Concrete countertops are a great solution to finding that durable, inexpensive countertop that not only looks custom-made, but can be personalized to your liking. Mind you, even the most basic concrete countertop mix is labor-intensive and can get time-consuming. It’s not easy, but it is a rewarding project that you can stand back and be proud of in the end – and you won’t be much lighter in the wallet for it!
Create Your Own
To help you get started, here’s an overview of a basic concrete countertop mix. It will take at least 2 days plus extra time so that the concrete is able to cure. You should also be sure to assemble all your tools ahead of time – and there are a lot – to be able to complete this effectively.
Before You Mix Your Concrete
Before you start this project, make sure you are:
a) wearing heavy gloves, sturdy and reliable eye protection, and a mask
b) aware that the project requires very precise measurements. If you don’t have a steady hand, ask someone else to pour things for you.
First, you’ll need to determine your countertop’s rough volume, for example if you need a 1 ½” concrete layer, you’ll need to use 15 lbs of mixture per square foot.
Measure the 3 dimensions – width, height, length – from the inside of your concrete mold and multiply these numbers together. This will give you the square footage you need.
Basic Concrete Mix Recipe
1 part type one or two cement
2 parts rock, try using 3/8” pea gravel
3 parts of the finest aggregate sand
your choice of pigment – if you use pigment, measure carefully to use only 4% of the cement’s weight
1) Prepare by adding a bit of water into the mixer, and slowly add cement and more water, followed by sand, pea gravel, additional water and then your pigment. Keep adding water and water reducer until your mixture’s consistency is similar to a thick oatmeal. If you’re not sure, grab a handful of the mixture – if it sticks together while holding it, it’s ready to go. It needs to be ‘oozing’, not drippy.
Transferring and Pouring
2) Transfer your wet concrete mixture into a 5-gallon bucket, getting help from someone if you can – it can be heavy and unwieldy. Pour the concrete into your mold and make sure it’s evenly distributed.
3) Puddle the concrete by lightly vibrating the magnesium float. This will help to rid your mixture of air pockets that may potentially form inside of the mixture.
4) Use a 2×4 to screed the concrete. Slide this back and forth over the top of your concrete, taking off excess material from the top of the form. Just remove this, you don’t need it.
5) You can now place the hog-fence brace reinforcement onto your wet concrete surface. Get it centered and force it down into the concrete form about halfway.
6) Do a second screeding, and use a palm sander to vibrate the sides of the your form. This is a second run-through at trying to get rid of as many air pockets as possible.
7) You should be done – now let the concrete cure for at least two days, if not four. Do not disturb the concrete in any way as it dries, or you may compromise the entire project.
See Also: Concrete Bathtubs