Are you tired of hearing about our kitchen countertops yet?! I promise it will only be one more post. I left off last week having applied all the layers of micro concrete on day 3. We had to wait approximately 24h before applying the resin, so day 4 in the morning Andoni cleaned everything up, removed all the paper we had covered everything up with, etc. since we assumed applying the resin wouldn’t be too messy. This was on a Thursday, and on Friday we had people staying over and things to do all day before our friends came over so we wanted/had to clean up as much as we could on Thursday simply because there was no other moment we could do it.
Around 3PM on day 4 (Thursday) we cleaned the countertops of dust one more time, made sure they were dry, and started preparing the resin. The resin comes in two components (one is the catalyst) and it’s what closes the pores of the micro concrete, makes it waterproof, seals it… so obviously it’s pretty important. You have to mix the two components of the resin (the catalyst and the other one) on a 1:10 ratio, e.g., 100ml of catalyst for each liter of the other component (it also works with weight, e.g. 100g of catalyst for 1000g of the other component). Mix it with a stick and apply it quickly with a short haired roller, in a thin coat. It might appear like you’ll get a ton of streaks but they even out as they dry. As soon as you apply the resin you’ll see how the color of the micro concrete darkens once again.
They recommend 2-3 coats of resin; we applied three of them except for the shelf, where we applied two. They also recommend applying it with warm temperatures (25ºC / 77ºF is the ideal, actually) so this is something you should consider when thinking of when you’ll carry out your project; for example winter would’ve been a bad time for us to do this. Also, you need to wait 7 hours or so in between coats to allow the resin to dry; and you should make sure to clean the countertops of dust in between, but you don’t have to sand. So we applied the first coat at 3PM (it took us 30 min or so), the second one at 10.30PM, and the third one at 7AM on day 5. After the last coat you’re supposed to wait a day or so for it to cure, although they recommend being careful with the material for up to a month. It gains 70% of its hardness in the first 24h, but it takes almost a month for it to cure fully up to 100%. But we haven’t had any issues with it and it’s already been 10 days; so I’d say this warning is probably geared towards a floor application instead of a countertop.
For the rest of day 5 we didn’t work on it anymore, we simply let it dry and started bringing things back into the kitchen (turns out we have a lot of stuff on the countertops and I didn’t realize it!); we also hung the shelf, re-attached the doors of the cabinet which is now surrounded in micro concrete… and of course prepped for company.
The countertops were now done, but we still had to install new trim between the countertop and the wall. We couldn’t reuse the one we had removed, and besides, we needed more of it and wanted everything to match. So I bought quite a few feet of aluminum trim online and had it shipped home; it arrived the following Monday (day 6 of our reno and the last one).
The trim comes in two pieces: one (plastic) that you glue & screw onto the wall; and the other one (the one you actually see, aluminum in our case) that snaps onto the other one. It also comes with corner and finish pieces. The way you install it is easy: you cut the plastic piece of trim to the length of your wall/countertop (you can use a handsaw), at 45º angles when required for corners. Glue it onto the wall using silicone; screw it in a few place if you’d like, too. We screwed it in between the tiles into the grout. You cut the aluminum snap on piece of trim a bit shorter (since the corner piece will bridge the gap), all straight angles, no 45º degrees in this case. Snap on the aluminum piece onto the other one. Finish with the corner pieces and end pieces; they also snap on. It might take a while if you have a lot of countertop, but it’s a very straightforward process.
So that’s it for all the reno – as you can see, it took us 6 days of working on it, but with a lot of down time in between coats. I’ll be back in a few days with before and after pics, a recap and our impression of the countertops and new sink+faucet. But needless to say, we’re thrilled. Oh and I apologize for not having posted a lot lately – summer is always so busy for us since we go out a lot more often and this year we have our trip to prepare for. How’s your summer going?