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Old 07-20-2009, 10:32 PM   #226
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my kitchen reno - complete remodel (with concrete countertop)


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solid-art, what i found difficult was how to avoid swirl marks that are left due to application of the sealer (the cement prior to sealer application is smooth as glass). my wife is not happy how this came out. it is installed in the kitchen now.

solid-art
how do you suggest i fix swirl marks left by incorrect application of sealer? i do not want to have to buff with the wet grinder now that the slab is in the kitchen. i tried rubbing with #000 steel wool but that didn't really work that great. i was planning on using burnishing pads.. and just grind away with my wet grinder but with no water. .. then apply sealer again(hope for better results?) and wax.

what are your suggestions?



What kind of sealer did you use? Chengs?
Is getting a new wife an option?
Running a wet grinder dry is not advised, the water jacket keeps the seals cool.

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Old 07-21-2009, 07:20 PM   #227
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ha... no, not an option.

yes this is Cheng's sealer. on cheng's own website he sells burnishing pads with specific mention of using this pas to get rid of swirl marks from sealer/wax. i guess a lot of people have this problem.

my wet grinder is a china special - i.e. the water feed broke off it on first use. so i am not too worried about this tool's life expectancy.

on the plus side, the cheng sealer/wax products really works well. i get water and food and other liquids on this counter all the time and no stains.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:10 PM   #228
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Cheng's sealer is rated low on a stain resistance test I saw last spring, it was a concrete countertop conference in Sacramento Cal. I have used Buddy Rhodes (BR) sealer on several projects and am pleased with the results. I use ICT now, a very advanced sealer which starts with a high performance concrete (HPC). But enough of that for now...
Go to an auto paint store, or Home dah Po and get a gray Scotch Brite. Try it in a small area first or a practice piece that I'm sure you poured, I put the pads on an orbital sander. Go to buddyrhodes.com and watch his video on applying his sealer. His method works better and doesn't waste material.
Buddy is a friend of mine and a pioneer of the modern concrete countertop artisan. Buddy taught Cheng how to make countertops... I also know the guy who made most of the tops in Cheng's first book. I need to calm down now, I could tell you more about Cheng but should probably use a different venue.

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Old 07-21-2009, 09:37 PM   #229
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I just checked BR's site and there is no video try youtube.
Otherwise apply the sealer very sparingly and don't over work it.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:45 AM   #230
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I just checked BR's site and there is no video try youtube.
Otherwise apply the sealer very sparingly and don't over work it.

I think you should strip the wax first, so you don't drive it into the acrylic. I remembered that that's what I had to do when I first used an acrylic.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:14 PM   #231
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For starters I enjoyed your project with the countertops. I posted photos of my project with this thread. I want to do concrete countertops but was nervous. So I did a small project first to try out my skills. I made cap stones for a wall I built around my pool. I went to Lowes' and ordered Quickrete countertop mix. (great product) it was $12.50 for 80 lb bag TN price. I mixed it just as the instructions said 4 qts of water to a bag. The mix is perfect no stones. No shinkage and busted out of the forms the next day to cure. I wanted to do the "stained glass inlay" method upside down. My cap stones is 12" wide 8' long 2" thick. It was messy to pour, screet off and viberate. But you learn as you go. **tape over the screw heads of the forms for easy removal. I'm ready to get back and polish to see the final product. I'll post some photos of my final outcome later.

ONE QUESTION, did you join any countertop edges between the sink run and the corner angle run? How did you finish this out to make it look seamless between the ends? Thanks
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:10 PM   #232
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my kitchen reno - complete remodel (with concrete countertop)


ohh.. good idea about pool caps. that'll look great! now you got me thinking about glossing up a backyard pond..

the seam for me runs directly under my faucet. so only 2" of the entire seam is really viewable. i used black caulk in between which also helps hide it.

the book & videos, published by Cheng the pro, does not go into detail about HIDING the seams. on the contrary; he says you should use the seam as a decorative element. put objects in your concrete right along your seam etc. to bring it out, rather than hide.

guess its all up to you.

ps. rent 3 dollys and place your concrete vertically on it so you can roll them around. don't try to lift with one guy at one end and another at the other end.. might break in half.

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:55 PM   #233
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Thanks Knucklez, I learned the hard way about laying horizontal, vertical only. Going to a free Concrete countertop class this week if I get any helpful info I'll share it here on Monday.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:40 PM   #234
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holy cow... OK, I just discovered the project showcase board... I'm stunned by your skills... that kitchen counter is GORGEOUS....

wow...

Also, wonderful glass tile selection for the backsplash... pricey, but then again, it's like kitchen jewelry....

what a wonderful kitchen!!!
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:30 PM   #235
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thx, i really appreciate hearing that. really.

i had to take a break from this kitchen reno project because my wife started another project

and then got stuck and needed help

that was 3 weeks ago

the more i dig around this old house the more i realize that previous owners were butchers. fixing their mistakes takes a long long time.

i go back to school in a couple of weeks so my time is short (as usual). oh well, do'n what i can when i can.

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Old 08-29-2009, 01:49 PM   #236
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Hi knucklez,

I just found this site today and really enjoyed reading your concrete countertop experience. You did a fabulous job. Very impressive for your first top.

I've poured about 15 pieces of 6" x 12" and 2" thick slabs using Pro-Mix. Have found that lifting the mold base a couple of inches off the table and dropping it, gets rid of all of the pin holes in the pieces. Have not tried this with a full sized countertop yet, but will when I pour another one. Just lifting one side of the top at a time, reduces the weight to about 1/2 of the top, and since you don't have to move your feet, it's relatively easy to lift far more than 200 #'s as long as your table top is at waist height. If it doesn't work on a full sized countertop, I'll build a vibrator for under the table.

I also used the Pro's Water Based Acrylic Sealer with a couple of coats of Minwax paste wax on top. Then I tested these with 1) red wine, 2) vinegar, and 3) lemon juice. I left the liquids on the test pieces for 3 hours and also for 12 hours with the following results.
1) After 3 hours - no staining and no evident sealer degradatiion,
After 12 hours - some staining and no evident sealer degradation.
2) After 3 and 12 hours - no stains and no degradation.
3) After 3 hrs - no stain and no degradation,
After 12 hrs. - no stain but appears to be some breakdown of the sealer and/or wax.

I can live with that (and rewax every couple of months), but some people want a totally impervious sealer. I'm planning on trying a couple of other possible sealers: E.A.P. and PAP (Polyaspartic Aliphatic Polyurea) but I believe these will have a very plastic look on the concrete and therefore hesitate to use them. However, I guess if someone wanted a sealer that ensured no staining there may not be any alternative.

Richard
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:24 AM   #237
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Hey Knucklez, I am about to get my concrete countertop underway based on what I have read from Cheng's book. My main problem, and why I am up at 2:30 am, is that on his website he says that his pro formula works best with sakrete and not to use it with quikrete; however, I can't get sakrete anywhere in Vancouver. Did you use quikrete 5000 with his "pro formula" or the "neo mix". I am planning on using the pro formula so I won't mess up my first attempt at a countertop. I'm thinking it will be fine, Cheng probably has an endorsement deal with sakrete. Could you please let me know if it is safe to combine the pro formula admixture to quikrete 5000. thanks, and your countertop looks great...I'm also doing a complete kitchen reno..I'll post some pics.

Joe
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:35 AM   #238
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SambucaJoe,
I want to let you know that Quickcrete has a concrete countertop mix. I ordered it through my local Lowes. You can see the product at www.quickcrete.com. They ordered it and I picked in there and it was a good price. It was a good product. Be sure to read the directions on the bag. It calls for a certain water add, I think it was 4 quarts. I found this out by not reading the instruction on the bag. The finished product was good and set up fast. It finished out with min. number of bubbles as long as you tap it out them cover it. I practiced on making some cap stones for a wall I did. Next is the countertops. Lets us know how you coutertops turn out. Also if you Drink Sambuca I've learned to stay home!

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:45 PM   #239
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Hey Weberus3, thanks for the quick reply..first one since joined yesterday. I have looked into that quickrete countertop mix but we don't get that up here in Vancouver, Canada. We only get what home depot offers, which is quickrete 5000. It sounds like a good product, but since I already commited to the Cheng book and dvd, I feel most comfortable with using everything he recommends, being that it's my first attempt. I also don't have much time to find various products from different sources and seeing how they work together because I have so many other projects on the way..as well as my first kid on the way..so I'm under a 2 month for this project and alot more. Send me some pics of how your countertop turns out, especially interested in how little vibration, if any, is needed. Thanks again..and take it easy on the sambuca next time
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:05 PM   #240
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hi SambucaJoe,

i know EXACTLY how you feel and my build scenario and questions were similar too. its true that quickrete also makes specifically for countertops concrete mix. but will that work with cheng's pro mix? you'd have to call them to find out. however, the product is not available in your region (same as me) so its a mute point.

a few posts (pages?) back you'll find lots of discussion i had on exactly what type of concrete i used and why (i.e. reference to cheng). a brief summary is that you need quickrete 5000 COMMERCIAL GRADE (which is appearently different than quickrete 5000 with no "commercial grade" identification) to mix with chung's pro mix - if sakrete is not available.

another question i had was how quickly to the grinding pads wear out? i couldn't find that anywhere in written/video text by chung. but i can tell you from experience you can do a lot of grinding with even the cheapest low quality pads, surely enough for one countertop.

Knucklez

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