$500 Kitchen makeover

tinanMarch 10, 2013

I'm done, hurray!

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

- 5 bags of Cement All concrete mix, trowel, bucket, pine boards for molds and mixer attachment - $80
- Ikea sink - $100
- Delta faucet - $190
- Paint and primer - $70
- Hardware from Amazon (knobs) and Home Depot (pulls) - $60
- beadboard wallpaper $19

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badgergal

What a great "face lift". It really freshened up the kitchen and makes it look younger like a face lift should!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:54PM
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motherof3sons

This is awesome! Details please!!! How did you make the concrete counters? Any problems? DIY?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:54PM
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debrak_2008

Bead board wallpaper? It looks so real. Nice job!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:00PM
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ginny20

You win the prize for most improvement for least money. Wow! I am so impressed that you did all those cool counters yourself. The paint color is great. And beadboard wallpaper for the BS? Brilliant. The whole thing is just lovely. Congratulations! Great job!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:04PM
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williamsem

Wow, nice facelift! I bet you don't miss that grout! Looks lovely. What color blue did you use on the walls?

That's an interesting way to make a new counter too, but looks like it worked well for you. Do you find the texture easy to care for?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:21PM
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stolenidentity

hurray!! Well done tinan :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:34PM
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liriodendron

Oooh, ooh, ooh.... Can you please provide more details and close up pics of the surface.?

It looks great!

L.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:47PM
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sara_the_brit_z6_ct

Fantastic! Love the cement, and the beadboard.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:48PM
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KBSpider

Every time I see I pic of your before/after counters, I can't believe the change that just the counters made on the whole space. You did a great job, and the whole kitchen looks awesome!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:49PM
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fouramblues

500$? Wha??? I'm speachless...
. .
. OK, not completely. You did an amazing job. LOVE the cement counters. Wow.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:59PM
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a2gemini

Amazing!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:25PM
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crl_

Amazing!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:40PM
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tinan

Thanks! motherof3sons, I was inspired by a few blogs to dot he concrete, I hated the tile so much but removing it would be a huge amount of work and mess as it was set on top of 1-2" of concrete bed, and likely would have been impossible to remove without damaging the cabinets.

I chiseled out the old tiled-in sink

Put in the new sink and made a styrofoam mold with frog tape, and pvc pipes for faucet knockouts

I built molds around the existing tile countertops using 1x4 pine boards (had them cut at Home Depot to pre measured lengths, since I do not have a power saw!) sprayed the boards with cooking spray to prevent concrete from sticking to them.

Then I poured the concrete up to the top of the board level. It would have been much easier to use a self-leveling product as the blogs did, but pros warned me that that stuff is not very string and might crack or flake, so I went with a very strong pro concrete product for repair. It was much harder to work with as my first concrete project!

When I took the front molds off it looks like this

but I had some areas that did not come out as intended

So I had to mix up more concrete, really thick, plaster it on the areas and smoosh the boards back on. I also patched some less smooth areas around the sink with the new batch. Then is was much nicer.

finished concrete before sealing

I was planning to do subway tile, but after adding up the costs even for the 23 cent subway tile, once I bought the grout, adhesive, nippers, outlet extenders etc it was going to come to about $300 to do the backsplash, which would have put my project out of the budget I'd planned. Also, being sick for 2 weeks put a damper on my energy for the project. So I ended up just buying the beadboard wallpaper and putting it up - it is very easy to remove so at some point in the future if I want to do tile I can just peel it off and then tile.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:59PM
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tinan

Also with the concrete I have no seams, I sealed it with Quickrete Cure and seal (forgot to add that in my total actually, it was $12 for a gallon), an enhanced acrylic sealer in natural satin finish. There are "fancier" sealers such as epoxy but they tend to make the concrete look like plastic, and are much more expensive.

I think I will live with this for a bit and then when it's time to re-seal consider renting a wet grinder and polish the surface a bit more (there are some slightly roughened areas that may become a maintenance problem). Then re-seal again.

The concrete really can't be worse of a maintenance nightmare than the old tile with giant sanded grout lines... this is a before picture of the "clean" countertop after scrubbing the grout!

The concrete finish is quite smooth in 99% of the area where I properly troweled and cured, but if it turns out to be unacceptable I could always tile ver top with a nicer porcelain tile, put on sheet laminate or something. But the concrete surface being renewable by sanding down does give em some flexibility.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:12PM
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sparklep

Great job!! That looks fantastic.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:12PM
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taggie

Holy cow!! I almost didn't click on this b/c it didn't say "reveal" or "new kitchen" or something in the title. Thought it was going to be asking a question about how best to spend $500 on accessories or something.

Holy cow, I am totally amazed at what a real transformation $500 could make!! Great job! Enjoy your lovely new kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Molly Phillips

You did a great job! Are you worried about the weight of the concrete or is it really not that much heavier for the cabinets to hold it up?

I admire you for 1) staying under budget and 2) making this your first concrete project! I think the counters look amazing and I've heard it's a really hard DIY job for most people. Congrats!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Mizinformation

Congrats! Looks great. I love the thick, chunky look of the counter.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:42PM
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tinan

I am not worried about the weight, the cabinets are very solid and since they wrap around the kitchen with 3 corners they are very sturdy. I've stood on them many times and jumped around on them while painting and nary a wiggle :)

Also, the existing countertop was already 1-2" of concrete bed with tile on top (as I found out when removing the old sink which took me 2 hours of pounding with a chisel), and I only really added about 1/2" thickness of concrete as an overlay. I looks really thick but it's just an overlay over the edges of the tile, not that thick all the way through. See the size of the mold compared to the previous surface it's only a little more thickness. If the cabinets have supported all that weight for 30 years, I think they can handle a few more pounds.

The thinnish layer is one reason I chose the really strong repair material rather than traditional portland cement mix or self leveling underlayment mix, this stuff is many times stronger and adheres better to various substrates. It set to 3000 psi within an hour and then 7000 after 1 week, 9000 after 1 month! It was recommended by some concrete pros I spoke to before embarking.

I do wish I'd had some other project to practice on first, there are a few things I would have done to get a more perfect finish. I am just glad it was easy to remedy because when i was stuck in the middle phase posted above after removing the molds for the first time, I was so unhappy with the missed areas, a couple of dips and unevenness near the sink. I called up the manufacturer of the product and spoke to them for some advice on remedying it and ended up making the last batch according to their advice and using it to fix my mistakes, it ended up coming out so much better after doing so.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:57PM
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rkb21

Wow...just amazing. We also have tile countertops. Can't wait to get them off :). I'm still in the planning stage, but hopefully soon!

Great job!!!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Olychick

Amazing!! I am so impressed; I can hardly believe it's your first job. Now all your friends and neighbors will be putting you to work!

So the actual thickness is just about what we see around the sink, right? Are there any food safety concerns with concrete? I mean, it's not loaded with lead from china or anything? And you can sanitize it no problem? I have tile, too, though not as rough looking as yours, but I'd love something different than granite when I update. I'd not considered concrete, but might now.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Patricia43

AMAZING. "a dollar well spent..."

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:46AM
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deedles

Yay! Your counter looks great. Nice DIY. Pretty blue, too.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:49AM
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laughablemoments

This is really inspiring! I am so glad you posted. : )

Are you happy with the stain resistance of the concrete?

The room looks incredible, so much more peaceful with your new colors and the busy tiles now gone.

Enjoy your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:40AM
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awm03

tinan, I am so impressed that you did this yourself -- and a first time concrete project too. Fantastic! Badgergal said it best -- this facelift makes your kitchen look younger :)

Nice colors, textures & materials. Enjoy your lovely new countertop & kitchen!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Bellsmom

Very nice indeed. I like the natural gray color and texture of the concrete, and the lovely blue walls and fresh white backsplash and ceiling make it a very ''cool'' kitchen, indeed.

The new sink and the faucet must be a pleasure, and to be rid of that old tile-- Wow!

Thank you for sharing.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:24AM
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tinan

laughable, only time will tell about stain resistance, but the nice thing is that with the concrete any stains can always be sanded out and the surface re-sealed. Epoxy sealers give better stain resistance but look plastic/shiny and are much more expensive. I preferred the matte/satin finish. So far, we haven't stained it with normal use for a couple of weeks.

Oh, for the person who asked about the colors the blue is BM James River Gray, and the cabinets and BS are BM Simply White. I wanted fresh and bright as this window is our only source of afternoon light on the first floor of the townhouse, and of course the kitchen itself is pretty small and enclosed.

I considered removing some uppers to open things up but we need the storage and just removing the doors would have revealed the ugly insides which are unpainted MDF.

Thanks all for the positive feedback, I was a bit hesitant to post the pics on this forum full of drop-dead gorgeous kitchens. This modest facelift doesn't really compare, but I feel like I managed to make it go from 1980 worn-out yuck to liveable.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:12PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I enjoy the results of a great DIY project, especially one that gets so much for so little $$$. Kudos for thinking outside the box. Your kitchen looks fresher and more up to date, and I love the wallpaper!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:57PM
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crampon

Well done! I hadn't thought about pouring concrete countertops in place--great idea, and they look fantastic!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:58PM
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graywings123

Amazing!!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 2:21PM
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ginny20

I'm really glad you posted. A lot of people feel hesitant, as you did, to show more modest kitchen remodels, and that's a shame. I'm proud of my small kitchen, and you should be too. In fact, you have a right to be more proud than I, because you did it all with your own hands. I hope more people with smaller kitchens and more modest budgets will take heart and show us what they've done.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:40PM
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writersblock

I'm always much more impressed when people do a great job with nothing but real ingenuity and a few dollars than I am with all the splendid no-limits kitchens here.

I love what you did. It looks fabulous.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:22PM
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CLBlakey

That is my kind of make over Good Job!! Wow!! Thanks for posting the pics of the framing they could come in handy for a future project.

Good thing to stay away from epoxy I did my counters last summer and the epoxy is scratched and yellowing a bit already.

This post was edited by CLBlakey on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 16:12

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:09PM
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EATREALFOOD

Great job. The paint color is lovely also.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:44PM
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tinan

Just wanted to update regarding the sealer(Quickrete Cure and Seal) - we had a party this weekend and the countertop was subjected to:

-spilled/dripped salsa
-red wine
-beer

and the day before the party DH made smoothies with mixed berries, dripped it on the countertop and didn't notice - was there for a few hours at least.

No stains, everything wiped up easily with a damp cloth!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 1:25PM
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chiefy

Wow! Awesome transformation. Very impressive.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:44PM
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laughablemoments

Thanks for the update on lack of staining! Sounds like a great solution. : )

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 5:53PM
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sundownr

You sure made a huge difference in your kitchen! It all looks great!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:17PM
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susanlynn2012

That is such an amazing make-over for so little money! I love the new counters and the new sink and the overall beautiful look!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:39PM
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desertsteph

"A lot of people feel hesitant, as you did, to show more modest kitchen remodels, and that's a shame. I'm proud of my small kitchen, and you should be too. In fact, you have a right to be more proud than I, because you did it all with your own hands. I hope more people with smaller kitchens and more modest budgets will take heart and show us what they've done."

I completely agree with this! There are so many of us out here who will never do a major /expensive kitchen redo. While I love to see those (and follow them), they are way beyond anything I'd ever dream of doing. I'm too poor and too tired. I'd never survive it. I stress going to Lowe's for a few handles, screws and wood for some shelves. I've exhausted my 'remodel' energy just looking at light fixtures...

If I survive getting flooring put down this yr, I MIGHT consider having a new counter top put in the following yr. NOT doing it myself, having someone else do it - I have very little counter so it wouldn't be a lot to have done or that expensive. But then, I might not even bother with it. I'm getting used to having subfloor for 'flooring' too. I almost think that's normal...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:33AM
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EAM44

You did an amazing job! Bravo! Can you tell us what color you added to your concrete, and link us to the blogs that inspired you? You're an alchemist, and many of us have plenty of lead...

Oh, speaking of lead, there is no appreciable amount in concrete. Concrete is made of cement (usually Portland cement that consists mostly of calcium, silicon, and aluminum oxides from a mixture of limestone, clay and gypsum), aggregate (coarse gravel, crushed rock or sand), and water.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Holly- Kay

Oh my, what a lovely job! Your kitchen looks amazing, so much so that I called DD over to look at it. I love how awesome the concrete counters look. I am so glad you posted this as encouragement to others who want a facelift in their kitchen without the major headaches of a total reno.

I agree desertsteph. I actually think the smaller kitchens done on a shoe string budget are more interesting as it takes a lot of thought and planning. I am doing a major reno that at other times of my life would have been a pipe dream but my reno doesn't keep me from deeply appreciating the beauty of a project so well executed and lovely.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:16AM
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aktillery9

Very cool! You did an amazing job! I bet you are so pleased with the outcome.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:59PM
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lilmissunshine

This kitchen redo is "BEAUTIFUL"!! I love the pass through area, it really opens up the kitchen & with the new blue walls, all the new colors go together so well, you did an awesome job on your kitchen & only $500.00 WOW-great job!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:16PM
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