Affordable Stainless Steel Countertops; DIY

Is it possible to get brand new, durable and modern looking counters for your kitchen without spending the kind of money that granite, quartz, and butcherblock demand? If you’re willing to do some work yourself, then it is and the answer is sheet metal: namely stainless steel countertops, however, you could probably do copper or zinc instead if you prefer that look.

Stainless Steel Countertop tutorial #DIY

Submitted by The Home Project

stainless steel countertops

My husband and I were busy remodeling our kitchen and needed to consider the various options to replace the old Formica counters. We love a good project, so it didn’t hurt that we could do some of the work ourselves. The possible materials we were considering included granite tile (larger tiles that would also match our floor) and butcher block.

old counters

DIY Stainless Steel Countertops

However, soon enough, we came to think of stainless steel and figured it would be pretty awesome to have that for counters.  Home Depot quoted us $150/square foot which would have ended up costing about $3000 for our tiny 20 square feet counter. While not a fortune, it was certainly more than we wanted to spend on counters.

However after a little shopping around we contacted our local sheet metal shop and we received much better news.   If we did the installation and measurements ourselves then the sheet metal shop would charge us $400 (about $20/square foot) for the material and fitting.

We loved this idea and got to work. OK, so how did we do this?   Well, first of all we had to make a plywood model of our counter. We removed the sink and cut the plywood to fit our counter. We also cut a hole out for the sink and then brought it to the shop.

zStanless Steel Counters (2)
At the shop they bent and cut a 20 gauge piece of stainless steel and made it fit the plywood perfectly. Next we got all the pieces home and started assembling. First we put some liquid nails right on our old laminate counters and then fit the plywood on top. To make sure it was properly secure, we also put in a few screws for good measure. Next, we put some more liquid nails on top of the plywood and carefully fitted the stainless steel piece on top.

zStanless Steel Counters (3a)
And that’s basically it. Easy enough, right! We put some weights and clamps on the counter, and let everything set overnight, and the next day we got to working on installing our new stainless steel sink.

zStanless Steel Counters (3)

All in all, this was a pretty easy project that didn’t take that long and the result is fabulous! Stainless steel counters are super easy to keep clean and you don’t have to be as careful as with other materials: nothing stains, water spots don’t leave lasting marks, and you can put hot pans right on it. Perfect in other words!

zStanless Steel Counters (3b)

zStanless Steel Counters (4)

For anybody out there who wants new stainless steel countertops and is willing to do some work yourself, I would say go for it! To go this route ended up being so much cheaper than many other materials around, and stainless steel is just perfect for counters anyway!  If you want to see some more about the project check it out here.

If you like this project check out this beautiful copper counter top tutorial

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. I skipped the DIY part because this was an entire kitchen gut, and found a sheet metal fabricator (easy to find on Craigslist, my guy specialized in fabricating countertops for restaurants it turned out) to make and install the whole countertop. He made a 10 foot run of stainless countertop for under my cooktop. Theyturned out great and I get tons of compliments. Paid him cash and cost a FRACTION of the Cambria that was installed in the rest of the kitchen. It’s been in almost a year, and has held up great, it’s getting that “patina” you see reataurant countertops have from getting used so. But they can always be periodically buffed if you want to maintain that sleek polished look.

    1. PS The metal fabricator i used followed these same step shown above! Plywood base to mold the stee around, cut out for the cook top etc.

  2. It’s so sleek! I love it! Does it not bend or crease when working on it though? Also, does the edge in the front tuck under? Or is it not a sharp enough edge to really be an issue? I’m just imagining that being like a giant razor blade on the front.

  3. My day life I work for my sons in construction. We do tons of kitchen remodels….this is a GREAT idea!! I bet it is so much easier to care for and it would also be it’s own kind of bling!! The end result was beautiful=)

  4. What a great idea!!! I absolutely love it. I am doing a proposal for a client and this seems to me to be the most cost effective. Thanks for sharing : )

  5. This looks amazing! I have granite and it can be a total pain sometimes to clean and I am always worried about acidic liquids getting on the counters. The stainless will be worry free for you. Enjoy your new kitchen!

  6. Hi guys, this is Linn from the Home Project. Thanks for all your sweet comments about my kitchen! I just love my countertop, stainless steel is super practical and I think it looks great. @Nicole, the edge is tucked under so it’s very smooth, not sharp at all. I would highly recommend going this route if you’re thinking of installing new counters! It also isn’t that difficult of a project to do by yourself, we had a lot of fun putting ours in!

    1. Just had stainless steel countertops installed. I love them; however, I find they scratch very easily. Is that part of the beauty??

  7. Yes, Cassidy . The old top is perfect. I was just wondering about potential heat problems.I was thinking I could use a plywood template for the fabricators purpose and then just use my installed formica top as the base. Possibly I could put a thin piece of plywood over the formica for the heat issue. This way I would not have to tear out the old top or have an overly thick counter top.

    1. Ron, I don’t know that it would be a problem? I realize Formica would melt if you put a hot pot on it, but I am not sure why that would be problem under the steal, especially if this is a permanent solution. If you are worried about it, I think a 1/4 inch thick piece of plywood would do the trick. But I would ask the steal fabricators their thoughts, they would have more experience. Always ask the professional, it never hurts! Good Luck, I would love to see what you do.

  8. My mom has had a stainless steel counter for 50 years now. Only in the past couple of years has it started to show signs of wear. When she first talked to someone about replacing it, they told her it was “very expensive”. They mentioned concrete counters or something more “modern”. Thank you so much for showing this – she’s going to call a fabricator and get another one made! For kitchens with limited counter space, this is THE way to go – you always have somewhere to put a hot pan, it cleans up easily & with 50 years on the one she has, more than durable!

  9. Is it possible to do this with an undermount sink? I guess the fabricator would have to be able to turn over the edge around the hole for the sink.

  10. The counter tops look great!! I was wondering what yall used for the backsplash an how u sealed where the counter top an the backsplash met?

  11. You rock! Thank you so much. This is great information and your counter AND cabinets look fantastic. Very classy. I’ll take ss over granite any day.

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!! We have butcher block counters in our kitchen and while I love the look of them, they are SOO high maintenance! I am always in the kitchen and make most everything from scratch and so I am pretty hard on my counters. I have always wistfully commented to my husband about how much I would love to have a commercial kitchen in my home with stainless countertops I could really use – but it has always seemed too expensive. We are re-doing our kitchen this summer and now that I have read your post, I will definitely be going the stainless steel route! Yay! 🙂

  13. Hello, I really like your idea. I’m in Detroit. Any chance you did this project in Michigan? Or have any recommendations in Detroit? Also I really like your cabinets and wondered if they are custom or standard, and what it may have cost you and where you purchased. Finally, can you tell me how you found the butcher block for the island and about how much it cost? All nest, julie