Diaries of a DIY Kitchen Reno: Countertops {Part 1}

Last week I re-entered the blogging world and shared pictures of our new home, The Magic House.

We closed on the house May 12 and have already started a HUGE reno project. Our Kitchen.

As it stood when we moved in, this house was a dream but a dream catered for someone else. And although I love their dream, we need to custom it to fit who we are. And the kitchen is the one place where expression of self just comes naturally for us.

The kitchen needed to feel like us. Like home.

I will start by saying that I love this kitchen for many reasons:

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But there were some areas of concern:

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I envisioned a bright, full bellied future in this kitchen and in our home. However, that future did not include the current look of our kitchen.

With all this said, I was more than happy to live in our home and make this kitchen work until we could figure out what to do with it. I mean these cons weren’t a deal breaker and honestly, this kitchen in all it’s brown and tile glory is 20x better than any other kitchen I had in previous rentals. Seriously, this kitchen is a wonderment and I am thankful for it! Plus, I got a little giddy over the possibilities for buying a new fridge. Talk about an adult purchase!

Myy handyman, aka D.Money, aka Mr. HungryYogi, aka the bees knees, offered the best second year wedding anniversary gift anyone could give; he offered to make the kitchen our dream. Or as close to it as our limited budget and handy skills could get us.

His job offered a relocation package that included a paid stay in a hotel for up to 30 days, our meals, and moving fees. We decided to use the time in the hotel to get our kitchen in order. When else will we be able to do a reno project and stay out of the house for free?!?

Exactly our thoughts.

Mr. HungryYogi worked in construction for a few years to put himself through school so he knows his way around a remodel. This project would be impossible without him. I told him what I envisioned, he leveled me out a bit and eventually we came to an agreement.

The first thing that had to go were the counter tiles.  We found out that the tiles are worth a small fortune. Basically the ‘ugly’ tile I disliked would be out of my price range if I tried to buy them today.

We agreed to keep the tile back splash (for now) but to remove the tile counter tops. Tile counter tops seem like a breathing bacteria pool for fallen food particles. I knew I wasn’t going to be using them to prep food on. Mr. HungryYogi agreed.

I spent hours researching inexpensive ways to update tile counters but nothing seemed appealing. Finally I came across this brilliant and fun blog that laid concrete over the tile which created beautiful concrete counters. I showed Mr. HungryYogi and he said the magic words, “I can do that.” And like that, our kitchen reno was under way.

I quickly learned that the first step to most DIY projects is sanding. Sanding every.thing.all.the.time.

The first night of the kitchen update project was sanding the tile in order to get rid of the coating. See that shiny stuff below?

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It had to go! If you are thinking about doing this project, just remember that you do not need to “over sand.” Sanding removes the tiles coating which gives the concrete something to stick to. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Before starting we opened the windows to get the air circulating.

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These are the tools we thought we needed:

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And these:

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Also these:

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And this nifty item came in handy during clean up.

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The electric sander is an incredible tool under most circumstances but it was not very useful for the tile. At least our sander wasn’t.

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We quickly realized we saw major improvements with using some elbow grease and wine.

Center is what the sander did and on the far end is what our hands did. Major difference!
Center is what the sander did and on the far end is what our hands did. Major difference!Sanding by hand gives the arms a nice workout!

Plus sanding by hand gives the arms a nice workout!

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We sanded for HOURS. However by the end of it, you couldn’t even really tell unless the lighting was right.

After sanding, I cleaned up the dust with the Shop-Vac.

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I would love to say that at this point we put down the concrete. However, that is sooooo not the case. The amount of prep time used for this project has been unreal. If not for my handyman I would be at a lost. Or would have given up already. We wiped the counters down with a wet wash cloth and called it a night.

The next day while my handyman was at his day job, I took down the cabinets for sanding.

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To make it easier for re-installing later, I taped numbers in each of them.

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After he got home, we used wood we got from the hardware store to make a boarder so that the primer and sealer wouldn’t get everywhere.

He had to cut the wood down in order to fit our counters L shape.

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He got to use the awesome power tools that his father got for us as a house warming gift.

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Damir said it’s the smartest present anyone could have gotten for us because it will get used a lot. And so far these electric saws have gotten used daily!

After he cut the wood to fit our needs, he drilled them along the boarder.

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He worked so hard to ensure it was lined up perfectly and did an excellent job.

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However, we noticed by running a flashlight under the boarder that there was still a teensy tiny space. So we decided to use tape to seal it up (this is a decision that we later thanked the stars for!).

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After that we decided to take another safety measure and place tarp around the area.

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My kitchen officially looks like it’s in reno mode!

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Seriously it looks like a major project is about to happen!

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A magical DIY project.

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But first some wine!

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After the boarder is up and taped and the tarp is laid it’s finally time to prime the counters. We decided to use this to prime:

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We spread a thin layer on the counters. It is so pretty and pink. But don’t let those pretty hues fool you. It’s can be toxic. Very toxic.

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We then used a paintbrush to spread it evenly along the counters. Wearing gloves because it’s toxic!

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You want a thin pink layer to be seen.

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Look at those pretty boarders work!

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This has to set for 8+ hours. By the time we finished laying it all down, it was late. We made sure the windows were open and the screens were down and jetted out to the safe air of our hotel for the rest of our evening.

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Check back tomorrow because I will be sharing the rest of our concrete counter experience!

Until next time 🙂

Love, Life, Health, Happiness and a Full belly,

Sonni K.

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Diaries of a DIY Kitchen Reno: Countertops {Part 1}

    1. Thank you! I just posted about laying the concrete and honestly- it wasn’t too bad. Granted, I had a major helper for all of this haha. And no problem! I love your blog 🙂

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