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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Any good books on DYI your own Concrete Countertop

kimber103December 15, 2012
We have a small Galley Kitchen wanting to know the out come of anyone that has tried this themselves?
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we have! we watched videos and read as much info as we could find on the internet. we love ours! did them outside in the carport and carried them in. beefed up the cabinets with 2x4's on top edge from wall to front of cabs.
we also just made another slab for the fireplace hearth.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 9:57AM
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in the kitchen pics!

kitchen renovation for $3000 BUDGET · More Info
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:00AM
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fireplace slab for hearth we did recently...please excuse the chirstmas clutterdom! ;)
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Oh, that looks amazing, good job!!! any website in particular BTW, I love your fireplace. Was it $3000 for the kitchen or just the concrete countertop? Did you add any color to the concrete? Looks like there is a shine to it, looks fantastic!!
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 4:04PM
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VC Studio Inc.
Hello kimber103,

It's really hard to get a proper education on casting concrete from a book. Some DIY folks have had relative success. Your expectations and your desired quality in the end can make a big difference.

Modern high performance concrete is somewhat complicated. You need to have a solid mix design, no pun intended :-), and stick to it. If this is an important project then hire a professional. If you just want to play around and aren't too concerned with the outcome then have at it!

You can probably learn more with a few hours of YouTube than with a book. Don't buy into any directions that send you to the big box hardware store to buy a bag mix. If you must by a bag mix, check out Buddy Rhodes. He has distribution all over the country. To do things properly you need several ingredients and the right tools(acrylic additive, AR glass fiber, superplasticizer, etc.). If you fake it it will show :-o.

This doesn't even get us started on the subject of sealers. There are many variables to consider. Obviously concrete is heavy, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don't know what you're doing. I'm not trying to scare you away from concrete, just make sure you are prepared ahead of time. Definitely do some smaller test pours to practice.

The best thing, even for DIY, is to take an instructional class. It saves a lot of headaches in the long run.

If you have questions or need to find a fabricator in your area feel free to contact me.


Vincent Cathcart
VC Studio Inc.
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 4:18PM
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Great tips, Vincent. I know this is not anything I would attempt myself :)
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 5:11PM
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kimber103, the whole kitchen for under $3000. The countertops cost us way under $400 to do. probably closer to 3. That included all the materials and the polishing pads, sealant, the board for the forms, etc.
We are poor!!! I bought this house and it had never been updated. There is new bamboo flooring, (ebay)hardware on the old "painted" cabinets, stainless steel and mosaic backsplash, dishwasher and stove from craigslist (used, but in great condition). Knocked a wall down between living and kitchen area and added an L-shaped bar with shelving on kitchen side. New light fixtures, sink from IKEA, faucet from ebay, bar stools, electrical switches, plates and plugs and extra wiring for pendant lights. All lighting came from home depot.
We are both handy and artists.....so we did it ourselves. Only thing we didn't do was the flooring.

We used regular concrete from home depot. Nothing special and no tints or dyes. Just sealant and then wax on top. The fireplace slab tried something different and it worked. We added a tiny bit of paint to the sealant and it turned out matching the wood on the fireplace somewhat. Not sure how long or what the result will be down the road, but seems to be fine. We went on youtube and then I subscribed to Concrete Network. There are so many cool ideas out there with concrete. I love it. We didn't do any experimentation because it was our first shot at doing this. But after we got quotes of $5000 to do the countertops, as much as granite, I said forget it. My other half convinced me that we COULD do it. And if we were unsuccessful, it was only concrete! cheap. Temperature is important and getting help to carry the pieces is invaluable. I am not making light of the prices that professionals charge, it does take some time and there's always the chance that something will break or crack in transporting etc. But it's not as hard as some people think it is to do it yourself. Now if I can just figure out how to make my own windows for the house!! HA!
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:21AM
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p.s we call it the Jenga Fireplace....lol! just did that a couple of weeks ago! :)
    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:25AM
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Love your house, mp. Especially that fabulous backsplash art above the range. So creative. A friend of mine, also an artist, did her entire kitchen backsplash, plus the risers on her stairs, in a mosaic made of small broken pieces of antique china--all different colors and patterns--artistically arranged. Looks fabulous--a bit like Gaudi's mosaics at Park Guell. I just don't have enough of the artistic eye to carry off such brave experiments (or even think of them!).
1 Like    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:48AM
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Thank you feeny. It is so much fun to do. I have boxes of "things" that I save for these kinds of projects. Hopefully if I sell the house one day someone else will appreciate it?? I tried to make everything somewhat generic, but HAD to add something artstic. I was missing a few colors, so I hit the thrift stores for misc plates, and glass to break. You can experiment on a piece of board and make your own art piece. Just need thinset and grout. The wonderful thing is that they have sooo many colors of grout now.
    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:58AM
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I might be in the minority on this, but I love buying houses from artists and architects. You get all the benefit of their creativity and artistic eye for detail. Our first house had been owned and renovated by hand by two architects before we bought it. It was a little gem.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:51AM
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K.O.H. Construction Corporation
mpoulsom, your counter tops look great. How long have they been down and how are they holding up? They say concrete gets a lot of character over a period of time. Is that a wood veneer on the fireplace?
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:23PM
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feeny, where are you? Check in…miss you.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:23PM
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K.O.H. , thank you very much for the compliment. The countertops have been living with us for 2 years now....and they are holding up well and we still love them! and yes, they do have character!
The wood fireplace was a crazy spur of the moment idea. Was in home depot one night in the lumber section and there was this weird box of poplar wood...i think they were 2-3 ft long in different widths..1 and a half inches, 2 inches, 3-4 inches. Beautiful small pieces of wood. And I got the idea of just adhering it onto the brick directly and putting it together sort of like a staggered puzzle. A couple of the boards are actually parallel with the floor, but most of them are flat against the brick. They are about 3/4 inches thick or 1/2 inch???? It's quite beautiful in person!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Jayme H.
WOW! I am impressed, those countertops looks wonderful!
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Jayme H.
Right now my husband is working on an extra bedroom and I am doing things like finding more ideas like this for him....poor man!
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:55PM
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