Why I made concrete vanity countertops myself:
- We priced actual stone as well as fake stone countertops for the custom vanities our neighbor built for us. It was crazy expensive, mostly because the sink was offset and the size was non-standard.
- Have you seen the price of a bag of concrete? I bought two bags, a sheet of melamine (the particle board with the smooth white plastic finish) and some rigid foam insulation to shape into the sink blank. In total well under $100, even if I screw it up (which I did) I could either try again (which I did) or we could go buy the expensive stone counters
- It’s something I’ve wanted to try anyway
Would I do it again?
Yes!!! I can’t wait to do this again. I’m planning to do even more work with concrete when I get around to the basement bathroom.
I learned a ton in the first attempt at these:
The molds worked well, you can see the shape is correct but the surface quality….not even good enough to be a shoulder on the interstate in Michigan.
What went wrong:
- The rebar I purchased was far too big and heavy for this application. If it was suspended it might, maybe, could have worked. But I didn’t do that so it sunk to the bottom, which in this case would be the top surface. Not a great look….rusty rebar countertop?
- The mix was far too dry, which left me lots of holes and gaps. I was tempted to mix a thin batch to fill this to try and salvage them. In the end, without the rebar I was concerned about more gaps inside the counter top causing them to be too weak.
- I gave the countertops a whack with the sledge hammer and my concerns were confirmed. They crumbled pretty easily.
- I made 3 experimental mixes with different increasingly wetter batches. I let those sit for a few days and found all three gave a far better surface finish and there wasn’t much difference between the three. Conclusion: just mix it wetter than before.
I was only able to reuse the base piece of melamine and the PVC for the faucet outs. The foam sink knockout and the sides/frame were unfortunately destroyed in the de-molding process.
I purchased a relatively inexpensive wet polisher online. Some of them can be really pricey. It came with a set of polishing pads from 50 grit through to 8000. After working on it for just a short time, I dug out an old parka from the camping gear bin. It sprays everywhere, even with the water set to a slow trickle.
I couldn’t have been happier with the result. The standard concrete mix has aggregate in it, that’s all the white and black speckles in the counter. They’re small rocks. Up close they’re actually a range of colors and looks really cool (in my opinion). The one issue I found is that while polishing the edges for the sink cut out, I actually was removing more material than I thought and this made the opening bigger than I wanted. It still looks great, with the caulk applied between the sink and counter, you’d never know.
Another one complete…..Next!