I’ve wanted to post a review of our DIY Ardex Feather Finish Concrete Countertops for a while. And as it would turn out, it’s been a year now since we’ve had them. Ahhh! It feels like this post has been one hundred years in the making….
Would I do it again? How are they holding up? I’ve had so many questions about this process that I thought I would put together a WHOLE post devoted to the FAQ’s.
If you want to see my application tutorial & video, go HERE.
So first off… This was an amazing budget friendly $50 project that transformed my kitchen. Let me remind you of the before…
Ouch….. Our house isn’t actually super old, but it had been neglected and abused. It was in rough shape you guys.
One nice thing about moving into a fixer upper where literally everything needs help, is that you don’t feel bad about doing crazy projects to improve it. If things had been in good, livable condition, I would have felt guilty about doing projects like this. Becuase it was SO bad, we were able to fearlessly embrace our renovation and make it our own. I mean, we couldn’t make it any worse, right?
But now let’s talk about how well they’ve held up. After a whole year of the Ardex being on our counters the edge has only chipped in one place. You can see where it happened in the above photo. If my memory serves me right, I think one of us dropped one of the upper cabinets or tool on it during the other kitchen renovations.
I’m planning on fixing it with some newly mixed Ardex concrete soon though. So no biggie. I’m actually impressed that it hasn’t dented up more.
The biggest issue we have had with these counters is oil and water. I typically avoid putting food directly on the counters (I always keep fruit in baskets or in the pantry, etc)… But water has soaked through some of the small pinholes here and there… The water usually dries up and leaves a faint, lighter watermark. Sometimes it totally disappears… sometimes it takes several days to dry. If oil gets through a pinhole in the sealer, you will get a nice dark stain that doesn’t go away. Those two spots in the photo above to the right are oil stains from baking.
The sealer is pretty air tight around the stove, but I tend to lay a dish towel down on the sides of the counters if I’m cooking anything greasy.
I did 3 coats of sealer (Polycrylic) and I think that it’s actually held up amazing. I wish I had added one or two more (to really get into those tiny pinholes where liquids get in)
The biggest problem area we’ve had is where our coffee pot accidentally dumped water onto the counter ( we usually have it on a cutting board on the side of the sink…) I was boiling hot water in it, and mindlessly added too much water. Long story short, I forgot about the coffee pot, and the water overflowed and sat on the counters overnight.
It left behind a permanent discoloration on the Ardex & made the sealer crackle a bit. I was so mad at myself, but once it dried up, I was glad to see it wasn’t as damaged as I thought it should have been.
Honestly, all in all I am pleased with how it’s held up. Sure, it’s not perfect, but the small stains don’t bother me. I’m planning on doing some touch up on them soon. If anything, the stains give it some rustic character, which I love. But just know that if you are a perfectionist and you don’t want that “character” (haha!) then Ardex Feather Finish Countertops probably aren’t for you. Or you could also just add like 10 layers of sealer. I’m pretty sure that would work.
So there is my 1 year review of our DIY Ardex Feather Finish Concrete Countertops.
Would I do it again? YES!
Would I change anything about my process? Yes! I would add more coats of sealer.
Now for some FAQ’s I’ve gotten on Instagram:
Q: How careful do you have to be when cleaning and how does it hold up to stains?
A: Just don’t use something scratchy like steel wool on it. I use sponges and green pads on mine. For cleaners I mainly use water and soap (and occasionally a spritz of bleach). I haven’t personally tried anything harsher than that.
Q: Would you recommend painting your cabinets first?
A: Depends.We painted our cabinets first. There is sanding involved in this process, so I did have to clean up a lot of concrete dust. But you will be cleaning up either way. And if you get any little specks of concrete on your cabinets, you can scrub them off pretty easy.
Q: Do you know if Ardex can be used on a tile backsplash?
A: I haven’t personally done that, but I have seen people do this over a tile countertop, if that helps. Just make sure whatever surface you apply it on doesn’t move, expand (or shrink with humidity) You don’t want it to crack. I have seen people use it on walls. But just be careful that whatever you use it on doesn’t budge.
Q: Can I do any color of Ardex counters? White?
A: To the best of my knowledge Ardex only comes in one color. But you could probably stain it darker using concrete stain. If you want a custom color you have to do REAL cast concrete counters.
Q: How long did it take start to finish?
A: I was desperate to get the mess all over ASAP. So it took me 3 days start to finish (if I remember correct) That was mostly to make sure things cured long enough… and mom life makes everything slower. I’ve seen lots of tutorials where people said they sanded theirs for 5 hours. Wow. I didn’t sand mine nearly that long. Maybe an hour total for sanding.
Q: Did you cut the backsplash off the wall on your laminate counters first?
A: YES! I was planning on doing tile or shiplap, so I knew that the wall didn’t matter. I wanted to get the counters as close to the wall as possible.