Everywhere I go I see nice shiny show slabs... But it doesn't have to be! I wanted a duller, darker slab that didn't compete to be star of my kitchen, since I already have enough shinny stainless steal appliances (saying look at me! look at me! besides I don't think I can deal with all that shine in the morning!). My door handles were a dark brown & so I went with it & like it because it stands out as it is.
How durable is it? Well I left out the dinning room slab outside for half of a year & have slammed down & worked on all manners of car parts on it, hammered away at many carpentry projects & burnt it with the soldering iron (amongst other things), so it's pretty durable.
Note: I have the main slab left to make & then it'll be complete, I'm still working on this & will update after I get back from KalifornIE & finish next week Just wanted to put up a first post & will add the rest later on.
Cement Counter Pt I Dimensions of the Dinning room slab: 90.5"x23"
The underlay & Rails Starting off
Next time I'll be tapering the edges of the underlay to 45* to allow more space for the cement to prevent breakage, which I don't believe will happen due to the fence material, but why not build a better mouse trap on the second go?
(underlay is the board underneath all of the concrete that can be used to drill into)
Cement Counter Pt II
The underlay with fence mesh & Rails with molding
Cement Counter Pt III
Leveling the Counter
Cement Counter Pt IV
I came from KalifornIE with earthquakes, so rebar is a must for most projects out there... & though I've used it for all my cement projects have found that it isn't necessary. Mesh is a must though, because it'll prevent the concrete from cracking more than however wide the holes in your mesh is.
Cement Counter Pt V Guessing ~200 Pounds? Safe 3 man lift
Mixed the Cement as the instructions listed on the package
Cement Counter Pt VI The morning after
Cost of Counter:
Concrete Mix #80 pounds$ 8.94 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
23/32 4x8 Pine Sheathing $23.97 (1 Sht)...
Rebar 3/8x10' $10.10 (email@example.com)
60'x50' Welded Fencing Wire $49.47 (1 Rl)
Deck Screws $24.48 (1Bx) (Green)
Food Dye $2.50 each
----->However this can be brought down significantly to just $28.04 <----------------
I used a new sheet of wood, but you could use an old one just lying around, take off $24. Many say use laminate for the form, which I originally bought $560 worth for the kitchen-but it isn't necessary! Scrap Wood that is smooth, cardboard (look at the ramp I made for Grandma), or anything else solid & smooth can be used. Shoot just glue or tape some wax paper on that if you need the form to be that smooth. (If it works, then why are they still sanding it afterwards?!?!? Just a question from me to you) Or if you have money to waste like that buy the laminate, I'd rather spend it on me! Cheapo Drywall screws could be bought for $7-9, or reuse old ones! But since I buy the quality kind & will use them for other out door projects is why this was added in even though it the cost wasn't necessary, only 3 1/2 feet of the fencing was used, & the rest will be put towards the counter & other projects, this can be substituted with chainlink if you have some lying around or ask a friend. Which would bring the cost down to $28.04 + a day's work. Also needs to set for 2 days & be watered, I'm letting it set for 5 days.
Cement doesn't reach it's full strength until a month later, & the first half a week is crucial to the strength of the slab, which is why so many driveways you'll see crack (& the owners blame it on cheap cement) when the reality is you have to water it to continue building the hydrogen bond (which also causes the burning feeling from working with cement: hydrogen burns)
I added a whole package of Food Dye to attempt to make the Counter originally gray. The water was black & I went in knowing the cement would aborb the food coloring, but how much???? Well the Cement aborbed all of it right up leaving virtually no color change except when wet, Both Latex & Acrylic Paint when added to the mix is the better way to go for coloring the Cement... Do not use Food Dye, Kool~Aid & read the ingredients if cement dye (like at home depot) you are using is water based, if it is, you'll be buying a whole lot of it to make it work, if it does. But hey if you have a whole bunch of it lying around or from a big lots sale for cheap, it is another way to go!
Concrete Counter VII
Somethings you learn by trial & error, using motor mix on the edges & then laying the concrete behind it will make it nice & straight. Then using a piece of trim, the motor can be rubbed & pushed into the holes of the edging. I however used concrete & then put a bags worth of masonry mix on top to make sure the top is smooth. Which then proceeded to use the orbital sander with a fine grit to make sure it was smooth, painted the dark brown & half a year later tried to put it in finding that it was longer than I anticipated, & though I measured the slab to be 3/4's of an inch shorter than the space it was to fillin, it was actually about an 1/8 of an inch bigger, so we just shoved it in there. I think we got the idea from NASCAR: where rubbing is racing, well it's certainly not going anywhere.
Thanks Paul & David for the help on moving it in.
***As for my experience with cement, I've built 2 driveway sections, a ramp, corner ends, a table top, redone the sidewalk & lawn edging, made chalk blocks, jacks stands, blocks, redid porch ends etc, etc out of cement & been able to see which projects have lasted & what hasn't from both my own & other projects since 2008.