When you are renting, always consult with your landlord before making any significant changes in your rental unit. You have options for covering your kitchen countertops when your landlord is not willing to replace the countertops; however, any option that cannot be removed in a matter of minutes should be approved by your landlord.
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An easy solution to covering up a worn or ugly countertop is to place a piece of clear Plexiglas over the existing countertop. The Plexiglas should be cut to fit the shape and size of the existing countertop. Place wallpaper under the Plexiglas without gluing it to the surface. Choose a colour and pattern you like, textured or untextured, and place the Plexiglas on top of it. You can prepare food and have a new looking countertop that can be removed at a moment's notice.
Formica/laminate countertops can be painted with your landlord's permission. Sand the surface, and use your colour choice of melamine paint, which adheres to the surface. Allow it to dry completely, and apply another coat. When that is dry completely, apply a coat of a polyacrylic sealant as a topcoat. Another option is to purchase three latex paint colours, and perform a faux paint technique to achieve a travertine or tumbled marble look. Paint on a base coat, and apply a lighter and darker coat with a damp paper towel.
Ceramic Tiles and Floor Tiles
Kitchen countertops can be covered with ceramic tiles or other floor tiles, which is a permanent change so your landlord will need to approve this method. Clean the countertop, affix tiles to the countertop with tile cement and grout in between the tiles with your colour choice of grout. Apply clear sealant over the grouted areas. You may choose 1-foot square tiles or 6-inch tiles.
Cover an old countertop with a piece of removable wood to look like a butcher block. Cut to the size and shape of the counter, and position it on top of the countertop. Sand the surface, and seal with clear acrylic sealant. Take the wood with you when you move. Alternatively, use light maple parquet floor tiles for a butcher block look on top of the kitchen counter.
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