DIY concrete countertop: Before and after kitchen makeover

Many people are stuck with an outdated kitchen because it’s just suuuuuuuccchhhh an expensive space to redo! While an entirely new kitchen may be out of reach, there are some affordable jobs you can do yourself to give your kitchen a new look.

Today we’re sharing a clever, cost-effective DIY that can see you turn that bland laminate countertop into an on-trend and durable concrete finish. This is a great option if you can’t afford to splurge on stone or if you’re saving up for that ultimate kitchen but want a change NOW. The best part is, you can do this DIY concrete countertop project over a weekend.

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Before kitchen makeover

Items you will need:

  • Primer (we suggest ECO Prim Grip)
  • One bag Ardex Feather Finish
  • Sealer
  • Leveller
  • Bucket and stirrer
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge


1. Firstly, give your countertop a clean and good sanding to prepare the surface. Apply masking tape around your sink (or remove the sink if you can) and anywhere that your kitchen joins with another surface that you don’t want to cover (e.g oven cooktop). We also suggest applying a primer, such as ECO Prim Grip, to help the Feather Finish adhere to the bench. Although we didn’t do this in our kitchen and the counter is still looking great 3 years on but it’s recommended and something we’ve been doing in later Feather Finish DIYs.

2. Mix up a small batch of Feather Finish — around one cup and slowly add water while stirring. You want to keep stirring until you have the consistency of cake batter (not too thick that it won’t spread easily but not too thin that it won’t grip to the surface).

Mixing up Ardex Feather Finish
Mixing up Ardex Feather Finish concrete render

3. Next, work quickly to spread the mixture over your countertop (the mixture starts drying after five minutes). You want to create a thin, smooth layer. Don’t be concerned if after your first coat you can still see patches of the old countertop underneath — you will apply at least three coats of this mixture.

Applying the first coat DIY concrete countertop
Applying the first coat

4. Wait until the first coat is completely dry (it will become light grey) before lightly sanding it. Smooth out rough edges and imperfections.

Sand the kitchen bench well
Sand the kitchen bench well

5. Next, apply a second thin coat and allow it to completely dry before sanding. (At this stage you may be looking at your countertop thinking ‘What have I done?!’. We were laughing hysterically at the hot mess we had created but don’t worry, it will come together and look awesome!)

Keep layering the concrete mixture DIY concrete countertop
Keep layering the concrete mixture

6. Apply a third thin coat and allow it to completely dry before sanding it smooth. (By now you should be thinking ‘Damn I’m good!’. Your countertop might be ready to seal after this step or you may need to do one or two more thin coats depending on the colour of your countertop and the coverage you were able to get.)

7. Once you have perfectly sanded your final coat of Feather Finish, apply two generous coats of matt finish sealer with a sponge to seal your countertop and keep the moisture out.

Seal with two generous coats
Seal with two generous coats

Hot tips:

  • Carefully apply thin layers (think crepe thickness!)
  • Clean up your mess while you work. If you get any mixture on the splashback or cabinetry, it will be easier to remove this with a damp sponge while it’s still wet
  • Allow each layer to completely dry before sanding or you will lift off all your hard work
  • Give each layer a good sanding as it will leave you with a super smooth and hard finish
  • Also get the right tools. We had to use our fingers to apply the mixture on the sides of the countertop as we didn’t have a small enough leveller — it was messy and took longer
  • Reapply sealer at least once a year to keep your countertop protected

We love how this product completely mimics concrete — a natural pattern and mottled texture.

If you want to take on a DIY concrete countertop project, why not ‘pin’ our tutorial to your Pinterest account or share it on Facebook so you can return to it when you need it?

More home DIYs

Finished kitchen bench top makeover DIY concrete countertop
Voila! Your kitchen bench top has a new look
Smooth and durable finish DIY concrete countertop
Smooth and durable finish
Close up of Ardex Feather Finish DIY concrete countertop
Close up of Ardex Feather Finish

Reader DIY concrete countertop

We love seeing your DIY projects and Alison recently shared how she used our tutorial to create this fabulous outdoor BBQ area! The combination of concrete and timber is always a winning combo and we love that arch doggy door. Thanks for sharing!

Outdoor BBQ
Outdoor BBQ

This article was first published in October 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.

Koala cleaning


  1. Hi,

    Would this be suitable for an outdoor kitchen? I’m considering multiple options to build my bbq area but I don’t know how durable would be doing it this way over time… considering that it’ll be exposed to rain and sunlight in a permanent way.

  2. Hi, I know it’s been a while but wondering what size bag of feather finish you used? The 10kg or 4.5kg

    Also have you ever tried doing a cabinet with this finish?


      • Hi Gina,

        Thanks so much for the fast reply. I’ll grab the bigger bag then.
        I was actually thinking about doing my bottom kitchen cabinets instead of painting them. Maybe I should test it out on something else first.

        And I should add that if people are having trouble sourcing the Ardex brand after lots of research and ringing around it turns out the Dunlop ardit Feather touch sold at bunnings is the exact same product and made by ardex!

  3. hi I know its a few years in since you have done the countertops but I am curious as to the durability of the concrete layer. I am an old fashioned cook who still uses hand grinders etc that must be viced onto the bench, plus I make my own schnitzels etc, therefore a bit of bashing goes on occasionally to thin home grown meat etc…
    I am guessing being what it is it may not hold up to the old fashioned cooks ways (I personnally am not that old just like the results from cooking the way I do).
    I have 7.5metres of bench to cover and I need to ensure it is durable enough to hold up to my kitchen habits. hehehe….I am guessing that perhaps it wouldn’t but thought I’d ask anyway since you have experience with the results of the bench top.

    thank you.

    • Hi Shaz

      We used this kitchen for 4 years after doing the concrete finish and it held up very well. There were a few areas where it had chipped but we did zero maintenance on the counter – ideally it should be cleaned and sealed each year. It’s also possible to patch areas where it has chipped so there is always this option should it get damaged. I think you’ll find clamping it could cause the bench to dent unless you applied quite a few coats though. Hope this info helps!

    • Hi Nicholas, could you clarify what you mean? Do you think Feather Finish isn’t hard enough to pass as concrete? It’s just a finishing material that’s applied on top of an existing surface, not to be poured into a mould? We had no issue at all with this kitchen counter 4 years on 🙂

  4. Hello and thank you for sharing your excellent project. Looks great! I would love to find out how the bench is holding up a couple years later and if it needed any more coats of sealer since.

    • Thanks Marinos! The kitchen bench is holding up really well and we have not been taking care of it as we should! There is a bit of minor chipping on the bench edge (where we’ve accidentally slammed down cutting boards or knocked it) but you can add a step in to this tutorial to help prevent this. After sanding, you can apply a special primer such as Eco Systems Prep ‘n’ Prime which will help the concrete feather finish grip much better. Also, we should be resealing the bench each year but haven’t been doing this. So for not having primed the bench and for not sealing it, we’re pretty amazed how great it looks 🙂

      • Thanks again Style Curator 🙂
        I will be using your advice on our old/new bench. I think you have saved us a lot of money and also helped me keep the wife happy. Ile be happy to share pics when done if you have an email address or contact for I can use to send them.

  5. This looks so awesome! We just got into our new apartment, and were thinking of doing something similar for our dining table. Just wondering how the countertop is holding up over time? We’re trying to find the best sealer we can for the job and were considering the Aquamix one you’ve used here, so any indications on how it wears would be really, really amazing! Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Vicky, so sorry for our late reply. We totally recommend this DIY and the products used – our kitchen countertop is holding up great! Not all sealers out there are safe for food preparation areas but this one is and it’s lasting the distance. Next up, we plan on following this DIY to make an outdoor kitchen 🙂 Best of luck with your makeover!

  6. Awesome post, about to attempt this on our ugly blue kitchen benchtops , will send some pics if you like. Ardex feather finish was slightly nightmarish to track down, if you are in melbourne then i got it from Trident flooring in Campbellfield.

  7. Hi. Great job. In Australia where did you get the Ardex Feather finish from? In regards to grout eg where benchtop meets tiling do I remove grout then contrete and then re grout or not needed to remove and or replace? Thanks.

    • Hi Natalie,

      Thank you! There are a number of Ardex stockists across Australia who would supply Feather Finish or could order it in for you. Best thing to do is contact Ardex and ask them where the closest stockist is to you:

      We didn’t remove the grout and reapply it and were happy with the end result. So long as you apply the layers thinly and create a clean line where it meets the wall (we carefully wiped excess away with a damp sponge), you will get a good result.

      Hope this helps 🙂


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