I’ve mentioned several times that I’m dissatisfied not only with the color of my concrete countertops, but also how they’ve stained over the last two years. I used a sealer recommended by the company that provided the actual concrete and the edge forms, and I wish I had done much more thorough research on concrete sealers before I made that decision.
I love the countertops overall. I would choose concrete countertops again, if starting over on my kitchen. They’re incredibly durable. Nothing will scratch concrete. I’ve scraped stuff off of my countertops with the point of a sharp knife, and it won’t damage them. That part I like.
But obviously, concrete is very porous, and if it’s not sealed well (and I mean REALLY well), then it’ll stain. If you start out with dark stained countertops, that will be less of an issue. But if you start out with light countertops like mine…
…and they’re not sealed with the best and most durable sealer that money can buy, they’ll end up looking like this…
I’ve had the most trouble with oils. Those rings are from an oil-based vitamin additive that I add to my dog’s food, and I would just squirt it on his food and then place it on the countertop. The rings weren’t immediately noticeable. They darkened considerably over time, and then it was too late. The damage had been done.
After doing quite a bit of research on the best concrete sealer available, I found that Stonelok E3/2K2 is one of the best. In fact, on one site that had tested all of the best sealers for durability, it was rated as the second best. “So why not go with the best?” you might ask. Well, I can’t remember what the most durable sealer was called, but it was only available in a super high gloss finish, and that just won’t do. This Stonelok E3/2K2 comes in three different finishes, including an extra low gloss.
Interestingly, about a month after I found this product, Chris and Julia from the blog Chris Loves Julia poured their own concrete countertops using the same company’s concrete and forms that I used (except they used the square forms, and I used the ogee edge form), and then they used the Stonelok sealer. You can see and read about their countertops here.
So in addition to the improper sealer that left stains, I’ve also been unhappy with the color. You can see that it’s just not white, and at the time I did the counteretops, I was really hoping for a brighter white like this…
Of course, since then, I’ve talked about staining my countertops black, but that was when I was planning on doing kelly green cabinets. Now that I’ve decided on the dark blue (Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray) for the lower cabinets, black countertops won’t work. So I have to find a way to brighten up these countertops and remove the stains.
I’ve also been thinking that since marble is my favorite, and for years now I’ve wanted a kitchen with gorgeous carrera or calacatta marble countertops, I might actually try to use various stain colors to mimic the look of veining.
And then finally, a big issue I’ve had with my countertops is that there are pitted areas in the surface. That was just from my inexperience with concrete. I had never worked with concrete before pouring my countertops, and I had no idea what to expect. So when it came to floating the concrete, I didn’t get it perfectly smooth in places, and it left some pitted areas.
After two years of dealing with those areas, I can assure you that textured/pitted countertops and food/cooking just don’t mix. Stuff gets into those divots and pitted areas and the only way to get it out is with a scrubby brush and elbow grease. And obviously, I’m not going to scrub my countertops down with a scrubby brush every day. That’s way too much trouble. I need something easy.
So I’ve looked at and researched how to go about solving all of my issues with these countertops. If I were going with dark countertops, it would be so much easier. I could just strip them, clean them, and stain them with a penetrating stain. Then seal them and be done.
But since I’m going lighter, I really don’t think that just using a penetrating sealer will work. It might lighten it up just a tad, but probably not enough for what I want.
After looking at all of the stain options, I finally came across this product called Deco-Poz, which is actually a concrete micro-topping that can be used to resurface damaged concrete. And it comes in white.
So my plan is to strip, clean, and etch the countertops using products that I found at Home Depot. Then I’ll do a very thin skim coat of Deco-Poz over the surface, which will not only fill in any divets and pitted areas and make them perfectly smooth, but will also give me a brighter white (and probably super porous) concrete surface to work with. And then I’ll stain and try my hand at adding some veining…maybe. Once that’s all done and dry, I’ll seal it with the awesome sealer. And then I’ll hope and pray that the new sealer as good as the reviews say it is.
If not, then in two years, I might convince Matt that it’s time for new countertops. 🙂
I actually stripped the countertop on the wall of cabinets yesterday, and then left some concrete cleaner/degreaser on it. Once that’s dry, I’ll scrape it up and then clean and etch the countertop today. Hopefully I can get a coat of Deco-Poz on today and show you some progress tomorrow.
In other news, cabinet paint is purchased, as is the grasscloth wallpaper for my breakfast room. And the drywall guys came Friday to drywall the hallway, and are coming back to do the taping and mudding. I’ll show you that progress later this week.
Helpful sources and products:
If you missed the DIY concrete countertop project, I show that process in these three posts…
My countertops have been refinished! It was a multi-step process, and only part of it was DIY, with the other part hired out to a company that usually resurfaces concrete garage floors. But surprisingly, it didn’t cost a whole lot. You can see the process in these three posts…