My top tips for applying an adhesive countertop cover to makeover your outdated counters on a tight budget.
The Studio kitchenette project is underway, and the first project I needed to knock out was updating the pink countertops. Truth be told, I love the pink counters. I painted them myself and was really proud of how durable they were. But now that we are remodeling the rest of the Studio and my husband’s collection’s room (basically a man cave, but he doesn’t like that term), the pink counters just looked out of place.
My budget was super tight, and I couldn’t afford the time or cost of replacing the counters, so I decided to give an adhesive countertop film a try. It’s similar to shelf liner, but made for using on countertops. A lot of people call it Contact Paper, but that’s actually a brand, not a material. (Kind of like how Crock Pot is a brand and slow cooker is the product.) If you’ve been considering covering your own countertops with a patterned liner, here are my top five tips for pulling off a job that will last until you’re able to replace them.
1. Use The Right Type Of Adhesive Liner
You can’t just throw any type of Contact Paper or shelf liner on a countertop and expect it to hold up to the wear and tear that’s to come in your kitchen. It’s super important to choose a liner that was made for countertops. I went with this product because the brand has great reviews for countertop installation. It’s slick and shiny, and seems like it’s easy to clean. I accidentally got paint on it yesterday and was able to remove the dried splatter without damage.
Keep in mind that even though the adhesive liner is made to go on countertops does not mean that it’s heat resistant. Any time you need to put a hot pan or dish down, make sure you are putting it on a thick pot holder or cutting board.
2. Get The Widest And Longest Roll Possible
With marble-style adhesive liners, it’s pretty much impossible to line up the seams. To minimize seams altogether, order the largest size you possibly can. That’s what I love about the countertop film that I used. It comes in 26.5 inches deep, which is perfect for countertops since they’re typically 24 inches deep. You will need that overflow of 2.5 inches to go around the countertop’s front edge.
For my kitchenette, the countertop was actually 30 inches deep because it’s a bartop, so there was no way for me to avoid a seam. It’s definitely noticeable, but it doesn’t bother me. If you’re a total perfectionist, the marble patterns are not for you and you should stick with granite-look instead.
You’ll also need to pick the longest roll you can so you can seamlessly run it all along the counter as one continuous piece. Corners are a little tricky, and I tried cutting both pieces in my corner at an angle but I didn’t like how it looked. I ended up just having a 90 degree seam cut, and it’s a lot less noticeable that way.
3. Use A Hair Dryer For Edges
The edges and corner ends of countertops are what get most people hung up. I found out from the product reviews that you can use a hair dryer to make the countertop film stretchy and easier to manipulate around curves. I tried it, and it totally worked! It took a lot of readjusting, trimming, and folding, but my corners and edges ended up super clean.
4. Caulk The Edges As If It Were A Real Stone Slab
Here’s where you take your project to the next level. Run a bead of caulk around the edges where your adhesive countertop film meets the wall and/or backsplash. If you had installed a real stone slab, there would be silicone caulk in the crack to keep crumbs from sliding down, and also just to make it look finished.
By caulking your edges, you make your installation look more realistic. But as a bonus, it also seals your edges so they are less likely to come up. Think of it like the tape on a wrapped present. The adhesive liner is the wrapping paper and caulk is the clear tape that secures it all. I used paintable latex caulk so I could paint it black to match the backsplash piece.
Note: The only thing I would have done differently was use the yellow Frog Tape for delicate surfaces instead of the regular green. It didn’t damage the countertop liner, but it did try to pull it up. I had to hold it down and fix a few places as I removed the tape.
5. Use Leftover Liner For Shelves And Drawers
You will probably have some leftover adhesive film, so why not make the most of the money you spent by using it on cabinet shelves and inside drawers? This makes things look more cohesive and intentional, but also protects your shelves and drawers from spills. Since the adhesive countertop film is waterproof, you won’t get stains or damage from cups and utensils that didn’t get dried all the way.
Would You Try Contact Paper Countertops?
When I shared this project on my social media accounts, I got all kinds of opinions, from praise to concern. I also got questions about the durability, which I can’t answer yet since I just installed it this week. I’d love to keep the conversation going in the comments section below. Would you try it on your countertops? Have you tried it before? Keep the comments helpful, kind, and non-judgmental of others, but feel free to share your honest opinions.
Greta A Woodbury says
Did you need to remove the sink to install?
Brad Gandy says
Hi Greta, you do not have to remove the sink first.
Thank you for the tips. I am trying this with mine as I am in a rental. The current countertops are absolutely garbage. I was advised to give a light sanding and wipe down with a dust cloth and alcohol to ensure it’s clean. Wish me luck!
Brad Gandy says
Best of luck, Tricia! That sounds like an excellent cleaning plan, and we’re glad we could help give you some inspiration.
I’m trying this this weekend and so excited! Thank you for the tips. The blow dryer tip is awesome!
Brad Gandy says
Good luck, Sylvia! We’re glad we could help get you started.
Jacquline Parker says
What a great way to do my counters…love it.
Brad Gandy says
We’re glad it helped you, Jacquline.
I love this idea. My countertops are blue and show every little spot, plus they’re old so they show every little old spot. We aren’t ready to tackle putting in new countertops, so this may just be the way to go.
Brad Gandy says
Happy to help, Jan!