The number one thing people ask me about in our house is our concrete countertops. We built, installed and sealed them ourselves almost two years ago. When people ask us why we went with concrete, we always tell them a fun little story that I mentioned in this post here, but now the story is even more fun. Check out how small this world actually is!
Scott and I were on vacation in Asheville, NC the week before we were supposed to close on our house. We were doing lots of exciting day dreaming and planning and looking for ideas and inspiration absolutely everywhere. We had been debating about countertop ideas and found ourselves at lunch at this awesome place called Corner Kitchen. We sat at a bar that had this amazing thick, gorgeous concrete countertop and we were sold on the idea.
Fast forward to this summer. Scott and I went to Atlanta for a diy blogger conference and were chatting with Jeremy from Buddy Rhodes concrete during some downtime. He asked about my blog, I told him we did concrete countertops, he said I looked familiar and we figured out he had seen our concrete countertop post. So cool right?
It gets even cooler.
So then he asks why we decided to do concrete countertops. We tell him the dreamy story of our romantic lunch in Asheville were we held hands and sipped wine and planned out our plans for the remodel. He asked the name of the restaurant, we told him and he said:
“I built those concrete countertops”
Wait, what????? How random and cool. So needless to say we formed a fun connection and when Jeremy told us he would be in Dallas for a conference and wouldn’t mind coming by to help us with resealing our countertops, we were super excited.
You see, our countertops had started developing stains. Even though we were fairly faithful with resealing them every 6 months, we couldn’t leave water or any liquid on our countertop for any amount of time without a stain appearing. Not very practical for a kitchen. Additionally, the countertops had gone from a dark gray to a strange cloudy gray that I wasn’t loving.
Never fear though, Jeremy had a plan—we had to remove the old, ineffective sealer and reseal with a better one. I won’t lie to you guys—it was messy and a lot of work. But (spoiler!) totally worth it!!!
We started by removing the old sealer off. To prep the area we cleaned it and used tape around the edges to try and keep the water from splashing on the floor.
Then, we sanded using Buddy Rhodes Diamond Hand Polishing Pads and Buddy Rhodes Diamond Polishing Pads with a random orbital sander. To do this you need to add lots of water to your countertops—sand wet! This is the messy part—be prepared for mud to fly around everywhere (it cleans off easy though!).
After sanding, Jeremy pointed out the root issue of our countertop stains. We had tiny little holes in the concrete that were retaining the stain and water. To fix this we did a skim coat using unsanded tile grout and water.
Simply mix them together then apply a thin coat to the countertop surface. We used a putty knife to make sure the holes were filled and then wiped the excess off the counters. At this point, we allowed them to sit and dry for 24 hours.
Scott and I picked up with the counters the following day and used the wet sanding technique with the diamond pads to lightly sand the countertops down so they were flat and smooth. We then allowed our countertops to dry for another 24 hours.
Once we had the bare, dry concrete with all the old sealer removed and the skim coat smoothed, it was time to prep the counters for the new sealer. We used ICT Counterhard Prep. To apply, we mixed a 1:1 ratio of water to the Counterhard Prep and applied using a slightly damp microfiber cloth. It’s important to keep a wet edge and to make big circular or S-shaped motions so the surface is evenly covered. After the first coat, wait 20 minutes and then do a second with the 1:1 ratio again. After drying for 20 minutes you can then apply 2 coats of full Counterhard, each 20 minutes apart. Then we let the countertops dry for another 24 hours.
I told you all this was a long process!
Finally, we were ready to add the final piece—the actual sealer! We used Buddy Rhodes’ Satin Concrete Sealer and again applied it using a microfiber cloth making big swooping s-shaped patterns. We did 5 coats, with 20-30 minutes of dry time in between each one. Then we let the counters dry overnight.
The next morning we did the water drop test. You basically put a few drops of water on various spots for 30 seconds and see if they leave a dark spot. If they do, you need to continue adding a few more layers of sealer. If not, they are done!
We had one counter area that needed 2 additional layers of sealer, but everywhere else passed the drop test. I’m happy to report that several weeks later there is no sign of staining and our cups no longer leave water rings on our countertops. The countertops are restored to their original rich gray color. We are so happy with how gorgeous they look and how glossy they feel! Totally worth all the time and effort.
We have to give a huge thank you to Jeremy for all his help, and to Buddy Rhodes for supplying all the products we needed! If you are even considering concrete countertops check them out! The products were provided to me free of cost, but my feedback is (as always!) 100% my own.