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Concrete Countertops For The Kitchen Polish Formica

  • Listed: May 13, 2019 2:54 am


While it takes some time — be prepared to spread the work out over several weekends because of the time required for curing — you will save yourself the high cost of purchased granite or marble countertops. Concrete’s colors and textures are endless, you can mold it into just about any shape you can imagine, and it retains the advantages of solid surfaces. No matter how small the countertop is, there’s at least a 10-day curing process during which you will need to do your grinding and polishing. The final outcome might not be exactly what you expected, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. There are many steps that can be accomplished solo, but concrete is heavy and you should expect to need anywhere from 2 to 4 people to help move around your countertops on more than one occasion.And it’s best to cure the countertops inside a garage; however, grinding and polishing them is very wet and messy so you’ll want to do that outside.

It also takes a lot of guesswork out of the process and, believe me, the last thing you want is to spend lots of money and time on your countertops only to find that they won’t fit because you were off by 1/8″. I made sure to use the factory cut edges of the cardboard around the perimeters and inside of the sink cutout to make sure it was all perfect. Make sure to label your templates so you’ll know which sides are which. The top of the mold needs to be perfectly flush so that you’ll be able to screed the concrete during the pour. If you drill them too hard, they will split the melamine and ruin that side piece.

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We then took the two side pieces of melamine that connected to the curve and used a table saw to cut a 18″ by 2″ notch in each of them. Before you try gluing plexi to anything, it needs to be sanded so the glue will stick. After that set, we had 2 side pieces with a flexible piece in the middle that would conform to the curve we needed to make. By using a belt sander, we were able to sand down the edges until they were paper thin on either side. Not only is my countertop 2″, but there’s another 3/4″ of plywood below that. Even the slight texture on the melamine will be the same texture on the countertop when you first break the mold.

You will be pouring hundreds of pounds of concrete into the mold, so you must make sure that it doesn’t buckle or bend under the weight. I don’t have any pictures of this, but you’ll need to properly seal the mold using silicone caulk. Since you need to remove the screws to break the mold, make sure that any exposed screw heads are filled with some type of clay or putty (plumbers putty, plasticine clay, etc.). By using spacers we’re ensuring that the mesh will be halfway in the middle of the countertop. The other addition to my countertop was to have crushed blue glass in it which matched the blue glass mosaic tile in my kitchen.

farm8 staticflickr polish formica Concrete Countertops for the Kitchen Polish Formica

The directions suggested using spray adhesive on the mold so it will be tacky before putting down the glass. Also, make sure the tip on your can of spray adhesive is clean. It has the color tinting, support fibers, and water reducers to make the concrete perfect for countertops. Cheng also recommends using an orbital sander with no sandpaper on it to vibrate the concrete. Use a straight piece of lumber or melamine that is long enough to span the mold to screed the concrete. Make sure you fill any holes where the concrete might have been low and re-screed it. I chose to have it cure in my garage since it stays in those conditions through the summer. It’s also not good to cure in the sun because it will dry out too quickly and be more likely to crack. After 10 days, the concrete has reached 95% strength and will be more difficult to grind. Don’t put any pressure on the green concrete by prying against it, as you will risk chipping or cracking. I then laid down strip of the styrofoam and laid the countertop right side up on top of it. Both processes require using diamond coated grinding pads with a wet grinder, but there’s less time involved in polishing. There are ways to get around using a wet grinder, like using a regular grinder/sander with the diamond pads and having someone else use a hose, or poking a hole in a gallon jug and letting the water run out as you grind.

They will also last for multiple projects, so you may want to talk a buddy who also wants new countertops into splitting the cost of the grinder and pads. Almost as soon as you grind, you’ll start seeing aggregate being exposed. Continue grinding until you have the desired aggregate exposed. Redoing a kitchen or bathroom with concrete countertops is a home improvement project you can do yourself. But it’s concrete, so it must be cheaper than milled stone, right?

Concrete needs to be properly sealed at the beginning and waxed about every 30 days to avoid staining. The good news is that there are ways to remedy many outcomes that you don’t like. I also supported my floor underneath the island with steel supports in the basement to compensate for the added weight, but depending on the construction of your house this may not be necessary. This can be a huge time saver since the edges of the countertop that aren’t exposed don’t need to be ground and polished. It’s also one of the only parts of the process that you can take your time with and rework if it isn’t right. Drywall screws are the easiest to use, but be very careful drilling them in. This is especially so when you drill too close to the end of the piece. There are a couple of reasons for this – one being that it makes it much easier to handle without an army of people. I wanted to do it at an angle and highlight it with an aluminum strip. To accomplish this, we cut the desired curve with a bandsaw out of two pieces of melamine that were screwed together.

We cut an 1/8″ piece of plexiglass down to 2″ then prepared to glue the plexi into the notches we cut in the 2 side pieces.

We used 5 minute epoxy to glue the plexi in the notches and clamped them.

We screwed in the curved melamine into place and spread epoxy over the back side of the plexi.

We then used epoxy and taped them down in the corners. This allowed for a proper depth for the faucet while also giving access for wrenches to screw it down. Also, you’re going to need to vibrate the concrete, so it needs to be screwed to its support. Once the concrete is mixed you’ll need to work fast so you want to make sure the mold is fully prepared. I used black caulk so you could see it against the white melamine. After you apply the caulk, carefully remove the tape before it dries and you’ll have super clean edges that will require minimum grinding.

You also need to make sure that any cut sides of melamine that will be exposed to wet concrete are sealed so they won’t swell up with moisture. The tape covered up most of the screw heads in the mold, but there were some that were still exposed. This will avoid getting the concrete into the screw heads, which would make it next to impossible to unscrew them. I laid the mold on top and screwed the edges of the mold into the plywood. I cut them to size, then stacked and offset them, and tied them with wire. Also, make sure the mesh is 1″ away from all the edges of the mold.I did this and even though it doesn’t stick to the glass very hard, it makes it tacky enough so the glass won’t pool together when the concrete is poured. Mine wasn’t and it put little bubbles on the mold which transferred to the countertop. At first we gently put in the concrete with our hands so that we wouldn’t disturb the crushed glass. It really wears you out using the mallets, but you’ll soon see air bubbles popping out along the surface so you’ll know it’s working. Start on one side and push the screed back and forth along the sides till you go all the way across the mold for a level finish. It’s recommended that if the temperature is below 50 degrees you get some sort of heating for proper curing.After 4 days, the concrete is stiff enough to break the mold. Make sure that you get all of them and it should go fairly smoothly. Once you get all the sides off, you’ll need at least one other person to lift it off the bottom of the mold. You’ll want to wear rubber gloves and rubber boots to give added protection from shock. I slowly moved it forward and backward, then from side to side. The first pad is the most difficult because your grinding down the most with it. One thing that is important is to keep your grinder as flat as possible on the surface, especially with the rougher grit pads.

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