DIY Concrete Countertops

So now that you’ve seen the shower area completely done,
To see that Post . . . CLICK HERE

It’s time to show you rest of the bathroom Reno!
All of it !!! The Good, The Bad . . . The UGLY.
By the end of this post you’ll see how I ended up in the hospital for a week! 🙁

So to start, I purchased these sinks from Amazon. I chose vessel sinks for 2 reasons.
One, I really love the modern look of the sink above the counter.
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Two, since my cabinets were the standard 32″ height,
I really wanted the upgraded look of taller 34″cabinets. Problem with that though . . .
My cabinets were in excellent condition and I wasn’t feeling good about replacing them!
Plus, I didn’t want the additional expense of purchasing new cabinets.
So Vessel Sinks it was! This added a lot of height to me . . . visually. 
I got the taller height (feel) I was looking for without changing out cabinets! YAY!

I knew I was going to replace the countertop, but wasn’t sure with what yet,
so I started scouring Pinterest for different ideas.
I instantly became obsessed with the idea of a concrete countertop!
This is just one of the many inspiration photos I came across.
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So we went back and forth with the idea of either pouring a slab
or doing the ever so popular “feather finish” countertop!
FYI – Feather Finish is NOT a solid slab of concrete.
It is multiple thin layers of concrete feathered over Wood, Plastic, Metal
or whatever material you have underneath.

I really wanted to attempt the feather finish because I knew I could tackle that part of the project
alone and not need any help from hubby. So that’s what I did!

I purchased the Feather Finish from Home Depot,
and the Quikrete Liquid Cement Tint from Amazon (this is optional, I wanted charcoal color concrete)
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First I measured the top of the cabinets for the “new” countertop.
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Then I cut 2 pieces of plywood for the countertop.
I made sure there was a proper counter overhang.
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Since we had left over Hardibacker, I added a piece of cement board on the top of both layers of plywood.
Making it 3 layers total.
I wanted the edge of the counter to have a thick look . . . As if a slab of concrete were actually poured.
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Before I secured the plywood and cement board together,
Hubs helped me dry fit the sinks to measure where the holes needed to be cut.
The edges of the sink also needed a small square opening so that the sink would sit flush on the counter.
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Another dry fit to make sure holes and everything lined up!
I also added 1 x 4’s along the wall so I could have a matching backsplash. I don’t know what I was thinking,
I ended up changing my mind and taking it down halfway through the project!
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Now time to whip up the Concrete! Yes that’s a baking mixer!
I have one specifically for mixing my paints and it worked perfectly for this!
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The mix calls for 2:1 Ratio. 2 parts concrete mix, 1 part water.
So I always worked in small batches of 4 cups of concrete mix to 2 cups of water.
In every batch I also added 2 tbsp of charcoal liquid cement tint.
It should not look watery! Make sure it looks like cake batter.
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The concrete starts to harden pretty quickly, so smaller batches works better in my opinion.
Make sure your cabinets and floors are covered up because this stuff is messy!
Start by troweling on the mix. Apply thin, consistent layers throughout the entire surface.
Best way to describe it is like icing a cake!
I went back and forth between a tile trowel and a 10″ drywall taping knife.
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I tried to get it smooth, but I wasn’t too picky about the marks the trowel left behind.
Those will get scraped and sanded off later. This first application took me about 10-15 minutes.
Sorry I don’t have any pictures of how I did the edges,
but I used this smaller trowel and used my fingers to push the concrete on the edge.
If you wait until the concrete starts hardening a little, it makes this part a lot easier. 31DwCG8OTdL
First coat complete! Notice the lighter grey areas is where the concrete is already starting to dry!
I didn’t try to get complete coverage the first time.
I figured I would be doing multiple coats, so the first layer is nice and thin.
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I waited a full 24 hours. I used the trowel and scraped off whatever chunks of concrete were visible.
Then I busted out my orbital sander & 120 grit sandpaper. This part is messy!
I closed the door and made sure I wore a MASK!! I sanded until it looked smooth and level. Sorry no pics
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I then applied another coat, waited a full 24 hours to dry and then sand.
I repeated this step 3 more times. YES – 3 more days.  I did a total of 5 coats.
After the 5th coat, I was completely pleased with the thickness, look and texture!
This time after I sanded with 120 grit, I followed it with 220 grit sandpaper.
This makes it ultra smooth to the touch! See how pretty??
So here I did yet another dry fit to make sure the sinks sat flush and level on the counter.
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Because I read a Gazillion tutorials about doing these counters, I read somewhere about doing a moisture test.
I guess you need to make sure there is no moisture in the concrete before you apply the sealer.

So I guess the quickest and easiest way is to securely tape plastic sheeting to the surface.
Wait a couple of days and see if you see any moisture rise to the sheet. If not . . . Your good to go!
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Since I’m ridiculously impatient, I figured I’d using this “waiting” time to start painting the cabinets.
For the counters I waited 48 hours and there was no evidence of moisture. So I started sealing the concrete too!
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I purchased this Low-Lustre Sealer from Home Depot.

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What a difference the sealer does!! I admit I was a bit nervous up until this point!
I knew the sealer would make it darker, but I wasn’t sure how much? Or how it would look??
I was so happy when the sealer went on, I broke out in some serious dance moves!
THIS WAS THE EXACT COLOR I WANTED!!!
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I applied 3 coats of sealer. Look at how smooth the top looks!
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and look at this gorgeous corner??? I am SUPER pleased with the finished look.
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Ok so now for the finishing touches! The real backsplash!
Since we had left over sheets of mosaic tile, we decided to use this as a backsplash instead.
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Hubby was kind enough to install the backsplash. But then I made a dumb dumb mistake.
I used silicone tub caulking instead of regular painters caulk.
I wasn’t paying attention and grabbed the first caulk I saw that was white. UGHHH.
Had to wait for it to somewhat dry and then use a razor and peel it all up 🙁
So far we’ve had The GOOD (concrete counters)
The BAD (this stupid caulking mistake)
Get ready for the UGLY (it’s coming . . .)
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So, next I had to make some wood frames for some mirrors that I purchased on Craigslist.
So I ripped and sanded some wood, mitered the corners and whipped these bad boys up!
IMG_0329Here I mounted the mirrors to the wall, with the brilliant idea that I can just glue the wood frames to the mirrors.
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Wrong. We realized we didn’t want use Liquid Nails on the front of the mirror,
so I thought of another brilliant idea! I’ll use double-sided tape! That should work, right??
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Uhhhh No. Lets just say I learned the hard way and I mean the HARD WAY.
I put the frames up and they would stick for about a minute and then pop off!!
UGHHH!!!
So I kept applying more and more and more tape.
Getting up on the ladder and counter, and then off the counter and ladder.
Over the next hour I probably went up and down the ladder at least 20 times . . .
Until that last time I was coming down the ladder. NOW FOR THE UGLY. . .

I had to keep repositioning the ladder because I was going back and forth between both mirrors,
eventually I got careless and stopped looking every time I stepped onto the ladder.
We’ll guess what? I thought the ladder was facing one way when it was actually facing the other way.
So as I was stepping off the counter and onto the ladder, and not looking of course, the 1st step was fine.
But my second step onto the ladder, was NOT there . . . yep . . .
BAM!!! I came crashing down. 🙁
This fall wouldn’t have been so bad had there not been a tall, heavy, glass vase sitting on the floor!
Yep you guessed it! I fell right on top of the vase, my ribs particularly.

I ended up with multiple rib fractures, which actually punctured my lung.
Because my lung collapsed, this granted me a week-long hospital stay! 🙁
UGHHH . . .
I am super thankful though for all my friends and family
that religiously visited me at the hospital every day!
I am truly blessed with all the support I had.

Well it’s been 3 months now and I’m thankful to be alive and almost 100% back to normal.
Or whatever normal could possibly mean for me Ha-Ha! 😀

So now that you’ve seen & heard all the drama behind this bathroom Reno,
are you ready to see it all done???
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Even though this bathroom cost me a couple of broken ribs,
I COULDN’T BE MORE PELASE WITH THE RESULT!

Blood, sweat and tears . . . Literally! 🙂

 

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  • Suzanne - Another beautiful project! You always amaze me with what you take on, and accomplish so well. I’m so sorry to hear about your accident. That must have been quite scary!

    Do you paint pieces for others? If so, how might I get a price?ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - Thank you! Yes was a scary fall! Glad everything healed up ok though! Yes, if your in the Phoenix metro area I can handle refinishes for you. Email me pictures and approx dimensions of your item and I’ll get you a quote! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Johanna - Dear Ruthie, what a beautiful, beautiful job you did on this bathroom reno. I love all of your choices and especially love the concrete counter and the frames on the mirrors. Thank you for sharing the pics and the details! Very sorry to hear about your accident, but sounds like it could have been much worse, thank Jehovah it wasn’t!ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - Thank you so much! Yes I’m thankful I walked away from it and was able to heal instead of having permanent damage! Now I’m back to building and doing what I love!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle - Where did you get those tin/lantern lights that are over the vanity?? I’m looking for something very similar to that for my new house! Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Joy - Can you tell me where the rug came from? Thx!ReplyCancel

  • Shelie - Love love love it!!! All of it! Glad you are feeling better though 🙂 where did you get your rug and shower curtain??ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - Thank you! Rug is from Target, Shower curtain is from Home GoodsReplyCancel

  • Jane - You poor thing! That was quite a fall. Hope you made a full recovery. My ribs hurt just reading this! Thanks for the tutorial, the bathroom looks great. On the positive side… Your silicone should wash up nicely 🙂 great job your amazingReplyCancel

  • Freedom - Hi! I love the vanity lights. Curious are they the only lights in room? If so, do they provide enough light with the dark shade?ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - Yes the vanity lights are the only lights and they are plenty bright, the shade doesn’t affect the lighting.ReplyCancel

  • Trollinger-4655… – Best Home Decorating Ideas - […] Source: houseofrumours.com […]ReplyCancel

  • Sunshine - Love love the finished counters! What paint did you use on your cabinets? And did you prep/sand first? Thanks in advance!ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - Thank you! I used dunn edwards white paint. I cant remember the color sorry. I did a light sand and primer. Then applied the paint.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - What is the paint color on the wall? Love this bathroom. It’s beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Kyni - What flooring do you have in your bathroom?ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Lee - Can you please tell me how you finished the look on the mirror frame?ReplyCancel

  • Connie - Absolutely Stunning!!! In process of buying new home& i Have to do this…minus the fall..?ReplyCancel

  • Jen - Could you tell me the maker of your sinks and what size they are? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - The link to the sinks is on the post. Click on the picture of the sink.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - Like Jen I am interested in knowing the brand of your sinks in this post. When I click on the picture of the sink, it does not show the link, nor take me there. Any chance you could just respond so I don’t have to search Amazon for hours? 🙂 Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Raylene - How did you do the frame around the mirrors? What stain/paint colors did you use? I absolutely love them!ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - I built the frames as shown in pics and then stained Minwax provincial & Driftwood stain.ReplyCancel

  • cory - hello i was wondering if you still had the exact names of the tile and accent tile you used i would like to find the same ones, thank youReplyCancel

  • Robyn Elmslie - Hello, love the project . Also love your floors. What product and color do you have on the floor?ReplyCancel

  • The Cabinet Man - Love the whole bathroom, especially what you did with the mirror frames. Amazing job!ReplyCancel

  • Carmelle - Where do you get the light fixtures from pleasE? Thank you! Beautiful job!ReplyCancel

  • Becca - I am doing this project this weekend and I have a couple questions: How are your edges/sides holding up where you had spacing between the wood and the cement board? Did you caulk around/below the sink to keep water from going under the sinks?ReplyCancel

    • Ruthie - edges are fine and yes I caulked around the sink with a clear silicone.ReplyCancel

  • Blythe - I was just wondering where you got your mosaic tile and what it is called.

    Thanks,
    BlytheReplyCancel