Redoing your old countertop with recycled glass produces an attractive surface with the look of vibrant glass fragments floating in clear liquid glass. A durable, clear epoxy coating lets the glass pieces shine through without the risk of cutting yourself on the sharp shards. Using a technique similar to creating tile mosaics, the project is easy for the average homeowner to do.
Roughen old wood or granite countertops using medium-grit sandpaper to provide a slightly textured surface for paint. For ceramic tile, metal or other metals which won’t roughen with sandpaper, remove the countertop down to its plywood underlayment and sand the plywood. Place a carpenter’s level on the countertop to ensure it is flat. Clean and dry the surface. Ventilate the region. Paint the wood with interior latex paint at a white or neutral tone, or even pick a shade that matches the predominate colour of your recycled glass pieces. Allow the paint to completely dry.
Clean the glass pieces in a big plastic bucket with water and soap; enable them to completely dry. Wear heavy duty work gloves and safety glasses. Fill big glass shards into smaller pieces — around 3/16-inch into 1-inch wide — by wrapping them in an old towel and hitting them with a hammer, or using ceramic or glass nippers to peel off at the edges of the glass for a more precise cut. Store the prepared glass pieces from plastic bottles till you’re ready to install them. Choose glass pieces with an identical thickness and avoid using curved shards that stick up above the other pieces when laid on a flat surface.
Gauge the thickness of the glass pieces and insert marginally higher than 1/8 inch to find out how much to attach the wood trim above the countertop to contain the epoxy coating as it hardens; the epoxy coating needs to cover the glass by a little over 1/8 inch. Select wood trim wide enough to cover the entire front edge of the countertop, such as one-by-two, one-by-three or even one-by-four wood planks, depending on the thickness of the current countertop. Cut the wood trim with a miter saw and attach it around the edge of the countertop using plenty of carpenter’s glue and finishing nails to make sure a strong connection; the trim needs to hold the wet epoxy in as it hardens. Ensure there are no cracks between the trim and the countertop to prevent epoxy from leaking out.
Lay down a plastic sheet across the countertop to guard the encompassing cabinetry and flooring. Arrange the glass pieces on the countertop, evenly mixing the various glass colours or placing them to create motifs or patterns. Butt the glass pieces up against one another and up against the wood trim as best you can to achieve a uniform look without big gaps between pieces. Get a glass slice with tweezers and apply a thin layer of clear-drying mosaic glue to its underside before returning it to its location. Press the glass slice down firmly to make it properly adheres. Attach the remaining portion of the glass pieces in exactly the exact same fashion and occasionally press a scrap block of a two-by-four down to the glass pieces to be sure the surface is flat and even. Allow the glue dry for 24 to 48 hours.
Wear rubber gloves, safety goggles and a respirator. Measure the epoxy resin and hardener contained in a transparent epoxy coating kit using separate plastic measuring containers. You need about 10 oz of epoxy resin to cover 1 square foot of countertop with a 1/8-inch layer, but you need extra to fill the cracks between the glass pieces too. As an instance, a countertop made of 1/8-inch-thick glass pieces with gaps between pieces making up roughly 10 percent of this surface would need an extra 1 oz of epoxy resin for every square foot of countertop surface — a total of about 11 ounces of resin per square foot of countertop space. Thicker glass pieces and wider gaps between pieces need more epoxy resin. Measure enough to cover only a 1/16-inch layer in addition to the gaps between the glass pieces; pouring a thicker layer might result in excessive bubbles, distortions and yellowing of the epoxy. Examine the epoxy manufacturer’s instructions for specific proportions of resin and hardener.
Start a timer and combine the epoxy resin and hardener at a big, clean, heavy duty plastic container, mixing them together thoroughly with a wooden paint-mixing stick for the length of time prescribed in the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape the bottom and sides of the container as you stir to be sure the mix is totally combined.
Pour the epoxy at a narrow flow over the glass pieces. Fill the gaps between the glass pieces and spread the epoxy evenly over the glass and around the trim with a flexible plastic spatula. Work fast and avoid touching the epoxy after about 20 minutes to prevent leaving marks at the surface. If little bubbles rise to the surface, pull them by gently exhaling through a straw on the surface above every bubble, or by holding a propane torch about 6 inches above the epoxy and sweeping the torch rapidly through the surface until the bubbles disappear. Pop any remaining bubbles with a toothpick.
Allow the epoxy to cure for 10 to 12 hours or as specified by the producer. Make a protective tent over the countertop with a plastic sheet to prevent dust from settling on and sticking into the epoxy while it cures. Repeat the procedure to mix, and pouring a 2nd 1/16-inch layer of epoxy. Allow the last coat of epoxy to fully cure and harden for a week or more prior to using the countertop.