If at first you don’t succeed…

try, try again, right?

Welp folks, this weekend we had a little mishap with the counter tops Jeff was working on and basically, it ended badly. News Jeff was less than thrilled to share with me and all of you.

Broken Countertops Broken Countertops 2

^^Those would be the countertops after they broke in Jeff’s arms while he was trying to move them. Opps.^^

I must not have as much faith in the process because, I was ready to throw in the towel, dip into some savings, and pay someone to do the work, but Jeff’s wasn’t quite ready to give up. So back to the drawing board he went!

Jeff believes the reason the concrete broke when he went to pick it up was that it was weak where he left a hole in the form for the sink. This time he’s going to fill in the entire mold and then use a saw to cutout the hole for the sink after the concrete is cured (aka dry).

Counter top platform 1 Counter top platform 2

This weekend Jeff got to work building a new platform to hold the counter top form. He said this time around he’s focused on building a stronger, sturdier platform. Jeff also said he took a different approach this time, because although the last platform didn’t cause the problem, it wasn’t as sturdy as he had hoped, so it likely contributed to some of the issues.

On Friday afternoon I was feeling confidant we’d have new countertops in our kitchen in the next week, but boy was I wrong. What can you do? We’re definitely learning as we go, and we’ll of course fill you in on all of our DIY successes and mishaps!

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Whoa, we’re halfway there…

and we’re kind of living on a prayer, but we’ll make it, I swear. 🙂

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 1

While this past weekend of DIY counter top making didn’t come without a few bumps in the road, Jeff still managed to get all of the glass broke, and most of the concrete mixed with the pigment, and poured into the mold.

Here’s a few photos of my man hard at work. I’m one lucky gal.

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 2

Well this one is obviously not of Jeff, but you get the point.

DIY Polished Countertops 3

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 4

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 5

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 6

Poor guy. He’s gotten so used to a camera in his face when he works that he’s really mastered the art of ignoring me. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

So towards the end of the long morning of work, Jeff realized after pouring part of the concrete mix into the small bar mold that he wasn’t going to have enough to finish that part and thus would have to start that one part over on another day.

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 7

Yea, it looks like kind of a mess right now, but Jeff assures me it will come out all nice and pretty. As for the bar, Jeff will rebuild that mold next to the others and re-pour the concrete mixture.

It’s a good feeling to make some headway on this long project and I’m hoping we have new counter tops before we know it!

We’ve only just begun to…

to live….err, start our counter tops. 🙂

Well guys, the big project is finally underway. I feel like I’ve been talking about all things kitchen counter tops for far too long, and unfortunately, the fun doesn’t stop just yet.

Beer Bottles for Kitchen Countertops

So many beer bottles in my dishwasher all weekend!

I mean the fun kind of stops, because we’ve collected enough beer and wine bottles to mix in with the concrete and now the real work begins. Lets not kid ourselves, I’ll probably have a glass or two this weekend in between helping Jeff with the labor part of the work. 😉

So, a few nights ago Jeff took the first step by creating the form (I called it a mold and I was corrected) for the counter tops. This form will hold the broken glass and wet concrete while it’s sets and dries, creating our new counter tops.

Kitchen Countertop Mold 1According to Jeff, the bottom of the form was made using three 2′ x 8′ sheets of melamine, (similar to what IKEA furniture is made of but with a plastic veneer) and the form edges are finish grade pine 1x2s. Again, that last sentence was all Jeff.

The form is measured to the current dimensions of our counter tops with a cutout for the new sink, (double sink, woohoo!). There’s also a form for the new small side bar we’re adding.

Kitchen Countertops Mold 2It might be a little difficult to see just how this fits in our current kitchen by looking at this picture, so check out the photo below for a more user-friendly guide. Caution: I made it very technical.

Kitchen Countertops Mold 3As an FYI, from this photo it looks like the sink and little bar are right next to each other, but that’s not the case for our kitchen. They’re just like that in the form to make room for everything.

Still confused? Don’t worry, me too. Jeff keeps assuring me it will all work out.

We’re getting back to work this weekend and I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Hope you all have a great weekend too!

And the results are in…

and I have to admit, you all really surprised me with your favorite choice for our potential new kitchen counter tops.

Polished Concrete Countertop Readers choice

It turns out that sample #1, with nearly 50% of the vote, was the clear winner. Here’s how the results breakdown:

Polished Concrete Countertop Poll ResultsNow when I said you surprised me with your favorite pick, what I meant was, how did you all pick the one that wasn’t my favorite? It’s just not possible. 😉 Don’t worry, I’m slowly coming to terms with it.

With that being said, we haven’t made any final decisions, but we’re thinking we like the darker shade of #1, combined with the browner tint and greater prevalence of stone pieces in the concrete of #2. Many of you said you liked the darker concrete with our new lighter cabinets, and I have to say I agree. See, we’re all about compromise over here. 🙂

Now about that blue glass…well, that’s still up for debate. Jeff likes it (and so do many of you) and I don’t, so we’re working on finding a happy medium. The perils of a young couple (madly in love, of course) renovating a home!

Here’s a refresher of what the four samples look like:

Polished Concrete Kitchen Countertops SamplesI’m really looking forward to the next steps in the process, and of course keeping you all in the loop. Jeff’s warned me that making the actual counter tops will take some time given the amount, size, and time it takes for everything to set and dry. So I guess I’ll be working on my patience too.

Happy weekend all. Thanks for your feedback. We appreciated it!

This is where you come in…

and I meant to ask your opinion sooner, but with the excitement of last week I kind of got sidetracked.

You may remember that Jeff and I are setting out to re-do our kitchen countertops on our own, not only to save money, but because Jeff really likes the polished concrete look and he’s slowly convincing me I like it too.

So over the past few weeks, he’s made four samples with the four different color pigments he ordered from Direct Colors. In addition to the different colors, Jeff’s varied the type, size and color of broken glass in each concrete square.

Polished Concrete Kitchen Countertops Samples

Here’s exactly how the samples breakdown (Jeff thankfully weighed-in on this part of the post):

*All samples were polished using diamond polishing pads starting with 50-grit and ending with 3,000-grit.

1. The concrete was pigmented with Direct Colors pigment #649 with a concentration to match their color “walnut”.  This was the first sample where we played around with different color glass and different size pieces. This sample contains blue, brown, clear, and a little bit of dark green glass.

2. This was the last sample completed, using pigment #653 and is supposed to be a “cocoa brown” per Direct Color’s chart.  This has mainly brown and clear glass pieces (we invested in a tile nipper to help make the glass pieces even smaller). The aggregate, or stone pieces in pre-bagged concrete are more prevalent, because we made sure to vibrate the concrete in the form really well.

3. Made at the same time as sample #2, this one was created to match Direct Colors’ “deep bronze” #680, and turned out much lighter than the color from their color chart. Again this one has smaller glass pieces, (mainly brown and clear) and more pronounced aggregate.

4. One of the first samples we used, pigment #500 is the “wildwood buff” color. This has varying sizes of glass in clear, brown, blue, and dark green.

Since these are just the samples, once we complete the actual counter tops there will be more consistency to the amount and sizes of the broken glass in the final product.

As a reminder, this is what our kitchen looks like with our newly painted cabinets.

Kitchen After 2

Now, this is where you come in (finally)…tell us what you think.

I have a favorite and I’m really hoping you share the same opinion, but I’ll try not to hold it against you if you don’t. 😉

I’m still not totally convinced…

about how we should do our new kitchen counter tops, but Jeff’s worked up a few samples of polished concrete and I have to say that I’m liking them more than I thought I would. Who knows, he may be right for a change. 😉

Concrete Countertops 8

After kicking off the kitchen renovation a few weeks ago with our newly painted cabinets, we decided to take the next step and tackle the old laminate counter tops currently in place.

Kitchen After 2

To be honest, I came into this part of the renovation with the idea that I just wanted to spend the extra money and pay for someone to install granite, with the hopes that we could be done quickly and moved onto the next project (the list is long my friends). However, Jeff’s had other ideas in mind. He’s been really eager to try polished concrete, and since I was very hesitant (kind of still am), he decided to work up a couple samples to see if we can find one we both agree on.

Concrete Countertops 2 Concrete Countertops 1

So far, we’ve stuck with Direct Colors concrete dyes, and we’re liking all the options they offer. While we originally ordered two colors to test out, we’ve since tested two more to see if we can find the perfect color for our kitchen. All of them are in the brown(ish) category.

On top of the pigment, we’re adding pieces of broken glass in hopes that it adds another level of customization and variety. Drinking beer and wine to ensure we have enough glass? I guess I can handle that.

Concrete Countertops 3 Concrete Countertops 4 Concrete Countertops 5^^Someone else was curious to see what Jeff was up to. Luckily, he’s the cutest spectator around.^^

Concrete Countertops 6 Concrete Countertops 7

I hope not to keep you in suspense too long (I know it’s rough), but I’m learning this is not a quick process and we need a few more days before I can show you the samples.

Stay tuned!