Make A Concrete Countertop: Save $10,000 In The Process
If you love saving money here’s an article you’ll love. This month we saved over $10,000 this by making our own countertop during a renovation in our home. Here’s how we did it!
Are you doing a kitchen or bathroom remodel and trying to figure out how to save some money in the process. In our case we will be saving $10, 875 by making our own concrete countertop. We were originally looking at granite but decided on concrete after watching Heidi’s DIY Concrete Countertop Video. Making your own concrete counter top is a great option that can save you thousands of dollars and will give your kitchen or bathroom vanity a unique look that will be a conversation piece for years to come.
Before we get started I wanted to give Heidi @ Timber and Tea a big shout out for making the video tutorials that this article is based off of. You did a wonderful job at demonstrating how to make a beautiful countertop from concrete. If anyone’s interested in watching her video I’ve embedded it in this article.
The first thing to understand about concrete is it’s not all created equal. There are various ways to mix concrete that will effect porosity and strength.
Traditional Concrete Countertop Mix
If you use a traditional sand, gravel, water mix you will have a high porosity low strength concrete (3000 psi compressive strength) concrete countertop. This type of countertop will be supportable to staining, cracking and will need to be poured thicker to maintain strength ( at least 1.5″ thick). This is by far the cheapest way to make your own countertop at just .50 cents a square ft for materials and it may look great for a year or two. With constant use ketchup, wine, blueberries and many other products will stain the counter. So whats the solution ?
Polymer modified Counter Top Mix
A glass fiber reinforced, polymer modified, self-consolidating mix with a 28-day compressive strength of approximately 11,000 psi. This mix doesn’t use water so it eliminates the air pockets left behind when water evaporates from the traditional concrete mix mentioned above. There are many brands on the market your best to contact your local supplier and see which brand they stock. In the How to make a professional ( stain proof) concrete counertop video Heidi used Flat out countertop mix from Butterfeild.
6 Step’s To Making a Concrete Countertop
Step 1: Make the mold – Using white melamine make a mold to pour the concrete into. If your using polymer modified concrete you can make your mold as thin as 3/4″ thick. If your using traditional concrete mix you will need to make it a minimum of 1.5″ thick.
Step 2: Seal edges – We don’t want water leaking trough the edges of the mold because it will swell the melamine. Use caulking to seal the edges and a metal ball fondant tool tool to give a round edge finish in the form.
Step 3 : Clean The Mold – Vacuum the mold out and then use paint thinner to finish cleaning the mold.
Step 4: Mix and pour your concrete – If your using traditional concrete mix 1 part portland cement, 2 parts sand, 2 parts pea gravel or 1/4 ” crush washed gravel. If your using a polymer modified mix use instructions on bag. Once mixed use a texturing gun to spay the first layer of concrete into your mold this will produce a flawless finish. Next pour contents into mold and vibrate to remove air bubbles, this will also produce a smooth finished surface. Let mold sit for 48 hours with traditional mix or as little as 3 hrs with polymer modified mix.
Step 5 : Polishing your concrete countertop – Polishing can be a short or long process depending on what you want your finish to look like. If your after a flat look with limited aggregate exposed. You’ll want to wet sand lightly with 200 then 400 grit diamond sanding discs. If your looking for a high shine finish you’ll want to wet sand starting with 200 grit , then 400, 800 and finally 1000 grit diamond sanding discs. You may also need a diamond cup grinding wheel to remove any heavy deposits of concrete on the back side of the countertop pour.
Step 6 : Sealing your concrete countertop – This is probably the most important step. Use a high quality sealer specifically designed for counter tops. In the video Heidi used Surecrete concrete countertop sealer but there are many other good products out there. So do some research online and see what else you can find. One recommendation I would give when looking for a good sealer is make use it is a two part sealer. These tend to be far more durable.
How to Color and add Aggregate Concrete Countertop ?
Let’s start with color, If you want something a little different then the traditional grey countertop then experiment with coloring the concrete. To do this use iron oxide pigments that are available in a large array of colors when making samples it’s important to weigh out in grams iron oxide pigment added to each mix so you can replicate results later when you pour the concrete for the countertop.
You can also add aggregates to give your countertop a unique look some examples include, broken glass, quartz, copper flakes or even glow stones. These will be exposed during the polishing process and will give your kitchen or bathroom a very unique look that you can’t buy in a store.
If you’ve found another way to save money by making something at home. Or a great maker on Youtube please share it with us via our Facebook page.