Is Resurfacing Countertops Worth It? Our Real Estate Expert Weighs In

We gather around them before mealtimes, chatting about our days. We pile our mail (a habit we promise to break) in the center, and we spruce them up for the holidays to add a certain je ne sais quoi. Of course we're talking about kitchen countertops, a center point of our kitchen spaces. Whether you're freshly moved in or just want a fresh look, resourcing countertops in your kitchen is one way to bring a space back to life. It is a more budget-friendly alternative to fully updating your countertops altogether, which may be worthwhile largely depending on what kind of countertop you're dealing with. Resurfacing is especially good for just changing the look of a countertop that is making your kitchen look cheap

Experienced realtor and owner of Raleigh Realty Ryan Fitzgerald reveals to House Digest exclusively that this method of using what's already there is a way to give the space a new look using a variety of methods. "Some contractors utilize heavy-duty epoxy or acrylic coatings that mimic the look and feel of natural stone," he says. "Others employ more unique techniques like pouring customized concrete overlays or applying handcrafted ceramic tile directly over the existing counter's surface. Heck, I've even seen some cool DIY countertop resurfacing kits hit the market in recent years that allow bold homeowners to go the weekend warrior route." While Fitzgerald believes that countertop resurfacing can be worth it in the right circumstance, it won't always cut it when a full replacement is in order: "At the end of the day, resurfacing kitchen countertops checks a lot of boxes for me as a savvy yet stylish solution — assuming the conditions are right."

Know the condition of your base counter

It can be difficult to say for certain that a home project is or is not absolutely worth your time and money. That is certainly true for resurfacing countertops, Ryan Fitzgerald explains in an exclusive conversation with House Digest. He reveals that determining if you should just replace the counters or resurface them depends on what they are made of and how well they've withstood the tests of time. 

"Doing your due diligence to assess the current condition of your countertop 'base' is critical," Fitzgerald explains. "If there's serious structural damage or degradation happening below that surface layer, no amount of fancy coatings will realistically give you the fresh, long-lasting result you're after. In those cases, as much as it may pain you, replacement is your best — and safest — bet." He also believes that part of the positive side of resurfacing is the creative freedom of the homeowner. With a much more reasonable cost, a homeowner can embrace any aesthetic that makes the home their own. "It's a great way to split the difference between refreshing a tired, outdated space on a more conservative budget while still achieving a truly customized look that fits your specific taste and lifestyle."

Especially since the kitchen is the "heart of the home," Fitzgerald doesn't want homeowners to shy away from putting their stamp on their home: "Don't be afraid to get creative, and trust your gut on making the investment that'll leave you with a space you're absolutely in love with each time you walk through that doorway!" 

Understand the drawbacks of resurfacing over replacing

Resurfacing a countertop can be very magical. You can design it to look like granite for a fraction of the cost of installing granite, which many people agree is the best for a kitchen countertop material. Yet, resurfacing isn't a full replacement for the real thing, even with kitchens in terrific shape. You can have your own fairy godmother moment in the kitchen, turning a pumpkin into a carriage, and know it isn't an absolutely perfect solution. 

"While quality resurfacing applications can certainly have some solid longevity, they're never going to boast the sheer durability of brand new, pristine countertop slabs," Ryan Fitzgerald tells House Digest exclusively. "There's always the possibility that heavy use and abuse, accidents or improper sealing could cause premature chipping, cracking, or delamination over time." It's also important to know all your options to keep the resurfacing seamless from the corners to the walls, he adds. "Your homework is key to ensuring your kitchen's new look doesn't wind up with any unsightly or glaring visual breaks."

All things considered, a resurfacing project can give you the look of a full kitchen remodel. While it might not be able to transform laminate into Italian marble fully, it can add a lot of visual appeal to the space. "Whether you want to mimic the organic look of granite, go bold and glossy with poured concrete, embrace the vintage charm of ceramic tile or even mix-and-match different textures, resurfacing is an incredibly versatile choice," Fitzgerald shares. "If that high-end 'wow' factor and maximum long-term durability are your top priorities, though, you may just have to rip off that Band-Aid and opt for a full replacement."