This was hands down the most difficult part of the reno, and the most involved/attention to detail sensitive item too. I'm going to spend some time breaking down each step, and sharing my wins, my pitfalls, and what I'd do differently to save you from making the same missteps I did.
First off, I did a ton of research. We had some small, builder grade tile countertops that were old, ugly, and poorly done. I wasn't sure if I needed to remove them and start fresh, or if I could find something to just go over them (much more my speed). I looked into laminate as a replacement, but that was going to run me between $2000 and $2500 for the kitchen. Solid surface, like Corian, was going to cost $3-$4K, and don't even get me started on granite or other stone options. Not to mention the demo of the existing countertops, and the uncertainty that the cheap cabinetry could handle the removal of the existing top without crumbling. I was struggling. I wanted something that was food safe, heat resistant, stain resistant, and scratch resistant. Enter marine-grade epoxy.
I loved that it would go over my existing tile countertops, with some prep work, and that once hardened it was food safe, heat resistant, stain resistant and scratch resistant. On top of that, the kit I needed for my square footage was just over $220. I had never done anything like this before, but at that price point, I was IN. The brand I used is Stone Coat Countertops, and I went with the Carrera Marble kit.
Let me preface this by saying I am a fairly competent DIYer by nature. I'm a perfectionist, I follow instructions diligently from my time as a chemist, and my attention to detail is high. I don't mind going slow and taking all the time necessary to do something right. And, I've done a lot of work with my hands over the years - especially since getting our bungalow - so I felt reasonably confident that I could manage the process.
I started by watching several of the instructional videos - there are a TON. I recommend watching them while eating lunch for several days while diligently taking notes. I think I watched the full length process video from Stone Coat a total of 11 times throughout the process. Here are the videos I found the most helpful:
1) Can you apply epoxy over existing tile? Short answer, yes! Details in this Stone Coat post.
I also referenced the Stone Coat FAQ page, this article on 5 Common Mistakes DIYers make, and read this article on how to apply epoxy countertops many times - she shares so many good tips and tricks to avoid pitfalls she discovered during her own DIY.
So now that you have all the links and the why, follow along as I think "I've got this!" then "No turning back now..." followed by "What the %$^@ was I thinking?" and culminating in all the heart eyes. Questions? Drop them in the comments, or shoot me a message on instagram @Simplicityandcoffee