229) Bathroom Concrete Countertop #2

by Gail on May 2, 2017

I’m back! All my sites were hacked, and my hero Kaan happened to be here helping with a major project (to be revealed soon). He fixed ’em. Did I tell you he’s my hero?

So, we do have a  bathroom countertop, only six years after moving into our house.

Here’s what happened after we “poured” the countertop (otherwise known as “packing” – new friend Dan dropped in to help – see here).

Three days after pouring, Dan dropped by to help D and me unmold.

This time, thanks to our use of oil on the mold, the countertop came out quite easily, after we peeled the sides off.

But, just as with prototype #1 (the laundry countertop), it was very disappointing. In this latest disaster, all the beach glass disappeared into the slurry, and we could only see hole after hole after hole.

Nothing to do but experiment, so that’s what I did. I started wet-grinding the top surface, with a 400 grit pad velcroed onto the grinder. The wet-grinder looks like an angle grinder, but it’s got a water hose hookup so that the water can constantly wash the surface as I grind.

Needless to say, this is a process that can only be done outside. I set up a stainless steel table covered with plastic over the flagstone.

I could see the beach glass “come” to the surface, when I ground off the surface. Unexpectedly, the grinding also exposed the brown sand that is part of the white countertop mix – who knew?

That became my new reality/design as I continued the grinding. I decided I liked the brown – it kind off coordinated with the brown cabinet.

After I rinsed off the sand and slurry, I let it dry.

Suddenly, a new challenge – the big holes had been ground off, exposing hundreds/thousands of smaller pits, caused by either the sand being dislodged, or the natural holes of the cast concrete being exposed.

Fortunately, this time I bought a filler mix along with the white countertop mix. On prototype #1, I sifted the large sand and polyester out of the regular countertop mix to get a filler, but it was still too coarse.

Worried that the filler would simply fill in the beach glass, I epoxied the glass that was slightly below the surface, let it dry for 6 hours, then ground it smooth.

I spread the filler, which reminds me of unsanded grout,  over the whole surface, and let it dry – about 30 minutes.

Then ground it again. It looked fantastic in the dark and rain, felt smooth as a baby’s cheek. By the next morning, I could see it was improved, but still lots of new, smaller bug holes had appeared.

In total, I filled and ground it four times, using progressively finer pads (50 grit, then 200, 400, 800 and a buff.) I always say there is a time for any artist to decide when the work is done, and I decided that was my “done”. I quickly ground the accumulated slurry from the back.

The top surface is not perfectly level. Rather, it has small hills -mostly at the glass – and valleys, which are not evident unless I smooth my hand over.

I let it dry a final time, and sealed it with  coats of Broda Clarity that we had left over from the concrete floors in our basement and the flagstone in our entryway.

Now, a scary step: seeing if it fits. It did (!) with only some minor adjustments to the beadboard around the vanity.

D and I attached it with silicone only – not screws like the former plywood countertop – I figure it’s not going anywhere. Gravity sees to that. We reinstalled the sink, and added silicone around the rim, painter’s caulk around the perimeter.

In total, it cost $55 in materials, and required about 12 woman hours and 3 man hours.

It is a piece that carries memories in it – of loved ones and the places we/they visited to find just the right beach glass.

Sharing with: Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays, Beyond the Picket Fence, Waste Not Wednesday

 

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy May 2, 2017 at 10:51 am

Great project completed ! Nice photo including T & K. The sea polished glass shines through. Hugs.
Joy

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Carol ("Mimi") May 3, 2017 at 5:22 am

This looks like a lot of work! But, the result is completely unique — a one-of-a-kind work of art for your vanity countertop. It turned out beautifully.

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PrettyPotato May 4, 2017 at 12:07 am

Wow a lot of work and love went into that and it looks beautiful!

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