Thursday, September 30, 2010

concrete counter top tutorial

This was my last day working in Megan's kitchen.  The photo shoot is tomorrow  If you have not been following my progress I am doing a kitchen transformation for under $1000.  I am happy to report that I did stay in my budget.  Anyway as promised here is tutorial for the concrete counter top that was used on top of the kitchen island.  The cost for this was under $100 for materials.  The book CONCRETE COUNTER TOPS MADE SIMPLE was our reference guide for this project and I highly recommend it.


using melamine for the mold, cut a rectangle out the size of your counter or island top

rip 4-  2 3/4 '' wide pieces of  melamine for the sides of the mold

screw the 2 3/4" sides to the base of the mold (be sure to countersink and pilot the holes before you drive the screws so the melamine doesn't split)
mask each joint with blue painters tape about 1/8" away from the seam
lay an even 1/4'"  bead of silicone caulk between the tape and smooth
remove the tape while the caulk is still wet
suspend 6x6 wire mesh about 1" up from the bottom of the mold (wire ties or bailing wire works well screwed to the outside of the mold)   
place the mold on a flat level surface

we chose sakrete 5000 plus (Home Depot $4.95) 

figure about 1 -  80lb bag will do 3 sq ft of 2" thick counter top 

for a small counter like ours you can do the mix in a large wheel barrow or mortar box 

the dryer the mix is the stronger it will be so I suggest you add a water reducer (Home Depot- comes in packets-2 or 3 gets added to your water for each bag) 

add a small amount of water at a time, mix, then add more water as needed 

when fully mixed it should have the consistency of runny oatmeal

this is a messy job so tape plastic sheeting around the mold.
scoop up the mix with a 5 gallon bucket or a shovel and fill the mold to about 1/2 full ,working the mix into the corners as you go.
 periodically shake the mold  and/or hold a vibrating sander without the sand paper up against the sides of the mold to to get out most of the air ( trapped air will leave voids in your counter which you will have to fill later)
 continue this until the mold is full
 using a straight 2x4, use a sawing motion to smooth and even the surface.
once the excess concrete is removed trowel off the surface with a steel trowel (this will be the bottom and it needs to sit flat)
 finally cut off the ties you used to hold up the wire and bury the ends in the concrete

once you finish the pour you need to cover the concrete counter with a plastic sheet to keep in the moisture ( curing strengthens the concrete) 
let it cure for 4 to 6 days (do not cure in a sunny place) if the temperature is below 65 degrees allow it to cure for a few more days


remove the screws and gently pry off the sides (try not to pry on the concrete,  it is still uncured and therefore soft)
 gently round over the edges of the concrete with a metal file
turning the mold over to remove the base  - place a piece of foam cushion under the long side that you will be tipping it over on (you will need at least 2 or 3 strong friends to help flip it over)


it is much like sanding wood  - only you will need to use a wet grinder with diamond disks using water to wet sand and polish the concrete

work from 50 grit up to 1500 grit to get a high polished surface
*be extremely careful when you are using water and electricity! Make certain your equipment is GFCI protected


apply 1 or 2 coats of a penetrating sealer for stone counter tops as per product directions

apply 2 coats of a stone counter top wax

 this is the book that we used as a reference guide for the island counter top.  It has step by step directions with lots more photos then what I showed.  There is some amazing stuff in here.  I did not show what Megans counter top looks like finished, you will have to wait a tiny bit longer.  Good night for now, Lori

1 comment:

  1. I live in kenya would love to build concrete counter tops but there is no concrete stain or sealer in the market in this country. Any one know any good alturnitives to official stains and sealers.


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