Month: June 2014

Making Your DIY Concrete Countertops
When researching materials for your home renovation, you’ve most likely come across concrete in several forms. Decorative concrete is now used not only for floors but also for wall applications and even countertops. If you’ve decided to create DIY concrete countertops for your kitchen, there’s a lot you’ll need to do. This is not a beginner’s project by any means, but there are many things you can do to make it easier and make sure you end up with a product you’re satisfied with.

Planning
This is the most important stage of the process by far. You will have to make many decisions before you even get close to actually creating your countertops.

The first decision you have to make is whether you want to craft your DIY concrete countertops in place or cast them elsewhere and then bring them in to install them. This will depend on your situation. Cast-in-place countertops allow for much more customization, especially in regard to the shape of the concrete countertop and the edge design. It also works very well if your countertop is going to be outside, such as for an outdoor kitchen. Pre-casting your countertops and moving them to install them will give you more control over your workspace and possibly more room to work. However, the counters will be very heavy, so you will most likely need multiple people to help move them to the installation area.

Next, you will need to take measurements and decide the shape, texture, and color you want for your DIY concrete countertops. These decisions will determine the forms and molds you make as well as the additional supplies and tools you will need to purchase to create your finished product.

Crafting Your DIY Concrete Countertops
Once you have all your supplies and everything planned out, you can get to work on actually crafting your DIY concrete countertops. First, you will cast the base concrete mix in the shape you have created. Once they have cured, you will be able to add color stains, and sealants, according to your plan. Be prepared for the process to take some time, as you will have to wait between treatments. Once your countertops have been sealed and everything has been cleaned, you will be ready to use them!

Counterform Distribution- DIY concrete worktops
There’s one more decision you have to make before you start creating your DIY concrete countertops – where you will purchase the materials. Counterform Distribution (that´s us) will provide  everything you need to make your own counters, from the concrete mix system to edges to stains and sealers, to tools. They are a great place to purchase everything you need at once and get it delivered directly to you. They also offer instructional videos to help you understand the technical details of crafting DIY concrete countertops so that you can go into your project with confidence.

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Z Counterform products FAQ

Some of our most sold products Q&A´s. More information in our website: http://www.diyconcreteworktops.com

Q. What is the difference between the Z Liqui-Crete add mix and the Z Counter-Pack add mix?

A. The difference between the two is the consistency of the mix. The Liqui-Crete is designed to use slightly more water, giving you a more flowable mix that will flow throughout the fiberglass mesh reinforcement. If you are using a more traditional reinforcement such as welded wire mesh, you will be better off with Counter-Pack. Both will achieve about 7500psi @ 28 days. 

Q. I ordered a Sink Form but I don’t see it in my shipment. Does that ship seperately?

A. The Sink Form will come in the same package as the Countertop Edge Forms. 

Q. Which sealer should I use?

A. Z SiAcryl 14: Easy to apply penetrating sealer. Satin finish. Will not alter color of concrete or leave residue on concrete surface. Z Countershine Polish can be added to increase gloss. Only sealer recommended for outdoor countertops.

 Z Aqua-Poxy: 2 part, easy to apply epoxy sealer. Semi gloss finish. Will slightly enhance coloring of countertop without darkening. Put on mulptiple coats to build up thick epoxy look. 

 Z-Poxy: 2 part traditional epoxy sealer. Not recommended for first time users. High gloss finish, will significantly darken countertop. Will give you thick wet epoxy look. 

 **All of our sealers are 100% countertop safe

Q. When can I snap off the forms?

A. The forms can be snapped off 24-48 hours after pouring.

Q. When can I start staining my countertop?

A. You can begin staining 4 days after pouring

Q. When can I seal my countertop?

A. If you are using the SiAcryl 14, you can begin staining 4-5 days after pouring. If you are using an epoxy sealer you must make sure the concrete is 100% cured. This can take as long as 28 days, however, on a slab this thick you will usually be safe after 10 days. 

Q. What are the Z-Counterforms made of?

A. Z-Counterforms are made of a proprietary mix of P.V.C.

Q. How do I make corners?
A. Corners are simply mitered with an ordinary miter saw. Any angle can be easily achieved.

Q. How is Z counterform removed once concrete has cured?
A. Because of Z counterform’s patented design simply pull the form forward and it will snap clean revealing a smooth edge.

Q. Does concrete adhere to the Z-Counterform?
A. No, concrete will not adhere to the inside of the Z-Counterform. The forms are polished to a gloss finish so the concrete edge will mirror the form when it is snapped off.

Q. Are Z-Counterforms re-useable?
A. No, because the tab under the concrete top stays in place when you snap off the Z-Counterform.

 

DIY- how to color concrete using dye and pigment

We are receiving frequently questions how to color conrete. You´ll find two easy ways to color concrete.

You can use Z Counterform Aqua Tint dye concrete after it has been poured or pigment when the concrete is mixed. Before using either way, test the products by doing small pours of concrete.

Using concrete dye when the concrete has been poured.

Our Z Aqua Tint dye offers 16 different colors, they can also be mixed together to get the color wanted.

To apply the color you need these tools: nap roller (10-15cm), paint bucket, clean towel, water in a bucket and rubber gloves. Rubber gloves are handy because the color will stick to your fingers without them.

In the picture below (left lower corner), concrete has dyed like this:

  1.  I dilluted the Z Aqua Tint with water by 50/50 mix ratio to get more lighter color.
  2. I sanded the surface with 220 grid sandpaper and cleaned the surface with a clean towel
  3. Poured the mixed color to the paint bucket and started to apply the color to the surface
  4. Almost immediately wiped the color off with a towel. This way it was easy to control the color on the surface. I did not want it to be too dark. This can be repeated multiple times to get the wanted color.

It really is this easy to dye your concrete project. If there is too much color on the surface, just take a towel and wipe it off. And if there is not enough color, add as many layers you want to get the perfect look. Colors will dry really fast, so it is not a long process.

When the dye has been dried the surface needs to be sealed with a sealer. There are multiple sealer choices, you´ll find them from our webshop.

Here is a instructional video how to use Z Counterform Aqua Tint colors.

 

How to use color concrete with pigments

With pigment it is important to find the right mixing ratio to find the right color. It is really important to do couple test pieces first. I usually use plastic boxes where I do the test pieces, easy and quick. No need to do big test pieces, small ones work as good.

This is the equipment you need to measure the right amount of concrete, pigment and water:

  • Digital scale (I found mine for 15,90€ and works perfectly)
  • A cup with DL (deciliter) scale

All of the three components need to be in the same scale, concrete, pigment and water. So they need to be measured with each concrete bag.

Here are instructions how to use pigment with concrete. From the pictures you´ll see how many percent it has pigment in the mix. White concrete is easier to dye with pigment, because it is white:) dyes easier and with a more level and even color. Our product line has the only white concrete in the market, so you´ll get everything from one place.

 

Instructions how to mix pigment to concrete

Instructions how to mix pigment to concrete

PIgment and color mixed to concrete

Pigment and color mixed to concrete

When testing the correct mixing ratios, remember to do the test pieces in the same place as the actual concrete. Different temperatures will effect to the pigment as well.

How to make a concrete countertop – The concrete Tools

One of the most important things to remember when doing your concrete countertop… are the Tools you are using. My favorite tool is the Magnesium float. The thing is, the magnesium float does not close the countertop surface when you trowel the surface while the concrete is still wet. This is important, because when the surface is still open, air gets our of the concrete mix and air is the reason why there are holes in the edges of the countertop. Also when the air is removed all over the countertop, it get´s more durable.

If you use normal steel trowel, it closes the surface immediately and the air stays in. The magnesium float costs 35€, so it is not a really big investment. It really helps you to get a better result with less work.  You should trowel the surface with the magnesium float until it gets hard and then use the steal trowel to finish the concrete countertop. Our Steel trowel and other tools are made to handle concrete. The perfect surface for concrete worktop can be made with our tools, there is no need to use machines to get the perfect surface.