Updating formica countertops
For instance, at the end of my last post on this subject, I included this little gem: And you know what?
I just realized that if it gets really bad, I could always strip the wax and put on a new coat of Ardex. So Sunday afternoon, around 2pm, I pulled out the wax remover.
And once that was dry, I put on 5 — yes, Why five coats? My experience with the first countertop taught me that every coat makes the counter look less patchy. Just make sure you choose a durable finish the Update (Oct 27, 2014): I went ahead and refinished the third and final counter using the sandpaper-only method, and it turned out beautifully.
Because it just kept looking better after each coat, so I just kept going until it looked perfectly glossy all around. Because it was 11 pm on a Sunday, and my one-day project was only one-third done after one day, and I was seriously debating whether or not refinishing the other two counters in the kitchen was worth it. So I got the wax remover out again, and poured a little spot of the pure, undiluted concentrate on the counter. Then I scrubbed that one little spot with a scrubby pad, rinsed it with water, and OH MY GOD, discovered bare concrete underneath. Except, for some unknown reason, the same method of wax-stripping didn’t work when spread out over a 2-by-3-foot area. So this time, I added a 6th coat…which did nothing to make the patchy half less patchy, and instead made the pretty, glossy half look milky and weird. Which leads me to believe that the issues with the second counter are a combination of wax remover and operator error, and not an Ardex or Final Coat thing.
Kinda makes me want to get a nanny-cam, so we can see exactly what goes on when we’re not home. After letting it sit for the requisite “3-5 minutes” and “agitating with an abrasive pad,” I wiped it up with an old towel, then rinsed the counters with clean water. I sanded with 60-grit sandpaper until my arms and shoulders were burning. Then I got out the 180-grit sandpaper to fix all the damage caused by the 60-grit.
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You may remember them from such posts as Faux-Crete Counters (From Scratch! They were super easy, super fast, super DIY-friendly, and — my personal favorite — super cheap. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I’ve recorded everything important that I’ve ever said about how awesome it is to skim-coat your counter tops with concrete, even if it scratches really easily.
Folks, it’s been over a year since we built these counters and skim-coated them with Ardex, and I’m here today to tell you: the honeymoon is over.