Concrete Counter Tops--- Countertops
Never let it be said that I suffer from a one track mind.
Not a great omen for an unfinished project when I realize I don’t have enough of something and have to head over to the local Home Depot. I can honestly say I spend way too much time in those stores gawking and drooling.
What ever happened to the good old fashioned hardware store? The one you went to, to get a ½ lb of finishing nails or a washer for that drippy faucet, then walked out with just that, ten minutes later. You then went home, finished that chore and went onto the next.
No, today’s hardware and lumber yards cover at least eight city blocks. Naturally what you need is in the furthest corner from where you’ve entered. Even being determined to just get the nails and the washer is of very little use. I now have to stop and admire the most fantastic hardwood flooring. Man-o-man look at those shades in that carpet. You have to be kidding me, Italian ceramic tiles on sale, only while supplies last?
Enough of this, next time I have to remember to wear a bib. Next isle…Wow! Just imported from Brazil, the newest of new marble countertop…Hmmm! How would that look in my kitchen? Would it match my cabinets? No that will never do. You just can’t put in a fabulous new countertop with 18-20 year old cupboards can you? I guess that calls for new cabinetry too. Now where is my booklet with the room sizes? Ah! Here it is. Now for an associate…Oh alright! Let’s plot it all out on the computer. How much?…How long? Ya right! Unfortunately that’s no-where near my budget.
Now what’s this? ---A display of concrete counter tops: pamphlets, books, video and catalogues all here. Hmmm! This just looks like my next DIY project. I can definitely see this in my kitchen. Wow it can be as shiny polished or rustic as I want. The concrete can be pigmented or tinted to quite a few colors too…Now the only problem I can see is that my counters are not just a straight slab but wrap around with a cornered double sink. According to the pamphlet it should be anywhere from 2 1/2 to 6” thick. Okay lets take the middle ground about 4” thick the standard countertop is 25” wide I need 16 1/2 feet + the corner…each bag mortar mix covers slightly more then 2’x1’x4”…that seems affordable.
Trying to think back when I was a kid and of all the times I spent with my Dad pouring concrete here and there. Do I dare try??? The kitchen being the focal point of the farmhouse, can I live with something that might not turn out just so? Now on the other hand I could definitely do a small trial piece and see if I’m up to the challenge. The downstairs bathroom needs a new countertop and that is only 4 foot section…hmmm.
What would I need for tools etc?
- A counter top mold. Needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of the concrete and not buckle or bow. A ‘box’ that is water resistant and smooth surfaced…I could use the old formica from the laundry room that’s smooth and the right size has two ends I just need to add a front. That will work. The powder room has a real rustic theme so the finished top surface will only need to be slightly ground and polished but not glass smooth so it can be cast with its right side up and hand troweled. Again that’s do-able.
- A sturdy strong “table” to hold the whole affair until it’s all finished. What did that pamphlet say? Oh here …will weigh up to 140 lbs/cubic foot when wet. 4’x2’x4” = 8 over3= 2.7 cubic feet x 140 lbs…so we’re looking at 380 lbs or so. I think I will need to give the work table in the garage an extra center support. Again do-able. (need to make sure it is level too as the counter top should be even thickness) (I wonder how much it will weigh once it's dry, lucky this one will not have to go up the stairs)
- I can rent a mortar mixer.
- I have a roll of chicken wire that can be used as reinforcement material. To strengthen the whole counter as it supposedly will hold up to 5000 psi.
- The counter will need two holes one for the drain the other for the water supply. I’ll need a couple of chunks of doweling the right diameter. (with other words I’ll need to buy the “bowl-sink” and taps now to make sure of the right size holes.
- Trowel and smoothening devices.
- I can rent the grinder and polishing equipment. (water cooled type)
- Diamond Grinding pads for the grinder and for hand use. From rough to smooth (200 – 800 as I still want the rougher kind of finish) The hand ones are to smoothen burs and what-not’s when de-molding.
- The right amount of bags of fine mortar mix or counter top concrete mix.
- Sealer and finishing wax.
- Plastic sheeting to allow the concrete to cure slowly (less chances for cracks)
- Book with all the how-to’s and tricks or do I want the DVD? Both I guess, the better prepared I am the better the chances for success. And if the bathroom counter works out great I could be doing more than just the one in the kitchen…
Now for that clear ‘ bowl sink’…yup. Yes, I like the brushed nickel finish for the taps. Well would you look at that, the set comes with washers…yeeha I can take the washer off my list. Load it in the van.
So much for only buying finishing nails and a washer. As I said that was the list for today nothing more nothing less.
I might as well give in to the inevitable. Being just at the beginnings of fixing up an old farm house. I will lose a lot of hours trekking through the Home depot, looking for inspiration. A different point of view, being the Hands-on-Gal that I am, walking around collecting ideas is really not such a bad thing.
The home deco magazines are great starting points but when re-doing an old home not everything in the pictures will be possible. Seeing things up close most definitely helps. I will jot down this time spent as research.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it…lol.
Darn I forgot the finishing nails. (Deep sigh here)…I’ll have to go back, maybe
I’ll go to Rona this time.
Because every concrete countertop is custom hand crafted, each one is unique. Concrete countertop materials can be used for countertops in kitchens, islands, bathroom vanities, sinks, fireplace mantles, table tops and window sills.
Before attempting ANY concrete countertop project I highly recommend that you read the book Concrete Countertops by Fu-Tung Cheng . Fu-Tung Cheng is the master of concrete if he doesn't know something about concrete it it does not exist.
Concrete Counter Tops the book is available at most bookstores and Building supply stores.
Remember that even if you have everything prepared this is not a weekend project. No matter how small the countertop is, there is a 10 day curing process in which you will have to do your grinding and polishing in.
Once the concrete countertop is finished it has to be properly sealed at the beginning and to avoid staining and water logging will need to be waxed about every couple of weeks or so.
Average cost per square
Granite $100 - $200
Synthetic Solid Surface $90 - $120
Tile $10 - $90
Laminate$25 - $50
Engineered Quartz $100 - $200
Concrete foot $65 - $135 (For a standard 1.5-inch-thick countertop.)
source: HGTV Kitchen Design's Guide to Kitchen Countertops
- Concrete Countertops Timeline
How to Reinforce Concrete Countertops, Part 1, How to Reinforce Concrete Countertops, Part 2, Day Creek Journal Parts 5 and 6: Concrete Countertops, Day Creek Journal Part 3 and 4 Concrete Countertops, Day Creek Journal Part 2 Concrete Countertops, L
- Concrete Design Ideas, Contractors and Pictures - The Concrete Network
Concrete photos, articles, info, ideas, plus local concrete contractors for colored, stamped and textured concrete patios, driveways, pool decks, interior stained floors, concrete countertops and many more decorative concrete applications.
- Build Your Own Concrete Countertops Part 1
Do It Yourself Concrete Countertop description and case study
- DIY Concrete Countertops