DIY Concrete Countertops
Since I received so many inquiries as to the specifics of our countertops, I thought that a blog post would be the easiest way to answer and reference them for you all! :)
Our experience - I was super terrified to attempt this project because of the risk of ruining both the countertops and cabinets - neither of which are easy/cheap to replace. However, I have been obsessing over that organic feel of concrete and we decided to go out on a limb and risk it all to achieve the look! And man, it was totally worth it!! As far as the process goes, I would encourage you to reference both ChrisLovesJulia.com and Z-Counterform for easy to follow step-by-step photos & videos, both did an incredible job explaining what to do, and I don't necessarily feel the need to re-state what they have already said. ;)
However, there are a few things that I wish I would have understood better/emphasized more during the project -
1. When we laid all of the forms and sealed them with silicone, it is important to silicone the OUTSIDE of the corners on the forms and not the inside. This probably is pretty obvious, but I didn't think that through well. Our corners turned out just fine, but they would have been a little crisper had there not been silicone marks running through them.
2. Really focus on getting the concrete high on the outside edges of the form. As you screed and float, it will pull the concrete toward the center of the form, leaving the outside edges a bit lower. Again, not a huge deal, but I have a few spots to fill with the patch kit because of this phenomenon.
3. If you want a super clean exterior edge with minimal-no air pockets, then really concentrate on vibrating the outside form edges with an electric sander while pouring (explained well on ChrisLovesJulia's post). We just tapped the edges a bunch of times as was shown in Z-Countertops video, but we still have quite a few air pockets. I actually really like the look of the pockets in our kitchen because it totally reminds me of the granite walls of the mountains in the Rockies, but if you want the perfect crisp edge it is certainly something to be aware of.
Things I was super happy about -
1. We spent FOREVER prepping- like 8+ hours.... But the prep time really paid off. While it was a messy project, we didn't have any leakage or mess on the cabinets or floors to clean up. (just pealed away all the protective rosin paper and boom! new kitchen ;)) This is definitely not a project you want to rush, as measurements and the forms need to be as close to perfect as possible for professional looking results. Check and check again. Being patient and following a timeline is key for good results! Prep work is always where the magic happens.
2. The lines of the edges are seriously incredible. I am still blown away at how crisp and professional they look! The rim is buttery smooth to the touch, too, and just looks so clean! Definitely magical.
3. The unique look of the counters - there are swooshes of white & light gray and speckles of sand-like particles. It is insanely beautiful & I wish I could show you all in person because photos really do it no justice.
Cost Breakdown: (33 Sq Feet of Countertop from Z-Counterform)
- 12 bags of White Concrete ($29 ea) - $348
- Square Edge Forms - $129
- Fiberglass Mesh Re-Enforcement - $49
- Z- Clips - $20
- Gem Pad - $60
- Magnesium Float - $27
- Stainless Finishing Trowel - $39
- We DIYed the screed.
- Shipping from Z-Countertop - $225 (expensive, I know, but their product is seriously so worth it)
- V-Seal -$150 (also recommended by CLJ)
- Durock - $30
- Misc. (Silicone/Screws) - $15
TOTAL: Approx. $1,100 ($33/Sq Ft) (I apologize to those I told $900 - totally forgot to factor in the sealer :(. )
I definitely would recommend this to anyone who is thinking of trying it. The biggest thing is to not rush the process and to prep well. Watch videos, take notes and give it your best shot! I think you will be so happy with your results!