Create the concrete bar top look without pouring heavy concrete. This DIY Ardex Feather Finish countertop offers beautiful cement countertops with minimal effort. An easy way to give your kitchen a refresh in a weekend!
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These feather-finish concrete countertops were one of my favorite design elements in my recent kitchen refresh. I love the mix of the concrete look with the warmth of the butcher block, and best of all… it’s a pretty easy way to make a DIY bar top yourself.
The short version is that using Ardex Feather Finish for the countertops was easier and less work than pouring real concrete. And since real concrete is HEAVY, creating an Ardex Feather Finish countertop is much more accessible to most homeowners.
We had six weeks to finish the space when we worked on our kitchen refresh for The One Room Challenge. That’s a bit intense, considering this is our weekend home, and it allowed us about twelve days to get everything completed. But I LOVE the look of concrete in all forms (especially on countertops), so my heart was set on poured concrete to compliment the butcher block. About a week into the reno, I realized that the actual wall would need some reinforcement to hold a 2 + inch concrete countertop (my dream), and we would need brackets or something to hold the weight. Yikes!
I didn’t want to have brackets added to support the counter because it would take up valuable space, and two, we were quite honestly running out of time (remember, we only had six weeks to finish). So I thought, okay, I need a plan B. I had used a skim coat product once before at our rental home, and it has held up really well. So I decided I would use the same product here. You can peek at that DIY countertop here.
This is a simple DIY project; even a newbie DIY’er can do it. It requires some sanding, which is messy and requires patience. But I am confident you will love the results!
You’ll need just a few tools for this DIY bar top project.
Handy Paint Pail (with disposable liners)
Paint sticks to mix the product
Sandpaper (I hand sanded this time)
Here’s the exact process I used for this cement countertop DIY project. Keep in mind that you’ll need to apply several layers and allow a few hours for drying between each one, so you’ll likely want to split this DIY bar top project over 2 or 3 days.
The first thing I did was add plywood to give me the extra depth I was looking for. I like a larger profile countertop as it seems more substantial. We cut the plywood to the same size as the Formica by tracing the outline onto the plywood from the bottom and used wood glue and some screws to attach it.
I mixed the product according to the directions. NOTE: Small batches work best; otherwise, the product dries out too quickly.
The trick is to apply the thinnest, most even coat possible. The idea is to layer the product slowly.
Here, I filled the gaps between the Formica and plywood.
Let it completely dry to the touch (I waited 2 hours for each coat).
Sand to a smooth finish.
Wipe clean after sanding and add another layer of finish. Repeat a few times until you release the desired finish.
The next step was the 511 Impregnator. This is to seal the concrete so you won’t get water stains and food stains. I used three coats (letting them dry well between applications) that I spread with the sponge applicators.
And that’s all there is to make a DIY concrete bar top in a weekend!
This is four coats before sanding the last coat. I could have gotten away with three coats, but I got a little heavy-handed with the sanding on coat three and needed to even it out a bit.
Caring for these countertops has been easy. To clean them, we wipe them off with a gentle household cleaner.
Ardex Feather Finish is quite durable. It has held up to many parties at the lake! One thing to note is that if oil or water gets on it, it can leave a stain. If it does stain or chip at all (or some other flaw), you can quickly fix it by restaining and sanding it again.
The Feather Finish worked really well on the plywood over our old countertop. Here are the other surfaces you can use it on:
There are so many possibilities! I love how this turned out so much that I think I’ll try it out on a fireplace next.
Shop the kitchen here:
More Easy Weekend DIY Projects:
That’s all for now!
Until next time xo,