We have slowly been making updates in our kitchen to make it a more fun and functional space. The latest project wasn’t really a ‘functional’ issue, but it has definitely made it more ‘fun’!Kitchen countertops: BEFORE
Our kitchen countertops were a neutral beige swirly patterned laminate to start with, so it is not like we were dealing with an offensive color or even lots of scratches. But, they really didn’t add anything style wise to our kitchen, and I was looking for something a little more interesting.
About a year ago, one of my favorite bloggers posted about covering her laundry room countertops with concrete. After reading more about it and looking into the product a bit, I decided to order some for our kitchen.
And then, I put it off until last month. We use the kitchen extensively every day, and I knew I would have to do without countertops for about a week while everything dried and cured. Finally, I just decided it was now or never and started sanding down the countertops! I have learned that one way to get myself doing a project is to take a step that is irreversible!
Sanding with a 60 grit paper to rough up the surface.
That very afternoon, I mixed up the Ardex Feather finish and slathered on the first coat.
I mixed up the concrete mix in a plastic cup using a fork. That way I could just throw it away and not have to worry about how to clean it up without clogging the drain. We just replaced plumbing from the kitchen sink into the basement, and as much fun as it was, I didn’t really want to be doing it again while attempting to renovate countertops.
I can’t really tell you the ratio of water to powder that I used, because I am a dumper, friends! I tried several different consistencies, and I really think you have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you. Here is a good tutorial from karapaslaydesigns.com in addition to the link at the top.
I used my fork and sometimes the putty knife to do the top backsplash and edges. I blobbed on the goop, and then smoothed it out with the putty knife. I didn’t worry too hard about it all being to perfect, because the sanding step is where you smooth everything out again.
I ended up doing four coats of the concrete mix, with overnight drying time in between each. I also scraped off ridges with the putty knife and sanded with 60 grit then 100 grit between each layer.
It is extremely dusty, so I also vacuumed and wiped things up many, many times.
I attempted to use the electric sander for the final coat, but dust started flying EVERYWHERE. And I was afraid I would sand right through to the laminate again and that would make me cry. So, I just sanded by hand until it was smooth to the touch. In retrospect, I wish I would have added two more coats just to get it a little thicker, but I feel like that can still be done after we have lived with it for awhile.
I didn’t remove the sink for this application. Maybe I should have, but I chose to just work to the edges and I think it looks just fine. If any concrete got on the sink part, I just scraped it off. If your sink is easily removable or your husband is willing to do it, that would probably be the recommended step.
I went back and forth on what to seal the countertops with. Many people recommend a product called Cheng Concrete Countertop Sealer, but it can’t be frozen, so shipping it in November didn’t seem like a great idea. I ended up going down to Lowes and went with a recommendation from a super nice lady who works there and also has concrete countertops. I did worry for a bit about it not saying “food safe” on the label. But I typically use a cutting board, so I hope it is not too harmful. Depending on how this product holds up, I might try the Cheng product in a year or so. The Lowes clerk did say that you have to sand it down lightly and reapply every so often. She recommended a mohair roller, which I tried. I ended up liking the ease and smoothness of my trusty 2in brush much better than the roller. I put on two coats of sealer. If water is left on the counter, it does eventually soak in and get dark. It dries within an hour or two and doesn’t leave a mark. The only think that has left a little ‘permanent’ spot is maybe a bit of oil? I think it just adds character!
Kitchen Countertops: AFTER
For now, I am loving the inexpensive update in the kitchen, and they have been easy to care for.
What do you think? I have a few more ideas and places I would like to try using this Ardex stuff. I am so glad I finally took the time to get the countertops done. It is much more fun to be in a kitchen that makes you happy!