Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 13, 2015

Do It Yourself

Concrete Vanity – with or without integral sink

Cultured marble…is the bane of my existence. “There is nothing better than seeing a home full of cultured marble,” said no one ever! Rest assured though, I have found a fabulous, cheap (I mean cheap), and easy way to get rid of the cultured marble.

I have an infinite love for concrete countertops; my husband and I are seriously debating on making them for our kitchen instead of installing granite. The main problem with making concrete counters is the time involved in making the forms; however, there is now a way to achieve this using your current counters.

The easiest way to do this is with a product called Ardex Feather Finish, which can be applied to an existing countertop. Therefore, if you are looking for an inexpensive and quick change to laminate countertops in the kitchen, or a change in the bathroom, this is a great way to go. However, I would probably only use this method in the bathrooms simply because I would rather make actual frames and pour concrete in the kitchen.

Items needed:

-Ardex Feather Finish/Henry’s Feather Finish (Home Depot)

-14 inch drywall tray

- 6-inch metal drywall knife

-2 inch plastic putty knife

- electric sander/hand sander

- latex gloves

- Acrylic concrete sealer

-150 and 220 grit sandpaper

- large sponge

Start by removing all of the hardware: the faucet, drain stopper, and the drain. Continue by sanding the entire surface; this will dull the finish of the cultured marble and make it easier for the concrete to adhere.

Mix the concrete by pouring it into the drywall tray and adding water. The consistency needs to be that of pancake batter. After mixing it, allow it to sit for a few minutes and then mix again. Now the concrete is ready to be used.

Apply the first coat of concrete to the entire surface including the backsplash and sink. Remember these directions are for a vanity with an integral sink, if your sink is an under mount, simply remove it.

The coat needs to be a thin coat, do not strive for full coverage on the first coat. The large drywall knife works best for applying the concrete to the larger areas, the small putty knife for the backsplash piece. Use your fingers to rub into the sink area, corners, and top edges. There will be finger marks and that is okay; some may get on the walls, which will easily wipe away. Painter’s tape could also be added around the edges to protect the paint.

Allow to dry, preferably overnight for each coat, but this is not necessary. I think it would be easiest to do a coat at night when nobody would accidentally use the sink. After the drying time, lightly sand the first coat.

Repeat the steps until the desired coverage is achieved. I recommend anywhere from 3 to 5 coats. This really depends on how well it has been covered each time. When doing the second and following coats make sure to use a damp sponge to smooth out all the finger marks in the sink. Do not use an overly wet sponge. It only needs to be slightly damp for smoothing.

This can be a little bit of a trial and error situation, because if the sponge is too wet the concrete will wipe off. As a rule of thumb, it seems to do best after it has dried for 10 to 20 minutes. Again, after each coat is dried, lightly sand.

Once the final coverage is achieved, do a final sanding. I recommend only hand sanding on this project mainly because an electric sander can take off more than needed, especially around corners and edges. But if there are significant imperfections go ahead and break out the electric sander.

The last step is to apply the sealer. A water based acrylic concrete sealer in a satin finish will need to be used. It gives the concrete a nice, smooth finish with a very slight sheen. This will also darken the concrete up just a bit. Even though the sealer has a milky appearance when first applied, it will dry completely clear.

Follow all directions on the bottle, being careful not to apply too much sealer. Also, make sure you work out any air bubbles. Be sure to apply a significant amount around the drain to prevent any water from seeping into the concrete. Do a minimum of two coats.

Now it is ready to have all the hardware reinstalled. The sink will clean up effortlessly and not stain because of the sealer. Enjoy!

Time: a couple of days depending on schedule

Cost: $20 to $30

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.