If the kitchen countertops in your home are old and worn, you may be wondering what to do with them. The debate about the cost of refinishing countertops versus tearing them out and replacing them with new granite or quartz countertops is never-ending, and one of the most important first questions we'll explore.
- Is refinishing a good idea?
- How much money does it save to refinish countertops versus replacing them?
- What kind of looks can you give to refinished countertops?
- Is it a DIY job or should I hire a pro?
This Countertop Guide article about refinishing countertops will help you decide whether or not cost of refinishing the countertops in your own home makes sense for you, your skills and your budget.
Countertop Refinishing Options
There are quite a few countertop refinishing products from places like Lowes hardware and many others, including our store, that can give your kitchen or bathroom counters the look of new ones, extending their life by 10-15 yeas and possibly longer. With well under $1000 and a few good days of labor, many of the countertop refinishing products offer a very attractive alternative to replacing them. There are limits to the type of materials you can use to finish countertops with, but several work very well.
Re-Laminate - One option is to add laminate sheets over existing laminate countertops. Laminate is available in literally hundreds of colors and patterns, giving you a wide selection of choices.
Epoxy Coatings - Another popular option is epoxy that can produce a variety of looks including faux granite. Blends of polymer resins are also available that can be mixed into virtually any color for refinishing countertops or even give them the look of stone replacement countertops.
All of these materials – laminate sheeting, epoxy and polymer resin – are extremely durable and long-lasting. While there are limits to the type of materials for refinishing countertops, there is almost no limit to the look you can give refinished countertops, and you can find many great DIY products along with instructional DVDs in our store.
Countertops That Can be Refinished
Obviously, you would not want to glue a new laminate on top of your existing concrete or granite countertops, but if you do... you won't likely be the first. The types of countertops that can be refinished versus replacing them include tile, cultured marble, and laminate. In addition, you can refinish solid wood countertops rather than replace them as well, in the same way you would refinish a wood floor.
Refinishing Countertops takes Less Time than Replacing
When you time compare the price of refinishing versus replacing countertops, you’ll see one of the advantages of refinishing is in the amount of time you are out of the kitchen, much less!
If you plan to replace countertops, you’ll need to start the process several weeks before you want the job done. Stonecrafters has a great FAQ about ordering custom countertops. You’ve got to diagram and measure the existing countertops, select and order the replacement countertops and wait for them to be made. Once they’re done, you remove the old countertops and then begin the installation process which can be time-consuming in itself.
When refinishing countertops versus replacing countertops, the process can take a week or less, with the actual refinishing being done in just 1-3 days depending on how much countertop surface you have. If you want to get your kitchen transformed for the holidays, a graduation open house or other event, the time comparison is clearly in favor of refinishing countertops.
Refinishing Costs up to 60% Less than Replacing Countertops
When you cost compare refinishing countertops versus replacing them, you’ll see that you can save a lot of money refinishing countertops. This is especially true if you have good DIY skills and can do some or all of the work yourself. On average, homeowners save between 30% and 70% by refinishing versus replacing countertops. The better your DIY skills for home projects, the more you can save when refinishing countertops.
Should You Hire a Pro?
Even though you aren't going to do a full kitchen remodeling project, you can still call out a professional contractor (find a local contractor) to give you refinishing estimates on your job. Like any home improvement project, we always recommend getting at least 3 quotes from qualified professionals, and never sign the contract until you have had one night to sleep on the quote.
Share Your Experience with Others!
What kind of DIY skills do you have? Do you enjoy taking on home projects and learning new skills? When you account for the total cost of countertop replacement, you see real advantages in refinishing your countertops. And when you see the range of styles, colors and looks you can give your old countertops, you might want to try refinishing countertops versus replacing them.