Pouring your own concrete countertop is a great way to refurbish your dated kitchen countertops. It’s inexpensive, you can easily do the work in a short time and once it’s complete, it looks like a million bucks-without having to cost that much. Use the following ten steps to guide you through the basics of creating a concrete countertop and get the most out of your kitchen space.
Sketch a Layout of the Countertop
It’s important to take accurate measurements, so be sure to record all dimensions accordingly. You’ll need the length, width and thickness of the old countertop to ensure the new one matches exactly and fits perfectly.
Build a Form
Now you’ll need to build a form to match the dimensions you’ve just recorded. Melamine is the preferred material because the finish leaves countertops smooth and flat-plus the concrete doesn’t stick to the forms.
You’ll need to cut one piece of melamine the same size as the finished countertop. You’ll also need to cut the four sides of the countertop on a table saw to the appropriate thickness of the countertop-typically 2-2 ¼” thick. Use screws to assemble the side’s boards to the large countertop shaped piece of melamine. Screw the side forms into each other as well for additional strength.
*Remember that you’re building this form upside down-the bottom of the form is the top of the countertop!
Seal the Joints
Apply painters tape to the inside of the edge of the seam. The goal of the painters tape is to keep as much of the caulk off of the melamine and into the crack. The smaller the caulk line, the better the shape of the edge of the countertop is going to look.
Apply a bead of colored painters caulk to the crack of the melamine, between the two carefully placed pieces of painters tape. Dip your finger into some clean water and gently smooth out the caulk with your finger. Le the caulk dry, then carefully remove the tape. The colored caulk shows well against the white melamine so you easily spot and fix any flaws in the caulking.
Cut the Steel/Mesh
Measure between the form at it longest parts and add steel rebar or mesh. Be sure to cut the steel/mesh short enough so the steel is away from any side of the form at least two inches. Set it aside for now and move to the next step.
Mix the Concrete
I prefer to use a bag of high test strength concrete for countertops of any size. Buy as many bags as you need according to which brand you are using. All concrete mixes differently, so be sure to mix it to the manufacturer’s directions. Once it’s mixed, let it set for ten minutes.
Pour the Concrete
Dump it into the form and use a concrete float to smooth it out as you fill up the form. Add concrete until it fills the form completely and then insert the steel/mesh. Use a straight board that spans across both tops of the form to screed off any extra concrete and fill in any depressions as you work along. Use a hand sander without the sandpaper to vibrate the sides of the form to remove any air pockets on the edges of the form.
Cure the Concrete
Cover the concrete with a piece of plastic once you’ve got it completely smooth. Let it cure for a good week before removing the forms.
Pull the Forms
Carefully unscrew the forms from each side of the no dry slab. Flip the slab onto its side with the help of a few strong friends and remove the final form board.
Finish the Rough Edges
Remove any rough spots with the edge of a piece of wood. Fill any holes in with a bit of concrete mixed with water and apply it with a sponge.
Finish the Concrete
A good commercial clear concrete sealer can be applied to the surface of the concrete or you can skip this step completely. Be sure to get a product that’s not toxic and is applicable for a food grade surface. Apply, let dry for 48 hours and install your new countertop.