Concrete Overlays for Kitchen Countertops

These days, more and more people are looking at getting overlays for kitchen countertops. The reason is quite simple; since the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, people are either staying put in their homes or they need to dress them up to increase their chances of making a sale, or to feel happy staying put in their old place.

Create a Form

Step one, use three-quarter inch melamine wood to create the form; be sure to get wood with a plastic finish. It’ll slow the curing process, which increases the strength; and it’ll also not stick to the concrete. It’s best to attach the sides to the bottom with a pneumatic stapler to get a tight fit, but take care not to split the wood. You’ll want to do this out in your yard or large open area.

Mixing the Concrete

You can get concrete mix at any home improvement store, and diamond lath and number three reinforcing rods; they’re critical to getting a strong countertop. Using snips, cut the lath so that it’s one inch shorter than the area you’re making the counter. Do this before mixing the concrete; you don’t want it sitting while you’re snipping!

Once the concrete is ready, pack it along the edge of the form first, and then fill the middle up an inch. Add the reinforcing rods and lath, and then another layer of concrete.

Now, concrete for overlays for kitchen countertops is much firmer than standard cement, so press hard to properly compact it! Once you’ve pressed it down as much as possible, check the surface and add more to smooth out any low spots.

Finishing the Countertops

Let the concrete sit for two hours then use a steel trowel on the surface. Take care not to overwork it or the aggregate will pop up. If water starts to puddle, let it set another half hour or so. Then let the concrete set for another two days before removing the forms.

When you remove them, use a flat pry bar and then sand the edges and corners to remove any sharp sides. An orbital sander with 100 grit sandpaper works best, and be sure to wear a dust mask.

Next, etch the concrete with a solution of water and muriatic acid, dry it thoroughly and let it air dry. Now you’re ready to apply the final surface. Mix your pigment, latex additive and Portland cement; you’ll want its consistency to be that of peanut butter.

Be sure to wear gloves when you apply it to the concrete and fill every void. After that, let it cure for about an hour and then sand it smooth. In this case, you’ll want to use 180 grit sandpaper.

Curing

Then comes the long wait; let the concrete cure for three weeks. Then, you’re ready to install and you’ll probably need help lifting them. Not only do you want to avoid cracking the countertops, but they’ll be heavy and awkward.

Once inside, apply a thin bead of silicone caulk to the wall, where the countertop will meet it. Set the countertop in place, and then seal its surface with a sealer. You can pick that up at any home improvement store.

Once it’s dried, buff the concrete with a Scotchbrite pad, and apply an acrylic clear finish. Lastly, use a buffer to give it a great shine. That’s it; you’ve installed overlays for kitchen countertops.