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Millertyme 10-03-2010 08:27 PM

concrete countertops
After seeing many diy concrete counters being done on tv, I decided to take on a project of my own. The original plan was to paint the existing cabinets and then make my own concrete counter tops. However, once i was done painting the cabinets I decided that I wasn't too crazy about them. I figured if I am going to redo the counter, then I might as wall buy new cabinets. Since I was buying new cherry cabinets, they no longer matched the pine board ceiling. So I ripped down the ceiling, re-did the lighting, modified the soffit, ran duct work in the soffit for a new hood and hung new drywall. I figured that while I had the base cabinets out I might as well replace rip up tiles and ad new 3/4" underlayment because the floor only had 1 layer of underlayment under the tiles.

Now after about a year of researching concrete counters the time has come for their production. so I will post pics of my progress to let people know of my experience.

Millertyme 10-03-2010 09:03 PM

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I only built one bench for the precast form to fit on and it was for the island counter which is 36" x81". I needed a place to build my second mold where the sink will go,so I decided to build a form on the floor. I built a 2x4 platform and shimed it perfectly level.then covered it with 1/2"mdo, which i had hanging around in my basement. Then covered it with melamine panel board.The side walls are 1-1/2" melamine particle board.

Millertyme 10-03-2010 09:20 PM

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the bottom cabinets are the new ones. I didnt buy all the top ones yet. I just wanted to get the bottom ones in so i could do the counters. I bought cabinets with solid plywood carcasses for additional support but when i got them i added more support because there was only a 1/4" panel in the back. I just added 1/2" ply to the back of each cabinet. The island in photo has the old counter top from what used to be a peninsula, it works for now. The island will be 1 pour. The back wall where the window is will be done in 3 segments. for 2 reasons. With a large cutout for the sink i didnt want it to break in transport from my is 12' long. I also figured that if I screwed up the sink and had to remake it, it would only be a small piece to redo.

no1hustler 10-04-2010 08:26 AM

Cool, I'll be following this thread!

redheads55 10-04-2010 09:50 AM

Thanks for sharing this!
This is something I have been considering - I am just in the brainstorming mode for our new kitchen and look forward to following your progress. I have a section of my kitchen which would be perfect for a rounded-off counter and concrete seems ideal!

What have I done 10-04-2010 10:38 AM

subscribed- this is something we have been planning on doing for awhile now also. Wife just commented the other day about new countertops....might be time to start building forms.

you pouring finishish side up or down? what is your plan of attack for vibrating the forms and finishing?

GET BUSY :laughing: Can't wait to see another DIY-er's results. Knuckelz on here had some very useful tips! I hope to learn from your project as well :whistling2:

speedtree 10-04-2010 06:41 PM

I've wondered how possible this was for a diy'er. Keep us posted and I'm curious how the coloring turns out.

wnabcptrNH 10-04-2010 07:01 PM

How are you going to handle cracking? What type of reinforcing are you going to use?

I know you wanted to get the base cabinets in for the counter tops but putting up the tops now is going to be harder with the bases in the way.

Millertyme 10-04-2010 08:12 PM

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I will be casting the top face down into a melamine form. I have seen people use bagged mix and just add pigment or dyes. I actually did this for some samples. But after using these bag mixes, I think it was quikrete 5000, i realized that I could not get the light tan color I wanted. So I bought some white portland and mortar dye from a local masonry supply. The powder dye was 100 times better than the liquid crap from HD. I also bought some admixtures from Fishstone (an online concrete counter vendor). These additives reduce the need for vibrating and allow you to use much less water in your mix. The less water you use the stronger the concrete will be. The superplasticizer takes the place of the some of the water and allows you to use less water and still get a nice flow.I also added glass reinforcement fibers, vcas prozoloans, and a de-foaming and densifing agent.I added 3/8" rebar and remesh to the form for additional support.

jlhaslip 10-04-2010 09:15 PM

What is the 'blue' stuff ???
Will you be grinding/polishing the concrete???
Any Sealer???
Vibration can be done using a Random Orbit Sander, an Impact Driver or a Palm nailer.

Millertyme 10-05-2010 06:11 AM

The blue stuff is painters tape. I used it to keep the caulked edges of my form nice and neat. vibration will be done with a orbital sand and a little shaking of the table.

Millertyme 10-05-2010 06:34 PM

So i did my 1st counter yesterday. Its was a 18"'x26" piece, so I figured it would be a good piece to start with. I knew I need .4 cubic ft so I cut my formula in 1/2 and just made a 1/2 cubic foot.

I started with carefully weighing all my ingredients, put it all in buckets, then got my mixer ready.

I added my white portland and vcas 1st and let mix for 2 min.
I added the all purpose sand and let mix 3 mins.
I added my dye.
Added a 1/4 of my water with plasticizer and defoamer and densifier.
Added PVA fibers slowly with more water.
Finished off water and let mix for about 8 min.
I then did a slump test with a plastic cup and realized it was too stiff, so I added a few ounces of water.

By the time I got concrete out of mixer it seemed to be stiffening up already. It was tough to screed but was weird because there was a lot of water rising to the surface. It seemed like nothing was really binding. Some of the portland had balled up and the fibers were clumped to it.I tried to press some addition rebar in once it was screeded but it was already too stiff to do this. I let it cure overnight and started to strip my form today at about my suprise it looked GREAT. I will try to get a pic up.

Millertyme 10-05-2010 06:53 PM

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here is the counter straight out of the form. The small piece in the pic on right is my grinded sample that i am trying to recreate.looks like im a little dark in my new piece but its still has alot to cure. I put a piece of plastic to let cure for a day or two to keep it from drying out too fast.

jlhaslip 10-05-2010 08:48 PM

Looks great.

no1hustler 10-06-2010 07:39 AM

Cool, what kind of mixer are you using?

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