Want to update crappy formica countertops on a tight budget AND be eco-friendly? Check this out!

Home Stager with a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing

This post is courtesy of Dana Tucker of Bell & Tucker.  Dana & I had coffee recently in downtown Franklin, and were chatting about how to make homes look great when they go on the market.  But we both know that sellers (or really any of us) don't want to spend a fortune on a house if we can help it - especially when we are moving out.  One of the biggest issues I run into around my neck of the woods, is that many starter homes (and many not so starter homes) have formica countertops - often in not very good condition.  In many areas of the country this isn't really an issue but around here, buyers expect more - usually granite.  This is out of the budget range for many sellers, not to mention the time it takes & the mess it can cause.  And you granite people I use and love - this isn't against granite - simply an alternative (and a pretty cool one at that)!

Here's what Dana had to say:

"I’d like to introduce you to a little counter top magic. Maybe it’s not really magic, but it sure can make ugly Formica counter tops disappear. We use a concrete overlay product that can be applied to virtually any surface like laminate, tile, wood, fireplace surrounds and Formica. It can be used on floors, tub and shower surrounds, and of course, counter tops. It is an environmentally friendly product because it is LOW V.O.C. But even more Earth friendly is the fact that you don’t have to tear out your old counter tops and tile. When you use a concrete micro topping in your kitchen or bathroom remodel you will be re-cycling your existing surfaces and keeping them out of the landfill.

The home owners wanted to upgrade the counter tops because they were putting their house on the market. Today’s home buyers have watched endless hours of HGTV shows like “House Hunters” and have granite or stone counter tops very high on the priority list. We were able to simulate a limestone texture in a solid durable finish for a significant savings over the price of granite.

This concrete micro topping can be finished in limitless ways. Like the industrial stained look? We can do that. How about granite, marble or travertine? We can do that too. This finishing solution is perfect for home sellers looking to upgrade , home buyers looking to remodel, and the discriminating home owner wanting something completely original and custom. And although we can’t guarantee that Al Gore will send you a “thank you” letter, we do know that the Earth will thank you."

What I thought was really great about the process is that it meets so many of my requirements when staging a home:

  • cost effective
  • quick turn around time for installation
  • looks great
  • amps up the look of the house and makes buyers say "wow"

The only thing it doesn't do is bring the "real stuff" in to the home, but the great part about it is that it is super durable and installed well so that it isn't a cheap & skeezy product that some people try to pawn off on unsuspecting buyers.  For many sellers, this type of product can be the answer to the formica countertop problem.

Bell & Tucker are Faux Artisans in the Nashville Area.  Find them at http://www.bellandtucker.com or follow them on twitter @danatucker


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Walter Hayes 05/10/2010 04:31 AM
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Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Thanks for posting. We learn a lot from Active Rain blogs. Best Regards

May 10, 2010 04:28 AM #1
Julia Odom
Select Realty Professionals - Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga Homes for Sale

I've seen this but I haven't heard anything about how durable it is. Seems that with a very thin coat of just about anything, it would crack and flake pretty quickly. Have you heard this concern addressed?

May 10, 2010 04:29 AM #2
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

What a great idea!  Now I'll have to find out if anyone in our area does this kind of work.  It looks like a very cost-effective way to update before selling.

May 10, 2010 04:33 AM #3
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Cool.  Now we just need a do-it-yourself version.  I'm definitely going to have to look into that.  My own lovely 60's yellow countertops are crying out for a make over.  Thank you for the post.  This applies to Soooooo many homes in my area.

May 10, 2010 04:33 AM #4
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Great solution for updating countertops, I'll have to check into this.  It will also come in handy in my staging business.

May 10, 2010 05:06 AM #6
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Thanks Liz.  I have a concrete expert in my area that does many great applications and now I will ask him if he does this. 

May 10, 2010 05:36 AM #7
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Liz, we have a faux finish artist in our area who showed us samples of this concrete technique and it looks amazing.  It was a while ago, and I'd kind of forgotten about it, so I'm glad of the reminder.  I think old, ugly formica countertops are lurking in every city - you're not alone!

May 10, 2010 05:55 AM #8
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author


Formica looks good, is easy to install and has a eye candy feel to it. Does it last? No........Good awareness post thank you

May 10, 2010 06:51 AM #9
Dana Tucker

Thanks Liz for featuring our counter tops on your blog. I wanted to address some of the questions that have come up about durability. The counters are finished with a commercial grade epoxy coating and it is very durable. These tops will hold up to years of use as long as they are taken care of. I wouldn't cut on them or put a hot pan directly on them or clean them with abrasive cleaners or scouring pads. I would care for them much like you would Corian

May 10, 2010 07:45 AM #10
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Cool blog. I have a property I'm doing a proposal for right now where this would come in handy. I'll have to check for someone in my area. Thanks for the post.

May 10, 2010 11:19 AM #11
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Liz, thank you so much for sharing this information with us.  When we can offer our clients alternative solutions we elevate ourselves beyond being just a "home stager."  We become the professional.  I'm going to look in my area for someone who has experience in this.  

Dana- can you give us a cost comparison of doing this vs granite? 

May 11, 2010 07:15 AM #12
Dana Tucker

Kathy, the average kitchen that we do is around $2000. Most of our customers have been quoted around $4000 for basic granite with tear out and installation and with the no frills edging. In most cases we are about half. We do have higher end finishes, but that is what we can do for a limestone or simple stone finish like the one in the picture. 



May 14, 2010 10:19 AM #13
Linda Leyble
The Colorful Bee Interiors - Great River, NY

Hi - I know that I am only seeing this now...but I've done the concrete overlay finish. It' made by a company called Faux Effects (and there are a few other companies that make it as well - but Faux Effects makes the best products). I am a home stager but I am also a faux finisher.  You have to take the class in order to know how to apply this correctly - and it's not a 123 and you're done finish.  I've used it in staging - but, so far, only on bathroom vanities.  You need to seal the finish - once you've put a few layers of the decorative conrete on.  The best sealer is an Epoxy finish - which is not that easy to do...it's a 2 part mix that has to be exact.  Once you've applied this - then you wait until it's completely dried and then you can sand it lightly to take away the glossiness of the epoxy. When I do it it looks like Limestone - it's really beautiful.

It works great - but it's time consuming and you have to know what you are doing!






Jan 15, 2012 08:15 AM #14
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