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Old 05-31-2009, 03:48 PM   #136
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my kitchen reno - complete remodel (with concrete countertop)


good to see your making progress. So using this method the por will actually be upside down, I s that correct?

The finished top-side of the countertop will actually be the bottom of the form? This will probably give a smoother finsih? Will you be grinding/sanding also?

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Old 06-01-2009, 02:42 PM   #137
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exactly, the cement pour is done upside down so that the smooth melemine surface defines the initial cement surface quality. the pros have said time and time again that no matter how good your cement troweling is, you'll never get it to the quality of what a melemine cement mold can do.

after the cement has dried for 3-4 days i will be grinding the surface with a variable speed wet grinder. this is a special grinder that is made to work safely with both electricity and water (i.e. has built in GFI and double insulated motor windings), and with a relatively low max RPM. the grinding pads are special for concrete (not granite). the tools were purchased from Ebay.

i rented the 6cu ft. gas powered cement mixer and pencil vibrator from Battlefield Equipment rental. both items were total $100 for 24 hr rental. they deliver and pickup for $30 each way. .. SOLD

i purchased 8 60lbs bags of 5000psi commercial grade "just add water" non-airintrained cement from HD for $77. this is the recommended product from the pro.

now i must make sure i have all the right tools so tomorrow goes smoothly, like an apron, gloves, some buckets, a piece of 2x4 to act as a screed etc.

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Last edited by Knucklez; 06-01-2009 at 09:38 PM. Reason: removed reference to concrete manufacturer
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:55 PM   #138
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my kitchen reno - complete remodel (with concrete countertop)


Mold Form:

the template shown earlier was used to trace out on a piece of melemine the contours. unfortunately, my first concrete countertop is challenging because it is not rectangular and is greater than 8ft. long. the pro says to use a fine toothed saw to cut the melemine, but i found it doesn't really matter if it gets chewed a bit because the silicon caulk hides it. the piece of brown paper in the mold is my plexiglass which i am using for the divide (see next post)

the melemine form:



next is to add bracing. you see how the sink area (shown below) is braced with 2 pieces of melemine on all sides, the wall of the brace is a bit shorter than the wall of the form so that it doesn't interfere with the cement screeding process.



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Old 06-01-2009, 02:56 PM   #139
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my kitchen reno - complete remodel (with concrete countertop)


I am eager to see how this goes for you Knucklez. I hope to see plenty of pictures too. Although you may not have enough time if you are by yourself.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:58 PM   #140
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yes - good luck - i am interested in the result and am hoping the best for you !
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:05 PM   #141
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because the form is greater than 8' long and will weight in at almost 500lbs.. i decided to make it in TWO pieces so that installation is easier. this means i have to divide the form into two pieces.

here i use a piece of plexiglass. there is some flex in the plexiglass so that when the cement is poured in and it maybe bends the plastic, that's OK it will form perfectly to its mate after the plexi is removed and countertop installed.

this means that the melemine mold is actually cut at the seam where the plexi is.

important: note that when you cut the melemine form to allow for plexiglass insert, you will LOSE that much material as the thickness of your blade (typically 1/8"). so your initial mold form should be longer on one end by 1/8" to accomodate. i didn't realize this until AFTER i cut the piece. ah-well, the tiles will hide the small gap.

i used regular 60-tooth carbide Bosch chop-saw to cut the plexi, also a saber saw with metal cutting blade. both worked just fine.

the fresh cut wood around the plexi is coated with thin layer of 100% black silicon caulk to protect it against swelling if some water gets in there. i use blue painters tape to ensure the caulk is applied cleanly.

the plexi is cut to bue JUST shorter than the mold walls, and extends all the way



Yikes! see that fresh cut of melemine exposed to where the cement will be? bottom left side of the picture.. that exposed inner area of the melemine needs to be coated with silicon and then a piece of packing tape over it to protect it against water.

plexi divide, Top Down view: notice how the melemine wall forms are rabbit cut to allow for the plexi to slide into it.



Last edited by Knucklez; 06-01-2009 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:11 PM   #142
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Caulking:

applying blue painters tape around all seams so that they can be protected from water using 100% silicon caulk (black). the caulk is applied in the gap between the tape (1/8" on both sides of the form seams). pretty straight forward process.




but i did find this trick handy.. when coming to the end of the line, i used a straight razor to bring the tape that last little bit and cut it perfectly to the corner (actually, just 1/8" away from the corner). like this:


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Old 06-01-2009, 03:15 PM   #143
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Faucet Knockouts:

you can buy rubber re-usable sink knockouts online, but they are expensive if you're just building ONE countertop. i just made them out of wood. i cut some disks out of wood and glued them together, like so:






because the wood will grip to the cement, it is important to sray the knockous with adhesive and then wrap the knockouts in 1/8" packing foam. then, wrap the foam with clear packing tape.

important: althought the top of the knockout doesn't need foam it should be covered with clear packing tape because cement will like be spilled over the top while screeding. you want easy access to the screw that holds the knockout to the form!


Last edited by Knucklez; 06-01-2009 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:26 PM   #144
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so are you still going to spray the melamine with something like 'PAM' veg oil ?
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:31 PM   #145
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the large pieces of melemine which forms the top surface of the cement is not sprayed with anything. the cement is just poured right on top of the melemine. the cement will not grab to the white parts of the melemine at all, so it will come apart easy. it is just the areas that are NOT white but likely to come in contact with cement that needs to be protected properly.

does this answer your question?

Last edited by Knucklez; 06-01-2009 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:50 PM   #146
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Concrete reinforcement:

i add 3/8" rebar and 6" wire remesh to provide strength to the concrete.

important: stay 2" away from the mold walls and 1" away from the mold surface (the white part of the melemine mold) to avoid "ghosting" which is where you can start to actually see the rebar in the cement!

this means that the rebar structure must FLOAT in your mold. to do this (not shown below), slip 1" piece of pink rigid foam under the corners of your metal structure. then tie mechanics wire (rebar wire) to the metal and bring your wire OUTSIDE the mold and tied down to a screw in your pour table. then you can remove the pink insulation and your metal structure is now floating off the surface of the melemine. after you pour the cement in and it has dried a bit, you can cut the wires that are sticking out and just push the fresch cut into the cement a bit with your finger. difficult to describe i guess.. see the book.

ps. i moved this project outdoors (and draped a tarp overtop to protect from rain) because i feared i would make a big mess in my house. i'll have to vacuum and thoroughly clean the form before the cement gets poured!



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Old 06-01-2009, 04:41 PM   #147
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WOW I am anxious to see more. Have you experimented with colorings? When it comes time could you also tke pics of your grinder etc, a tool review and OH HELL just come to Illinois and do my counter.

Seriously though thanks for all the pics, and explanations. Good luck with the pour!
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:18 PM   #148
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ty

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Originally Posted by Knucklez View Post
the large pieces of melemine which forms the top surface of the cement is not sprayed with anything. the cement is just poured right on top of the melemine. the cement will not grab to the white parts of the melemine at all, so it will come apart easy. it is just the areas that are NOT white but likely to come in contact with cement that needs to be protected properly.

does this answer your question?
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:37 PM   #149
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What Type of Cement?

ohhhh... looky looky what i found in small text on the pro's website:

DO NOT USE any air-entrained bagged mixes (including Quikrete 5000 Pro Finish).

you see, on the box of the product purchased from the pro (die colouring, fiber & water reducor pre-measured for me) it says to mix in ANY 5000psi rated concrete.

so i guss there is a contradiction here.

when i went to HD, they only had one brand that read 5000psi, and that was quickrete "commercial grade". NO-WHERE on the bag does it say it is "air-entrained". here is a link to the product spec sheet i am using. i am using this because that's what's available. i also google searched to confirm the choice, where i found this article about the pro:

For concrete, he obtained about 25 bags of Quikrete 5000, a commercial-grade blend that is commonly available at hardware stores across the country. It costs more than other options, he says, but it's known for providing an even mix of cement powder and aggregate throughout each sack, a quality essential for this job.


interestingly.. on quickrete's own website, they now make a special blend of concrete specific to the use of countertops. i guess this is growing in popularity!

Knucklez

Last edited by Knucklez; 06-01-2009 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:52 AM   #150
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its a sad day in Whoville

so there i was, mixing & pouring the cement and everything was going relatively well, when the safety release for the mixer came lose and dumped the cement all over the driveway.



well, what can you do? we tried to salvage what we could. but this catastrophe caused us to miss the proper window of time for concrete vibration & didn't quite fill the mold to the top (as much of the concrete was on the driveway and unusable.

oh well.. let us pray together that by some stroke of luck this project still works out in the end.


Last edited by Knucklez; 06-03-2009 at 06:00 AM.
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