"Summer Social" Guest Project — Make DIY Concrete Countertops!! {tutorial}

8 Jul


Hi Tatertots and Jello readers! I’m Jessie and I blog over
at Imperfectly

 I am thrilled to be guest posting here today and sharing a
tutorial on our new concrete countertops!
The all important before and
after has to come first:) Here is what our kitchen looked like when we
bought our house two years ago:

And here it is today {with our shiny
new counters}: 


 We also got a new sink, faucet, made over our island, added new accessories and a table, painted, added a built-in desk, and lots more, but today, let’s focus on those gorgeous

Before we get started, let me tell you that this is a picture-heavy post
with lots of steps but totally worth every minute of it.
A kitchen our
size will cost you only about $400 to make concrete counters!!! We
estimated that our counters would have cost $4,400 to be done by the pros!
That’s a huge savings:)

Ok, wanna know how to make them?

Step 1:

Build forms. Start by measuring your current counters. Measure again:)
Make sure that you are exact. We did the counter and the backsplash so
we measured both of them the same as our current counters. Then you will
need to buy melamine board to create your forms. We got this at Home
Depot. This type of board will give your counters a smooth finish. Cut
them to the size of your counters.

Lucky for us, we know some people
with some big tools. We used 3 sheets of melamine to create our forms,
and had a little leftover.

Step Two: assemble the forms. Once
again, double and triple check to make sure you have all the pieces you
need and that they are the correct sizes. Mike predrilled each hole and
then put the screws in place so the boards wouldn’t crack.

Once your forms are built, you’ll need to find an area to pour them. We
have a 3-car garage so we used the area that we don’t normally park in.
We bought two sheets of plywood and shimmed them so they were level.


Then we covered them in plastic to protect them from the concrete spills
that are bound to happen.

Step Three: prep the boards for pouring. We taped off the boards
and added a silicone bead around the entire thing. This helps to keep the
concrete sealed in and also creates a slightly rounder edge on your
finished counter. Once you get the silicone on, use your finger and wipe
off the excess. Then remove your tape.

Step Four:  spray a release agent on your boards. We used a
small squirt bottle that we already owned and wiped it with a napkin to
make sure it was evenly distributed. Don’t skip this step! Our counters
slid right out when we were done.

Step five: Now it’s time to pour! We rented a
small concrete mixer for the day {cost: around $40}.

We bought a countertop Quikrete mix
through our local Home Depot. They had to special order the mix for us
and it arrived within a week. We had about 45 sq. ft. to cover in our
kitchen so we ordered 12 bags, but only needed 8. This type of concrete
is around $13.99/bag, which is about 3-4 times as much as regular
concrete. You can use regular concrete but you will have to add some
additives for extra strength and crack-resistence. This already has it in
there so you know that your counters will be strong.

Next, start mixing!

The directions say to use about a gallon of water per bag but we learned
the hard way {by repouring a couple} that you really need about a gallon
and a half. Add water until you have the right consistency {similar to
the consistency of a Wendy’s frosty}. Too much water can make your
counters lose strength and not enough can make it rocky so you have to be
careful here.

You pour half the concrete in, smooth it out, then add a wire mesh in the
middle. This helps reinforce the counters. You will need to cut this
ahead of time and leave an inch or two around all sides so that it doesn’t
stick out:) I used a trowel to smooth out the concrete as Mike poured in

Once it is all poured, you will want to walk around the sides of the forms
and vibrate it to get rid of any air bubbles inside. You can use a hand
sander and push against the sides or lightly tap the edges with a hammer.
Either method will work. Then, use a smooth piece of wood {we used a
2×4} to screed the top. This scrapes off the excess concrete and smooths
out the surface for you. This will be the bottom of your counter so you
want it level so it will sit nicely on your counter.

This is how it looks when it’s
finished and ready to harden.

Step Six: Finally, cover your poured concrete
with the rest of the plastic.
This helps the concrete cure and keeps a
little bit of moisture in there.

Step Seven: demolding. Let it sit for a few days before
demolding. If you use the release agent, the counters should slide right
out as you flip them over. You can however, simply unscrew the molds to
remove them as well. Mike unscrewed them all to save his screws:)

We laid them out onto foam board
when we demolded to give them a soft place to land.
Step Eight:  finishing. You will likely have some small holes to patch.

I actually was glad we had some
because they had so much character to the finished piece. We patched ours
with a simple concrete patch from Home Depot and sanded the entire
surface until it was smooth.

We purchased a diamond grit sand
paper {on the recommendation of the many tutorials we watched} but in the
end, we aren’t sure it was worth it. They worked great {and last a long
time} but simple sandpaper would have done the same thing-you just may
have to buy a lot of it:) We used a 50 grit and a 400 grit for finishing.

Step Nine: Once it is all sanded and smooth, seal it up!

We used a high gloss concrete sealer and rolled it on. I did three thin
coats. Then put it in place. We used silicone to secure the slabs down
and to attach the backsplash pieces.

Step Ten: finish it all off with a
polish of carnauba wax
{make sure it is 100% so it is food safe} and enjoy
your pretty, polished counters!

You can see a lot more pictures of the finished product and get more
details on resources, tips, and tricks over at Imperfectly Polished!

I would love to hear if any of
you try this!

I can tell you that it was a lot of work, but worth every
We love the high-end kitchen we have now and love the price tag
even more:)

Thanks for having me!


Wow Jessie – your counters look AWESOME!! 
Be sure to check out  Imperfectly
for more amazing DIY projects like: 

 Dressed Up Desk

DIY Mail System {out of old boards}

DIY Sewing Table {out of an old desk}

You will love Jessie’s ideas at Imperfectly


PS — It’s Friday!! And time for you to show off YOUR ideas at The Weekend Wrap Up Party!! I can’t wait to see them!!! The party starts at 6 pm MST 🙂

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