So, the concrete countertop in the kitchen is mostly done, just need to put on the backsplash.
This post is to sum up what we did and what we used.
For the forms we used the Ogee edges from Z-Counterforms
The forms come in a pack that’s big enough to do 2 kitchens the size of ours (64 linear feet of front edge and 48 linear feet of back edge) – so we have enough to also do all our bathrooms, which means we could do a test before going all-in on the kitchen. This turned out to be a good thing and we got some valuable experience, learning things like: “put in the right amount of water” and “use a real mixer not a drill paddle”. Along with the edges we also bought the Sink form, the faucet knockouts, 3 different color samples (amber, wheat and ebony) of the concrete stain, and the AquaPoxy sealer. When we did the bathroom I first tried using Sakrete 5000 since it’s billed as being usable for counters…. if (I didn’t notice this until later) you add additional cement, plastisizers, reducers and fiberglass fibers to it. I could have bought pre-packaged stuff to do that but it was easier to get the Quickrete Countertop Mix that’s all ready to go. You have to special order it from Lowes over the phone but (here in Salt Lake at least) you can just go will-call it at the Quickrete plant if you’re in a hurry. I planned out what we would need rather well I think: 8.4 bags of concrete, two 4×8 sheets of OSB and three 3×5 sheets of cement board (those based on my Planning Drawing) – I got 10 bags just to be safe.
Anyhow, the first try for the bathroom counter (alpha test) I used the Sakrete 5000 without the right amount of water (too dry) and not mixed enough (drill paddle that bent). It was an absolute failure that I had to break apart and throw away before it set all the way. So we got the Quickrete a few days later and the beta test went much smoother once I got a real cement mixer – I made my drill start to smoke when I tried to mix it up using a new mixing paddle. My sister came and did the staining, we sealed it and it turned out great.
We used up most of the wheat and amber concrete stain on the bathroom counter so we ordered the larger bottles for the kitchen. The next step was to demolish the old nasty tile countertop.
Once demolished we needed to build up the new counter (and replace the drywall I tore out when removing the old backsplash)
Unfortunately the time lapse stopped right when we started to assemble the OSB and cement board.
We originally planned to pour the cement that same day but it was way too late by then so we waited until a big group could come and help. I also got 2 additional bags since I used up 2 of the original 10 on the bathroom and my spreadsheet told me I needed 8.4 bags to finish. Ended up with 1.5 bags – spot on.
So there you go! It will look nicer once the backsplash is in place. As for costs: the forms were $200, the other stains and stuff we bought added another $100 or so. The cement was around $200 for the 12 bags. Had to get a compound miter saw and a few other tools. Random stuff at lowes plus $220 in travertine for the backsplash. $170 for the sink. $80 for the faucet. All in all it’s close to $1000 for everything (if labor is free =). A guy I was talking to said he was able to get this guy to do granite counters for around $2000 which is a lot less than the $5000 – 6000 we were quoted but I haven’t verified if the guy is even in business. I also enjoy building and doing stuff (because that’s what computer geeks do…. right? no? well, I’m breaking that mold!) and it leaves me with terribly useful skills: tile skills, drywall skills, plumbing skills, tetherball skills… Then there is the WAF (wife acceptance factor); she’s able to customize it within the realm of what we can afford and it’s uniquely hers.