Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kitchen Counter Revamp - On a Budget

old counter tops
The kitchen counters in this house were pretty "well-loved" by the time we bought it.  They were an almond laminate original to the 13 year old house.  They had grey and brown heat stains from the previous owners not using a trivet under hot pots and pans (I tried to remove them with a Magic Eraser and ended up just bleaching them white), there was ground-in dirt next to the garage door from greasy hands touching them, and they were chipped in many places.

That said, they were functional, and we had higher renovation priorities.  When we do replace them, I'd like to get a cherry butcher block and white Carrera marble.  That's not so much in the budget yet, but after a year of staring at these awful things, I had to do something.  I didn't want to invest too much just to rip it out when we get our dream counters, so I decided to go with contact paper.  For $12 of paper and $2 of caulk, I have a brand new, shiny counter top.

Sure, it still looks like laminate, but now it looks like clean, fresh laminate, rather than something you're squicked out to set your plate down on.

Um, kindly ignore the sink full of dishes.

Contact paper isn't the most hardy of surface coatings, but the beauty of it is, if it gets ripped or stained I can just peel that piece up and replace it for almost nothing.

It was pretty easy to install.  I wanted as few seams as possible, and wrapping the contact paper up onto the backsplash was a bit of a pain, but I got it smoothed out in the end.  Margaret played on the floor with the paper backing I discarded.

I'm really happy with the results.  It's not fancy, but it's just what we needed for the time being.

February, 2012
I've recently been getting a lot of hits on this post, so I wanted to update with how the contact paper held up. We left it on the counters for about a year without having to pull it up or replace it. Nothing peeled up prematurely (thanks in large part to the caulk at the seams, I think). We always used a trivet under hot pots and pans and wiped up stain-likely spills in a timely manner. It really stayed pretty pristine-looking while I was in charge of the kitchen.

When I was sick with my last pregnancy, about a year after laying the contact paper, I had a lot of people in and out of my kitchen helping out, and they obviously weren't as careful as I naturally am. The contact paper developed a number of rips and tears and stains. Rather than replace the ruined sections, I decided to try another technique on the counters for kicks (a post on this will follow eventually). The contact paper peeled up easily, though there was a sticky residue left behind. I used a product I found at Target called Krud Kutter to remove it. I sprayed it on, left it for 5-10 minutes, then used a scrub brush to loosen the residue. I finished with a wet rag. It took a bit of effort, but everything came up in the end. Use gloves and good ventilation with this product.

All told, using the contact paper was definitely worth the work. I got a lot of compliments on it, it was very inexpensive, and it didn't involve a great deal of work. I'd recommend it for anyone who wants a temporary counter top facelift on a budget.


Lil Wife said...

That looks awesome Karissa! How did you do it?

alyssababyyyy said...

When did this happen? I love it! I shall see in two days!!