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concrete countertop - anyone pour their own?

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concrete countertop - anyone pour their own?

Old 07-09-2013, 09:42 AM
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Default concrete countertop - anyone pour their own?

Thinking about a grill island off of my patio, and want to do a concrete countertop for ease of maintenance. Any tips on being succesful?

Thanks

CparkerC
Old 07-09-2013, 10:17 AM
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Man, there are so many things that could be offered up, from how you form it to how you pour it, to what material to use.
1st thing is the form. make sure you use something very smooth. Oiled MDO plywood or melamine covered board are your best bets.
Fillet all the corners with either wood molding/chamfer strips or with caulk or even compound. The important thing is to use something to keep from having 90 degree edges. They are hard to fill with concrete, it makes it hard to release the forms, and the edges will be weak and probably break or chip. Put the form together with screws in pilot holes. Makes it much easier to remove the counter from the forms if you can take the forms apart easier. for an outdoor top I would make it at least 2" thick. Keep in mind that T " x W " x L " divided by 144 gives you the cubic feet and the top will weigh about 145-149 pounds per cubic foot.

On TV and stufff they always show them pour the concrete and it is very thin. Don't do that. The drier you mix the concrete the better. This makes it stronger and also gives a denser surface. You want as low a water to cement ratio as possible. but don't go over 50% water by weight at all. A better albeit more expensive route is to use no water and only use concrete bonder. We call it milk or leche (milk in espanol). You can buy it at lowe's or home depot, but you can probably get a gallon of it at a construction supply house for what a quart costs at the big box store. Concrete bonder is basically liquid acrylic. It gives a denser surface, less cracking, and a much longer cure time. but if you use regular grey cement it will make the concrete more dark grey and it won't bleach as white. But when you are finished it will bead water like you won't believe. If you use white cement, it will still be white. Either way it won't stain as bad.

Put the concrete in the form about half deep, vibrate all the way around by tapping with a hammer or using a vibrating sander without the sandpaper. then put in a #3 rebar mat tied on 10-12 inch centers or a piece of 6 gage wire mesh. put in the rest and vibrate again.

What about finishes and colors. I can give you some tips on that if I know where you are going with it.
Old 07-09-2013, 10:26 AM
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I researched this same idea about a year ago, in the end I called around to the granite shops and picked up a "left over" piece of granite. I got too scared about making a mistake and wasting all my time and energy. In the end I am glad with my choice.
Old 07-09-2013, 10:47 AM
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Tx49,

Thanks for all the info, that is exactly what I was looking for! I think I would leave the slab natural color as I don't want a ongoing maintenance item and I like the look. Should I use a sealer on the cured slab?

Also, Do I need to worry about expansion joints to keep it from cracking? I'm thinking 24 to 30" deep, 2 inches thick, 3-4 feet long.

Thanks!

CparkerC
Old 07-09-2013, 10:56 AM
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expansion joints are only needed because of ground movement...are you expecting your counter top to be moving all over the place? Probably not, so no expansion joints.
Old 07-09-2013, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cparkerc View Post
Tx49,

Thanks for all the info, that is exactly what I was looking for! I think I would leave the slab natural color as I don't want a ongoing maintenance item and I like the look. Should I use a sealer on the cured slab?

Also, Do I need to worry about expansion joints to keep it from cracking? I'm thinking 24 to 30" deep, 2 inches thick, 3-4 feet long.

Thanks!

CparkerC
No expansion joints. You probably wont need any sealer if you mix with the leche. Keep in mind that it will need a good 14 days cure before you remove forms. Regular concrete would be 7, but the bonding agent also acts as a retatrder on the cure. Mix your concrete about like pudding. Thin enough to pour but thick enough to pile up when you do. If you cast your colors or other finishes into the top, there is no maintenance issue. Its just part of the top. You can add color with a powder. if you wait to add it after the mud is mixed you can just turn it in to the mix slowly by hand and get some swirl.

Easiest thing is to get some maximizer sakrete, its 5500 psi Mix and use it. It already has a high cement ratio. just follow the directions on the bag for the amount of water, but replace 1/2 to all with the leche. and Vibrate it good. But don't overdo it as that will make all of the aggregates go to the bottom.
Old 07-09-2013, 11:11 AM
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Also
after 45 days you can start sealing it with mineral oil as needed if you want.
Old 07-09-2013, 11:14 AM
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Got it, thanks!

My patio has the color mixed in so I may try to match that. Trying to decide.

Thanks for the help, I do appreciate it!
Old 07-09-2013, 11:39 AM
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Here is somee snapshots the mold for the bar i poured for my Cabanna.. Overall measurments was 2 1/2" T X 72" L and 30"W. I used a Quickrete mix specially designed for counter tops that had a psi rating of 5500. I wet sanded it down with 80 grit and finished it with 600... Very Smooth. Once complete, I dye stained it and put 3 coats of sealer... It wieghs just over 375 lbs...

Make sure to put your screws no further than 3 inches apart as the concrete will seperate the mold... BTW, that's 3/8" rebar that's in the mold. One last note, in all corners of the mold, use clear silicone to hid any cracks in the joints.... Will try and post pictures of the completed project this evening..
Attached Images     

Last edited by sadieslough; 07-09-2013 at 05:26 PM.
Old 07-09-2013, 03:06 PM
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Thanks, Sadieslough. I would like to see the finished product. So in your forms, you just ran a bead of caulk to avoid the corners? That is what I think I see, but please confirm.

Thanks

CparkerC
Old 07-09-2013, 03:44 PM
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no diamond grinding required to expose the aggregate etc?
Old 07-09-2013, 04:03 PM
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Few things -

It's easy,
Rent a concrete vibrator (don't mess with anything else) or you'll be risking voids.
Use Quickrete's Countertop mix or maybe a Cheng product (that can be found at a big box store).
Feel free to use the liquid coloring.

To finish be sure to use a concrete wet polisher, starting with 50 to expose aggregate and work up to 3,000. Will make it pop with colors and eventually shine.

Some links.

http://www.concreteexchange.com

Concrete wet polisher -
Amazon Amazon

Rent Concrete Vibrator -
Amazon Amazon

http://www.lowes.com/pd_125684-286-110676_

Last edited by Esuomm1; 07-09-2013 at 09:18 PM.
Old 07-09-2013, 04:14 PM
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Some pics of the form I did at my parents' place - First time for me.

Feel free to email me and I can talk/email you through the basics anytime you want.

Good luck.

J
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:18 PM
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http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...extension.html

Post #18. Not sure if this is what you're referring to
Old 07-09-2013, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cparkerc View Post
Thanks, Sadieslough. I would like to see the finished product. So in your forms, you just ran a bead of caulk to avoid the corners? That is what I think I see, but please confirm.

Thanks

CparkerC
Correct, not Caulk - 100% pure silicone... In conculsion, instead of renting a concrete vibrating tool, I used a vibrating palm sander without any sandpaper to help escape any air bubble and to prevent voids....
Old 07-09-2013, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Esuomm1 View Post
Some pics of the form I did at my parents' place - First time for me.

Feel free to email me and I can talk/email you through the basics anytime you want.

Good luck.

J
Old 07-09-2013, 06:04 PM
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^^^^, Thank you. I think mine weighed about 600 lbs when done.
Old 07-09-2013, 08:15 PM
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Nice work!

Appreciate the pictures and links.



Thanks,

Carrington
Ft. Collins, CO
Old 07-10-2013, 02:35 PM
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I came across this on a site years ago. Not quite the project you are looking at but the methodology is similar.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/masonr...table/view-all
Old 03-16-2015, 08:01 AM
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Default admixes with Maximizer?

Originally Posted by Tx49 View Post
No expansion joints. You probably wont need any sealer if you mix with the leche. Keep in mind that it will need a good 14 days cure before you remove forms. Regular concrete would be 7, but the bonding agent also acts as a retatrder on the cure. Mix your concrete about like pudding. Thin enough to pour but thick enough to pile up when you do. If you cast your colors or other finishes into the top, there is no maintenance issue. Its just part of the top. You can add color with a powder. if you wait to add it after the mud is mixed you can just turn it in to the mix slowly by hand and get some swirl.

Easiest thing is to get some maximizer sakrete, its 5500 psi Mix and use it. It already has a high cement ratio. just follow the directions on the bag for the amount of water, but replace 1/2 to all with the leche. and Vibrate it good. But don't overdo it as that will make all of the aggregates go to the bottom.
You've done this admix with maximizer before? I take it.I'm about to do the same thing .Just wanted to make sure you you've done this before and had good results.

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