I think it's safe to say, this was our biggest decision, and also the biggest place that Joel and I needed to see eye to eye on. We've both had different opinions on counters for years, but this year, for some reason, our styles have finally merged and we agreed on a counter! Once we had this choice nailed down, it was so easy to go from there with choosing everything else for the space. Yes and yes!
So what'd we go with?
With concrete, you can go DIY, or you can hire someone. When you DIY, it ends up being one of the cheaper options out there for a renovation, just a TON of work. When you hire someone, it can be more than twice the cost of natural stone options because of the labor they put into creating the countertops themselves. HUGE difference in the routes you can take here, wouldn't you say?
So Joel will be making our countertops! We chose to do a pour in place style instead of making molds and pouring in the garage. When you make them in place, you don't have to bat an eye after they've been poured (well, compared to off-site molds). You just wait for them to cure. When you make them off-site, you have to think about moving and installing them on top of getting precise measurements for the molds themselves. What a headache!
After a bunch of research, we found a DIY pour in place concrete countertop system that we will be using from a site called Z Counterform. They have tools and products that have been made for projects like this and people like us. DONE. We ordered everything we need, which should be here by Friday, and purchased everything else for this portion of the reno last Saturday. The Z Counterform system has you using concrete you buy locally, as well as the base concrete backer board layer that you will pour on.
Let me tell you about last Saturday.
First off. Joel is a saint. A superhero. A haus.
Me and my pregnant self stood off to the side eating starburst and watching him move bag after bag of concrete. I couldn't help but think "This dude must really love me. Look what he's making happen for me!"
Here's what happened. We borrowed my dad's truck for the afternoon and dropped X off with him while we went out to grab concrete. We were optimistic of the day ahead, and knew exactly what we needed. We had a list. Done. How hard could it be?
Started at Home Depot, they didn't have our concrete. We bought the 1/4" backer board there so the trip wouldn't be a complete waste. Then we headed to Lowe's to get our 20 60 pound bags concrete. Joel loads them onto the cart, then into the truck, then unloads them in the garage. Off he goes to take a shower and relax after all that work...
I went back to the Z Counterform website to make sure all was good, and both Joel and I missed not one, but TWO major details about what we thought were simple purchases.
WE GOT THE WRONG CONCRETE.
(and the wrong backer board).
I didn't expect it, but Joel got another burst of energy and somehow managed to load back up all the concrete bags he just unloaded in the garage, head to Lowe's, unload, and return...and start all over! For this countertop, you need the concrete sand mix, not just regular concrete. Which was funny, because the first trip to Lowe's the sand mix was right next to the regular stuff and I jokingly told Joel, "just make sure you don't accidentally get the SAAAND mix!"
Turns out we needed the sand mix.
We also picked up the correct depth of concrete backer board while we were there. At Home Depot we picked up 1/4", and this project calls for 1/2". OY.
After all the loading and unloading, and loading and unloading, we calculated how much weight Joel moved by himself on Saturday.
It was over 10,000 pounds!
TEN THOUSAND POUNDS.
See why I think he loves me?! He really really loves me!?
He's an acts of service man, for sure :)
Anyways, tomorrow is demo day, so we will be out of a kitchen for the next week as he makes the forms, pours the concrete, and we wait for it to cure. It's getting real! For my part of the countertop reno, I need to go clear out the kitchen today to get ready for the gut job!
Getting excited over here, ya'll!