Any way to cover an old countertop without replacing?

We have a bright-orange melamine (I think - it’s the cheap, plasticky crap, anyway) countertop in our kitchen that is due to be replaced in the next couple of years (i.e., when we can afford it), but until then, is there something we can do to make this a not-bright-orange countertop?

Can we paint it, or something? Anything? Anybody got any neat, crafty, thinking-outside-the-box kind of ideas?

We had something like that. We coated it with a thin coat of glue, poured some bird seed on it, then when it was dry, brushed off the excess and poured epoxy resin over it to make it flat. Cool effect, but got scratched reasonably easily.

The other option is the sand the crap out of it, then paint it with a two-part epoxy paint. That should stand up the best.

You can tile over it. You can also paint it - have to scuff it up first and prime. There’s a special kind of primer for melamine but I know of people who just used regular primer and it has held up fine. It’s very easy to paint it to look like granite. Painting is probably a lot cheaper than tiling. Not sure what kind of home improvement stores you have near you but you can get slab sheets of Formica for really cheap at Home Depot. If you install it yourself, you save a lot of money - that’s where the biggest cost is.

That birdseed idea sounds neat-o.

Contact paper. I used it once on a hideous kitchen counter in a rental place and it worked great.

Ah, very interesting ideas. Birdseed, painting, contact paper - all very intesting. The great thing about this is that the countertop is getting replaced anyway, so we can do whatever we want to it. Sweet freedom!

Another vote for a degreasing and thorough sanding, then coat with epoxy paint.

I’ve never liked tiled countertops as they’re a pain to clean. Also, unless you take out the sink before tiling, you’re faced with how to handle the junction of sink edge and tiles. Even by using the rounded-edge tiles, you’ll have an eternally difficult to clean valley all the way around the sink. I’m assuming an orange laminate surface has a self-rimmed stainless steel sink.

Be aware that the final surface is paint - you can’t use it a a cutting board or pot rest - the stuff needs some relatively careful treatment. And, it pretty much will look like a painted countertop, no matter how well you do it and how gently you treat it in the following years. But, anything’s better than orange Formica! (Are you living in the Brady Bunch’s kitchen?)

Well, judging from the shag carpet and the wood light fixtures… (70’s kitsch is trendy again, right? Right?)

I’ll second the contact paper idea. I did that at two consecutive apartments. It is much easier than sanding and priming and painting, and gives you a good sanitary surface.

You will have to replace it at some point, because even if you’re careful of it, the pattern will start to fade. I probably replaced mine every 6-9 months. It’s so cheap and easy to do that replacing it isn’t much of a chore.

Here’s a tip on getting the edges right–cut your piece slightly wider than the area you want to cover. Stick it to the counter top, smoothing it from the middle outward. When you get near where you want to cut it–usually when it reaches the sink or the back wall or something like that–make sure you press really well into the corner. Then take a table knife or something and press it more finely. Then take an Xacto knife and trim it flush with the edge. Voila! Perfect edge!

Come to think of it, I had contact paper countertops for 4 years. I received lots of compliments, actually. :slight_smile:

I never thought of trying contact paper. It holds up without polyurethane?

(If you paint, you MUST put several coats of poly, unless you want it to chip in about 5 seconds.)

You could always replace it with concrete ones! And for advice on how to make your kitchen ala Brady look good, check out Brini Maxwell. Yes, it’s a guy in drag, but he/she does have excellent taste, and knows what works and what doesn’t.

Oh, my - I have that globe fixture beside the reclining Brini in my kitchen. I really do have a Brady house.

Eh, it holds up well enough for the cost. I hadn’t done it for a while, but Green Bean pretty much nailed the method. And you can change it whenever you want!