Sunday, December 17, 2006

Concrete Countertops

We have finally gotten around to starting our counter tops. We decided a long time ago (actually many many houses ago) that we would like concrete counter tops. I am posting a few pics to show what is going on. Excuse the last picture since I was playing with the camera and that was not the picture that was suppose to be there. It is a close up of a protruding green glass piece. After a few failed attempts at getting the correct pictures posted----I am accepting this set. The last set had some Xmas party pictures of my husband and I---definitely not counter tops :-) The set before that wouldn't post so anyways.......
The first picture is the cabinet pre-pore with the screen cut for use in the middle of the cement pour to reduce cracking. (The cabinet was actually moved away from the wall and the drawers taken out before we put in the cement). The cabinets all have stainless steel edging to hold in the cement so that we wouldn't have to mess with all of the form work---we decided we would rather have the steel than mess with building wood forms to make the counter top lip. The stainless steel was purchased from a metal company and my husband bent and welded it up to fit each section. He also brushed it so it will match the front of the stove and fridge.
We mixed the bags of 5000psi cement outside in the wheel barrow, adding acrylic water re placer for some of the water (to further reduce any cracking and shrinking) and then took it to the kitchen in a bucket. We poured the first half, laid the screen, then went for the rest of the cement. Before we took the second half to the kitchen, we mixed in some colored glass and rocks (black, blue and green) of various sizes so when we grind the counter to smooth it the glass will show through. Kind of like terrazzo. We actually had some white quartz that we picked up when we went to Arkansas for Thanksgiving for it too----but forgot to crush it and use it. Oh well. The nervousness of doing this made us forget the white stone which was still sitting in a bucket by the front door. One of those duh moments.
The first counter top we did --we mixed the "mixture" way too dry and think we might have to knock it out of the form and re pore it. It is a bit too "dippity" and when we grind it smooth we could have to many dips and waves and holes from the dryness of the mix. It was very difficult to try and smooth out---even when we resorted to spraying it with water to help the cream come up a bit. With the eventual use of a cement slurry to fill in some problem spots (common to all pours), it may still not look the best. In other wards---we think it might be too problematic. But it is only about 9 to 12 dollars worth of material so not really that big of a deal. (except time wise) The other cabinet on the other side of the stove was poured much wetter---we learned our lesson----and came out much much nicer. When we finally grind it it should look good.
We have to wait at least 4 days before we can sand/grind it to polish it but with Christmas coming it might be a bit longer. We won't pour the long sink counter and peninsula before we sand those two to make sure we are happy with the results. Just in case you know. I would hate to have to remove 6 running feet of 2 1/2 deep cement counter top---or the pennisula.
In the picture below the wheel barrow you can kind of see the colored glass if you get real close to the picture LOL. Don't forget your reading glasses.
After the counters are done I can then tile the walls/back splash in the kitchen with some tiles I have to go with the whole thing. I look forward to doing that since I am sick of looking at primed drywall and open plugs in the walls. Sometimes some things fall to the wayside though as more pressing issues come up. We have had "pressing" issues since about the end of August and this has really been the first time we had the mental oomph to work on the kitchen again. Or the time even.
The next issue to work out----can you really grind counter tops in place without making a huge mess?? The books say you can with proper preparation---but I will wait and make up my own mind. I am the clean up person after all--so I WILL know. My husband is tool picker upper and outside cleaner upper. We seem to make BIG messes most of the time so we have divided clean up chores based on who is best at what. I definitely clean up the inside better :-)


Cheryl said...

Ooh, that's really interesting. We've talked about putting in concrete countertops too, but I'm always scared off by stories of how difficult it is to do. I'll be showing my husband, and I can't wait to see the final result!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

I can't wait to see the final results too!! I am very anxious, excited, name it. I will post as to whether it works or not, what I think and pics to show results (good or bad results).