertops. Because the huge remodel we're now doing for them wasn't in their budget at the time, she bought a couple packs of contact paper and covered the countertops with the contact paper. I was in that house for months, measuring, designing, meeting with them, etc. and never realized it was contact paper! So when cleaning our lime green countertops just wasn't working, I went digging in the bag of contact paper that the client gave me. While the brown color she used wasn't exactly my style, it was still a good idea. Rolls of contact paper were only $2 at Big Lots, and I found one that had a granite-ish pattern to it, and was really the only option they had (everything else had flowers or fruit).

I tried to do some research online, but nothing seemed really helpful. So one night after work I just decided to go for it, and if it didn't come out good, I'd suck it up and go buy another $2 roll.

Turns out it's pretty easy! First I cleaned the countertop as best as I could. I didn't want any of the dirt or paint that was on the countertop staining or causing bumps in my new countertop. I started in one corner, with the backsplash, and very slowly and carefully rolled out the paper. I would peel off about 3" of backing, and then using my fingers push down the paper as flat as possible (and I'm a perfectionist, so it was definitely flat!). The hardest spots were the backsplashes and corners (corners were almost impossible!). When I got to a sink, I just rolled right over it, and then when I was done took an Xacto Knife and cut around the edge of the sink. It only took about 3 hours. R was shocked when I finally let him in the bathroom around 11:30 pm... he had been waiting outside the door wanting to see our "new" bathroom! I was so proud of myself! You can't see any seams and there aren't any bubbles (though my client gave me a good tip... if you do get a bubble, use a pin to pop it and then smooth it out).
Countertop Before
Countertop After


  1. Ok, I'm intrigued enough to try this with my 1960's heinous "faux marble" formica counters. Just one question, did you try any sort of sealer to preserve it longer? i doubt it would last a day in this house as is. I wonder if some sort of spray adhesive would make it stick better to the counter as well...your thoughts?

  2. I didn't use any sealer. And the countertop has held up really well. This is our main bathroom, so it gets the most use (and water spilled on it), and it doesn't look any different than the day I put down the contact paper 3 years ago. The one "problem" I had with it is that it occasionally unsticks underneath the countertop overhang. The underside of the countertop is rough and the sticky backing of the contact paper doesn't stick very well. That plus the increased humidity in the bathroom (we don't have an exhaust fan) have it constantly unsticking in the corner. But we never notice it. I tried once or twice to glue it, but have stopped caring because you never see it unless you are on the floor looking up at the counter.

    Spray adhesive might work though. But in my experience, it is very very messy to use. I've never used it indoors because it always makes such a mess. My advice is to give it a try with just the sticky backing and see how it holds up. If in a year, you're having issues, buy another roll of contact paper and try it with the adhesive. Like I said, ours has held up really well.. no scratches, rips or anything!