Feather Finish Concrete Countertop Tutorial

Are you looking for and inexpensive way to update your countertop? My budget for updating my bathroom countertop was $100. Consequently, I had to find a creative solution for updating the countertop in my master bathroom. I had read about this Feather Finish Concrete Countertop and decided to give it a try. My total cost for this project was $50, well under my $100 budget. I found that Henry Feather Finish with Ardex technology was readily available at Home Depot, so this is the product I used. It is a simple DIY project that can transform your space. We have provided a step by step tutorial with useful tips.

Are you joining in from the Inexpensive Master Bathroom Makeover post? We’re glad to have you here with us again! We can’t wait to share with you how to transform your countertops with a Feather Finish Concrete product!

Before I jumped into this project I read many other tutorials on how to apply the Ardex Feather Finish product. Some had more success than others. I believe the key is to not rush the process, don’t add other product to it to change the look and make sure each layer is completely dry before adding the next layer of concrete product.

Most tutorials complained about the dusty mess. They all seamed to used electric sanders, but since my project was fairly small, my counter was just over 6′, I did my sanding by hand. It really helped keep the dust down. Also, keeping the doors closed really helped too.

Let’s take a look at the before photos of my master bathroom. We had not made any changes to it since we had moved in. I was waiting for the stars to align so I could gut the space and create this fabulous master bath retreat. I just kept putting off making any changes because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it now. Now that it’s complete, I wonder why I waited so long to just make these cosmetic changes. Clearly an updated and beautiful space affects your moods and outlook each day.

Obviously keeping the existing countertop was not an option. Not only was is it stained and boring, but is was also damaged. Several areas had cracking and chipping of the laminate surface. Because of this, we chose to make a new surface to apply the Feather Finish concrete product on.

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Feather Finish Concrete

These are the 2 brands of feather finish concrete that I could find. Most tutorials I found on this process used the Ardex product. However, I found that it is more difficult to find without buying it online.

I found the Henry Feather Finish at my local Home Depot store. It states on the box that is is engineered with Ardex technology and I also found reviews from others who used this product on their countertops.

This product adheres to most surfaces including concrete, wood, terrazzo and tile.

Supplies we used:

  • Feather Finish
  • Putty Knife
  • Sanding Block
  • Sand Paper
  • 511 Impregnator Sealer
  • Grout Caulk

Step 1: Prep the Surface for Feather Finish Concrete

From other tutorials I saw, if you are applying the feather finish concrete over a laminate surface it is recommended to rough up the surface before applying it. This can be done with a course sand paper.

Since we were concerned with the damage to our laminate countertops, we decided to build the base of our countertop out of wood.

Using plywood we had leftover from another project we first cut it to the depth and length we needed. (76″ x 21 1/2″)

We then cut out holes for the 2 sinks using a jigsaw. (A pattern for the sink shape was included with the sink.)

To make the countertop appear thicker we added a 1 x 2 board to the front of the plywood. We first cut it to length, applied wood glue and then nailed it in place.

We then placed the countertop over our raised vanity and secured it in place with nails.

Step 2: Mixing the Feather Finish Concrete

To prepare the Feather Finish Concrete, place 1 1/2 – 2 cups of water in a disposable container. I used a yogurt container. Gradually add the feather finish concrete stirring until it is about the consistency of drywall mud or a thick frosting. If it gets too thick you can always add more water. It needs to be spreadable, but not too thin that it will not adhere to the edge of the countertop. I used a paint stick to stir mine.

The video tutorial will be helpful to watch to see the consistency of the concrete mixture.

Step 3: Applying the Feather Finish Concrete

I masked off my walls before I began, but I would not do it again. You will see in later photos that it was difficult to get the tape off because the concrete finish was covering the edge of the tape.

I ended up removing the tape before I did my last coat. I found that if I got the cement product on the wall it washed off easily.

I used 2 sizes of putty knifes to spread the feather finish mixture. I found it easier to apply the cement with the smaller putty knife, then I would smooth out the finish with a larger putty knife.

Start at one end of countertop and spread on the feather finish concrete. Then take the larger putty knife and smooth out the cement mixture.

Keep each coat thick enough to skim coat the surface. You may see some of your surface showing through on the first coat. That’s okay, it will get covered on the second coat.

This is what my surface looked like after the first coat. As is drys it becomes lighter. You will see some areas are a little rough along with marks from the putty knife.

Step 4: Prepping the Surface for the 2nd Coat - Sanding

To prepare the surface for the 2nd coat, I first knock down any raised marks from the putty knife. I placed the straight edge of the knife flat on the surface and gently pushed out the raised areas.

Then using a sanding block, level off the surface. Sand down any raised areas. Along the edges I just used my hand to do this.

This is what the feather finish concrete looked like after sanding. You can see there are tiny holes where there may have been air bubbles and a few gouges from the putty knife. This will all be filled in with the second coat.

Step 5: Apply 2nd Coat of Feather Finish Concrete

Apply the second coat of the Feather Finish Concrete in the same way as the first coat.

Start at one end applying a thin layer of the cement finish, smoothing it out with a large putty knife.

This is what my countertop surface looked like after the 2nd coat was applied. In this photo it is still damp, you can see in the darker shaded areas.

Once it was dry, I again smoothed out the surface with the putty knife and sanded it. This time I did a bit more sanding, prepping it for my 3rd and final coat.

Before I applied my 3rd and final coat I thought I had better remove the masking tape. This proved to be harder than I thought.

The cement had hardened over the lower edge of the tape and I finally had to get an X-acto knife to trim it off.

Once again, I would not tape off the area before doing this technique. I found that if I did get the cement on the wall it easily washed off with a cloth.

Step 6: Applying the 3rd Coat of Feather Finish Concrete

Apply the 3rd coat of the Feather Finish Concrete in the same manner as before. This time I tried to be a little more careful, making sure that I was leveling the cement finish and trying to leave less marks with my knife.

There will always be marks with the knife, but they will be sanded out once dry.

Side Note: I must say that I found this entire process fun and rewarding! It’s like frosting a big cake. It was amazing for me to watch it transform into this incredible countertop.

This is what it looked like after the 3rd coat. It is still wet here. You can see that on the edge it was difficult to get this area smooth with the putty knife.

Waiting for the feather finish concrete to dry ….

Step 7: Final Sanding - Feather Finish Concrete Countertop

This may seem like the most difficult part. I personally didn’t think it was that difficult. I read about horrors of sanding, however I didn’t use my palm sander, so I didn’t have dust flying everywhere.

I closed the doors, opened the window and enjoyed the spring air. I used a sanding block to level out the finish, sanding the perimeter and edge with my hands. It took me about 45 minutes to get it smooth.

I would sand an area, feel it with my fingertips to see if it was smooth enough, then move onto another area. As the dust would build up on the countertop, I would remove it with the attachment on my vacuum.

Once I was satisfied with the finish, I vacuumed off the entire surface, prepping it for the sealer.

Step 8: Sealing - Feather Finish Concrete Countertop

Concrete must be sealed, it is very porous and will stain and absorb liquids.

There are so many sealer options out there. Just google it and you will see how many options there are.

If your countertop is in a kitchen, make sure you choose one that is food safe!

One of the most popular choices out there for kitchens countertop sealer is Cheng Concrete Sealer. However, they will only ship to areas when there will be no freezing. They were currently not shipping to our area.

I was anxious to get our countertop sealed so we could begin using the bathroom. I chose to use 511 Impregnator Sealer. This sealer penetrates the concrete and forms a water barrier to protect the concrete and still lets it breath. This is not a food safe sealer, but worked fine for my bathroom.

When choosing a sealer, read the pros and cons of each. Do you want your concrete to have a matte finish or glossy? Does it need to be food safe? Do your homework before you choose.

Step 9: Caulk the Edge - Feather Finish Countertop

One final step I decided to do was caulk the edge where the countertop meets the wall. I decided not to do a backsplash and needed to create a neat edge. I found this grout caulk in the tiling section of Home Depot. I chose the color New Taupe, which seamed to be a close match to the color of the concrete.

Pro tip: To make a nice neat edge, I first applied frog tape to the wall around the perimeter of the countertop. The grout caulk was then applied and smoothed out with a finger (Steph’s to be specific! It’s super hard to apply grout if you have acrylic nails. 🤪)  We then removed the frog tape and voilà a perfect grout line!

What do you think of my Feather Finish Concrete countertop? I am in love with it! They have a unique and beautiful patina that adds depth to the room. I am so happy that I chose to try this technique. Best of all, they only cost $50. Now that is amazing!

Do you have any budget saving ideas you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you!

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. This looks beautiful. I think I’ll give it a try in my small bathroom.

    1. Thank you Magen! It really was rewarding and fun to do. And it makes such a huge difference in the room. No more stained and damaged counters.

  2. I love how your counter turned out!!! Nice idea using a concrete finish. Can it be painted after sealing?? TFS you bathroom reno. Beautiful job.

    1. Thank you Louise! We are loving the countertop too! The concrete product (Feather Finish) is the same product that us used to level floors. It is also used to create a level surface when staining concrete. I don’t see why you couldn’t paint it also. Just be sure to seal your work afterwards. Let us know how it turns out. We would love to know!

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