Resurfacing Kitchen Counters

What's the difference between resurfacing and refinishing kitchen counters? HGTV has the answer.



The terms "resurface" and "refinish" are often used interchangeably when describing the transformation of laminate counters. However, there are some subtle differences between the two concepts.

A Kitchen With Recycled Design

See All Photos

Hidden Potential

When Gayle Christopher bought her Leeds, Alabama, home, she had a sneaking suspicion that there was a stunning space lurking somewhere within her homely kitchen.

Flooring Worth Overlooking

Figuring out how to release the kitchen's hidden beauty was another story. "The space was trapped in the ’70s with fake butcher-block plastic, dark wood, and years of accumulated schmutz," says Gayle.

A Fresh New Face

With a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease, Gayle turned her dreary 1970s kitchen into a bright, inviting space. From painting the cabinetry to installing floors and fixtures, she handled every bit of the labor herself.

Black and White Design

Recycled-paper countertops and a simple tile backsplash anchor the classic palette, and are among the many green materials Gayle selected for the kitchen.

Open Range

A new range and hood replaced the tired model that was in place when Gayle bought her home. The white and black appliance works in harmony with the surrounding color palette.

Frugal Framing

Gayle crafted cabinet doorframes out of ordinary garden stakes from a home-improvement center, a solution right in line with her tight budget.

Open Shelving

Gayle left the doors off the uppermost kitchen cabinets, which helps to expand the space visually and gives her a spot to display dishware and cookbooks.

Inviting Accents

Gayle chose cup-style cabinet pulls to lend a hint of vintage appeal.

A Bright Breakfast Nook

Gayle and her dog Cooper relax in the breakfast area, which got a facelift along with the kitchen. She replaced the eroded flooring and added white paint to brighten up the space. Simple honeycomb-style blinds allow ample sunlight to filter in.

Resurfacing kitchen countertops actually involves either removing and replacing the laminate or completely re-covering it with a fresh layer of laminate (or even tile). Refinishing, meanwhile, typically involves repairing the counter, sanding down stains, and recoating the existing surface for an updated look.

Resurfacing your kitchen countertops, though, is still a cost-effective alternative—not to mention a low-cost investment that will last for years to come. Expect the resurfacing process to take anywhere from 36 hours to a full week, depending on the scope of the project.

Before getting started, know that any resurfacing job will require removing sink bowls and range tops; but don't worry, they can be re-affixed to the new surface. Also, the surface, whether it's the existing laminate or a particle board base, will need to be completely flat and smooth.

Note that new orders of laminate, once they have arrived in your kitchen, will need to acclimate to room temperature for at least 48 hours before you begin installing them.

Starting a Kitchen Remodel

Similar Topics:

Next Up

Resurfacing Kitchen Countertops

With kitchen countertop resurfacing, a new kitchen surface doesn't have to mean a hefty price tag.

Refinish Kitchen Countertops

Don't replace your kitchen countertops—refinish them with stylish options like faux granite refinishing kits, stone-look stick-on sheets, or a fresh recoating.

Wood Kitchen Countertops

Natural and completely down-to-earth, a wood countertop can provide a rustic or luxurious finish to your kitchen area.

Concrete Kitchen Countertop Options

Create a uniquely personal kitchen surface with the use of concrete countertops.

Choosing Kitchen Countertops

Granite or laminate? Get tips on how to find the right surface for your remodel.

Painting Kitchen Countertops

Is painting your kitchen countertops an attractive alternative to replacing or resurfacing your counters entirely? HGTV says the answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

Natural Counters Rise to the Top

When it comes to kitchen countertops, tile has been replaced by natural stone, solid surfaces and environmentally friendly alternatives.

Wood Kitchen Countertops

Versatile, functional and handsome, wood kitchen countertops can go from antique-chic to rustic elegance depending on the species, wood grain and finish.

Kitchen Countertop Replacements

Before you settle on a kitchen countertop replacement that's right for your space, consider the range of materials available—and the cost of installation—as well as the ease of future maintenance and repairs.

How to Decorate Kitchen Counters

Get all the info you'll need on decorating kitchen counters.


Catch Up With Our Blogs

We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, DIY projects, clever entertaining tips & more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.