How to Use Sheet Metal for Kitchen Counters

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Sheet metal kitchen countertops.
Sheet metal kitchen countertops. (Image: Kitchen image by armanxo from Fotolia.com)

Using sheet metal for countertops in bars and restaurants has been around for centuries. Now, many home owners are using it in their own kitchens as countertops. The look of sheet metal deviates from the norm, and it's fairly durable. There are three types of sheet metal that are used for countertops: zinc, copper and stainless. Stainless and copper sheet metal are generally more commonly used than zinc sheet metal, but recently that has started to change. Zinc sheet metal is now being used more and more for it's unique look and it's ability to be shaped and molded.

Things You'll Need

  • Zinc sheets
  • Waxed paper
  • Contact cement
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Protective apron
  • Face shield
  • Steel wool

Put on all of the protective wear before handling sheet metal. This includes protective gloves, a protective apron and a face shield. Sheet metal can be razor sharp at the edges, and if cut, chips can fly in the face.

Apply the contact cement to the kitchen counter. Contact cement adheres immediately, so using wax paper on top is recommended.

Cut the wax paper and lay it on top of the contact cement. Place the sheet metal on top of the wax paper and position it properly. Pull the wax paper out from under the sheet metal once the sheet is in place.

Hammer the edges of the sheet metal down to the desired look, being cautious of the razor sharp corners.

Use the steel wool to sand down and buff the countertop. The buffing can be done by hand, but if a machine is used, be cautious of flying metal scraps.

Tips & Warnings

  • The finish on the metal sheets can also be made to look distressed, polished, burnished or chemically treated.
  • Zinc metal sheets can be dangerous to cut, saw, drill and even sand because of the razor-sharp edges and metal scraps that can fly when cut. It is important to always wear the protective gear when handling the material. If this is a do-it-yourself project, custom ordering the proper size is highly recommended, so as not to have to cut the material.

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