This is exciting! Yesterday I finished my third concrete project of the month. A custom counter for my office made with Sakrete 5000 Plus High Strength Concrete Mix has removed the proverbial blinders and opened my eyes to a new world of opportunities in concrete. Read on to see how!
Simple Elegant Concrete Counter
When you look at these pictures, try to overlay the word “easy” on top of your other impressions, which I’m just going to take for granted is a mix of amazement, awe, and delight.
But the word I really want you to think about is “easy”. Because this project was precisely that. Easy.
With three simple power tools (circular saw, a drill, and a sander) and a few inexpensive hand tools we were able to quickly create a custom fitted beautiful custom counter for my office. The project took about a day for two people, including design time and going to the store for materials.
And we didn’t break the bank! Total cost for everything was about $200.00 the bulk of which was cellular pvc form boards. These are reusable for additional projects like this. For that minimal cost we were able to create a 12’ long counter custom made to fit for a wall-to-wall installation.
Combined with a really spectacular custom wall mural I printed and installed the day before, the overall transformation of my office space is astounding!
It Started with Sakrete
Everyone knows the name Sakrete right? Of course. Sakrete pretty much owns an entire aisle in most of your major home centers. They make all sorts of bag mix products for masonry and concrete type applications. Concrete, stucco, sand mix, mortar, etc. Sakrete makes it.
Sakrete reached out to see if I was interested in partnering on a couple of projects to show RemodelingGuy.net readers some of the amazing potential with concrete and I was happy to do it. I had a shower pan project to do and I had been wanting for a long time to rebuild my outdoor kitchen and include concrete counters.
In preparation for the concrete counters, which I had not done before, I put a call into Sakrete technical support. Did you know there was technical support for concrete? With Sakrete products there is and they are awesome! I was able to get so much helpful information about the right way to build a concrete counter. By the time I was off the phone I felt certain I could produce some ultra-professional looking counters.
But was that really what I wanted?
- Did I want to set-up a huge covered work area with forms and workbenches?
- Did I want to pour my countertops upside down and then install them after removing them from the forms?
- Did I want to fill voids and polish the surfaces to get that slick granite-like glossy smooth finish?
Not so much, I decided. I really wanted to form and pour my counters in-place and trowel the top smooth and call it a day. Hopefully, literally, a day. I didn’t need slick smooth and I was happy to trade some imperfection for a faster process with fewer steps. I had a vision in my mind of exactly how I would do it.
But the call to tech support had me wondering. Would the counters made my way be acceptable to me? Would I feel proud of the finished product? Would I be happy with the surface and the look? I wanted them to last for many years of course!
What we needed was a test project! Something smaller to try first. Something that, if it didn’t work out, I could just start over the other tried-and-true way. No harm, no foul.
That’s how I started staring at the big plain boring wall in my office. And that’s how it all started.
Ingredient #1 – A Custom Wall Wrap of the Tampa Skyline
Lucky for me, one of my businesses prints and installs custom wallcoverings like wall wraps and wallpaper. So I only had to go into the next room to print my wrap!
A few hours later, it was installed and looking good! Even with my experience with wall wraps I was blown away by how much larger the wrap made the small space feel!
Ingredient #2 – A Poured and Finished In Place Sakrete 5000 Plus Countertop
I sat for a few minutes in the morning and sketched out a design. I didn’t really want to apply any large brackets to my newly wrapped wall and at about 12’ my top was far too long to only be supported on each end, so I needed legs. I had looked to no avail at IKEA for some furniture legs I might use, and I considered getting some 4×4 or larger posts for use as legs, but in the end decided on 2×10’s. I felt like they would blend well with the elements of the photo behind.
Important Safety Note: In my case the counter is firmly between two walls on each end, so I don’t have to worry about lateral motion of the heavy concrete top. If I did, those 2×10’s would have needed more lateral support, such as big X-bracing on the back side, or a shelf halfway down, or some big angle brackets coming up from each leg (picnic table style). It goes without saying that when you’re working with heavy materials support strength and stability is of utmost importance. The design I created here is for the very specific use shown. A perfectly level slab floor and walls on each end of the top are both requirements for the design we used.
Ingredient #3 – A Set of Bluetooth Speakers, a Couple of Plants for Color, and a Papasan Chair
The very next day I was in business! We removed the forms in the morning and very carefully moved the top into place. Perfecto!
Now I have a comfortable place in my office to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while catching up on some reading or listening to a podcast on my new (Father’s Day Gift) bluetooth speakers!
I felt like the potted plants really added to the overall impact by adding some color and better framing the skyline image. Thanks to Donnie Gibson for that idea and for building this with me!
The Finished Product Was Perfect For Me!
Remember going in I was kind of worried that my “short method” wouldn’t pan out. I worried needlessly! The end results were perfect for me. I’m a construction guy so I love a little bit of imperfection in the counter. I want it to be “obviously concrete”.
Sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes the project calls for something much closer to perfect and concrete works great for those times too. I could still go back and smooth over a few of the open little spaces with portland cement to fill them, I could polish the surfaces to a perfectly smooth finish, and I could apply a high gloss sealer if I wanted a shine.
But I don’t want any of that! I love this counter exactly like it is and I’m now 1000% confident that this is the very same method I’ll use for my outdoor kitchen project coming up soon.
In fact, after working on three concrete projects in June alone and one a few months back, I’m feeling really pretty excited about the creative potential of concrete. I’m looking at my back deck, some sidewalks, kitchen counters, leveling the floor in my house for new tile… the possibilities are endless!
To see a step-by-step of how we built this particular counter, check out this post of detailed photos!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sakrete. The opinions and text are all mine.