Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Formative Stage.

Building the forms for the kitchen countertops began with 3/4" sheets of melamine. Using a table saw, the edges of the forms were ripped down to 1-1/2". They are 8' long.

Carefully reversing the measurements made for the countertops, the sides were clamped and screwed into place using 2" drywall screws.

The holes for the screws were predrilled. An entire box of screws, plus 8 others found around the basement, were used. The spacing is roughly 4".

The cutout for the kitchen sink had to be installed on the longest form. The materials are all 8', but the countertop needs to be 102". There is a seam. It was caulked with silicone caulk and will create a line on the finished surface. Sanding and buffing will hopefully remove the imperfection after the concrete has mostly cured. Clamps were used to hold pieces in place as they were drilled and screwed.

Strips of laminate were used to round off the edges of the sink opening. They were cut to height, then length, and finally superglued to the melamine pieces. No exposed wood can be left. The water from the concrete would swell the melamine before it cured creating unwanted depressions.

After everything was in place, the two pieces were hauled upstairs into the dining room. The concrete will be mixed outside. Silicone caulk will be applied to all the joints this evening after work. Once cured, the concrete will be poured. Rebar and wire mesh will be used to stiffen and strengthen the final product. I'd like to say it will be done before the weekend. Maybe.

It's 72 degrees and humid. Rain is in the forecast. Heavy showers yesterday afternoon as we were finishing the last pieces. The high should reach the mid 80s today.


FlowerLady said...

You must be excited about this project, I know I am. I look forward to seeing how this turns out. What color, if any, will you be mixing into the concrete?

Have a nice day ~ FlowerLady

Randy Emmitt said...


We made our concrete tops almost two years ago! Here are some notes for you. One you need to get the bubbles out as much as possible, when you pour afterward you can use the vibration of a sander to help get rid of the bubbles. If you do get air pockets from the bubbles you can mix straight portland cement with water and add colorant if you are using colorant. Take the portland mix and towel it over the entire top using a drywall mud trowel. Then you need to sand down the finish, I got a wet sander online for $300 and an assortment of sanding grits, 800 grit makes it reall smooth BTW. Feel free to ask any other questions.

One thing we used creek gravel (must be rinsed clean), sand and portland cement. Our mix was 3 shovels gravel, 2 shovels sand and one shovel cement. Also added latex bonding additive a few cups per mix for strength. The colorant we used green and threw in a yogurt cup fill per batch. Those 18 gallon plastic pots with rope handles work well to mix in but the mixing blade can kill them if you are not careful.

Dave@TheHomeGarden said...

I can't wait to see how it all works! It looks like you have a good mold made. I may have missed this somewhere but how much money does doing it yourself save you? It seems like it would be pretty substantial although it's a lot of work for you. Can't wait to see the finished product!

cat said...

i can't wait to see them! i want concrete counter tops in my kitchen soooo badly. we need sturdier cabinets first. i'm so impressed with all your work!

gld said...

This counter top sounds like a very tricky project. Good luck.

I am anxious to see it finished.

Kris said...

We're all on pins and needles waiting to see how this shakes out. You've got a lot of talent to do this kind of stuff. Hats off to you.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Thanks all. I'm slowly getting up the nerve to buy the concrete materials tomorrow. I've still got to cut the metal mesh and install that halfway through the pour. And I've got to put tape on the top edges of the forms to keep them from getting wet. And I need to reclean the whole thing too.

Once the concrete goes in, it will be at least a week, probably two before I demold them. I want them to cure as much as possible before moving them.

Randy Emmitt said...


Your do want to use mesh but also need more reinforcement accross the sink cut out. The end beyond the sink cut out will weigh over 50 lbs and you need a stiff rod front and back 1/4 to 3/8 re bar or two should work. We had the same over hang and used glass block 2 inch wide galvanized reinforcing wire ladders. The counter set for 3 weeks and picking it up we got a little bend and slight crack. We ended up putting the countertop back in the mold to carry it and removed the mold after placing in on the cabinets. Made a little slip and touched up the crack and you can not see it now.

Good Luck!

L. D. Burgus said...

I am glad you are getting to that. You will enjoy having it new in the kitchen.