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Before & After: Countertops

September 19, 2011

I recently wrote all about the tomato-red goodness that once were my kitchen countertops, here.

Well, that fun little (err not so fun and not so little) project is mostly done (aside from the caulk job that needs to happen). Home renovation projects always leave me a bit frazzled, mostly because everything is a bit out of whack and out of place (as I type this, I’m starring at a bowl of avocados in my office since it can’t live in its usual home on the kitchen counter).

Yes, I think avocados next to the computer classifies out of whack. Here’s the before & after in photo form.

Before the project began, I was more worried about what sealing the counters would entail. Little did I know how much scraping…

Scraping … and more scraping we had in store.

Time to call in the big guns (electric sander).

In times of crisis and projects that I’m particularly overwhelmed I generally have one of two reactions—cry or quit. I threw in the towel once during a meltdown at Home Depot, which in retrospect I’m shocked my husband stuck around long enough to actually give me a ride home.

Truth be told, the freak-out had something to do with the paint not coming off and the idea of us stuck with what were for a brief period, pink tinted counters.

It was about this time I was thinking of Plan B. I already had an alternate color of paint picked out in my head (#25 royal bronze).

Getting the layers of paint off the concrete was the bulk of the job and took Friday night through Sunday to see what we were actually working with.

After three days of scraping and sanding, we finally used the Cheng method of non-toxic sealer on the unpainted surface. Helpful tip—old t-shirts (and okay, my husband’s old underwear) were a great application vessel for the sealer. No lint!

The lesson—projects always take longer than slated, cost more than estimated, but are totally worth it in the end. Helpful tip—Never wear flip-flops while working with power tools. My big toe looks like Mark Wahlberg’s face when he isn’t winning in, “The Fighter.”

Our new, concrete countertops in their natural state of gray. This is a project we’ve wanted to do for a while now and while it took a lot of sweat (no tears!), the payoff is nice. I’d be lying if I said they look exactly like what I pictured. But, I’m allowing myself time to get used to our kitchen looking like a freshly poured sidewalk. My husband’s already talking about calling someone to tile this sucker.