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stacker of sticks
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I'm going to be remodeling 2 kitchens in a duplex I own. I've never done concrete tops, but would like to try it on one of my own houses first. Is there anything I should know before starting? What is involved in upkeep with them? Good idea or bad?
 

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Valley Springs,ca
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I've had them for about 7 years in my house. I like them and they have been pretty durable. Mine are acid stained and I seal them with a tile and granite sealer and they still look pretty good. I have to be careful of citrus juice on the counters because it cuts thru the sealer.
 

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it all depends on what your expectations are. they will stain, no question about it. if you slop on some sort of high tech urethane they won't stain for a while… but then when that fails you'll be refinishing a car in your kitchen. the alternative, a sealer as mentioned above or any option won't give you great protection. learn to live with the stains and accept the patina, just like copper. its totally possible to set down a glass and have a water ring stay for a short time or long time.
 

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Always Learning
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You have to decide if you are going to pre-cast or pour in place. I prefer pre-cast. Your form work needs to be precise. If its in the form, it will be in your top. For your first couple pours, try the Cheng admix. It's fairly inexpensive and uses stock bag mix. It will get you started. if you like it, start experimenting with your own recipe. There is a lot of info out there on good mixes with high psi and flexural strength. Don't go thinner than 1-1/2".
 

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You have to decide if you are going to pre-cast or pour in place. I prefer pre-cast. Your form work needs to be precise. If its in the form, it will be in your top. For your first couple pours, try the Cheng admix. It's fairly inexpensive and uses stock bag mix. It will get you started. if you like it, start experimenting with your own recipe. There is a lot of info out there on good mixes with high psi and flexural strength. Don't go thinner than 1-1/2".
Depends on the mix and if fiber is added. I have a table top thats only about 3/8" thick with no issues.

I made a table for a competition that was also no more than 3/8". Left outside for years, it was good until a tree fell on it....
 

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Dan_Watson said:
Depends on the mix and if fiber is added. I have a table top thats only about 3/8" thick with no issues.

I made a table for a competition that was also no more than 3/8". Left outside for years, it was good until a tree fell on it....
I totally agree you can do thinner, but for a first top, I wouldn't recommend it. I love that fire top Dan! Very cool!
 

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I totally agree you can do thinner, but for a first top, I wouldn't recommend it. I love that fire top Dan! Very cool!
Gotchya.

It was awesome. I wish I had a place to use it. I lost that one, so when it comes time to have my own outdoor space I will make another. I want to come up with a way of doing some BBQ or cooking right there. Maybe a rack or even a small spit. Sit around the table, drink and cook up some kabobs.
 

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For the ultimate easy vanity top, plan on a vessel sink. The only two things you will need to form in place will be the faucet hole and the vessel drain hole.
 

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For the ultimate easy vanity top, plan on a vessel sink. The only two things you will need to form in place will be the faucet hole and the vessel drain hole.
I agree.

Faucet hole, home despot has diamond hole saws, goes right through concrete with out aggregate... Like hit the staples Easy button, easy. Almost harder to form the hole in place :whistling

Play with a couple of small mock ups. You'll get a good feel fast for how and what's going on.
 

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For admix, try the Sika "Ultimate Fortifier" (not the acrylic stuff). It's available at Home Depot; it's the same animal as the Cheng super-plasticizer/water reducer, at about 1/10th the unit price, and available right away. It will turn a stiff mix into a flowable one, or an impossibly stiff mix into an easily workable one, and make a very strong and hard top. The drawback is that if you mess up, breaking up that 400-lb behemoth will require a saw, because a sledge will just bounce off.
 
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