I have been dying to DIY a concrete countertop for quite a while now. I didn’t want to jump right in and do my whole kitchen as my first concrete project, though. So my husband and I (okay, just me…he goes along with pretty much any idea I have!) decided to do our half bathroom first. The vanity has an integrated sink, so unless we wanted to buy a new sink we were going to have to do an overlay. I was a little concerned about going this route, but I had a strict budget and time constraints (the in-laws were coming to visit and I wanted it done before they came). Now that it’s done, I absolutely love it! It has an artisanal look to it and just adds to the beachy feel of the room.
I knew I wanted to do an overlay, but this was my first go at it, so i set about finding some helpful tutorials. I found two that were really great and used tips and tricks from both. Www.designertrapped.com gave helpful cost information, but keep in mind that this will only cost $20 if you are spreading your materials over several projects rather than one. I followed along with her steps, for the most part, until it came down to finishing. At this point, I used the advice from www.creativelylivingblog.com/ to use polyurethane as my top coat.
You can see my very outdated cultured marble sink in the photo below. We weren’t too thrilled about the gold accents on the faucet either! I originally hadn’t planned on completing this so soon or I would have started with this rather than the board and batten.
So, as in most projects, the very first step is site preparation. The hubby turned off the water to the sink and removed all of the hardware. I have read on other tutorials that the drain flange should be left in to keep the sink from leaking. If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry. I didn’t know what it was called—that circle thingy? It’s the little circle part in the sink that the stopper fits in. If you want to be able to remove this in the future, you need to take it out before you put concrete on. This is also a great time to clean out the pipes under your sink. Leaving them off until you are done will also guarantee that no concrete ends up in them! FYI: be prepared to have to purchase some new parts for your sink when you are doing this. This is especially true if you have old pipes or if they were cheap builder grade materials.
Ok, so after your faucet, drain, and any other pipes are removed, you need to clean up the counter/sink. Go ahead and give them a good scrub with some soap and water. You can do this while you still have running water in there, but there may be areas you can’t get to with the hardware attached. Once it’s clean and dry, you are going to give it a good sanding to give the concrete something to adhere to. I used 80 grit sandpaper and hand sanded the sink. I used my random orbit sander for the countertop and it blew dust EVERYWHERE! (Make sure to use a ventilator or dust mask so you aren’t breathing this stuff in.) Vacuum all the dust up and then wipe the counter off to get any remaining dust.
I used Henry FeatherFinish concrete. I have read that many people use Ardex, but Henry was available at my local Home Depot and was less than $17. I mixed way too much the first go around, did 4 coats, and still have over half a box! I did not measure either the powder or the water used as there was no other tutorial giving any specifics. I recommend starting out with a small amount as you can always mix more. If you mix too much, it will dry out before you can use it all. Your mixture should be the consistency of a runny batter.
You are now ready to coat your counter! If you are doing a sink as well, I recommend coating that first using a paintbrush. I put the first coat on by hand and ended up with more ridges than i wanted. A paintbrush coated the sink much smoother and made much less of a mess! I used a large drywall knife to cover the flat surfaces in the few applications, but did these areas with the paintbrush in the last coat as well.
See how splotchy it is? I was incredibly worried at this point! Some areas dried faster than others and there were bumps and ridges all over. I waited until it dried and sanded everything down. I tried using my power sander at this point, but since it pulled off more concrete than I wanted, I ended up hand sanding everything from this point on. The photo below shows the results of my first few coats of concrete.
The more you have to sand, the more dark spots seem to appear. It was at this point my husband joked about painting it on. I figured, why not, and was pleasantly surprised at the results.
After I let the concrete sit overnight, I coated it with 511 Impregnator Sealer and let it dry. Four hours later I put on another coat. This stuff has a very strong smell. Make sure your area is well ventilated and wear a respirator. It is also extremely runny, so watch out for drips! Your concrete will get really dark when this is applied, but don’t worry, it lightens up when it dries.
Once this was dry, I coated the sink with polyurethane. There are many options for this, so pick whichever one you prefer. I simply used what I had on hand in a matte finish. Let the poly cure as per the manufacturers recommendation before replacing sink hardware. You will also want to use plumber’s putty around the drain flange to ensure you have a tight seal and don’t end up with any leaks.
While the concrete still ended up with some darker spots, I feel that it simply adds to the artisan look. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will follow along with the many more to come! To see the rest of the bathroom remodel, click here.