When we left off, I was thinking about the next step after a layer of red slurry followed by a layer of charcoal slurry didn’t leave much red to be seen.
I decided to break out the last small box of red slurry and throw another top coat on there. This time I used a grout float (highly recommended) and let the slurry dry for one day. Then I polished the entire thing down. This last grind/polish took a long time because I really wanted to get everything finished properly. I don’t know exactly how long it took, but I probably ran the grinder for four or five hours straight using various grinding pads to grind off all of the excess slurry left on.
Final coat of red slurry
It was more important to me to fill the voids thoroughly than to scrape off as much slurry as possible during application. I had more to grind down doing this, but it wasn’t too hard since I only let it cure for one day.
Lots of excess slurry to grind down
Before the final grind, the slabs looked almost solid red
Here’s the small section, starting to dry after the final polish.
After grinding, though, they looked great
Large slab, still wet after the final polish
After I was done with the final grinding/polishing, I sealed them with concrete countertop sealer, which seems similar to tile or grout sealer. Maybe it’s the same, I don’t know, but I used the “official” stuff. I was up far too late doing all of this, but one thing leads to another and I really wanted to get the sealer on there so it could cure for a day or two.
The day after, my brother came over to help dry-fit, finish grind, and install these things. The slabs were surprisingly easy to install; each section maybe weighed 200-250lbs which were pretty easy to carry in and lay carefully on top of the plywood base we put down over the cabinets. After dry-fitting the slabs, we had a little finish grinding to do on the bottom (high spot here, rough spot there, etc.). We finally shimmed the slabs as necessary to keep them level and match up the sections.
The following pictures are NOT the final product. They are the slabs installed and fit together with silicone sealing the joints between the main slabs. They have since been cleaned and waxed (like you would wax a car, with a can of wax and a sheepskin buffing tool) and the sink has been installed. This has happened around the Thanksgiving holiday, so those pictures will be coming at some point soon. At any rate, here’s a glimpse of what the final product looks like installed.
Main countertop installed
Slightly different angle
The camera doesn’t effectively convey the impressiveness of the 2-1/4″ thick front face of the solid concrete countertops, but the surface is quite smooth and will probably win in a fight between it and most dishes you might have around the kitchen.
An attempt at a closer look at the surface
The surface is nicely consistent but at the same time very unique
I have to admit, these countertops are cool. I love ’em. So does everyone else who has seen them. Not only are they are something of a labor of love, but they’re impressive conversation pieces right in the kitchen and you polish them with a car waxer! How manly is it to go to your local auto parts store to buy the right pads to maintain your kitchen counter?! Oh, and no one has the exact same piece in their home.
The final waxed product is only slightly smoother, and of course cleaner (the pics above still have some concrete dust left on them from installation). I’ll post those pictures when I can, but I’m already thinking about other ways I can use concrete for various home projects…