How was anything this ugly ever created?
February 10, 2011 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for covering a god-awful Formica sink counter-top? I'm a renter, so the solution needs to be removable if I move.

I just rented a new place and I am absolutely in LOVE with it, with one exception - the hideous Formica around the bathroom sink. The landlord did a great job fixing up the rest of the place, but he had already hit his budget ceiling when he got to the bathroom, so he changed out the floors to a pretty multicolored slate (probably laminate tiles, but I don't know), and left the sink counter alone. It's on off-white almost yellow, possibly from age, and it's a huge eyesore. I think I will be able to cope with it for about 5 minutes.

What are my options for covering it? I may be down to eventually just eat the cost of replacing it myself depending on how long I'm there, but a temporary removable solution would rock.

Suggestions? Success stories?
posted by amycup to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you provide the rough dimensions of it (and maybe even a picture)?
posted by argonauta at 4:21 PM on February 10, 2011

I was shocked with how well a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser got stains off my kitchen formica countertop. It really did look like we got new counters.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:55 PM on February 10, 2011

Response by poster: No picture on hand, but I'd guess it's about a 3 foot square, with a sink in the middle. i can attempt to post one later.
posted by amycup at 5:06 PM on February 10, 2011

First, if you don't mind spending the money, you could as you note eventually just pay for a new counter to be installed, so long as the landlord is okay with it (and you'd get that in writing!). It's in a way not much different than painting your walls: it only really matters when you leave, and at that time the landlord can either not care, or have you paint them back to the original color.

However, a counter top would be harder to "undo", so you'd want the landlords buy-off to do anything permanent. They may even be happy to have you improve their bathroom for the next tenant (but you'll still be paying for the materials and doing the work yourself).

If permanent is okay, one option that is inexpensive (and I don't have first hand experience with doing this, or seeing the results to know how it looks) is faux countertop that you spray on. You clean and sand down the formica a little, tape the shit out of mirrors/windows/etc, then spray on a fake-granite covering. Add some layers of clear coat for that nice shine, and you might have a pretty decent looking counter. It's worth googling for people who've done this, and seeing flickr pictures and first-hand stories.

Of course, this is a permanent solution you can't just remove when you leave. So a slightly more ghetto version, depending on your carpentry skills, is to take measurements and get a thin piece of laminate or wood, cut out a hole for the sink (and possibly add a front/side facing to hang over and obscure the side of the original counter top) and then apply the same faux-stone treatment to that.

Let it dry, and slide/lay it over the original counter; it's something you could fairly easily remove and toss away when you move out, as the total cost was probably under $100. The one concern with that I think is that it'd sit ~1/8" higher than the original counter, so where it meets the sink and the wall, so you'd have a gap you'd want to grout (and which might look a little off) that you'd have to break off and sand away when you leave.
posted by hincandenza at 5:45 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe if the landlord intended to renovate the bathroom but ran out of money, you can come to some sort of deal with him. You can install a new vanity for free labor and he will deduct the cost of the actual part from your rent for a month?
posted by katypickle at 7:42 PM on February 10, 2011

If it's that small (and I bet it's a standard size, too), I'd be inclined to go ahead and replace it. It seems like there will be an incredibly high ROI on this, especially since it's something you'll use daily. From just a quick search online, I think you can fully replace it for ~$100 (example), and any of "temporary" solutions I can think of could cost close to that, and just feel hoopty even if they are an improvement.

I'd check out Home Depot, Lowe's, Ikea, etc., pick one out, show it to him via email, and as said above, get his permission in writing. You could probably get him to defray the costs a little, maybe even half, but I'd probably be more inclined just to get it done. That said, if he's been doing renovations recently, he may have a contractor/plumber who could get the new top for you even cheaper than you can retail, so it can't hurt to ask him.

Congratulations on your new home!
posted by argonauta at 10:25 AM on February 11, 2011

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