How to do skim-coat refinishing on countertops

Written by jourdan townsend | 13/05/2017
How to do skim-coat refinishing on countertops
Concrete can be a neutral skim-coat material. (concrete backgrond image by Alison Bowden from

Refinishing your kitchen countertops can be much easier and less expensive than purchasing and installing new ones. Skim-coating old tile or laminate countertops with a masonry product can give you the durability and cleanliness of a stone finish without the extensive investment that products like marble or granite require. Concrete is an ideal masonry product for creating a skim-coat on your countertops, and is user-friendly for beginners.

Line the existing countertops with mesh concrete liner. Measure the length and width of the top of the countertop and each edge; subtract ½ inch from each measurement so that if the edge of the countertop chips, the liner will not show. Cut the liner with sharp scissors so that you have one piece to match each measurement.

Lay the top piece of mesh concrete liner into place. Use a drill with a screw bit to attach the liner to the existing countertop with drywall screws placed approximately every six inches. Hold each of the edge pieces in place and attach them in the same way.

Mix the dry concrete mix and the appropriate amount of water together until it is well-combined. Scoop up some concrete onto a flat metal trowel. Cover the entire countertop evenly in a layer of concrete between 3/8 and ½ inch thick.

Scoop up any concrete that falls off the countertop edges and reapply it with the trowel. Rub the face of the trowel across the flat surfaces of the concrete in straight lines to smooth the surface. Examine the concrete and look for inconsistent areas.

Spray any rough or uneven patches of concrete lightly with a spray bottle of water. Level and smooth these places by stroking them gently with the bristles of a paintbrush. Let the concrete settle for one hour.

Apply a second thin layer of concrete all over the countertop with the trowel. Finish the surface again with the trowel, spray bottle and paintbrush. Drag a rubber float lightly across the top of the concrete in straight lines from side to side; let the concrete coating dry for three days.

Things you need

  • Mesh concrete liner
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Drywall screws
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • Flat metal trowel
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Paintbrush
  • Rubber float

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