5 Things to Know Before Covering Countertops with Contact Paper

This affordable interior decor trend has gone viral on social media—but is it right for you?

Contact paper countertops

Photo: Amazon.com

Contact paper countertops—also known as peel-and-stick countertops—have gained popularity in recent years because they allow you to change the look of your kitchen or bathroom without doing major renovations.

Contact paper has long been used in interior design as an inexpensive way to add a pop of color or a pretty pattern into a space. With a pattern on one side and a sticky substance on the other, you can cover just about any material without needing any other adhesive tools or supplies. It’s typically sold by the roll, allowing users to cut the exact amount they need. Today, it’s available in a wide variety of patterns, many of which are designed to replicate high-end materials like granite and marble.

Read on to learn more about contact paper countertops as well as installation and maintenance tips.

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1. Contact paper counters aren’t permanent.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about contact paper countertops—aside from their affordable price—is that they’re impermanent. This makes them a great short-term solution for updating counters without making a significant financial investment. They give renters and homeowners alike the opportunity to try out a new trend or cover up dated countertops without committing to a specific style.

If you decide to remove the contact paper before replacing the counters altogether, you can do so without damaging the material underneath. Contact paper can be placed on top of wood, laminate, quartz, and granite countertops without causing any harm as long as you’re careful when removing it.

contact paper countertops

Photo: Amazon.com

2. When it comes to durability, consider how you’ll use the surface.

Contact paper varies widely in its quality and durability. While some contact paper is resistant to heat and water, some can easily be damaged. One of the most popular options on the market is by d-c-fix (available on Amazon). It’s heat resistant up to 170 degrees Farhenheit, meaning you can’t rest a boiling pot directly on it, but it will probably withstand most other standard kitchen use. It’s also water-resistant, meaning you can clean like usual without causing any damage.

One downside to contact paper, however, is that it can lift at the corners and be gouged or ripped. Unlike options like granite, quartz, or marble, contact paper countertops are not necessarily designed for long-term use. It’s best used as an interim choice in a rental property or as a budget makeover option while you save for a full renovation.

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3. Purchase a little more than you need.

contact paper countertops

Photo: Amazon.com

Once you’ve decided that you want to cover your countertops with contact paper, it’s time to gather your supplies. You’ll need high-quality contact paper, as well as sharp scissors, a smoothing tool, and a hairdryer to help remove any bubbles.

Before you purchase contact paper for the project, take careful measurements to ensure you’ll have enough. Some use contact paper on the horizontal surface of countertops and also wrap around the edges and the bottom of any overhang. Be sure to measure all of the surfaces when establishing how much material is needed. When in doubt, it’s always better to have a little too much contact paper than not enough.

4. Tips for successful contact paper application.

Before you get started, it’s important to prepare the surface of your existing countertops to guarantee that the contact paper adheres correctly. Clean your counters thoroughly with a degreasing cleaner, and then let it dry completely before moving on to the next steps.

covering countertops with contact paper

Photo: Flickr.com

Then cut the contact paper to the correct size. Remove the backing from one corner and set the contact paper in place. Then, smooth it out using a smoothing tool like a spatula or credit card. Working slowly, continue to peel the backing away, sticking the contact paper into place. When the entire surface is covered, use a hairdryer to smooth out any air bubbles.

5. Maintenance and removal.

Maintenance instructions for contact paper countertops will vary depending on the specific product you choose. Most contact paper is made to withstand cleaning with soap and water, so you should be able to wash it with standard cleaning materials. If any seams start to peel up over time, they may be patched with a new piece of contact paper.

When it comes time to remove the contact paper, you might simply be able to start at the edge and peel it away. If it’s still sticking, use a blow dryer to heat the surface and loosen the adhesive.