Let's talk about kitchens . . . Video follow up #1

Thanks to all of you who stuck with me through my second attempt at live video. It doesn't show in the video but I AM actually learning a lot each time and I think they will improve. (Set the bar high, ya know?)  If you missed it, here is a link to the video. My apologies in advance.  

 The kitchen when we moved in. Good bones - lots of brown.   

The kitchen when we moved in. Good bones - lots of brown.

 

https://www.facebook.com/amy.baker.1420/videos/1599013956816185/

This will be the first of four posts following up on the topics briefly touched upon in the video.  The follow-ups will be as follows:  #1 Concrete Counter Tops#2 Painting Cabinets #3 Pallet Backsplash and #4 Chalk Paint Island - which I mentioned but never got to.

CONCRETE COUNTER TOPS

There are a number of ways to make concrete countertops. In our kitchen, we opted for the fastest easiest way since we were dealing with structurally sound cabinets and were not looking to do anything special (like add an undermount sink). 

  1. If you are working with laminate counters, check first to see if the laminate will easily pop off the wood frames. Our house was built in 1987 and the laminate was original. It came up with very little effort.  If your laminate is not so cooperative, you will want to clean it thoroughly with something like TSP. Then, sand with a coarse sandpaper - you just want to scratch up the surface to give the concrete something to hold on to.
  2. Once the counters are ready, we used a roll of butcher paper to tape around the cabinets - just roll it around the cabinet base like an ugly skirt and tape well. We also did a layer of paper around the cabinets on the floor because we're slobs.
  3. For our concrete, we used Ardex Feather Finish.   Using a plastic tub (like margarine comes in) we mixed 1 part water to 2 parts of the Feather Finish. Work in a small area. We had a trowel, a large and a small putty knife to spread a thin layer. 
  4. Once you have a thin layer on the counters, let dry (it's quick - even in humid Florida) and go around adding a second coat. 
  5. We let that dry over night. In the morning, check to see that all areas are covered equally. The concrete is self-levelling so that should not be an issue. Double check your corners and seams.  If they need filled it, do that.
  6. Once everything is dry again, it's time to start sanding. We got the best results sanding by hand. Start with a medium coarse sandpaper to get at rough edges. Finish off with a fine sandpaper. This is time consuming but well worth your time. 
  7. Use a lint-free cloth to wipe down all the counters.
  8. Your final step is to seal the counters. We used Polycrylic - a low odor, water-based sealant. It comes in various sheens and is easy to work with.  I've since learned that there are food-grade sealers available as well. There is a significant price difference between the two. We've had no problems and no real concerns. 
  9. Whichever sealant you opt for, you can add a little sparkle with these. We just mixed in a with the last coat of https://www.lowes.com/pd/Valspar-Silver-Paint-Color-Flakes-Actual-Net-Contents-1-fl-oz/3172069
  10. If you don't like the industrial look of the natural cement color, you can try adding color - there is a good range available. The link is just one example. https://www.lowes.com/pd/QUIKRETE-Charcoal-Cement-Color-Mix/3018771

We will be doing our bathroom counter in the very near future. I will video each step and post it here when we do. In the meantime, a quick search will lead you to some great tutorials online. Depending on your situation, they may provide alternatives if your kitchen situation isn't as cut and dried as our is here. You can build molds and create entirely new counters. You can build a frame and pour concrete directly over tile counters. There are a ton of variations. 

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have in the meantime. Thanks for reading!