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What is Countertop Refinishing?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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Countertop refinishing is a home improvement project which involves applying a new finish to counters, classically kitchen counters, although bathroom counters can be refinished too. Refinishing tends to be less expensive than replacing the counters, and it can make a huge difference when it is done properly. For people who want to change the look and feel of a kitchen while retaining their existing layout, countertop refinishing or refacing is an option to consider. Cabinets can also be refinished or refaced.

Materials like tile, granite, marble, and cement rarely need to be refinished, as long as they are well cared for. Wooden surfaces like butcher block counters can start to break down over time, and they can usually be preserved by sanding and re-oiling to restore the smooth appearance of the original counter. With laminate counters, however, problems like chipping, cracking, pitting, and staining are very common, and these surfaces are ideal for refinishing.

One refinishing method involves refacing the laminate by applying a new sheet of laminate over the counter. Laminate sheeting in a variety of styles is available, from faux marble to neutral colors. It's also easy to reface counters at home, as it doesn't require experience or special skills, beyond the ability to cut the new layer of laminate to size.

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Another option for countertop refinishing involves using a spray on refinishing product, or painting the counters. In this case, the counters need to be scrubbed and wiped down to remove grease, dirt, and kitchen debris, and then sanded, to create a texture surface for the paint to cling to. First, a layer of primer is applied, and then a topcoat, or multiple top coats. Sealers are also available to keep the paint in good shape. This type of countertop refinishing can yield excellent results, although it will be important to remember that the counter needs to be protected with cutting boards, trivets for hot pots, and other safety measures, as the paint will be vulnerable to chipping and cracking.

People who don't want to handle their countertop refinishing themselves can hire a company which specializes in refinishing and refacing. Professionals often have access to the latest products, and they can work with their clients to create the desired color, texture, and finish. These companies can also refinish or repaint kitchen cabinets, if this is desired.

Incidentally, when selling a house, making updates to the kitchen and the bathroom is one of the best ways to get a return on one's money. Countertop and cabinet refinishing is not very costly, and it can make a home much more appealing to potential buyers.

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