Step 5: Pouring the Concrete

The day of the pour had finally arrived and to top it all off, our friendly neighborhood Home Depot had rented us a beautiful, brand new, virgin concrete mixer for 50 bucks for the day. That's right, we were the first ones to use this fine machine and Mr. P was anxiously waiting to put it through its paces.

I ended up buying Cheng Pro-Formula Mix off the website because this was my first pour and I didn't want any surprises. The kits come with everything you need, minus bags of Quickrete 5000 that you can buy at any home improvement store. It has the color tinting, support fibers, and water reducers to make the concrete perfect for countertops. I highly recommend this for first timers.

You'll want to make sure to have gloves and masks while you're mixing concrete since it is very dusty and messy. It's also a good idea to have 3 people during the pour so that one person can be cleaning up the mixer and tools while the others are pouring it.

We followed the instructions that came with the kits to mix the concrete and then started rolling wheelbarrows of concrete into the garage. At first we gently put in the concrete with our hands so that we wouldn't disturb the crushed glass. Once the glass was covered, we used a shovel to load it in. Only fill the mold half full before you stop to vibrate the concrete.

You must vibrate the concrete if you want to avoid air bubbles that will create voids in the countertop. There are commercial concrete vibrators, but I found that rapping rubber mallets along the bottom and all around the mold seemed to work best. It really wears you out using the mallets, but you'll soon see air bubbles popping out along the surface so you'll know it's working. Cheng also recommends using an orbital sander with no sandpaper on it to vibrate the concrete. I tried this and it worked ok around the sides of the mold, but didn't do much along the bottom.

Now go ahead and fill the mold with the rest of the concrete making sure to add a bit more than the mold can hold. Use a straight piece of lumber or melamine that is long enough to span the mold to screed the concrete. Start on one side and push the screed back and forth along the sides till you go all the way across the mold for a level finish. Make sure you fill any holes where the concrete might have been low and re-screed it. Go ahead and start vibrating the concrete again. Make sure you've vibrated it as well as possible. It took me about 10 minutes of swinging the mallets before I felt that it was vibrated properly.

Now you wait...and watching it doesn't make it dry any faster.

The ideal curing conditions are in a humid, shaded area between 70 and 90 degrees fahrenheit. I chose to have it cure in my garage since it stays in those conditions through the summer. It's recommended that if the temperature is below 50 degrees you get some sort of heating for proper curing. It's also not good to cure in the sun because it will dry out too quickly and be more likely to crack. I waited 4 days before moving onto the next step. Can you imagine Mr. P's anticipation?

Mr. P Note: "Unbearable!!"

Thanks for the help. I also bought the book. Together, the project wasn't that tough at all...
<p>How did you get that look? Did you just polish and seal it?</p>
cmc70 the countertops look great. Did you use anything extra to support the eating overhang on the island?
sj.. sorry I havent been back to here in a while. Yes, I used some Stainless Steel arcs anchored to the studs in the Island and the underside of the countertop. It is not finished here in these pictures. <br> <br>C <br>
I'm getting ready to pour some countertops for my new apartment and this instructable is a incredibly helpful. I already have the Cheng books, thanks to the comments here. <br> I read every comment (so far) and took notes. I figure that these orgnized notes from your collective wisdom could be helpful to others, so I put them up on my blog. This is no replacement for reading everything yourself! I am sure to have missed things and new comments come in all the time. <a href="http://sputterlyutter.blogspot.com/2011/09/collective-instructables-wisdom.html">Here's a link to my notes</a>.
Thanks, that is a helpful resource for everyone who comes here. Good luck with your project and really glad everyone here was able to help!
Hi I built a concrete desk following your instructions, and have posted it as an Instructable! I have referenced your great Instructable in it, you can find it here: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Polished-Concrete-Desk/">http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Polished-Concrete-Desk/</a><br/>Thanks for the detailed instructions, they helped me greatly in my project!<br/><br/>
This posting has won today&#39;s &quot;I Made It&quot; Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!<br /> <br /> Thanks for using instructables!<br /> <br /> http://www.instructables.com/community/June-is-I-Made-It-Challenge-Month-Win-a-Pro-Mem/
Great work!
Great Job! It's awesome to see people that have gotten help from my instructable and thanks for sharing.
hi thanks so much for posting this instructable!<br/>I used this instructable as the main inspiration for doing my own concrete countertops as part of a larger (super-cheap-ass) kitchen reno.<br/><br/>i've attached a couple pics and the link to the public facebook gallery in which I have a few more pics of the process. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=23879&l=1d07e&id=624811215">kitchen reno gallery</a><br/>
BTW, I saw from your Facebook account you're in Atlanta...I'm just a hop, skip, and a jump to Chattanooga...
And I'm in Columbus! :D
Hi Is that Columbus GA?? We are in Cols Ga and doing some concrete cabinets. M
Yes, we are talking about Chatanooga and Atlanta, so I think I mean Columbus Georgia.
And I'm in Nashville! :D
Nasville isn't in Georgia.... :D
Driving directions to Nashville, GA 156 mi – about 3 hours 18 mins Columbus, GA 1. Head south on Veterans Pkwy toward 9th St 0.7 mi 2. Turn left at GA-520 E/Victory Dr Continue to follow GA-520 E 78.4 mi 3. Merge onto GA-520 E/US-82 E via the ramp to Camilla/Tifton/I-75 8.2 mi 4. Take the GA-520 E/US-82 E ramp to Sylvester/Tifton 0.4 mi 5. Turn left at Clark Ave/GA-520/US-82 5.0 mi 6. Take the ramp onto GA-520 E/Sylvester Rd/US-82 E Continue to follow GA-520 E/US-82 E 32.3 mi 7. Turn right onto the US-401 S/I-75 S ramp 0.4 mi 8. Merge onto I-75 S 12.6 mi 9. Take exit 49 for Kinard Bridge Rd toward Lenox 0.2 mi 10. Turn left at Kinard Bridge Rd 5.0 mi 11. Continue on Alpha-Lenox Hwy/Coy Hancock Rd 3.3 mi 12. Turn right at GA-125 9.1 mi 13. Turn left to stay on GA-125 0.2 mi 14. Turn right at US-129 430 ft Nashville, GA
OMG THERE IS A NASHVILLE GEORGIA?! I'm sooo sorry! I didn't know it existed! LOL!
Great job on your tops! Now keep creating! Here are some photos of my most resent backsplash project in Park City Utah
Romac, your kitchen is beautiful! I wish I had the skill and patience to do all of that. The curve is very nice, too. (And that Buddha you carved is phenomenal: most impressive).
EXCELLENT JOB! Your kitchen looks fantastic and it's great to hear that my little project inspired someone else to use concrete for countertops. I really like that you poured it in place as well - I was too nervous knowing that water would be flying all over the place. That $60 worth of concrete and some elbow grease increased the value of your kitchen by several thousand dollars. Thanks for all the pics!
A great little forum you have started DoubleA!<br/>I keep seeing posts talking about Pam or cooking oil as mold release. Would not that potentially stain the concrete from the onset? <br/>People are asking about bagged concrete for countetops...<br/>Lowes carries (special order only so far) <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines/CountertopMix.asp">Quikrete Countertop Mix</a>. <br/>I have used it several times with great results. <br/>It is more expensive than straight up 5000 psi concrete mix ($10.50 per bag). It does have plasticizer and flow admixture already in it. So it does have desirable flow qualities. <br/>ConcretePaul has experience with his own mixtures (do share!), that would be the cheapest , most tailored to ones specific mix needs... obviously that comes from lots of experimentation. People usually don't want to give info like that out. <br/>For a reliable bagged mix the Quikrete Countertop Mix product worked well straight out of the bag for me. Although the plasticizer made the feel of the mix well.... weird and plasticky :) Very sticky.... maybe not suitable for a drier Buddy Rhodes style veiny concrete pour.<br/>I'm going to experiment mixing a 60 lb. bag of sand mix into a 80 lb. bag of Quikrete countertop mix. see if it feels more &quot;natural&quot;. I'll let you know.<br/><br/>Here's two questions for ya'll...<br/>#1 Regarding concrete sealers...<br/> I find the matte/natural sealers make bringing up a shine with waxes (later in the process) difficult. And the Semi-gloss sealers seem streaky and leave a streaky shine even after waxing.<br/>Anybody have a good sealer they recommend a good sealer? Sika and Quikrete sealers don't do it for me so far.<br/>#2 I made a bee's wax/food grade mineral oil final sealer, but the stuff is super sticky... Do I need to add more mineral oil to the mix to get it less viscous/sticky? <br/>Help, my arms are tired from buffing out this gluey goo!<br/><br/>Charlessenf-gm.... says<br/>I was thinking that, in this situation, one might spray the curing sealer onto the mold before the initial &quot;pour&quot; and it would work to seal the surface and provide a slick counter top all in one step as my surface (albeit a bard slab) looked slick and shiny from the &quot;git go.&quot;<br/><br/>Charles, <br/>Aren't you afraid that the sealer/curing agent will discolor the concrete (milky, blotchy) if you spray it in the mold prior to casting? Let me know the results of your experiment.....<br/>
Thanks for your comments, FabSlab! Regarding cooking spray - I actually used spray ADHESIVE in my mold to keep the glass aggregate from pooling up in one spot. My counters came loose from the mold with no problem, so I don't really see any benefit in using a lubricant unless maybe you have an intricate mold with lots of small details.
I use spray adhesive when I broad cast glass also. The adhesive comes off when you grind it. But if I'm not exposing agg. then I'll silicone the glass one at a time and then rub on some release to the rest of the mold. I agree that it is not always needed but its good practice anyway.
<p>great :)</p>
<p> I did an out door bar table top with concrete &quot;INPLACE pouring &quot; due to its size ( 2ft x 10ft) , top is uneven, by the time I finished pouring it was late and concrete was not enough to trowel to level so did a quick and dirty job of finishing it off ,( used a mix of GFRC and quickrete 5000 Mix about less than 2 inch thick,</p><p>after a week i tried leveling the top with another layer of sand cement ready mix ( no gravel ) and wasted 4 hrs topping and leveling the table but next day I checked it was popping off :( , just did not stick to the tabletop so frustrated I just scraped off the top . I think My selection of the cement ready mix was wrong . </p><p>Any one can give some pointers on which Portland cement with plasticizer , additive etc would work wonders to level this would be just great </p><p>This is my first countertop using concrete, don't want to give up. not so easy... </p><p>And yes of all the places I though this was a great forum to get some ideas on projects for a low budget DIY person with plenty of enthusiasm </p>
<p>I am planning to fix mine too.. great ideas, I benefited to it yey :D</p>
<p>I have poured 64 sq feet on counter top. I have some ruff spots in the counter top and I am at a loss. I sealed it but the ruff spots look really blouchey. I really like the gray look . If i polish the counter top will that get rid of the ruff spots and smooth it out? I sanded the edges with 220 but its still rough also. Please help me!!</p>
<p>Very nice.I will try this in my <a href="http://www.bestfreestreaming.com/" rel="nofollow">kitchen</a>..Thank you for sharing this.</p>
<p>Very nice.I will try this in my <a href="http://www.bestfreestreaming.com/" rel="nofollow">kitchen</a>..Thank you for sharing this.</p>
<p>I was pleasantly surprised. I visited this very Kitchen in Chattanooga, TN. The house got foreclosed on soon after this project was completed.</p>
<p>This is a great resource. I'm seriously considering making my own concrete countertop for our kitchen project. We have new custom cabinets of all 3/4 inch plywood construction, so I'm not concerned about weight and strength. My primary concern is that I want to do it in 1 piece, but our run of cabinets is 14 feet long. The counter would be 1.5-1.75 inches thick, standard 2-foot width. It would have 2 major cutouts in it for the sink and cooktop. I planned to use no aggregate in my mix, just solid concrete, and use a welded steel mesh (cattle panel) for the interior reinforcement. Is this feasible/possible in your opinion? Thanks!</p>
Thanks, dburns. I really wouldn't recommend doing a very long stretch like that without stress fractures, especially since you've got 2 major cutouts in it.
<p>Thanks for the recommendation. What would you think if I waited to do the cutouts until the countertop was in place?</p>
<p>Very very good post. You've included <br>all the great information in this post. Thanks a million for that. Cheers! </p><p>&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.theclippingpathindia.com/clipping-path-service.html&quot;&gt;Clipping Path service&lt;/a&gt;</p>
<p>brilliant, thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>Your IBLE inspired me to make my own and I have referred back to it many times. It helped me realize that I could <strong>make</strong> something wonderful and functional that I would, in the past, only have hoped to purchase.</p>
Is this house in Chattanooga? I think I saw the MLS on it. Love that neighborhood
Wow these concrete countertops looks great! They looks just as good as real granite <a href="http://www.haristoneslimited.com" rel="nofollow">countertops</a> and at a fraction of the price. Nice work!
This makes sense. The glue gun to the nose does not. LOL. Awesome thanks for posting.
Wow this is such a good idea! I'll definitely have to tell my friends who are <a href="http://www.helpmerhondas.com/en/" rel="nofollow">interior decorators</a> about this!
nice kitchen!
This is an awesome idea! My husband and I are in the process of building a house and we thought we wanted to go with the granite <a href="http://www.haristoneslimited.com" rel="nofollow">counter tops in Edmonton</a>. The thing is, they are so expensive! After seeing this I looked into all the things you could do with concrete and I couldn't believe all the possibilities! It can be stained and mixed with other colors to even look like some granite. My husband is a hands on guy so I think this is the way we are going to go. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks so much for sharing this! I have been looking into <a href="http://www.haristoneslimited.com" rel="nofollow">counter tops edmonton</a> and what I want to put in my home! I have been looking into all different options! Thanks again for sharing!
Thanks so much for sharing this information! I have been looking into <a href="http://www.rdinet.com/RDIProjects.htm" rel="nofollow">kitchen remodel champaign</a> and how they can help me get started on mine! Can you tell me where I might be able to find more information like this? Thanks for sharing!
I agree. Indeed Solid Countertops are strong, non-porous and has wide range of designs as well. Will definitely use it for my <a href="http://www.myinstalledcountertops.com" rel="nofollow">Kitchen Counters</a>.
I agree. Indeed Solid Countertops are strong, non-porous and has wide range of designs as well. Will definitely use it for my <a href="http://www.myinstalledcountertops.com" rel="nofollow">Kitchen Countertops</a>.
Looks great. I noticed some coins embedded in the top. How did you wet grind the concrete without grinding off the images on the coins as well?

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