When purchasing a new home it’s easy to get carried away with a massive list of hypothetical updates. That is, until the papers are signed and the sticker shock sets in. We experienced this ourselves upon purchasing our first home. Our “must haves” list quickly became our “maybes” list as soon as we allocated funds to a major attic bedroom remodel. Finding temporary alternatives became a necessary option right off the bat.
We had to bring our marble taste back down to our laminate budget.
One area of our house that had to get updated was our kitchen countertops. When we purchased our house the laminate countertops had been painted with dark brown countertop paint that was no longer in tip top shape. This seemed to be accentuated by the yellow walls and two-toned cabinets as well.
We initially went to our local Home Depot to get a quote for new laminate, but for the size of the countertop in comparison to the price they quoted us, it just didn’t seem worth it. That’s when we began to dig for a cheap alternative to cover the existing countertops while we pushed the task of updating them all together down our to do list for a few months… maybe years.
During my search I found a ton of countertop paint alternatives with detailed videos on how to update the surface with marble and granite designs. But I didn’t trust myself to get the same result. That’s when I came across a slew of posts and videos about covering countertops with contact paper. At first, I was extremely skeptical and had a few questions.
Wouldn’t it peel off immediately?
Where would I put anything mildly hot?
What would happen if a knife nicked the surface?
I rationalized my apprehension with “well, we’re just going to get rid of the countertop if this doesn’t work anyway.”
DC Fix Grey Marble Contact Paper
After doing my research I settled on the DC Fix Grey Marble Contact Paper as it seemed to be thicker than average contact paper, and had a plethora of positive reviews. As an added bonus it was on sale on the Walmart website for $4 a roll. Each roll was about 6ft long, so I ordered an unnecessary 3 rolls just to be safe, but would have been fine with two based on our counter space. I also ordered an X-acto knife as well to make cutting around our sink much easier. When I received the contact paper in the mail and unrolled it, I was pleasantly surprised by it’s quality. It was thick and had a really pretty and believable marble design.
The Marble Contact Paper Application Process
Being the antsy person that I am, I insisted on applying the contact paper to the countertops the same day we received it in the mail.
Step #1: Get your supplies in reaching distance
The first thing we did for the application process was to make sure we had all of the tools we needed in reaching distance. The supplies we used included:
- Paper Towel
- DC Fix Grey marble Contact Paper
- X-acto Knife
- Smoothing tool (I used my wide-edged Cricut vinyl smoothing tool, but a credit card would ‘ve worked just fine)
Step #2: Thoroughly clean the countertop surface
The next thing we did before actually applying the contact paper was cleaned off the surface. The most important part of this step was to get rid of any crumbs on the surface that could potentially create bubbles.
Step #3: Cut your strips of contact paper
We then worked on figuring out what length of contact paper would cover a portion of the countertop from back to front using the grid on the back of the paper. Once we had a good estimate, we have ourselves a little wiggle room and cut our strips of contact paper. We decided to opt for multiple pieces of contact paper, instead of a few long strips to make it easier on us.
Step #4: Start from the corner or edge
Once we had our contact paper cut, we then started in the back corner of our countertop for our first piece. This gave us some leeway to mess up because it would most likely be covered by our dish drying rack. Peeling away the paper backing slightly, I lined up the straight edge to the back corner of the countertop and slowly removed the backing little by little while I smoothed the surface down with my smoothing tool. Any excess contact paper I let fold over and stick to the bottom side of the countertop. I then repeated this process on the rest of the flat surface of the countertop until I got to my stove.
TIP: Do the flat surface of the countertop first, and then do the back splash portion with smaller strips separately to make your life easier.
Step #5: Cut strips for around the sink
During my research I saw plenty of people cover their entire sink with one piece of contact paper then use their X-acto knife to cut the perimeter of the sink. I instead opted for multiple small pieces because the space around my sink was pretty small. Using the same peel back process I smoothed down my strips of contact paper, overlapping each edge of the sink by about a half inch to an inch. Once all of the strips were placed I then took my X-acto knife and slowly cut down the edge of the sink that meets the countertop.
Step #6: Reinforce the folded over contact paper
Once the tedious, but surprisingly forgiving process of laying the pieces of contact paper was complete, we reinforced the portion that was folded over onto the particle board bottom of the laminate with tiny nails. We put a new nail in about every inch or so.
Step #7: Give yourself a high-five
That’s it! Once the contact paper was smoothed out and trimmed down to our standards, we were able to put our kitchen utensils and supplies back on our countertop.
Tip: This process was made much easier as a two man job. Having my boyfriend John available to hand me different tools or keep the contact paper from curling was key to getting it on straight.
The Final Countertop Transformation
We were so happy with how our countertops turned out, and have been shocked by how well they’ve held up. We opted to put an over the counter cutting board from ikea next to our stove to make it less likely we’d burn the surface. We’ve now had our marble contact paper countertops for about 6 months and there is no sign of wear and tear even around the sink where we hand wash all of our dishes (On that note, do they make $12 dishwashers?).