Boy howdy, did I take a break from this or what!? I'm suddenly flashing back to being an eager kid with a diary, "Dear Diary, I promise to write in you every day." Only to find it a year later abandoned and empty. I can't promise to be perfectly prompt on here, but know that I would like to be...for whatever that is worth.
Now! On to what everyone has been dying to see, our sweet DIY concrete countertops!
One of the major points of contention with the house was the hideous laminate that devoured the kitchen, as I dramatically liked to say. In the search for affordable countertop fixes, my favorite one was concrete. Coincidentally, it also happened to be the easiest and cheapest DIY!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- Feather Finish Concrete, I used this one from Home Depot (I bought two bags, but only wound up using one!)
- A drywall knife
- A small bucket
- Concrete wax, like this one
- Food safe sealer, like this one
- A paint brush
- A polisher
- A paint stirrer or mixing bit
Everyone's prep work will be different, I've read that you can apply the concrete directly to your countertop after sanding it up a bit. In my case, removal was necessary in order to get laminate off of the wall. Pesky miniature flashing thingy!
I started by removing the layer of laminate on the top of the counter. You don't HAVE to do this, I was forced to when I realized the laminate was attached to the laminate climbing up the wall (which I removed in anticipation for our gorgeous subway tile backsplash, more on that another day). After what I can only describe as a demo derby, it was time to mix the concrete. Mixing was definitely daunting at first. You only want to mix as much as you can spread without it drying in the bucket. It will take a few tries to get the right consistency and amount, but once you get the ball rolling, you'll feel like a certified chemist.
After what I can only describe as a demo derby, it was time to mix the concrete. Mixing was definitely daunting at first. You only want to mix as much as you can spread without it drying in the bucket. It will take a few tries to get the right consistency and amount, but once you get the ball rolling, you'll feel like a certified chemist.
If you've ever made a mean PB&J, you can create concrete countertops! Thin layers are key! I tried to avoid as many trowel marks as possible, but in the end, any I missed actually added more "cool factor" in my opinion. You can always sand down your mishaps as well, this project is almost foolproof. Let each layer of concrete dry completely before starting the next one, kind of like painting a wall, if you go to do the next layer before it's dry, you'll just take off the layer you did before. I also lightly sanded in between each coat with fine grit sand paper. You could also sand any imperfections down at the end, I'm telling you, this stuff is pretty much foolproof. When it comes to the edges of the counter, I wound up using my finger to press the concrete on. I'm a professional after all.* After about three layers, I was pleased with the look and decided to stop. I'm sure I'll eventually add another layer down the road for maintenance purposes, but for right now, I can dig it.
I brushed on about 3 coats of sealer (sealer + water, then a little less water, then almost none--check the directions on the bottle for exact amounts). Let each layer completely soak into the concrete before applying the next. After sealing comes waxing! This part was fun, I channeled my inner Mr. Miagi by waxing on...then off... The electric buffer made a huge difference in the amount of elbow grease applied. After about 2 coats of wax, I tested the absorbency (we're aiming for little to none here) of the concrete by splashing a few drops of water on it. Nothing soaked in! I was done!
It's been about 2 months now, and the counters still look exactly as they did when I finished them! I'm not sure how an avid cook (I like to consider myself a rookie/non-existent chef) would fare, but we haven't had any issues so far. I've read that I'll want to seal again every few months, and I started using this stone cleaner as well, just in case. Overall this project took 2 days after allowing all layers of concrete to dry overnight before sealing and waxing. Not bad at all!
*I'm so not a professional, but I sure am pleased with myself!