Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Concrete Countertops and a Furred Out Wall

Nick decided that he wanted to try and do concrete countertops in the kitchen. I have to admit I was a bit hesitant, but he was determined so I let him have at it. He researched the best way to go about it, bought the supplies and went for it.

Okay, first I have to back track a bit.

When we found out we needed to redo the plumbing and the electrical in the house we decided it would be easiest to keep it out of the walls, which were concrete and plaster, and then fur the wall out around any new plumbing or electrical wires.  To fur the wall out means placing 2x4's flat on the existing wall creating a new one. Nick put notches in the wood to accommodate the new plumbing.

Before we could start the countertops Nick had to add drywall to the furred out wall. The new electrical outlet boxes had been put in at this point so Nick made sure to cut the drywall around them.

Then it was time to start prep work on the countertops. The wood floors had already been installed so we made sure to protect them with lots of paper and tape. Of course we always have free child labor.

The next step of the process...which was a long one...was to build a form for the concrete. Nick also made sure to put paper in the living room, which became our makeshift cutting area due to rainy weather.  Caulk was then put on all the gaps between the drywall and the plywood. After many many measurements and cuts the form was in place. Soon we were one step closer to pouring concrete, but not quite there yet.

Next we had to cut the hole for the sink and build forms up around it. Lay metal lath, which will give the concrete something to adhere to, on the plywood. And cover the cabinets with lots and lots of plastic.

I think it's time to pour. Wait, one more quick trip to Lowe's for three more bags of Quikrete concrete and colorant and we are ready to pour.

Okay, I just have to say how comical it was to watch the two of us doing this project. We ran into problem after problem, but we persevered and came out victorious.

We brought the wheelbarrow right into the kitchen and put it on a piece of cardboard to protect the wood floors even more. Nick started pouring bags of concrete into the wheelbarrow while I filled the bucket with water. Next we added the colorant...charcoal, which was the darkest color they had....into the bucket of water. It was at this point we realized there was a hole in the bucket, so we had to keep it outside. While I rushed to take the bucket outside, Nick started stirring the concrete with a shovel. When he almost dumped everything on the floor we discovered the wheelbarrow had seen better days and was starting to break. My job from then on was to hold the wheelbarrow steady plus rush to get the leaky bucket when we needed to add more water, while Nick quickly stirred the concrete together before it set up.
After it was thoroughly mixed together Nick started placing shovel fulls of concrete into the form on the counter. I spread the concrete around until the form was completely filled and then Nick took a trowel and created a nice smooth and even surface.

After giving the concrete about an hour to set up came the moment of truth: removal of the forms. However, the hits just kept on coming. Huge chunks of concrete fell off around the edges in four different spots...crap. Luckily, when we poured the small counter we put way too much concrete so there was plenty of extra, still wet concrete on the floor that Nick scooped up and repaired the damaged spots with.

Finally, after giving the repaired spots sufficient drying time the countertops where complete.

We still need to seal them and possibly stain them black, but this is a project we are both very happy with.


Shannon said...

K you two seriously amaze me! Love those countertops. They have a lot of character and you did it together. How cool!

Annalisa said...

That sounds like a lot of work. I really didn't get that you were actually going to pour concrete. I figured they were pre made. Very cool. I can picture you holding the wheel barrel and running back and forth with a leaky water bucket. haha. That made me laugh. They look awesome!

Heather said...

I like the gray.

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