Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kitchen Updating, Counter Tops; part one

Have you noticed that in some of my post the counter top looks like this?
And some times the counters looked like this?

A few years ago, due to water damage, we removed and replaced a portion of our kitchen. We are do-it-yourselfer mostly because the cost of hiring things done is usually too expensive for us. But there is another reason...ahem...that is mostly my fault. I like everything tweaked just a little so it's custom, one of a kind.... exactly.... like I want it. Usually this adds some, if not a lot, of extra thinking, calculating, and downright arguing to get any project completed. If only I could just be satisfied with normal and ordinary, but I just can't!

So, back to the kitchen. We replaced the kitchen sink, dishwasher, upper and lower cabinets and the counter on the water damaged side of the kitchen. (Very recently I added the chalkboard contact paper to the cabinet doors, the decorative painting at the top, and yes, I need to replace the blind) Loved it by the way. Still do, except, well I thought I might like to have a different kind of counter top. You see, I choose slate tiles for a counter top and they're beautiful but they are not smooth. On the main work area of my kitchen, where most of the food prep happens and occasionally dough is rolled out or bread is kneaded I wanted that area to be very smooth and very easy to clean. After living with the slate counter top I realized I had made a mistake in counter top choices and how on earth could I find something to match it that wasn't slate because my husband said there was no way he was removing that slate counter top so I may as well not ask.

I found a good solution to matching or at least coordinating with the slate counter tops. Concrete. Yes we have a new concrete counter top and I LOVE it! Looks great with the slate too. Nope, not gonna show you the finished product today, I will do that in part two next week.
Premixed bags of counter top mix can be ordered from your home improvement store, and it will take the guess work out of mixing it yourself. We chose to pour the counter top in place directly on top of the cabinets but a mould can be made and the top poured out side. I recommend pouring it outside unless you want a seamless counter top and it is over a larger area. It could be too heavy to carry in and place. Our counter top finished is about 6 foot long, 2 feet wide and we realized after it was done that it was light enough to have been done outside.
I suggest that you find several youtube videos on pouring your own concrete counter top and take notes while you watch them. Note how messy this process is. After you have viewed several 'how to videos' carefully plan your project out because with concrete you can't stop whenever you want, it has to be worked and finished from beginning to end so beware!

A framework needs to be constructed around the counter top area, built according to your measurements. If you are pouring it in place then you will want a lot of plastic sheeting to protect cabinet fronts, tarps for the floors, and perhaps even hang plastic sheeting to keep the cement dust from migrating all over your house. Also, don't do what we did; order the product and then go home and demo your existing counters believing the product will arrive when promised. No, no...Don’t do that. It took two weeks over the promised delivery time and I had to deal with plywood counters covered in plastic while going about my daily business, namely caring for my grand kids and feeding them.

When the product arrived (the premixed bags) we unfortunately were very busy then but we forged ahead anyway because three weeks had gone by and I was dealing with the plastic covered sub counters. We rented an electric cement mixer ( apx $45 for 4 hrs) and went to work. Our project took 2 ¼ of the 80 lb bags of mix to cover an area of about 6 ft by 2ft by 1 ½ deep. Total project was under $100.00, and there is mix and sealer left over.

My husband also purchased some wood for framing, and rebar to place in the bottom of the frame work. He used tape on the bottom, it was ¾ inch plywood, to keep mix from leaking through while still wet because we had reused the old wood and there was a seam.

Next week I will show you the photos I took during the process and of course the final product.
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  1. Everything is looking great, and I really love your chalkboard kitchen cabinet fronts. Looking forward to reading Kitchen Update part 2. Hope you have a good week.

  2. My sister and her husband just did concrete counter tops in their house. It looks really nice! Can't wait to see update part 2.

  3. I can't wait to see your finished counters! My kids are re-doing their kitchen themselves, too and I will have to share this with them as they haven't decided on counters yet!

    PS You are very brave!

  4. Christmas Pie Crafts: Thank you!

    Lena: I would love to hear how they did theirs? Poured in place or in a mould? How did they manage the mess?

    Grandma Kc: I love my counters so much! Even if I had $ for anything I wanted I still think I would rather have these. They do require a little up keep by resealing as needed; but thats no big deal.


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