DIY Concrete Countertops, Part 3 – lessons learned.

We did it. We made our own concrete countertops.

img_4219

This was one of the biggest decisions we’ve had to make as a married couple (okay maybe not that big, but it was important). And because of this large decision, our kitchen project kept getting delayed.  

If you missed my kitchen update about the reasons we were behind schedule in the first place, check it out here.

When we started this remodel in October, I was very ambitious and set a goal to be done by Christmas. (Ha, who was I kidding?)

Just look at this mess.

bare-kitchen

I will do an entire recap of the kitchen once we are completely finished, but for today let’s talk about the concrete countertops.

So, what did we learn during this process?  Bryn and I put our heads together to give you the best, most real answers.

Because real is what you get here at greywoodmama.

ONE
Estimate WAY more time than you think you need for completion.

concrete-mix

Friends, it took Bryn and I several months just to decide on concrete.  Then we had to decide on ‘how’ to do it.  The entire process from start to finish dealing with the countertops themselves took us a good 30 hours or more.  I was anticipating like one day of work. Silly me.

Not only did the actual process take us 30+ hours, but the prep work ahead of time and all of the other things we had to change/redo/make along the way also added to our overall completion time.

TWO
Concrete is forgiving, but not totally.

edge-and-pencil

As I said in part 2 of the DIY Concrete Countertops series, this was our first time dealing with concrete.  We sort of knew what to expect, but you can’t know everything about concrete by simply watching YouTube.  It’s the real experiences where you actually learn.

We did mess up a few things (or should I say ‘I’ messed up a few things), but we were able to fix them. Hence the ‘forgiving’ part.  However, because of some of my mistakes (i.e. overworking the concrete at the beginning of the pour, sanding to rough) our countertops do have more ‘rough’ patches than I originally wanted.

THREE
Practice, practice, practice.

tools-and-edging

Remember back in part 2 of the DIY Concrete Countertop series when I said we built a small form and practiced the pouring and finishing?  Well, even though I think that helped us a little bit, I still think we could have/should have practiced even more.

If I could do it all over again, I probably would have done a bathroom vanity, or a laundry room countertop first.  This would have allowed us to still do a large counter, but not my kitchen countertops. With more ‘real’ practice, our kitchen countertop process would have been a lot easier.

FOUR
This is not a project for a first date.

conrete-make

If I have said this once, I have said it a million times – this was a lot of work.  This project was a team effort. It challenged Bryn and I on more than one occasion. Not only do you have to work together to get things done, but you also have to agree to disagree sometimes and let one person do ‘what they think is right’.  And sometimes, that is not easy.

We ran into a few bumps in the road and at times it was frustrating.  This is where my new attitude of staying calm and letting things go came into play. (If you want to know more about these tips, check out my February book review.)  

FIVE
Be prepared to live without your kitchen sink or countertops for a while.

I fully expected to not have a kitchen sink for a week. The prep time, the pouring process, drying time, finishing time, etc. We semi-planned ahead and bought easy meal items (i.e. cereal). But let me tell you, washing dishes in the bathroom sink gets really old (and gross if you think about it) after a while.

I finally got smart and purchased paper plates and plastic spoons/forks. This cut my dish washing in half.

But here’s the best part. I learned to cook an awesome meal, with nothing but a toaster (and the ingredients) plugged into the wall on the dining room floor.

toaster

Chicken tacos. BAM!

taco2

Lesson learned. Plan ahead. And be organized!

SIX
Although this project was tough, it was worth it.

One of our goals in life is to leave a legacy.  What exactly do I mean by this?  Well, some people like to leave money to their children, property, or maybe some sentimental items.  Not only do we want to do those things, but we also want to leave a legacy wherever we are.  So, in this current moment we are living in OUR home.  And by that I mean everything we do to our home is going to have OUR touch on it.  We take pride in everything we build together.  And I hope that someday whoever lives in our home after us, or whomever ends up with the furniture we build, will love and appreciate all of the work we put in.

Friends, we could have went to the store, ordered countertops and had them installed by someone else.  But that wouldn’t have been as meaningful to us.  Although this project was a lot of work and took up a lot of our time, we couldn’t be more happy to call those concrete countertops OUR own.

If you have not yet read part 1 and 2 of the DIY Concrete Countertop series, check them out below.

Part 1, setting the forms
Part 2, pouring and finishing

For more behind the scenes photos of this project and others, be sure to follow me on Instagram, greywoodmama.

DSC_0788(Excuse the mess around the window. Trim is coming, I promise.)

If you want to DIY your own concrete countertops, Z Counterform is offering a coupon code! Use the code GW015 to get 15% off of your order at Z Counterform. This code is good until March 31st. (You still have time!)

And if you DIY your own concrete countertops, let me know! I’d love to see how yours turn out or answer any questions.

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12 thoughts on “DIY Concrete Countertops, Part 3 – lessons learned.

  1. I am still following your progress! Gotta say I agree with your point on time, I estimated 2 to 3 weeks and it took me around 2 months to finish the kitchen, life happens!

    1. Hi Gina! Oh my gosh, I am so sorry but I don’t. However, if you emailed them and mentioned you read my blog post and saw the coupon code, maybe they would honor it! It’s worth a try. Let me know what you find out.

      P.S. I’m so glad you love them! 🙂

      1. Getting ready to start our project, we are going to use the white concrete in a tree house or house in the trees as I call it vacation rental myself and my sons are building in hocking hills ohio area. I too have spent an amazing amount of time researching this project and am fairly terrified. Though I have done some concrete work this is new and the finish is far more important than a slab or sidewalk, and pretty much a one and done, removal does not seem like much of an option I appreciate your documenting of your project and no reason to apologize for messy home, that shows it is lived in 🙂

      2. I’m so glad you’re going to try this out! Let me know if you have any questions, it will be worth it in the end. My biggest tip, don’t over work it! Good luck!

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