I feel like we have been working on our kitchen for forever… ah! But we are getting close! The next step in our renovation is to add new countertops. We researched many different options but settled back to our initial dream of concrete. This was the most affordable option, and Taylor had some time to make it come to life. I have to give a big thanks to Taylor’s dad who helped us execute most of this project – thanks!! Taylor and I both love the modern look of the concrete and the somewhat rustic texture that the final product gives you.
The first thing we did to prep for the concrete countertop project was to shut of the breakers for all of the appliances in the kitchen. (Make sure to plug your refrigerator into a working outlet so that your food doesn’t spoil!) To remove the sink, we first removed all of the plumbing and the garbage disposal. Just run a razor blade around the sink to loosen the silicone, and then with a friend push up and pop it out.
Next, we disconnected the dishwasher and rolled it out from its nook. Then came the cook top. To remove this, make sure that the gas supply is turned off (if you have gas) and then set all of the loose parts to the side (such as the grate and nobs). Then just unplug and lift it out.
Once everything is removed and cleared from your existing countertop – get rid of that old thing! We had really old laminate countertops, so they were easy to remove. All it took was two people to pull it up!
Our cabinets were so old that they had sunk down in the front and had pulled away from the wall. To fix this, we just used a pry bar to push them back into place and screwed them to the studs in the wall.
Taylor made sure to check our existing cabinets to make sure that they could support concrete countertops. There was a spot in between the dishwasher and the refrigerator that required extra support, so Taylor added a couple sturdy boards between the cabinet the wall and the floor.
We covered from the wall flush to the cabinets with plywood. This would serve as the base for the countertops. Then Taylor measured out the hole for the sink and the cooktop. Using his jigsaw, he cut appropriately sized holes, making sure that they were centered and squared between the cabinets and the wall.
Taylor and I chose an undermounted one basin sink for this upgrade, so we had to install it before the concrete was poured. We also chose the appropriate size hole for the new sink faucet and cut into the plywood with a 1 and 3/8″ knock-out bit to form the hole.
Taylor made the edging forms out of melamine boards because they have a vinyl finish on one side that would keep the concrete from absorbing into the mold. This will help us pop the mold off easily once the concrete has fully hardened. He made the molds for the cooktop out of plywood because the hole will be covered up once the cooktop is installed. So basically, it didn’t have to be pretty (unlike the sink shown further down). Once the molds were screwed into the face of the cabinets, Taylor painted a sealer over everything (the drywall, the plywood, and the melamine board).
Ribar was added over where the dishwasher goes for added support. The rest of the countertop got a 4 gauge wire mesh to add strength to the finished product. All of this was installed so that it was lifted off of the plywood. (Taylor used screws for this.) The goal is to have concrete surround the metal rods.
We bought some thick foam to provide an edge for the sink opening. We used the template that came with the sink to make the appropriate sized foam for our sink. We made sure that is was slightly bigger that the sink opening so that we could lightly force it down into the sink for a complete seal. You don’t want any concrete down in the sink!
Silicone caulk and duct tape were used to cover any cracks, holes, or anywhere that we suspected water might leak out.
That’s it for part 1! I’ll post later about the actual pouring of the concrete and then will finish with the final sealer. I can’t wait for the completed project!
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