We poured the countertops today!
We are in the process of redoing the kitchen.
Let me set the stage.
Built in 1996, this humble abode is done in laminate and oak. Oak oak oak. Great quality oak, but too much of it. Every house in the development boasts the same style of cabinets.
We decided to paint the cabinets white, much to the horror of others, and pour our own concrete countertops. IMO, granite is way over done these days and has become the norm. I need something that stands out when I go to sell.
Doors come off the cabinets. Sand. Prime. Paint. No big troubles there.
Our old hinges were brass. You know the ones.
My husbands work has a powder coating machine though so he took them in to work and asked the guys to coat them in a matte black. For whatever reason it didn't work and they were chipping.
New hinges were ordered off of Ebay. For the hinges that I needed, I could have ordered them from Home Depot for $8 EACH, but good ole Ebay had new ones for $5 a PAIR and free shipping. No brainer.
So cabinets are done and just waiting for the box of hinges.
The tops of the cabinets are visable from the stairs, so I put a white and black damask print Con-Tact paper up there.
Walls are lavender, because I said so, but they are looking more like a light blue now with the white cabinets.
Countertops. Oh these heavy beasts!! We decided on 4 sections and set to building the forms. Melamine was used. Black caulk was used around the edges. This was fairly straight forward until we got to the sink area. The sink is in the corner. Many cuts and angles, but we figured it out.
We rented the mixer from Home Depot and got right to it this afternoon. We used a mixer that can handle 3 bags of mix.
3) 50 pound bags of Quickrete CounterTop dry mix
3) pints of Charcoal tint/color
250 oz of water
Now, the bags instructions were 5.5 pints (88 oz) of water per bag. What we found though, was that after adding the color (which is pretty thin in consisitancy) the mix was just too wet. We scaled back on the water we added and things were better after that.
Our total pour was 17 bags and 17 little buckets of color.
We did put a wire mesh in as we poured each form. Our forms are 2 inches thick, so we would pour roughly an inch and then lay the mesh in. Pretty straight forward.
As of right now, our counters are in the garage, covered with plastic, curing. We will leave them alone until Monday at the earliest.
We have read conflicting information on how long to leave them in the forms. Some saying the longer the better and some saying the Quickrete is ready to de-form in 18 hrs. Having poured many shops, bin floors, and drive ways, I would rather let it sit for a bit than risk having it just too soft.
To have our countertops done in granite or have someone pour them for us both would have cost over $6000. As of right now, we are under $500 for mixer rental, cement, color, mesh, and forms.
Pictures will follow tomorrow. For now, I am headed to bed.
And how did you vibrate it to get the air out of the pore to get rid of the voids?
I've never heard of anyone using wire mesh in a counter top.
We did vibrate. We used a few sanders on the sides of the forms at the same time. We also smacked the sides with a rubber mallet.
The wire we used was a wire that we had seen used in almost all of the videos that we watched of the process. I do believe that it is also used for stucco.
Uploaded a few pictures.
Cabinets are all painted and doors are hung.
We popped 3 of the 4 countertops out this evening. The remaining one is just too large for us to do alone.
We did rub a small amount of olive oil on the forms before pouring.
Molds came off easily. No prying was needed
The tops are as smooth as a baby's bottom.
Very little sanding will be needed
The edges are nicely rounded since we used caulk inside the molds.
We will leave the counter tops sit out in the garage until the wknd to continue to cure.
While they are dry to the touch on the bottoms, once out of the molds, you can see that the tops still aren't 100% dry.
Love the color of them!!
Now to paint the walls.....the white cab's are making the lavender walls look blue.
I should also mention, we thought that we would see some small stones from the concrete in the tops. There is no sign of any rocks or sand at all. It is a very even color, no holes, no air bubbles, nada!!
where did you get the molds from? I am planning on doing a radiant edge, would you suggest this? also (sorry if I missed any of these details) how many square feet did you do?
No idea about radiant edges......
Approx 60 sq ft
Ok. So it is the wknd. The time to get a lot done. Until you factor in a 2 yr boy and 2 girls.
We carried in 3 out of the 4 pieces for the counter-tops yesterday. We are down to the 400lb piece. Yikes!!
We did notice that when we sanded the sink area (we had some seams), that the smoothness wore off and became more cement looking. We ceased sanding and will have the guys at work make some stainless steel stripes to cover the seams.
Sink: Oh what a mess. We had purchased a brand new Glacier Bay stainless steel sink and faucet combo from Home Depot. We had a heck of a time getting our garbage disposal hooked back up. Once that was done, after about 3 trips to the store, we hooked up all the water and pvc drainage pipes. We literally monkeyed around with this sink for over 5 hrs. We could not get any water out of it at all. Everything was hooked up correctly, just no water. Maddening. Returned the sink and bought a different sink, Evelyn brand maybe?, and a Moen faucet. 1 hour later and everything was hooked up and working. Bottom line, while I may have gotten an odd lemon in the Glacier Bay brand (which is HD's generic line) I will never purchase that brand again.
We decided to take an afternoon siesta today. 2yr old didn't get a nap yesterday and that is a problem. Everyone should be starting to wake up here and then we will put the plywood on big part of the counter and wait for some unknowing neighbors to come home to help carry the beast in.
I should mention, we poured last wknd. The large piece, we just flipped out of the molds yesterday. Actually, we were flipping the whole mold over without unscrewing anything and it started to move. We laid it down and were able to lift the mold right off without any prying or unscrewing. We had rubbed it with a light coat of olive oil before pouring.
I do have some pictures to post, but the kids have my phone somewhere. I will try to post tonight.
Pictures from today.
Top picture is the large piece that needs to be moved in tonight or tomorrow or when we have all eaten enough spinach and wheaties. Above it, you can see the white mold that it was in. That is the inside of the mold that you can see, so you can see that there is no concrete stuck to the inside of the mold.
Bottom is the sink (that works).
Tile back splash needs to come out, but not today.
I have a bone to pick with you, MNDIY! Until I saw your thread, I decided concrete countertops were too hard to do to get a good result and was planning to go the white bread granite route. NOW, since your countertops look awesome and your postings make it sound like NO BIG DEAL and can't stop thinking about it.....Argh!
Hope those work out for you, lots more work than just paying someone to throw a slab in. I'm curious to know how they hold up. A coworker did his in cement and he repairs them occasionally--that seems to be a quasi-advantage: you need to be some sort of god or a spectacular moron to manage to damage granite, but you can't fix it; cement you can patch easy enough.
I got myself a Glacier Bay sink, massive thing. Two basin. Hopefully mine works, 'cause I like the sink. Got it from Loews; Glacier Bay is a big brand manufacturer, not a Home Depot brand like Ryobi. My toilet is Glacier Bay (want a Toto). Not surprised at the mis-assessment that a broken lemon is probably an American store brand: 'American Standard' is a toilet manufacturer, after all, which is highly appropriate.
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