Peculiarities of concrete application for kitchen furniture
Concrete in its structure is a solid and durable material that is able to withstand high temperatures. In this regard, it is almost not inferior to granite, although it costs one order less.
However, the concrete countertops surface has one feature, which must be taken into account when making a kitchen countertop. The fact is that consists of pores that can be clogged with various organic substances, which complicates taking care of the kitchen. On top of that, this material should be protected from acid-containing products, as they can destroy calcium, which is the main linking element in concrete countertops.
Note! Even a drop of lemon juice can make a negative impact on the concrete countertops surface, leaving a stain.
This disadvantage is easily eliminated with a protective polymer layer that is applied to concrete after it has solidified. DIY concrete countertops with such protection are easy to clean and retain its appearance for a long period. However, it is not recommended to use such surface as a cutting board or to put a hot frying pan on it, because, unlike concrete, polymer coating is less resistant to such loads.
Concrete countertops without polymer coating can be used in the living room, bedroom or office, where there are no strict operating requirements.
Monolithic concrete countertops manufacture
The basis for producing of concrete furniture is the standard technology used in construction. To make DIY concrete countertops, you need to go through several stages, each of which is important in its own way.
As the countertop for kitchen is made of concrete, it is necessary to get ready with the basic components for the concrete countertop mix:
· Sand (river sand is better)
· Crushed stone or marble chips
Note! For the countertop to look like marble, granite or to have any other shade, different from gray, a special pigment (color) is added to the mixture, which can be purchased at any construction store.
To produce the formwork, you need a timber strip of 50x30 mm and moisture resistant plywood 12 mm of thickness. As a substrate, instead of plywood a sheet of laminated chipboard of appropriate thickness can be used. The main thing is that the base should be perfectly even and not be flexible under stress of physical load of the plate. Considering the fact that this is going to be manufacture of DIY concrete countertops, you will need the following tool kit:
· A shovel
· A bucket or container
· A building or a concrete mixer
· A trowel
· An electric jigsaw
· A screwdriver
· A grinding machine
· A roulette
· A level and a pencil
The value of a qualitative blueprint is difficult to overestimate. The correct blueprint simplifies work greatly, but the wrong one adds a headache in the process of installing DIY concrete countertops. It is very important to measure carefully kitchen parameters, cabinets’ location and plumbing fixtures. If you need to place a sink or hob, then the place for their installation should be calculated up to a millimeter.
Note! If the overall design is of considerable size, then it is better to divide it into several parts in order to simplify the process of plate installing.
A sheet of plywood or chipboard is placed on a flat surface, after which we transfer previously prepared drawing with a ruler and a pencil. Install a timber strip of 50x30 on each line so that in the end the countertop thickness is 50 mm. It is the parameter that is considered optimal for a concrete product: reducing thickness will make the construction fragile, and the increase will make it too heavy.
Formwork walls fixing should be sufficiently reliable to withstand the load created by concrete during its hardening. The joints of two walls are better to be connected with corners or long screws (about 60 mm). The place under the sink is located depending on the type and dimensions of the plumbing fixture. There are two types of sinks: built-in and overhead. The second type has a horizontal edge about 30 mm wide and this fact should be taken into account when drawing the blueprint.
Note! If you decide to make concrete countertops, then it is better to use an overhead sink. First, built-in model have a landing chamber that is not so easy to make. Secondly, the presence of the rim allows you to make a small deviation when creating an opening under the sink.
It is also necessary to provide an opening for the mixer tap. To do this, you can use a plastic pipe with a diameter of 35 mm (the standard size of the mixing nozzle of the mixer).
For more details and pictures go to Concrete Countertop Solutions.
Reinforcing frame installation
The frame is a steel net with a mesh size of 25x25 mm. This construction must be placed inside the formwork so that it is 25 mm from plywood and walls.
Before installing reinforcing frame, a polyethylene film is laid on the base. Its edges need to be wound on the side boards. It is very important that the film lies without folds, if you don’t want to see their imprint on a concrete slab. This is increasing of the bearing capacity with a steel frame.
Casing (Concrete pouring)
Concrete for making DIY concrete countertops is made according to the classic recipe:
· Part of cement
· Parts of sand
· Parts of fillers
· 0.5 part of water
In the first stage, cement is mixed with water until a homogeneous mass is obtained, after which the remaining ingredients readded to the mixture. The process of concrete preparation must be carried out at slow speed, thoroughly mixing the solution.
Note! It is not necessary to increase the amount of water for the purpose of faster concrete countertop mix preparation. Excessive moisture content in the solution will lead to appearance of pores multitude after it dries.
After pouring and smooth concrete distribution over the entire area of formwork, it is covered with a film and left in this stage for a day. After 24 hours the film is removed and in its place a wet cloth is laid to prevent cracks appearance. After 48 hours the formwork can be disassembled.
Concrete countertops for kitchen should be perfectly smooth, so the front side is polished. For such purposes it is better to use a machine grinder, since manual surface treatment with sandpaper will take a lot time and effort.
First, the plate is polished using large-grained circle. After getting a smooth surface, the treatment is carried out with the small-grained emery. Despite the fact that the polished concrete countertop looks fine already, it still needs to be opened with water-repellent polymeric impregnation.
The last stage is grinding with a felt wheel with the use of special paste, after which the plate acquires “marble” characteristics.