Countertops make a big statement in any kitchen so if yours are looking dirty or dingy, it may be time to refinish them for a fresh, new look. But before you get started on your project, read the advice from industry experts below.

Jill Jarvis

Jill Jarvis

Jill Jarvis, Owner of Ehrlich Interiors in Farmington, Connecticut.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s: Be prepared ahead of your at-home project by deciding on the look you wish to achieve. Be sure to do your due diligence and research, so you are only purchasing products you truly need and [avoiding] overspending.

Give yourself enough time. The entire project, including drying time, takes anywhere from two to four days, depending upon the resurfacing option selected. Solid colors or surfaces with random flecks take about two days on average. Finishes that emulate stone can take up to four days due to the many layers of products applied to create a stone-like appearance. No matter which option you select, don’t rush things. Good things take time!

Prepare your surface before you start with a good wipe down using gentle soap and water. That way, any grime, crumbs, dust, and dirt are removed prior, as products won’t adhere well to surfaces that aren’t clean and smooth.

Don’ts: Practice makes perfect! Before diving in, it is a good idea to practice first on a small part of your countertop that can easily be hidden by larger appliances. That way, if you mess up a bit, you can easily hide your mistake.

Don’t sweat the small stuff! Remember to enjoy your project, no matter how big or small. When in doubt, YouTube is a great place to reference for a quick tutorial.

Do clean, Don’t rush

Do clean the surface thoroughly before refinishing. Granite countertops should be cleaned with a special granite cleaner. Marble countertops should be cleaned with mild soap and distilled water. Distilled water contains fewer minerals than regular water and is less likely to leave stains after evaporating.

Don’t rush. Refinishing your stone countertops is an investment in your home. When done properly, you’ll only need to repeat this process about once every 4 years.

Lisa Torelli-Sauer

Lisa Torelli-Sauer

Lisa Torelli-Sauer is an editor at Sensible Digs, a website geared toward helping people make smart investments in their homes.
Mark Wood

Mark Wood

Mark Wood is the owner of National Pool Fences, a one-stop-shop for home improvement products and glass pool fences.

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Use a colored laminate paste for small chips and scratches.
  • Use only contact cement for laminate that is starting to peel.
  • Coffee stains and other soiled spots can be removed by scrubbing with a lemon and vinegar solution.
  • Flour and hydrogen peroxide, when combined, can also be used to wipe out stains and hardened oil.
  • Toothpaste can also be rubbed on tile scratches.
  • Use only a chip scraper to smoothe rough edges.


  • Don’t try to fix major damages. Call a professional to administer the refinishing instead.
  • Don’t apply topcoat in different directions. Observe the same direction consistently.
  • Don’t apply epoxy on your countertop without practicing first because it tends to get messy.
  • Don’t let coffee or tea spills sit on epoxy fills since they will be harder to clean.
  • Don’t forget to seal your paint. Many DIY projects skip on this one to save money.
  • Don’t skip on recaulking to prevent water from getting in between.

Take note

I think this is an interesting question because most people don’t refinish countertops. They get new ones. People sometimes don’t realize that countertops are not able to be taken off and reused to switch out cabinets. If you want new cabinets, you need to do that first. Otherwise, if you like your counters and hate your cabinets you’ll need to get your cabinets refinished.

Rachel Elise Trimble

Rachel Elise Trimble

Rachel Elise Trimble, Owner of Restyle Junkie, is a licensed contractor in the Phoenix area and is also a featured DIY guest at Home Shows, Workshops, and TV.

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