Kitchen countertops take a beating and can start to show their age over time. Cracked tiles, stained laminate, and chipped edges are all common issues in older kitchens. Thankfully, there are great options for resurfacing kitchen countertops that can restore their appearance and function without needing a full countertop replacement. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the pros and cons of different countertop resurfacing techniques to help you choose the best option for your needs and budget.

What is Countertop Resurfacing?

Countertop resurfacing refers to processes that renew the surface layer of an existing countertop. It typically involves applying a new protective coating or material over the old countertop to conceal damage and restore appearance. Resurfacing does not require full countertop removal like a replacement would. It is a more affordable way to update the look of your kitchen without taking on a large remodeling project.

There are various countertop resurfacing options including:

  • Paint kits – Specialty paint formulations that adhere to surfaces like laminate, tile, and concrete. Some contain textured additives for extra durability.
  • Veneers – Thin sheets of material adhered over the old countertop surface. Common veneer options include wood, plastic laminate, quartz, and metal.
  • Coatings – Clear sealants like epoxy that are brushed or poured over the existing countertop. They protect and enhance the surface.
  • Concrete overlays – A freshly poured layer of concrete resurfaces heavily damaged countertops. New concrete can be stamped or stained.
  • Refinishing – Process of sanding down surfaces like tile and laminate then applying new paint or laminate coatings.

The best option depends on your goals, countertop type, and budget. Read on for more details about each resurfacing method.

Benefits of Resurfacing Kitchen Countertops

Resurfacing offers many benefits compared to a full kitchen countertop replacement:

More Affordable

Countertop resurfacing costs 50-75% less than installing brand new countertop materials. You save money on labor and material costs.

Quicker Process

It typically takes just 1-3 days to resurface countertops compared to the much longer timeline for replacement. The process is less disruptive to your home.

Maintain Functionality

You can enhance the look of your existing countertops without losing any of their functionality. Keep using them as extra prep space, serving areas, and more.

Wide Range of Looks

Resurfacing lets you transform the style of your countertops. Go for a colorful painted look, natural stone appearance, rustic wood textures, and more unique options not possible with an in-place replacement.


Avoid landfill waste by refreshing your existing countertops instead of ripping them out. Countertop resurfacing has a much smaller environmental impact.

Minimize Dust and Debris

Resurfacing is a cleaner process than a full replacement. It requires less demolition work so you deal with less construction dust and debris.

If your countertops are structurally sound but aesthetically unappealing, resurfacing is an excellent option. Keep reading to learn about popular techniques.

Paint Kits for Resurfacing Countertops

Painting kits provide an affordable way to resurface a wide variety of countertop materials like laminate, ceramic tile, concrete, cultured marble, and some natural stones. Paint adheres well to textured surfaces. Smooth surfaces like quartz may require special prep and primer.


  • Huge range of paint colors and finishes – matte, gloss, metallic etc. Allows very customized looks.
  • Relatively easy DIY resurfacing option. No special skills needed.
  • Very affordable compared to other resurfacing options ($50-$150 range per kit).
  • Low odor and quick drying paints. Use kitchen again in 24 hours.


  • Paint can scratch or chip more easily than other options. Must avoid abrasive cleaners.
  • Potential for brush marks depending on painter’s skill and experience.
  • Not heat resistant. Requires use of trivets and hot pads.

Proper prep work and primer selection are vital for good adhesion and longevity of painted finishes. Most kits include detailed instructions to ensure success. Painted countertops are best protected by a sealant top-coat for added durability.

Overall, paint kits allow you to inexpensively resurface countertops every few years as trends and tastes change. This temporary solution works best for those wanting an updated look without a lasting commitment.

Countertop Veneers and Overlays

Veneers and overlays involve adhering new thin materials over existing countertops with adhesive or fasteners. Popular options include:

  • Plastic laminates – Most affordable option for seamless appearance. Durable and easy to clean.
  • Wood – Warms up kitchens with natural, rustic looking wood countertops.
  • Stainless steel – Sleek and modern look. Very hygienic. Can dent from heavy impacts.
  • Quartz veneer – Natural stone appearance with heat and stain resistance.
  • Tile – Transforms dated solid surface with current tile trends and patterns.

Benefits of veneers:

  • Wide selection of styles and finishes. Mimic natural stone, metals, wood, concrete etc.
  • More durable than paints. Resist light scratches, stains, and heat.
  • Minimal demo to existing countertops. New veneer applied right over old surface.
  • Much more affordable than full quartz or granite slab replacements.

Things to note:

  • Existing countertop imperfections like seams may still be visible.
  • Darker colors show flaws more than lighter ones.
  • Professional installation advised. Precise trimming and bonding required.
  • Adds very little weight, usually under 2 lbs per square foot.

Veneers offer a beautiful and cost-effective way to transform countertops. Be sure to use a reputable brand and contractor familiar with proper adhesive selection and application techniques for a long lasting installation.

Epoxy Coatings for Countertops

Epoxy coatings are commonly used to resurface countertops made from concrete, wood, laminate, and tile. The two-part pours create durable, protective layers that enhance appearance.

Benefits of epoxy coatings:

  • Seamless look after coating filled scratches, stains, and chips.
  • Very durable and water resistant. Withstands impacts, hot pots, and cleaning chemicals.
  • Enhances color and texture. Glossy finishes reflect light well.
  • Can tint base coat or add color flakes for unique looks.
  • Resists bacterial growth. Good for food prep areas.

Key considerations:

  • Surface flaws must be patched and filled prior to coating.
  • Prep work critical to ensure proper coating adhesion.
  • Strong fumes during application require ventilation.
  • Long curing times. Kitchen usable after 24-48 hours.
  • Requires careful mixing of resin and hardener. Precise ratios needed.

When applied properly, epoxy coatings restore countertops for years of beauty and function. Their protective qualities make them ideal for heavily used kitchen surfaces.

Concrete Resurfacing Overlays

Concrete resurfacing transforms severely damaged countertops by pouring a fresh layer right over the old concrete. New concrete can be colored, stamped, or stained to create unique looks.

Benefits of concrete overlays:

  • Completely covers deep gouges, cracks, pitting, and stains on old concrete.
  • Can match new countertops if also made of concrete.
  • Gain trending concrete looks like integrated drain boards.
  • More heat and impact resistant than other resurfacing options.


  • Existing concrete must be cleaned and abraded for overlay to bond.
  • Fresh concrete requires proper curing times. Countertops unusable for several days.
  • Concrete staining can be unpredictable on overlays versus new slabs.
  • Needs resealing every 1-2 years to avoid moisture damage and stains.

Concrete resurfacing creates seamless, integrated concrete countertops when existing ones are beyond refinishing. The process takes more time but provides great durability.

Refinishing Laminate and Tile Countertops

Refinishing involves sanding down laminate and tile surfaces to remove scratches, stains, and seal in new color coatings.

How it works:

  1. Countertops lightly sanded to abrade surface. Opens up pores in laminate and tile.
  2. Specialty primer applied to ready the surface for new top coat.
  3. New solid color coatings or patterns applied by brush, roller, or spraying.
  4. Clear polyurethane seals and protects the finish.

Benefits of refinishing:

  • Significantly less expensive than replacing countertops.
  • Wide range of color options from solids to woodgrains and patterns.
  • Restores sanitary surface free from old stains and bacteria.
  • Much quicker than replacing countertops. Use kitchen again in 24 hours or less.


  • Works best on countertops without intricate tile patterns. Easier to match solid colors.
  • Gloss levels may differ slightly between refinished areas and remaining old surfaces.
  • Signs of past damage like divots may still faintly show through new coatings.
  • Spraying gives best results but also overspray risks needing protective masking.

Refinishing still allows you to extend the life of worn laminate and tile countertops affordably. Best for small kitchens since treating large surface areas raises overall costs.

Factors that Influence Countertop Resurfacing Costs

Like any home improvement project, many factors impact the total costs for resurfacing kitchen countertops. Consider the following:

  • Countertop size – Total square footage will determine how much material is needed.
  • Complexity of job – Simple slab designs cost less than intricate tile patterns or edges.
  • Specialty options – Custom finishes, integral sinks, added trim etc. increase price.
  • Current condition – Amount of damage needing repair before resurfacing adds cost.
  • Location – Labor rates in your area and cost of living differences. Material shipping costs to remote areas.
  • Contractors vs DIY – Hiring an experienced professional costs more but typically gives better results. Know your own skill level.

Always get at least 3 detailed quotes when pricing any countertop project. Avoid choosing based only on the lowest bid, as it may indicate cheaper materials or inadequate prep work being performed.

Typical Cost Ranges by Resurfacing Type

Here are typical per square foot costs, excluding any sink cutouts or special options:

  • Painted countertops – $2-$8 per square foot for materials. Potentially free if reusing old paints.
  • Veneers – $10-$30 per square foot installed depending on material used.
  • Epoxy coating – $8-$12 per square foot for materials. Up to $25 per square foot for professional installation.
  • Concrete overlays – $10-$20 per square foot for materials. Around $30-$50 per square foot installed.
  • Refinishing laminate or tile – $5-$15 per square foot range depending on method used and color/finish techniques.

Key Prep Tips Before Resurfacing Countertops

Proper prep work ensures your resurfaced countertops achieve maximum durability and longevity. Here are key steps to take before applying any new coatings:

Clean Surfaces Thoroughly

Use degreasers and abrasive pads to remove all grease, wax, dirt, and grime from your existing countertops before resurfacing. This allows new coatings to properly adhere. Check for hidden grime in crevices and grout lines.

Repair Any Damage

Fix chips, cracks, gouges, missing grout, warped areas, or holes. Use patching compounds, caulk, grout, or epoxy fillers as needed. Address issues before they worsen under new surfaces.

Sand Down Surfaces

Lightly sanding opens up microscopic pores on laminate and tile countertops. This roughness helps new paints, veneers, or coatings grip. Avoid oversanding unevenly.

Mask Off Areas Needing Protection

Use painters tape, plastic sheeting, or drop cloths to protect nearby walls, cabinets, and appliances from potential splatters or overspray during the resurfacing process.

Test Adhesion

Try samples of any paints, primers, adhesives or coatings on inconspicuous underside areas first. Check results after full curing times to catch any potential bonding issues early.

Invest time in proper prep and you’ll get beautiful, long-lasting results from your countertop resurfacing project.

Enhance Functionality with New Countertop Features

Beyond just improving aesthetics, resurfacing also offers a great opportunity to enhance the function and ergonomics of your kitchen countertops. Consider adding these features:

Integral Mini-Sinks

Have a small prep or bar sink seamlessly built into sections of the countertop. This adds convenience for tasks like produce washing.

Drain Boards

Channel excess water right into the sink with sloped drain boards integrated into countertop edges. Helpful when prepping dishes or defrosting foods.

Trivets or Hot Pads

Heat-resistant inserts for setting hot pots and pans to avoid damaging resurfaced coatings. Great for painted, veneered, or coated countertops.

Cutting Boards

Recessed or removable cutting boards keep sharp knives away from your countertop surfaces. Helpful for soft coatings vulnerable to slicing damage.

Edge Profiles

Decorative edges like ogee, chamfer, bullnose etc. modernize the look. Useful for concealing old laminate seams or tile grout lines.

Seating Ledges

Create space for pull-up seating by adding support ledges along lower overhangs. Great for kitchen peninsulas and islands.


LED lighting underneath upper cabinets or shelving illuminates countertops beautifully. Aid for kitchen tasks and accent lighting.

Charging Stations

Built-in ports, pop-ups, or strips allow convenient charging access for phones and small appliances right on your countertops.

Maintaining and Protecting Resurfaced Countertops

To maximize the lifespan of your resurfaced countertops, be sure to care for them properly. Follow these maintenance tips:

General Care

  • Use cutting boards, trivets, and hot pads instead of placing items directly on the surface.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners, abrasive pads, or scrubbing tools that could damage the finish.
  • Blot spills quickly instead of vigorously wiping to limit water penetration.
  • Inspect for wear or damage regularly. Touch up localized issues immediately before they spread.

Painted Countertops

  • Allow painted surfaces to fully cure 1-2 weeks before heavy use.
  • Reapply sealants every 1-2 years per manufacturer instructions.
  • Expect to re-coat painted finishes every 3-5 years as paints show wear over time.

Veneered Countertops

  • Use mild cleaners and soft sponges to clean veneer surfaces. Avoid chemicals that could delaminate adhesive.
  • Take care not to dent or puncture thin veneer layers with sharp objects.

Epoxy Coated Countertops

  • Avoid abrasive pads or scouring powders which can dull and scratch coatings.
  • Reapply epoxy sealers after several years to protect from moisture intrusion.

Concrete Overlaid Countertops

  • Reseal concrete every 1-2 years with penetrating sealers to prevent staining.
  • Do not cut directly on concrete. Use designated cutting boards.

With proper care, your refreshed countertops should maintain their renewed look for many years before needing follow-up resurfacing or replacement. Be gentle and cautious to help them last.

FAQs About Resurfacing Countertops

Have more questions about resurfacing your kitchen countertops? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Does resurfacing require removing my existing countertops?

In most cases, no. Countertop resurfacing can be performed right over your old countertops without full tear-out and replacement. The exception would be concrete overlays that do require removal of underlying concrete before pouring new.

Can I resurface countertops myself or do I need a professional?

It depends on the technique. Paint kits, for example, are very DIY-friendly. More complex processes like concrete overlays or seamless veneers do require hiring a qualified pro. Evaluate your skill level honestly.

How long does countertop resurfacing take?

Most resurfacing projects take 1-3 days total. Exact timeframe depends on countertop size, method used, curing times for coatings/adhesives, and need for any repairs before resurfacing. Consult with contractors on expected timelines.

Can you resurface engineered stone or quartz countertops?

It is challenging. The ultra-hard surfaces resist coatings, overlays, or paints from properly bonding. Instead, replace quartz outright or explore veneers specifically made for engineered stone.

Does resurfacing hold up as well as new countertops?

It varies based on materials used and care taken to maintain them. With proper prep, quality materials, and protective maintenance, resurfaced