We have countertops in our new kitchen!! Not just any countertops but concrete countertops!! I have always wanted to have concrete countertops ever since I first saw them which I think was watching Fixer Upper on HGTV. CJ and I are totally into doing home improvement and projects ourselves. Seriously the only thing we hire out is service on our air conditioner. So when I saw these concrete countertops I was like how the heck could we pull those off ourselves without hiring a professional? Well we both did A LOT of research on these and not just how to do them or what others did but what not to do and how to keep from messing up.
There are a couple popular ways to do concrete countertops. You can build a frame around your cabinets and pour them on or you can skim coat them on existing counters or what we did was build a base to skim coat the concrete onto. So here’s our process:
First, after having our cabinets and sink completely installed we built our base counter top out of 1 1/8inch thick plywood and 1/2 inch thick backer board. We wanted to stick close to a 2inch thick counter thickness but you can totally add another sheet of any size plywood for your desired thickness. We were able to get our entire countertop amount out of the whole 1 1/8 inch plywood board which was awesome because the one board cost about $60 and we didn’t want to go get another one for just a little bit of countertop left.
As for the sink, I was dead set on having an under mount farmhouse sink with these counters. It definitely was a little intimidating thinking about how we would spread this concrete around the built in sink. Me made our measurements and cut out where the sink would be on the plywood and set it on top of the sink then used the sink brackets to attach the sink to the plywood. Then, we siliconed all of the plywood down onto the base cabinets.
Once the plywood was all placed it was time to add the backer board all around the plywood. We wanted to use backer board as a layer to help with moisture and the extra thickness. You can totally just use plywood as your base if you wanted though.
Now that the base is finished and ready for cement I recommend taping everything off like we did because it will be a MESS!
Supplies for skim coating the cement:
• A couple buckets
• Henry Feather Finish Cement mix
• Palm Sander
• Sand Paper in 220 grit 120 grit & 80 grit
• Painters tape
• Plastic tarp
• Float Tool
• Taping Knife
• Putty Knife
Here’s a picture of some of the supplies we used (We eventually used more supplies after the picture was taken):
Start by following the directions on the box of the cement mix. We ended up using the entire box for the first layer. Spread out evenly over your plywood and backer board base. This is where is can get tricky. You want to make it easy on your self so make sure you skim coat as even as possible other wise you will be sanding down the cement for daysss! Another tip that might help is you can make half of your batch of cement at a time for a few sections at a time because the Henry’s Feather Finish cement mix dries FAST!
Once the first layer of your skim coat is completely dry, it’s time to sand it all down. Start with your 220 grit sand paper on the palm sander and give all the counters (tops, side, and all) an even more even finish. We worked our way down from 80 grit paper to 120 grit paper to 220 grit paper. Then vacuum all the dust off the counters after sanding each layer.
NOTE: It will be dusty, dirty, and MESSY!
We repeated those steps 3 times, the 3rd time being a touch up layer. For the touch ups we just used our putty knife to fill in little air holes or lines created by the last 2 layers.
Finally once you have all your layers on and it’s all sanded down, you can start the sealing process. We taped off everywhere around the counters (backsplash, cabinets, etc). We bought a couple little skinny rollers, and poured this first sealer into a paint tray…
This impregnator sealer soaked into the concrete super fast. We did 2 layers of that. After that was all dried we starting sealing with this sealer…
We did a total of 3 layers of this sealer also using a skinny roller. It is the final touch to the concrete counters. This sealer will help bring some shine to the counters as well. After you apply your desired amount of finishing sealer, let dry and remove all tape!
We LOVE LOVE LOVE our counters so far! We haven’t had much of a chance to use them but the little that we have has been so nice! I love to just walk through and look and them and see the small little character details in them. I think these countertops totally make the kitchen now and it’s not even finished yet! I love all the little imperfections that were created while making them. I feel like they are little touches of us as a family throughout the entire slab of each cement counter. I would 100% recommend to anyone who wants something different that a lot of people are intimidated to do and also to someone who’s on a tight budget for a kitchen remodel. We ended up saving a lot more money doing these than a nice granite slab but exchanged the price for all the hard work. It takes a lot of patients and efforts to get them the way you want but SO worth it! I hope our little tutorial on how we did our may help others with their countertops if needed. Thank you guys so much for reading and stopping by the blog today. This is one of the most proud projects we’ve done so far! I’m so thankful for all my readers, followers and supporters. You can also follow along with me on Facebook & Instagram for more!! xx