Kitchen and bathroom countertops see a lot of wear and tear. From hot pans in the kitchen to water splashes in the bathroom, countertops take abuse over time. Cuts, burns, stains, and other marks can leave them looking worn and dingy. Fortunately, countertop covers provide an easy and affordable way to refresh their appearance.
Countertop covers come in many materials, textures, colors and thicknesses. They simply sit on top of existing counters to give them an instant facelift. Here are eight great options to consider for kitchens, bathrooms or any space with a countertop.
Wood Countertop Covers
Wood brings natural warmth and beauty to any kitchen or bath. It’s an especially good choice for countertops, as it’s durable and easy to maintain. Here are some top options for wood countertop covers:
Butcher block is a classic choice for kitchen counters. It’s made from hardwood strips glued together in a checkerboard pattern. The wood is naturally antibacterial, as well as scratch and stain-resistant. Butcher block needs periodic re-oiling to keep it sealed. It comes in diverse wood species like maple, walnut or cherry. Butcher block offers an attractive, seamless look as a countertop cover.
A pre-fabricated butcher block top is an easy DIY installation. Simply cut it to fit your existing counters, secure with construction adhesive and add trim pieces along the edges. This warm wood immediately upgrades old laminate or tile counters. Butcher block is also handy as a cutting surface for meal prep.
For a rustic, timeworn look, reclaimed wood makes for characterful countertop covers. Vintage barn wood, wine casks and other salvaged lumber get a second life as countertops. Reclaimed wood counters have a charming, irregular appearance from natural aging. Each piece has a unique history behind it.
Distressed finishes like chipping white paint or worn gray patinas further enhance reclaimed wood’s vintage vibe. A reclaimed wood cover instantly gives mundane countertops a cozy farmhouse or cottage feel. Environmentally-minded homeowners also appreciate reusing material that would otherwise go to waste.
As a renewable grass, bamboo offers an eco-friendly alternative to traditional hardwoods. It has a straight fine grain and pleasing warm tones. Bamboo countertop covers are typically made by laminating together thin bamboo strips under heat and pressure. This compressed manufacturing makes bamboo very dense and durable.
Bamboo covers resist moisture, spills and everyday wear-and-tear. Their tight grain also minimizes the appearance of cuts and scratches over time. With proper sealing, bamboo maintains its handsome look for years of daily use. It brings warmth and style to kitchens, baths or other rooms.
Tile Countertop Covers
Tile makes an excellent material for upgrading worn counters affordably. It comes in endless colors, prints, shapes and styles to suit any design aesthetic. Here are some top tile choices for countertop covers:
Glazed ceramic tile has a polished, water-resistant finish perfect for protecting kitchen and bathroom counters. The smooth glass coating resists stains, spills and moisture. Grout lines between tiles can be kept to a minimum for a sleek contemporary look.
Vibrant solid colors, faux stone and patterned decorative tiles inject new life into dull countertops. Accent strips of mosaic tiles, glass tiles or handmade subway tiles add visual interest. Just be sure to properly seal the grout lines for easier cleaning. With minimal installation work, tile covers refresh counters affordably.
Denser and less porous than ceramic tile, porcelain is an extremely durable choice for hardworking countertops. Porcelain tile counters keep their like-new shine for years despite heavy daily use. The dense fired clay has almost zero water absorption, making porcelain stain, scratch and chip resistant.
Porcelain tile comes in a vast range of colors, shapes, patterns and finishes. Matte, polished, textured and veined looks replicate natural stone and concrete at a fraction of the price. Dark moody porcelains to crisp white marbles create any style desired. Durable, affordable and stylish, porcelain instantly upgrades kitchen and bath areas.
For a luxe look, glass tile makes an undeniably glamorous countertop cover. The glossy surface shimmers, especially when illuminated. Glass tile comes in clear, frosted, iridescent and colorful finishes. Tiny glass mosaic tiles create winkling, dynamic designs. Larger subway-style glass tiles offer seamless shine.
Glass tile resists moisture, spills, stains and daily wear-and-tear. However, the glass can chip if struck at certain angles. Take care to round any sharp corners for safety. Use sealant and grout designed for glass tiles. With proper installation, glass tile creates an opulent feel in kitchens and bathrooms.
Alternative Countertop Covers
Beyond wood and tile, some creative countertop cover options include:
High-pressure laminate sheets provide affordable, low-maintenance covers. Available in every color and pattern imaginable, laminates disguise existing surfaces beautifully. Matte tones to shiny solids to wood grain prints arrange well in any design scheme. Choose laminate covers that are grease, scratch, stain and scorch-resistant for busy kitchen counters.
Concrete’s utilitarian aesthetic works well in industrial, modern and bohemian spaces. Pre-cast and poured concrete covers offer the look of heavy stone slabs with lighter weight. Concrete stains, finishes and scoring techniques create diverse styles. Concrete naturally resists heat, scratches and stains with little upkeep.
Stainless steel, copper, zinc and other metals make sleek, heat-resistant covers for kitchens. Various metal patinas like oil-rubbed bronze or distressed copper add vintage appeal. Metals work especially well for restaurants and commercial kitchens.
Natural stone like granite, marble or soapstone bring elegance as countertop covers. While pricier, stone wears very well over decades of use. Stone adds natural veining, colors and luster that mimic high-end counters.
For an earthy vibe, recycled glass counters embed bits of repurposed bottle glass in concrete or resin. This elevates what would be waste into a vibrant, eco-friendly surface. Recycled glass counters have depth and organic variation.
How to Install Countertop Covers
Installing a countertop cover over existing counters or cabinetry is a relatively easy DIY project. Here are some general steps:
- Clear counters of appliances, fixtures or decor. Remove sink and cooktops if possible.
- Take precise measurements of counter depth, length, overhangs and any obstacles like corners or cutouts.
- Purchase cover slightly larger to cut down for an exact custom fit.
- Cut cover using a circular saw with fine blade for wood, or wet tile saw for ceramic, porcelain or glass tile. Wear proper eye and breathing protection.
- Set cover in place and check fit. Use a file to refine edges.
- Clean counters then apply primer coat if needed, especially for porous natural stone, grouted tile or wood.
- Apply thin layer of adhesive mortar or mastic designed for the cover material. Spread evenly using a notched trowel.
- Carefully set cut cover in place, pressing down firmly to adhere. Immediately wipe any excess mortar or mastic squeezed out the sides.
- Allow adhesive to fully cure 24-48 hours before use per manufacturer instructions.
- Replace sinks, fixtures and appliances secured properly to new cover. Reapply caulk and sealants around edges for water-tight finish.
- Seal porous materials like grouted tile, concrete, butcher block or natural stone as final protective step.
With the right tools, skills and care, DIY-ers can upgrade worn counters affordably with new covers. Professional installation is recommended for more complex projects. But the renewed look and added value countertop covers provide make the effort worthwhile.
Maintenance Tips for Countertop Covers
To keep any countertop cover looking its best, be sure to clean and care for it properly.
- Wipe up spills immediately to avoid stains, especially on grout, wood or stone.
- Use cutting boards to protect covers from knife scratches or gouges.
- Avoid exposing surfaces to excess moisture that could damage adhesive or unsealed edges.
- Clean with mild soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers.
- Reseal grout, wood or natural stone periodically per manufacturer directions.
- Don’t place hot pots or pans directly on surface. Use trivets and hot pads.
- For stone and tile, apply sealers to inhibit staining and etching from acidic foods. Reapply sealers routinely.
- Oil wood covers like butcher block monthly with food-safe mineral oil to maintain their luster.
- Inspect covers for any cracks, chips or damage and repair immediately to prevent further issues.
- Replace caulk or sealants if any moisture seeps between cover and counter.
With proper care, countertop covers will maintain their upgraded appearance for many years before needing replacement. Protect them and they’ll protect your counters beautifully.
FAQs About Countertop Covers
How thick are countertop covers?
Countertop covers typically range from 1/4 inch for thin materials like laminate up to 1 1/2 inches for thicker wood, tile or stone. Measure existing counter height to ensure new cover will fit underneath cabinets.
Do you need to secure countertop covers?
It’s crucial to properly adhere covers with the manufacturer’s recommended mortar, adhesive or mastic designed for the material. Follow all directions to securely bond the cover to counter. Loose covers can crack, leak or shift dangerously.
Should you seal countertop covers?
Sealing is highly recommended to prevent stains, damage and moisture ingress on permeable materials like natural stone, grouted tile, concrete, butcher block or recycled glass. Sealers add protection and make cleaning easier. Reapply sealers periodically.
What countertop covers work for bathrooms?
Moisture-resistant covers like ceramic, porcelain or glass tile, laminate, cultured stone, solid surface or quartz work well in bathrooms. Avoid unsealed porous wood or grouted tile that can harbor mold.
Can you install countertop covers over Formica?
Formica and other laminate counters provide a solid, seamless base for installing new covers. Thoroughly clean then scuff sanded the surface before adhering tiles, wood or other covers to Formica with mastic.
Do countertop covers add value?
Quality countertop covers can increase a home’s value by refreshing the look of worn, dated counters. Cover materials like quartz can equal the resale value of higher-end remodeled counters. Even cheaper covers still improve style and function.
Can you cut countertop covers onsite?
Covers like tile, wood boards and laminate can be precisely cut onsite using proper tools like a circular saw or wet tile saw. Take detailed measurements and allow an extra 1-2 inch overhang for trimming down to custom fit.
How much do countertop covers cost?
Costs range widely from $10-50 per square foot depending on material, thickness and intricacy of installation. Stone and concrete covers are most expensive. Tile, wood, laminate and recycled glass covers offer more budget-friendly options.
Key Takeaways on Countertop Covers
- Countertop covers provide an easy, affordable way to refresh worn kitchen or bathroom counters without full replacement.
- Materials like wood, tile, laminate, concrete and more create diverse design options.
- Covers should be precisely measured, cut and secured using manufacturer’s recommended adhesive for each specific material type.
- Proper sealing and routine care keep covers looking like new despite heavy use.
- Quality covers add value by improving a home’s style tremendously at a fraction of full counter remodel costs.
- With some DIY skills, tools and care, homeowners can install countertop covers to give their counters fresh new life.
Outdated, damaged countertops can really detract from a kitchen or bathroom’s appearance. But full tear-out and replacement is costly, messy and time-consuming. Countertop covers offer an easy upgrade solution. Choosing from many material options like wood, tile, laminate, concrete and more, covers resurface worn counters quickly with no demolition required. They install directly over existing counters for an instant facelift. With proper sizing, sealing and care, countertop covers renew kitchens and baths stylishly and affordably. Their simple installation, lasting beauty and design versatility make countertop covers a wise option for refreshing any home.