A trend in home improvement and restoration is seeing a growing number of people completing home renovations on a do-it-yourself basis. For the most part, this has traditionally been done by contractors and retirees, but new products and innovations are leading a new breed of homeowner to attempt these feats themselves. When it comes to kitchen renovations, nothing tops countertops, and while some DIY renovators have come up with some truly unique and impressive designs, others are simply buying epoxy or urethane overcoats. These products are marketed as a revolution in technology that gives buyers a like-new countertop for less than $100, but are they getting all that is being promised?
Unique Countertops from Scratch
While epoxy coating is being used by people of all types and skill levels in attempts to improve existing countertops, others actually have the talent, time and experience to create some truly unique designs. Some of these designs use concrete, and others employ backlighting technology, both of which are being routinely accomplished by contractors in every major city. However, others have built masterpieces that can be seen nowhere else in the world. Of course, some are completely novel, like the countertop made of pennies we featured in 2013 or this new countertop constructed of 20,000 Lego blocks.
The Backlighting Trend
Not everyone is savvy enough to complete their own backlighting projects, but at least one homeowner has done so using a new technology known as SLABlite from Tylerco, Inc. Other backlighting options are available, such as those from Nu World, Outwater and Evo-Lite, but none of them are as well suited to DIY projects. That being said, if reader interest here at CountertopResource.com is any indication, backlit countertops are dramatically increasing in popularity, and they offer aesthetic appeal and ambiance that is difficult to match in low-light environments.
Epoxy to the Rescue?
Now, the heart of the matter and the whole reason I developed this blog post is that homeowners are increasingly being steered to complete countertop restorations on their own with over-the-counter epoxy products. While, in my opinion, trying to save money on a kitchen rennovation by making or refinishing your countertops is a bad idea, it is happening. This trend has been reinforced by the concrete flooring industry, with which I have a marginal relationship through writing promotional material. Since polished concrete was “invented,” or more aptly discovered, in the 1990s, it has become a popular option for floors of all types, including those in residential living spaces. The companies that install polished concrete floors recommend that they be coated with epoxy for protection, texture or color enhancement, and this has seemingly carried over into the countertop industry.
Epoxy coatings are available in a variety of types, and some of the work people have done with them is extraordinary in appearance. For instance, this woman created an amazing faux marble countertop using a combination of paint, glitter and epoxy for less than $30. In addition, this epoxy coating distributor based in Grand Junction, Colo., offers classes for both contractors and DIY homeowners and has some impressive work displayed on its website. Not only that, but major home-improvement box stores, such as Home Depot are providing consumers step-by-step instructions for homeowners to complete this work without the help of professional contractors. Finally, the DIY guru himself, Bob Vila, teaches the process through written instructions and video tutorials.
What I am curious to discover, and what I hope my readers hope to know, is what, exactly is the stance taken by fabricators and professional installers concerning DIY epoxy countertop coatings? What do you tell customers who want this service? Do you steer them toward higher-end resurfacing or try to sell them on the benefits of a total replacement? Do you offer professional epoxy restoration? What pitfalls should homeowners be warned about with the products available off the shelf? Do you offer superior service or an epoxy product not available in the retail consumer market.
If you have any experience with this or if you can answer any of the above questions, we want to hear from you. Feel free to tell us your story in the comments below or drop me an email at [email protected]. I look forward to what you have to say.