When a tile countertop wears out its welcome in your kitchen, you can tear it out and replace it. This project is time consuming, messy and, depending on the materials you select, can be costly. Instead of starting from scratch, cover the tile with a concrete overlay to give your kitchen a whole new look. A concrete overlay is an inexpensive do-it-yourself project. The finish can be left plain and smooth, or be stamped and stained for a custom result to suit any design plan.
Roughen the existing tile surface with 60-grit sandpaper on an orbital sander. Move the sander back and forth across the tiles evenly. Wipe away all of the dust after sanding.
Apply a smooth, thin layer of concrete bonding adhesive to the tiles. Use a paintbrush to spread the adhesive over the entire counter area.
Cut woven wire mesh with wire cutters or tin snips to fit the edges of the counter. Woven wire mesh is sold anywhere where concrete mix is available. Use a staple gun to attach the mesh along the edges of the counter. This gives the concrete something to hold onto on the sides.
Mix general use or type I concrete according to the manufacturer's directions. Mix it in a medium-size bucket so the concrete can be moved with you as you work down the countertop.
Protect your hands with rubber gloves and then begin applying the concrete to the counter by hand. Smooth the concrete between the cracks of the existing tile. Apply only a thin layer at first, just enough to fill in between the tiles. Spread slowly along the edges to cover the mesh. Allow the first layer to dry for several hours.
Apply a second layer of concrete by hand-spreading a thick layer over the entire surface of the counters. Use a trowel to square off the edges and smooth the top. Allow to dry for 12 hours before applying and smoothing out a third and final layer.
Add a smooth finish with an epoxy concrete sealant. Roll on the sealant with a paint roller and allow to dry. Ventilate the area well during this process.