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  • 4" resurfaced ceramic tile counter. Skimstone used on the backsplash and concrete with a Mocha Lusterstone rub on the center island.
  • 4" resurfaced ceramic tile counter. Skimstone used on the backsplash and concrete with a Mocha Lusterstone rub on the center island.
  • Concrete countertop backsplash inlay made of light wood, done in Pewter & Bronze to look like metal.

Countertop Makeover
Length: 01:13
Ceramic tile countertops get resurfaced with concrete for a fresh, new look.

Ugly, outdated ceramic tile countertops can be an eyesore for homeowners. And the thought of tearing out, replacing, and creating chaos in the kitchen is usually what prevents most homeowners from getting a fresh new look in their homes. But creating a mess or spending a fortune are no longer the only two options for renovating tired, worn countertops. Meet Catherine Clark of It's Beauty-Faux in Murrieta, Calif., an expert faux painter and decorative concrete artisan who specializes in resurfacing and rejuvenating existing surfaces.

Recently, Catherine refurbished a home's kitchen countertops using concrete. The existing countertops were covered with four-inch tiles. "They were a horrible blue/gray color," says Catherine. The entire kitchen needed some updates, including the oak cabinets. "We repainted the existing oak cabinets with a new faux finish. We also did a bar and fireplace in the home. The entire job took only 9 days with no tear-out, no mess," she says.

"Resurfacing the countertops was the biggest challenge," recalls Catherine. "It took several layers of concrete to level out over the grout of the existing tile." Using Concrete Solutions Resurfacing Mix, Catherine hand-applied the concrete in a very thin layer over the countertops. Without having to break out the existing tile, the concrete was smoothed right over the surface. "You have to have a good hand with the trowel to get a smooth surface," she says. "The corners of the tile edges were the most difficult." The vertical angle and continuous surface gave the end cap of the countertop a nice look. "It appears to be a big block of concrete now," says Catherine.

The color for the countertops was integrally added to the resurfacing mix. For the center island, Catherine resurfaced with concrete, then rubbed a cream wall treatment called Lusterstone, which adds a sparkling look to the surface. "The client wanted the island to be a bit darker in color than the rest of the countertops, so we also set it off with a bit of sparkle," she says. "We sealed everything with a countertop epoxy."

In the backsplash, Catherine used Skimstone bonder. "We used a total of four layers of Skimstone, and let it set for one day," she says. "Then we colored it using Oystershell, and then Yellowstone and Mocha topped with Oystershell again. The combination after trowelling looks like eggplant. We used ¼-inch tape to mask off the diamond-shaped pattern in the backsplash," she explains. "We applied the base color first, then masked off the diamond shapes," she says. "Then we applied the other two colors. This helped give the illusion of the mortar or grout joints in tile."

The appliqués were embedded in the concrete on the backsplash. "The Skimstone was too thin to hold real iron pieces, so we used light wood appliqués from Home Depot. We painted them with pewter and a bronze color. They came out looking like real iron," says Catherine. "Using wood pieces is just one of the ways we can create these insets," she says. "Other times we create them out of plaster of paris."

The appliqués were attached to the backsplash before the concrete was dry. "We pressed them into the concrete," says Catherine, "then used a little Gorilla glue, and then just before the concrete set, we pushed them into the Skimstone."

Site Cathy Clark Beauty-Faux Murrieta, CACatherine Clark owns It's Beauty-Faux, a faux finish and design studio located in Murrieta, Calif. In addition to faux painting, she also provides decorative concrete services for overlaying tile counters, acid staining concrete floors, creating "concrete carpets," and other types of custom work including murals, signs and company logos on surfaces.

It's Beauty-Faux
(951) 639-3253

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