concrete countertop

brankuloApril 18, 2009

i am attemping to make my own countertop. i am still quite unsure on the correct concrete mix. has anyone good "recipe" for concrete mixture? i saw quikrete countertop mix is designed for countertop but people seem to not like it. also read that quikrete 5000 with addition of water reducer and microfibers is a good mixture, but no exact measurements were stated. also not sure where to get water reducer. i am looking for recipe for mixture that uses ingredients that are readily available in home depot or lowes.

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roobear

Here they don't sell this at lowes or home depot but this company does make concrete countertop kits you can purchase with all the mixes and paints included and you can even buy training DVDs to show you how to do it.

They have a free video you can watch that will show you the whole process minus the painting technique. I'm not sure how they compare to quickcrete.

Here is a link that might be useful: Better Paths

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 11:58AM
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jdesign_gw

Cheng is the father of the concrete counter top. The rest are all followers. I think the web sight is concrete exchange. However I've done counter tops, table tops and lots of research; water reducers, add-mixes colorants, polymers etc. Don't wish to discourage you but this is not as easy as it looks to do well. Cheng does make it easier but I don't know how economical it is for a one time use because of the materials and tools needed (woodworking for the mold and grinder, mixer and things for the concrete. John

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 1:44PM
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september_home

Chengs book is by far the most valuable resource out there.

Jdesign is spot on. The concepts aren't nuerosurgery. However, to achieve professional looking results the 1st (3rd or 4th) time is the trick.

I had concrete counters fabricated years ago by a professional(1997). At that time it was a very modest expense. I would have never believed the labor, precision and detail that was involved if I hadn't seen it first hand.

They turned out to be the most beautiful counters I've ever owned.

Not to discourage you. But you'll have the best results by doing more than too much research, making more than several samples and Oh yeah, practice, practice, practice.

Best of luck.. I'd love to see photos of the finished product.

-September

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 3:03PM
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brankulo

so today i am making my first pour. just a 8"x8" sample, nothing fancy, bought quickrete 5000, and some pigments. no further additions to the mix yet. just want to get feel of it first, and see what i come up with. i am looking for very natural concrete grey, with a little bit of character, not too much. maybe will add some charcoal pigment to get ti little darker.
i have been doing research on this almost for a year and now that the construction of my new house is just behind the corner i need to move forward. i will definatelly post what i come up with. good or bad.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:33PM
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rhome410

I also encourage you to research what Cheng recommends. The right recipe can mean success, while the wrong one can mean cracking and other problems. It'd be a lot of work to miss the mark on the composition of the mix at the outset.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 10:10PM
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brankulo

i do know, or at least i have read article where cheng stated what he uses in his mixture, but obviously he didnt reveal how much of what. and that was my original question.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:36AM
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overlyoptimistic

I made our bathroom countertop a couple years ago and I'm planning on doing the next bathroom countertop and the kitchen countertop in the next couple months. I think I made 17 samples for the first bathroom, in part because I wanted a green counter with four different colors of crushed glass. For my samples, I use tupperware lunch containers with 1000g of Sackrete 5000 and then graduate up to a larger sample when I have the right color. Sackrete 5000 seems to work well, unless you need white concrete. Color is the hardest component (for me), and I use a gram scale to ensure that I can replicate the color. Once I get the color, I then make a larger pour with all the admixtures to make sure it will be right. With the gram scale, it has replicated extremely well.

I'm sure you've read enough to know about all the tools you need-- Cheng's book is pretty good there.

Best of luck and have fun.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 12:51PM
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rhome410

We have the book and the video, and believe it did give specifics.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 3:59PM
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antss

jdesign and others - FuTung Cheng IS NOT the father of modern concrete counters.

Buddy Rhodes was doing this nationally while Cheng was still practicing architecture. Cheng has way more edgy designs, and does other things as well (kitchens, appliances, hardware ect...) Rhodes is one trick pony so to speak and really hasn't pushed his "brand" like Cheng has but he was doing large scale national commisions before Fu Tung catapulted to stardom.

Rhodes sells "kits" for the Artist/semi-pro/DIYer to make quality concrete tops with out the agravation of learning the chemistry/art of mixing and coloring the raw material.

Cheng's product division also has supplies and kits to help out those interested. It is a much slicker package, but not necessarily better.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 9:14PM
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jdesign_gw

Okay, excuse me for using the wrong terminology. Maybe Cheng wasn't the first, but definitely on the forefront. Bill Gates wasn't the first to have a computer either. I've only seen Buddy Rhodes's work on his web site and in his catalog that I have. I wasn't that impressed. Cheng's work I've seen at the "World of Concrete" trade show in Las Vegas. His newer stuff was pretty nice. I believe he's evolved to using highly polished molds. I don't use either of their mixes. I've made my own in the past and now use a totally different product and also use a high-polished mold process. The surface of the mold mirrors the surface of the piece. It comes out finished. This is a more refined and sophisticated look. I also use specialized liquid colorants measured to the CC with plastic syringes to achieve colors unattainable with powdered pigments.

No doubt many people are able to make a counter top out of concrete. It depends on what is acceptable to you. If you a want something professional looking you'll need a minimum of skills and supplies; various grit diamond polishing discs, grinder/polisher with water feed and the correct RPM's and certain knowledge of woodworking to build the mold etc... Not to mention the logistics of mixing and pouring a fair amount of concrete in a continuous pour as to avoid creating a cold joint and stress cracking. I still stand by my statement that is isn't that easy to do it right. I've researched industrial chemicals, special aggregates, have many years of building custom furniture and cabinets behind me and there still is a considerable learning curve behind it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:29AM
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brankulo

i have no doubt that the process is difficult and based on experience in various fields. but everything you do for a first time once. you gain experience and evolve. so i am not being discouraged by any "it is difficult statements" also i am n not looking for that perfect concrete look, i would pick other material if i was, concrete is rugged material , in its nature and that is what i want for my counter top. that rough almost unfinished look. i am doing same for my floors. to bring little of industrial image into the space. thanks everyone for your comments, all of them helped in a way.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:44AM
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silverraven

Lowe's can order you Quikcrete Concrete Countertop Mix. My hubby and I have used this so far for a vanity to and a desk top. Next up is the 'big pour', all my kitchen countertops! This mix is very nice, very fluid, very plastic. Their charcoal color additive (one bottle per bag) isn't super black, but a nice dark charcoal color. So far we are very pleased with the results. I just used bee's wax as a sealer on the vanity, not sure what we will use to seal the kitchen though. Obviously the kitchen will get much more wear and tear than a guest room vanity.
S

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:47AM
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want2bsure

brankulo, overlyoptimistic, silverraven: PLEASE post pictures of what you have done so fare. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 11:35AM
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overlyoptimistic

Here is the bathroom counter-- in mold and then finished.

This is my own mixture-- white cement, a couple of green pigments, 11 lbs of crushed glass (4 colors), fibers, metakaolin, and plasticizer.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 1:59PM
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want2bsure

Very pretty overlyoptimistic. What do you think that cost you, including your framing boards (melamine?), but not including any tools needed? How much does it weigh? How smooth are the edges and is that affected by your addition of glass? TIA

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 2:17PM
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overlyoptimistic

This is ground up to 1500 grit with wet diamond pads. So the glass is smooth, like polished granite. I made this after seeing Iceglass and liking the effect of the smaller pieces of glass (as compared to Vetrazzo).

Here is a close up with a regular sized toothbrush for reference

Cost-- probably only Time-- 17 samples and a lot of time crushing and sifting glass. Otherwise not too bad :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 2:50PM
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silverraven

Gotta ask, where did you get your glass?

Ok, mine aren't anywhere near as impressive but here goes:

http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff48/Sbcichocki/DSC01864.jpg This is a pour in place form. We haven't done a pour in place yet, hope it turns out well!

http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff48/Sbcichocki/DSC01869.jpg This is right after pour and smoothing. Hubby smoothed every half hour for about 8 hours.

http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff48/Sbcichocki/DSC01875.jpg This is the next day. It will stay kinda gray till the grinding/polishing (28 days after pour)

http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff48/Sbcichocki/DSC01876.jpg This is a vanity we did last month. It was done with the Cheng method of making a mold off site (melamine) and using the bottom for the top. We waited 28 days to grind/polish because we wanted very little to no aggragate to show. We polished only with a 1500 grit pad on a wet grinder. Then I sealed with multiple coats of bee's wax. Not sure how I will seal the kitchen counters. I love the bee's wax look, just not too sure how it will stand up to kitchen wear.
Sorry, don't know how to imbed photos! One more thing I need to learn.
S

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 5:52PM
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silverraven

Alright, I think I figured it out. Sorry to double post, I don't know how to go in and edit my original post. Sorry pix are so big. (dang, I just sound sorry today don't I!!!)
S

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 5:58PM
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want2bsure

Thanks again overlyoptimistic, it really is beautiful.
silverraven, that seems so much easier than transporting a large slab; are you happy with the texture so far? What did you use as a base? Do post as you progress. TIA.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:07PM
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overlyoptimistic

The brown is Full Sale ale bottles, if I'm recalling correctly. Or it could be Lagunitas Ale.

The dark green is from some champagne bottles and some other bottles of the same color.

The light green is from Trader Joes apple juice. That was the hardest one because we really didn't care for the juice.

There was some clear glass from Gerolsteiner bottles.

Finally, the off white glass came from off white china saucers I found at the local Goodwill store.

I know you can buy this stuff on line, but (mostly) it is fun to drink the contents.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 11:22PM
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overlyoptimistic

Silverraven-- I really like the bathroom vanity. Was that a poor in place top as well? What did you use for the sink cutout -- rigid foam insulation, and if so how do you cut it so perfectly?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 10:18AM
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silverraven

Vanity was an off site pour (in a mold), using a melamine form. Yes the sink cut out was pink rigid foam insulation. Hubby used a jig saw with a fine tooth blade. Actually cut way better than we had hoped. Much better than an electric knife. Then he used a palm sander to smooth, and clear packing tape around the outside of it so the concrete doesn't stick to it.

So far we are happy with the desk top texture. You can't really tell the texture in the picture because of the 'haze' that forms on it till it is ground/polished. I will post pics of it after we have done that. It will probably be 28 days though. They say if you don't want a lot of the aggregate showing you wait that long to grind/polish. That is what we did on the vanity, it seemed to work.
Oh, one thing about pouring off site (in a mold). Remember, you have to carry that darn thing in to put it into place. That stuff is heavy! The vanity was 200 lbs of concrete. And it is awkward to try to move. Make sure you have enough friends that are willing to help if you do it that way. That is why we are doing the pour in place for the desk and kitchen counters. Just toooo heavy to carry!
S

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:43PM
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overlyoptimistic

Thanks for the tidbits of info. I'm planning on making our next two countertops and the kitchen will be about 12' long. I think I'll have to have a party just to get enough people to help move it.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 7:55PM
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michaelj7

I have two questions:

  1. - overlyoptimistic - could you give us your exact mix.
    I have been thinking of using Fritz-Pak Counter Flo with some added fiber, but not sure if I should use glass or nylon and what size to use.

  2. - silverraven - It looks like you mounted the form to the plywood base under your counter? What would you have done if you used wonderboard. Also how did you hide the plywood on the finished piece?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 7:59AM
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silverraven

I know it is very hard to see so maybe I can explain it to you and get some more pix up later today or tomorrow.
We are building our own cabinets, so right now we only have the boxes made and mounted. Across the tops of the boxes we put wonderboard/concrete board (1/2 inch thick) that came out to the edge of the boxes. Now since we will be adding a 3/4 inch face frame, 3/4 inch doors and want a 1/4 inch over hang past that we obviously had to support it somehow. So hubby cut 3/4 thick melamine (home depot) strips that were 1 3/4 inches wide (3/4 + 3/4 + 1/4) and used screws to secure that to the front of our boxes.(he used a Kreg Jig for this, he loves this tool!) Then he cut another strip that is the height we want our counters to be (we wanted 2 inches, so 2 inches plus the thickness of the melamine 3/4 = 2 3/4 inches) and screwed that to the other strip of melamine, making a kind of box to hold the concrete till dry. You have to leave this on for a week or so to let the concrete fully harden so it won't sag.
After you take the melamine off the concrete overhangs just like another other countertop material. Now we have to build our faceframes and doors to go on our boxes.
If you have a book store like Barnes and Nobles they carry the Cheng book. In the very back there are like 4 pages on pouring in place. They show pictures of building the mold step by step. We just improved on that by using melamine instead of regular wood, it releases the concrete so much easier. We learned a LOT doing this. Yes it has been hard, but it was also a lot of fun, and I think knowing you have built something yourself is a great feeling!
You can do this, "it ain't rocket science" And I would highly recommend the Quickcrete Countertop Mix, it made it so easy. Just add water and color, especially if you want a dark color like black (well, charcoal grey)
S

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:28AM
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silverraven

Here are some pictures of the mold, the desk after taking off the melamine mold, and a picture of my whole kitchen that we poured this week.
Hope these help.
S

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 4:51PM
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silverraven

OK, weird, my pix disappeared. I think fotopic is having problems today. Here is a link to look at them.

Here is a link that might be useful: concrete countertop pix

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 7:22PM
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michaelj7

Thank you for the pix. I am kinda driving myself nutz. Weather to build my counter in place of use a mold. Problem is the whole bath is finished and now I decide that I want a concrete countertop and the counter is 91 inches long with two sinks. Once completed I will need to get it upstairs with one right angle turn in the staircase. If I build it in the bath, the mess will be unreal. The other thing is how to mount the mold to the side of a finished cabinet? The wall is already tiled, so I cannot put an angle bracket on the wall side.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 2:03PM
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want2bsure

Silverraven, thanks so much for the updates. Did you do your kitchen in one pour or do you "top off" the entire surface with a final pour? What are you going to do with the piece on your workbench? It's going to be great. Have you decided on a sealer? What part of the country are you in? Thanks again for your posts, but please keep the necessity of purchasing another great tool to yourself. Ha ha!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 3:09PM
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repaintingagain

I remembered this post while I was browsing and came across this link at Bob Villa.

Here is a link that might be useful: Countertops

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 12:44PM
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silverraven

Sorry it's been so long, kinda busy here! I'll try to answer all the questions:
I am in the Charlotte, NC area. Our air conditioning went out the week of the pour, so it was nice and hot and humid for us!
We rented a 2 bag mixer from Lowes and just kind of filled in as we went, working from left to right. Since we had that very narrow piece that will go behind the stove we kind of made that our stopping point as far as filling up, then moving to the other side to fill up. Then we came back with the vibrator and then hubby leveled and smoothed.
Since we don't have face frames on yet, to attach the front of the mold hubby used Kreg screws and attached just like you would a face frame. We can go back later and use those same holes to attach our face frame.
This stuff is heavy! I don't know if you could lift a 91 inch piece and carry it upstairs. It is just bulky and if you torque it at all it will break. You could pour your piece in pieces, and have seams. Do something like Cheng does with metal as an intentional seam. That could look cool. I actually wish we had done that to add a some pizazz, but hubby wanted no seams. He won that argument. :(
The piece on my work bench goes on another counter down around the corner. It has so much crap piled up on top of it right now it was easier to just go ahead and build a mold instead of cleaning it off. Talk about lazy!!
We are going to use Tung Oil from Real Milk Paint as a sealer. Bees wax just won't cut it in a kitchen.
We are (hopefully) going to grind hubby's desk area this weekend. It is going to be super messy! We are lucky in one way, we only have boxes so we can hook all the plastic to them we want and not have to worry about damaging the fronts, face frames will cover this later. We are going to try to make a plastic room to contain all the mess we can. And my son gets to run the shop vac the whole time to suck up water as we go. And I have a pile of rags to wipe up with. Fun fun!
I have to say I think the funnies part of this whole darn process was when my 84 year old dad called me up one day and ask me if hubby and I had a vibrator. I about died laughing! Of course he was talking about a concrete vibrator, but it just sounded soooo funny!
OK, got to run, supervising hubby putting together his new toy. He got a router and table. This is our big Friday night date. Whoo hoo, aren't we exciting!
S

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 5:18PM
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overlyoptimistic

Hi michaelj7,

Sorry I've been absent for a few days. For the mix, I used white sand, white cement a mixture of two Cheng colors (evergreen and jade), the glass, metakaolin, Friz water reducer and nylon fiber. If you want the exact gram measurements of each, I'll have to get that off my home computer. I mixed it quite dry and did not include any aggregate, although it has a fair bit of remesh in it. It has been a couple years and not a single hairline crack (knock on wood).

I'm a big fan of using a mold and wet grinding/polishing. I once ground a small lump in a slab floor prior to installing bamboo -- it was a dry grind and I was cleaning dust for weeks. Best of luck with the grind, silverraven, although it sound like you might be using some H20.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 6:33PM
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michaelj7

Thank you overlyoptimistic,
If you get a chance, could you please get the specs for your mix for me. I have been playing with a bunch of mixes, and none have worked out, as I have added aggregate to all of them for strength. And, yes I plan on wet grinding. I have been planning on using Formica to make my forms. Then polish starting with either 200 or 400 and going upto 3000. I am trying to get a glasslike finish. I don't really want to see any aggregate, just maybe some of the sand specs. I would like to have a monolithic pour incorporating two sinks. I am contemplating making a crate to transport it upstairs. I figure I can get my 18 yr old son and some friends to do the move.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 8:15PM
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silverraven

Somewhere on Youtube there is a video on how to get glass like concrete right out of the form. I can't remember what he poured into the mold first to do it, but it was interesting! I think he used plexiglass as his mold.
All concrete mixes are different, but with ours we found the longer we waited to grind, the less aggrigate was exposed. We waited 28 days for the vanity grind, wet grind. We took some samples up to 3000. Wow, amazing! Simply beautiful. I would love for you to post pics after you are done. We were going for a matte finish, so we only used 800 (very little grinding at that) and 1500.
I'm so excited you are going to try this! What color are you going to go?
S

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 9:10PM
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michaelj7

The color I am looking for is a slightly lighter version of Cheng's Amber.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 7:44AM
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silverraven

Oh, pretty!
I don't think you could use the Quikrete mix, I think it starts out too dark.
S

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 9:06AM
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overlyoptimistic

Here are the measurements in grams for my samples and the final counter. I think I made 17 samples before I was happy.

The cement is white cement and the sand is white sand. The water is approx

sample (g) counter (g)
cement 210 6856
sand 624 25303
H20 red 5 163
power poz 30 979
fibers 1 33
water 85 2775
Evergreen 19 620
jade 8 261
glass 166 5420

Glass components (g)
brown glass 874
dark green 1166
light green 874
white 583
clear 1923

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 2:12PM
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michaelj7

overlyoptimistic,
Why the disparities in percentages from your test sample vs. your final pour? Was there a little tweaking involved?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 8:10AM
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overlyoptimistic

I calculated the volume of the countertop and it was 32.649375
bigger than the sample. So that was the multiplier. The only ingredient that I then tweaked was the sand. Some early samples had pea gravel. But I was having problems with exposing the pea gravel when grinding, which I didn't want. So for later samples and for the final pour, I substituted sand for the pea gravel (about 150 grams).

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 10:11AM
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laura_j

silverraven-
You should definitely check of Cheng's sealer and wax. Both are food safe and made to withstand the wear and tear a kitchen countertop receives. His wax is made from carnuba wax, which is extremely durable (much more so than beeswax). Here is the web address for the sealer: http://store.concreteexchange.com/CHENG-Concrete-Online-Store_5/Finishing-Products/CHENG-Concrete-Countertop-Sealer
and the wax:
http://store.concreteexchange.com/CHENG-Concrete-Online-Store_5/Finishing-Products/CHENG-Concrete-Countertop-Wax

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 12:52PM
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laura_j

michaelj7,
I would highly recommend doing your countertop in a mold. It allows you to have more control over the finish, and it's convenient that the mess can be displaced somewhere else (like a garage). As for the size of your countertop... You should never pour a piece that is longer than 8 feet, and 91 inches is cutting it pretty close. You should consider making your countertop two separate pieces. Also, since this sounds like it is your first countertop, it may be a lot easier to use Cheng's pro-formula mix. It has always worked really well for me. It is the pigment, water reducer, and fibers all in one. So you really don't need to add anything other than bagged concrete (sakrete 5000+ works great). Cheng has a great book you may want to take a look at called Concrete Countertops Made Simple. That's how I originally learned to make countertops. Sorry for the super long post! I just wanted to share my experience. oh and if you want a color lighter than Amber, I would suggest Sand. Here is the link to their pro-formula: http://store.concreteexchange.com/CHENG-Concrete-Online-Store_5/CHENG-Pro-Formula-Products/CHENG-Pro-Formula-Mix

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 1:05PM
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michaelj7

laura j,
I have a sample of Cheng's Charcoal mix, and was planning on doing a test pour this weekend. However I have been leaning towards Buddy Rhodes mix because the aggregate is so small, I really would rather no aggregate other than sand. I have also been thinking that making the mold made with formica might be one of the better choice over malamine to get a smoother finish right from the start.

My main concerns are:
1. bug hole even though I plan on vibrating, I know there will be a few. And no matter what slurry mix you use, the color is never perfect.
2. Since I plan on using integral Barrel Sinks flipping this over to wet sand is and finish the top off.
3. Transporting it upstairs. I really would like to build it in one piece and it is goung to be 91" x 22" and I was planning on 2" thick, with 2 sinks.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 5:36PM
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silverraven

For anyone debating on pouring in place vs. in a mold, go for the mold!!! Hubby insisted (glad he doesn't read this forum!) on pour in place. What a MESS! He wet ground his desk yesterday, and tried to dry grind part of the kitchen today (to see if that went any better). There is not a place in that area that is not covered in dust. And cleaning up the water/ground stuff last night was just a joy too. I could go through all that if the counters were turning out good, but he is having to grind so much to get them smooth he is exposing tons of agregate. I really wanted the look of my son's vanity, like in the picture above. All I want to do is sit down and cry. Don't make the same mistake I did, use a mold!
S

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 5:58PM
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michaelj7

Has anyone thought of:
1. Making the mold out of formica laminated plywood?
2. Spay on a face coat of about 1/8th inch?
3. Backfill to 1.5 - 2.5 inches (your desired depth)

I think this may help solve some of the bug hole problems.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 1:08PM
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overlyoptimistic

When you say spray a face coat of @ 1/8", do you mean on the mold or on the counter? Spray with what?

I've heard that some pros can pour with very few bug holes, but I think air entrapment is the nature of the beast.

Oh, Silver, sorry to hear about the counters. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 12:43AM
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jdesign_gw

I wrote about this in another post but no one seemed that interested. In any casting the finish of the piece will mirror the finish of the mold. So you are polishing the wrong thing. You need to be polishing the mold to get a perfect finish. This is not as easy as just building a mold out of melamine which is okay and you can get a very good look with minimal grinding and polishing. As far as eliminating holes, I use a totally different material and aggregate than what has been mention here but you might try a little loser mix as the fist layer to coat the mold surface then a stiffer mix as you fill up the mold. I've never done this but it might be worth a try. And of course vibrate. John

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 4:04AM
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michaelj7

overlyoptimistic:
I was thinking of sifting Buddy Rhodes mix with a 1/16" screen, then applying it with a drywall hopper. Then adding fiber to the mix to backfill.

jdesign:
1. What do you use and how do you build you prepare your mold?
2. How would you go about attatching the sidewall for a lucite mold?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:19AM
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silverraven

jdesign: I never saw your other post, but I am very interested!! We specifically used melamine for my son's vanity top because we wanted that look, but I am always interested in learning how to do new things. I know this is not my 'forever' house, and I plan on doing concrete counters in my next one too. Maybe those will turn out better!!;)
S

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:59AM
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jdesign_gw

It's basically the same process for building a mold for fiberglass parts. The piece comes out of the mold finished. You just seal and wax. The mold is built out of MDF then sprayed with a polyester primer. Any holes are filled with bondo and spot putty. You fill the inside corners to create a slight cove. You can use a small popsicle stick to help get a consistent edge. Then it's sand and build a few coats and the most important part the polishing. Any one who paints cars knows of these products and techniques. Like I said it's not as easy as building a melamine mold and just pouring. But here all the prep is done in the mold. A mirror finish there will give you a mirror finish on your piece. I'm pulling multiple pieces out of a mold. I don't know how practical it is for a one-off piece if you don't have the equipment and experience. As far as plexiglass there are adhesives for that but I would back up the sides so they don't bow out.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 1:50PM
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michaelj7

jdesign:
Please expand on your process. What primer are you using? Do you sand between each coat of primer? On average how many coats of primer do you do? Are you building all your curved edges with the bondo? and so on. If you have any pics, that would be great. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:15PM
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jdesign_gw

Like I said, these are products used in the automotive field and fiberglass mold making process. It's polyester primer. It's a very high build so the number of coats is less than with other types of paint. Maybe three coats on a flat surface more where you do fill work because you end up sanding a bunch off getting things smooth. Yes you sand between coats but only lightly. You really want a high build so you can take that down smooth and go up through the grits into the 1000-2000 or more and polish. It's hard to explain all of this in an email. There are different ways to do different shapes. When you build a mold you have to think of everything in reverse. Sometimes you have to think about draft which is a slight angle in order to get the piece out of the mold if it is deep. I'm just giving you the general idea of how to make a polished mold and where to look for the information. Any fiberglass part tub, boat, RV parts etc. comes out of a mold like this. And automotive primer and polishing techniques are common knowledge to people in that field.
John

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:01AM
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silverraven

Stupid speckles! This is right after coat of Tung Oil, so super shiny.

After it dried.

Well, I guess I can live with the white speckles. Beats trying to rip them out and start over. At least they feel good. *sigh*
Next time we will pour in molds, or should I say next house!
S

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 3:28PM
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michaelj7

silverraven,
Counter looks awesome! I like the shine that you got, looks like the top is wet. What mix did you use? also what did you vibrate with.

I bought a concrete vibrator from Harbor freight last week, just made a sample with it, using the buddy rhodes mix. It actually came out worse than without any vibration.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:41AM
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raenjapan

I think the speckles look great! Having done the concrete countertop thing, I'd personally never try it indoors, but yours turned out lovely. Congratulations on being done!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:52AM
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silverraven

Thanks guy, I guess it's just me that doesn't like the speckles! I really really wanted just plain dark charcoal, but too late now. Yes, pouring indoors is messy!! Not the actual pouring part, that was actually not bad, but the grinding, ugh!
We used the Quikrete Concrete Countertop mix bought from Lowe's. We also bought the vibrator from Harbor Freight. Definately WEAR EAR PROTECTION using it. Wow, loud! The vibrating helped us, but we poured in place instead of a mold. We wanted to vibrate as much of the 'cream' to the top, rocks to the bottom.
The reason it looked wet in the first photo was just coated with Tung Oil, which I am using to seal it. The second photo is after the Tung Oil has soaked in. I don't know how you could get the shiny finish forever, unless you used something like Waterlox glossy on them? I'm using pure tung oil, so I don't know how Waterlox would work.
Sorry if this post doesn't make sense, my brain isn't working this morning!
S

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 11:47AM
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silverraven

I talked to the Waterlox people. To get the shiny look you can use the original sealer/Waterlox on the countertops. She said you can't use satin, not sure why?
Hope that helps.
S

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 2:05PM
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michaelj7

silverraven,
Was that a special order from Lowes?
Lowes in NY does not have it on the shelf.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 7:32PM
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silverraven

Yes it is special order. I go to the contractors desk at mine. Pretty sad, they know me by name now! I will say if you are trying for a light color, or a 'pure' color like red or blue you probably will want to look for a white cement base. This is gray, and we added 1 bottle per bag of the charcoal color to it. The white aggregate was already in it. Ours ran around $11 a bag here in NC.
S

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 7:38PM
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want2bsure

Silverraven, thanks so much for the pictures and your continual posts. I think the counters look great! I hear you about the speckles, but it will fade from the forefront of your mind. Both areas are uniform, and again, I think really good looking. We're looking for the soapstone look, and I'd be thrilled with your counters, and even willing to deal with the mess. Make sure to keep posting, I can't wait to see your cabs finished.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 4:44PM
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michaelj7

What is everyone using as a release agent?
Would you use this release agent on plexiglass too?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 8:55AM
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overlyoptimistic

I haven't been using a releasing agent on my melamine molds and I've had no problems getting it out.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 10:09AM
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silverraven

Finally go the kitchen counters ground,and two coats of Tung Oil on them. They still need one more coat.

Dry fit the sink, aka Idiot Check!
You can see the hairline crack right at front of sink. Not structural because there is rebar in it, and really not noticable except in picture.

Still don't like the speckles.

Now onto making doors and drawers. We got 100 year old wormy chestnut reclaimed out of a church. Hoping they turn out well! We've never done any of this before.
S

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 2:33PM
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overlyoptimistic

Hi Silverraven,

What do you think of the Tung oil for the concrete? I've never used it.

Just finished our second bathroom.

It was a comedy of errors, which mostly translated in a lot of extra time. Can't seem to get any good pictures of the surface. The only aggregate can be seen around the sink, otherwise you see very little of it.

The mirror in the background is now going to be replace with a full wall mirror, cut out around the outlets and lights.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 10:29PM
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silverraven

overlyoptimistic- Wow! Love the countertops! That is what I wanted mine to look like. But, we can't always get what we want..........
We aren't using our kitchen yet, so I am going simply by test pieces. So far lemon juice, tomatoes, lime juice just seem to pull the tung oil off, but after I put more on goes back to looking good as new. I left a sample out in the rain for a few days, no water spots or damage. It definitely stays dark better than just bees wax. What sealer did you use?
S

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 8:51AM
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overlyoptimistic

I used the Cheng sealer... but that led to some problems. I had enough left over sealer from my last counter (2 years ago). It was stored in the garage-- it doesn't freeze here, so I thought it should be fine. However, the surface dried really milky white. I talked to Cheng and they were helpful but perplexed. So I then stripped it off using epoxy remover and re-grinded. What a pain. I bought new Cheng sealer and that worked well. On the top is three coats of carnuba wax, buffed with the angle grinder using a white scotchbright pad.

What led you to consider tung oil? I use it on our butchblock island, but I never thought to put in on the concrete. Apparently you can also melt a little beeswax into the tung if you wanted to buff it. Not sure if that would help with the acids.

Take care.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:24AM
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silverraven

I had tried a penetrating sealer by Quikrete and it just didn't darken the counter like I wanted it to. So I was looking for something else. I used bees wax on my son's vanity. It looks great, for a while. I just don't think it would last long term in a kitchen. So, I was reading the Real Milk Paint site about 100% pure tung oil for my cabinet doors and noticed they mentioned using it on concrete. Lots of research later and I found out that boiled linsead oil is used on concrete for bridges, so since I really wanted food safe I figured tung oil would probably be ok for my concrete counter tops. Or, in other words, dumb luck!! Now, I just hope it lasts long term. I am debating on putting wax on top, but am not sure if I would have to strip it to apply more tung oil, and just haven't had time to research it yet.
Boy that sure was a long ramble. Sorry! Did the Cheng sealer darken your concrete? I may have made a mistake not using it, only time will tell......
S

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 7:08PM
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g4x4xgeoff

silverraven, I wish I could see your photos! From the descriptions, you're pretty much doing exactly what I'm looking to do

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 4:30PM
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indiana_house_doctor

Allways remember when mixing your own mix that it should be 3 parts sand 2 parts aggragate and 2 parts cement ( portland cement) plus on kitchen countertops i reccomend sealing with a food safe wax or read the sealers and make sure there acid resistant. And also never cut directly on your concrete countertop. I reccomend you still use a cutting board. And remember the sealer dont last forever it must be resealed every year.. hope this is helpful. And on the mix dont mix alot use test pieces to ensure a good mix and tweak it to your liking. Too much of one thing will end bad trust me.. practice practice practice!!!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:02AM
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indiana_house_doctor

Allways remember when mixing your own mix that it should be 3 parts sand 2 parts aggragate and 2 parts cement ( portland cement) plus on kitchen countertops i reccomend sealing with a food safe wax or read the sealers and make sure there acid resistant. And also never cut directly on your concrete countertop. I reccomend you still use a cutting board. And remember the sealer dont last forever it must be resealed every year.. hope this is helpful. And on the mix dont mix alot use test pieces to ensure a good mix and tweak it to your liking. Too much of one thing will end bad trust me.. practice practice practice!!!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:03AM
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