Pssst… update! Here’s how we removed stains and maintained our concrete countertops.
So, much has (luckily) changed in our home since my last post. While our original plan was to keep the house’s existing cabinets on the back wall and add new cabinetry for the island, our plans had to change, yet again.
The built-in spot for the fridge ended up being 2 inches too short for our fridge (which isn’t even that big). With the fridge built-in wedged between the dishwasher and a small load-bearing wall, there were only two choices: 1) Keep the existing stuff and just commit to buying tiny fridges for life or 2) Redo the ENTIRE kitchen cabinetry.
Since at some point we’d like to upgrade all of our appliances, we decided to go with option two. So more demo and lots of wood chips and splinters later, our kitchen is actually completely empty. Not for long though!
I have an upcoming blog post about which cabinets we ended up going with and why, but that’s another day and another story. The REAL story and star of the day are these babies, our DIY concrete countertops.
Oh my! Welcome to my new favorite thing: our concrete countertops! A dream months in the making!!
Back in July, Scott and I spent a few weeks on a super fun southeast road trip where we stayed in a cabin in Asheville and visited Scott’s family in Georgia. One day we were strolling around Biltmore Village and came across this quaint little restaurant called Corner Kitchen which I happened to hear amazing reviews about! We decided to skip the lunch wait and grab a spot at the bar, and here they were…
Up until this point we had already gone through several countertop options. My original choice was butcher block because I LOVE how they look and the warmth and rustic charm they add. Unfortunately, they are extremely high maintenance and can harbor bacteria so we crossed that one (sadly) off the list.
The second choice was marble which I really love, but knew we couldn’t afford. I ended up being right and that too was no longer an option. Our third choice was granite, and to tell you the truth – I don’t LOVE granite. I know it’s the “in thing” to do these days but I seldom run with the trends unless I happen to like the trends.
As my elbow casually leaned against the beautiful concrete countertop right there in Asheville, NC, a lightbulb went off in my head.
“Scott,” I leaned over excitedly. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?!”
My sweet soulmate leaned in and exclaimed “YES! We should totally order some drinks!”
So we did, but more importantly, we both fell in love with these countertops. So, many months and hours of research later, here we were, in a dusty garage at Gray Gables, finally executing our plan and making our DIY concrete countertop dreams come true!
The first step, obviously, was to create countertop molds. I’ve seen people do this a lot of ways – some even skipping the molds altogether and just pouring concrete directly onto their existing countertop. I cannot recommend that!
Even though not using the molds seems easier, I loved that our countertops turned out perfectly flat because we did use them. Scott’s dad even made an ingenious mold insert for our prep sink!
I won’t go into too many details on the entire process because there are a ton of blogs out there that have done a great job giving step-by-step instructions (like this one, this one, and this one in particular).
After the molds were built, we taped and caulked the seems, cut rebar, and began to mix and pour our concrete mix! (We purchased Quickrete’s Countertop Mix which I HIGHLY recommend – it’s formulated especially for this!).
Scott and his dad mixed and poured, I leveled with the trowel until the forms were about half full. Then we added the rebar and the guys poured some more.
After leveling the top layer, I used a hammer to bang on the bottom of the mold to bring the air bubbles to the surface, which prevents cracking in your countertop. That was the hardest part and my arms were aching by the end!
Notice all those air bubbles in the photo above? That was 20 minutes’ worth of forearm agony, but worth it! Like labor pains 🙂