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  • Countertops

    Hello from Florida. I'm interested in building an outdoor kitchen around a 42" pompeii oven. I'm looking for any information about poured concrete countertops. I know Quikrete makes a mix for counters. Has anyone used it?

  • #2
    Re: Countertops

    I have a concrete specialist friend. He and I did really nice acid stained floors throughout the house, and he does countertops as well. He has been to all kinds of schools on this. First I would tell you to look at the Buddy Rhodes system ( see youtube for the technique) . Also, go to concretenetwork.com, photo gallery, then the subsection for concrete countertops. The photos will give you some new ideas, and frankly some of them will blow you away they are so good. These are from concrete guys all over the country.

    Good Luck



    • #3
      Re: Countertops

      also, look at the "ashby system" for concrete countertops, named after Ben Ashby (apparently highly thought of)


      • #4
        Re: Countertops

        Thanks for the reply, I did see a couple of the Buddy Rhodes videos. Some of the stuff I've seen is quite expensive, ($65 per sqft). I'll check the other sites you recommend and continue the planning. Thanks again for the help.


        • #5
          Re: Countertops

          Myself and several other guys here have a fair amount of experience doing concrete countertops. Do a search and you'll see a few other threads on the subject or give an idea what kind of info you're looking for specifically.

          The quickcrete countertop mix isn't anything unique. Neither is the Buddy Rhodes or the Cheng branded stuff for that matter. They're just more convenient because the additives and sometimes colorant and custom aggregate are already included vs. having to enrich a regular bagged mix with plasticizer and possibly more portland depending on what type you buy. You'll definitely pay for that convenience. The Cheng and Rhodes stuff can easily put your project on par with granite, marble or solid surface, costwise so IMO it is wise to be sure about what you're doing AND appreciate the material for what it can do that those other materials can't, including being OK with the fact that it probably isn't going to be maintenence free.

          You can spend top dollar for one of the specialty mixes for concrete countertops or you can spend $3 on a bag of plain old quicrete and get an equally crappy or fabulous finished product...95% of the outcome depends on your understanding of the material, technique and skill.

          Practice and practice again with the cheap stuff first no matter what route you go. There are several great books on the subject, too.


          • #6
            Re: Countertops

            Concrete is easy to do, hard to perfect. The main thing you have to adjust is your expectations. A DIY countertop will not look like a $65.00 a SqFt countertop if you only do one.


            • #7
              Re: Countertops

              Thanks to all for the advice, well said. I think I'll be doing some test squares in the future to decide the best way to go. I'm looking forward to learning the masonry gig, from stucco to brick to countertops.


              • #8
                Re: Countertops

                Hello all. After looking around I finally found the best process for pour in place concrete countertops. The web site is "Stegmeier.com" . With my planned WFO area, I am pretty much commited to having to pour in place. Stegmeier has a really good video on their site showing the process. After a search, I was able to find the kit, which includes among other things, 32 running feet of the edge molds for $89. Even if you don't use their products, the video is well worth the site visit (22 minutes).


                • #9
                  Re: Countertops

                  Good video. I used HD 5000psi with chengs mix. You might want to consider integral color and diamond grinding the surface. I would expect the acid stains in the video to fade over time in the Florida sun but if you expose the aggregate it will look good forever. Also, If you don't get a good finish (we didn't) you can fill the holes and the grinder smooths everything out.

                  Everyone seems to like ours including this guy...

                  Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/fornososo/Pizza#


                  • #10
                    Re: Countertops

                    Do some practice pieces. Paving stones or bench tops. Some tips:

                    - Do not use a crush aggregate navy jack nor a blast rock crush. Use bags of pre mix concrete. These products are usually made from good aggregate sources with a lot of variation in the stone colour. Even within one brand there will be variation. If you find a bag that gives a good mix of stone, try to buy more from the same batch.
                    - Do not float or finish the surface too much when pouring. You want the aggregate to stay near the surface not drive it down.
                    - Do the initial diamond cup grinding to expose the aggregate (1/8 inch or so off) three days after the pour. Do this wet. A diamond cup grinding disk will run about $100.
                    - Wait another three weeks (keeping the concrete moist) before you start the wet polishing.
                    - Use a 5 inch angle grinder. A four inch grinder is generally not up to the task. You can use a set of the 4 inch diamond polishing pads (50 grit to 3000 grit) on the 5 inch grinder. A set of pads will run about $100.
                    - Wet polish, keeping a film of water on the concrete, and the pads will cut quicker and will last indefinably, I have done 8 counter tops with the same set, having only to replace the 50 grit pad. I find that about 6 passes overlapping a third with the 50 grit followed by about 4 passes with each of the other pads will do the job, but there are a lot of variables.
                    - Re-wet the surface with a hose between passes.
                    - The whole process is very dirty. Get a set of full rain gear, a good mask and eye protection and set up a poly screen completely around the work area (a car port is a good site). Keep everything wet - dust control issues will arise if you allow the concrete to dry while grinding or polishing.
                    - I used a product called "enrich-n-seal" on the finished surface. This is both food safe and heat proof. I brings out the colour in the exposed stone by "wetting" it.
                    - You do not need plasticizers or fiber. The only thing I added was rebar and some powder concrete colouring. (Green is the most difficult to get right).
                    Last edited by Neil2; 11-11-2010, 11:30 PM.


                    • #11
                      Re: Countertops

                      Thanks Dave and Neil. Your finished products are truly impressive. I appreciate the "how to" process Neil, I'll definitely do a series of test pieces to get a feel for it. I'll be thrilled to get a finish even close to the both of you.


                      • #12
                        Re: Countertops

                        We have pictures on our thread that might help as well.

                        Good luck!



                        • #13
                          Re: Countertops

                          Thanks Karen. You and Dave have done a masterful job on your WFO. It's nice to see how a real mason does it. I learned a great deal from your thread including the use of "navvy-jack". I had never heard of that before, but I'll definately see if the local yards have it and use the mixture on my test pieces. Thanks again.



                          • #14
                            Re: Countertops

                            Take a close look at your navy jack or aggregate. Lots of the local yards unfortunately have junk.

                            Avoid aggregate made from crushing blast rock. If all the larger aggregate size particles have all faces as fracture faces don't use it. This stuff makes weak concrete and small particles will always be spalling from the finished surface. Use this stuff for patios and driveways where surface finish is not critical.

                            Ideally, the aggregate should be made with crushed natural gravel, with no more that two fracture faces on each stone. Bagged pre-mix brand name concrete is made of this material. For the small amount of concrete needed for counter tops, and the large number of hours you will be investing, don't scrimp on the concrete quality.
                            Last edited by Neil2; 11-20-2010, 02:56 PM.


                            • #15
                              Re: Countertops

                              In British Columbia, "navvy jack" is a common term in construction and landscaping trades and in their respective supply stores for washed pea gravel used for fill and drainage purposes. The usage derives from "Navvy Jack", by ordinary name Jack Thomas, a former navvy who used a rowboat to mine good-quality gravel from beaches in West Vancouver, and who as time went on ran a rowboat-ferry for settlers on Burrard Inlet and English Bay. (wikkipedia)

                              Sometimes the term is used (incorrectly) for concrete aggregate.
                              Last edited by Neil2; 11-20-2010, 03:01 PM.