Three Past Projects Revisited — How Have They Held Up Over Time? (Concrete Kitchen Countertops, Wood Bathroom Countertop & Wood Bathtub Skirt)
I have a handful of projects on my blog that I get questioned about the most. The big question is, “How has this held up over time?” Unfortunately, the most asked about project (and the most popular and most visited project for the last five years) is the refinished bathtub that I painted in the condo bathroom. Obviously, I don’t know how it has held up over time. But the other three most-asked-about projects — the concrete kitchen countertops, the wood bathroom countertop, and the wood bathtub skirt — are ones that I did in the house, so I can show you just how well they’ve stood the test of time. So here we go..
Concrete Kitchen Countertops
My brother and I poured the concrete kitchen countertops during the big kitchen remodel back in 2014. And while I loved them initially, it didn’t take long for them to get completely stained and ugly, even though I had sealed the concrete.
So almost exactly one year ago, I had the countertops refinished by a company that uses a product called polyurea to seal concrete garage floors. That was a combination of a hired out and DIY process that resulted in countertops that looked brand new. You can click here to read about the concrete countertop refinishing process.
And how has it held up over the last year? Amazingly well! Here are some pictures that I took just last night…
The polyurea coating is incredibly durable. On a continuum that rates durability, with laminate countertops at one end and granite on the other, this would probably be somewhere in the middle. Things like mustard will stain it if allowed to sit on the countertop for a while…
But what I absolutely LOVE about this is that the stains will bleach out. I use a liberal amount of Clorox Clinging Bleach Gel on a piece of paper towel, and leave it until the stain is gone. On really tough stains (and mustard is pretty tough), I sometimes just leave the little piece of paper towel with Clorox on it overnight, and in the morning, the stain is gone.
So far, I haven’t had any stains that won’t come out, including the time I put a plastic grocery bag filled with fruit on the countertop for a week, not realizing that there was moisture under the bag. When I moved the bag a few days later, the red label from the bag had imprinted into the countertop, and no matter how much I scrubbed, it wouldn’t budge. That was my very first try with the gel bleach, and it took all day long (and possibly all night), but it came out.
So stains come out, and things wipe off of the countertop easily as well, including dried paint. The only issue I’ve had is a mystery clear substance that dripped onto the countertop in three places — two pea-sized drips to the left of the sink (i.e. the area of countertop that I use the most) and one quarter-sized puddle just behind the back right corner of the sink. I scrubbed and scrubbed, and it wouldn’t come off. On the two small drips, I carefully used a razor blade to at least remove the raised part, and while it’s smooth again, it’s a different sheen from the rest of the countertop, which drives me crazy. But on the big quarter-sized puddle, I got a little careless with the razor blade and accidentally cut down to the gray primer. So now it always looks like there’s an inch-long charcoal-colored thread on the countertop.
I doubt anyone else would notice it, but I notice it. And it frustrates me that I didn’t notice this mystery substance when it was wet and would have come up easily.
So what is this mystery substance? Well, I’m calling it a mystery because I don’t know for sure. But after reviewing the types of projects I was working on when the drips appeared, I’m almost sure that it’s General Finishes High Performance Top Coat. So if nothing else, that speaks to the durability of General Finishes! Nothing else has been a threat to my polyurea-coated countertops except for the General Finishes clear topcoat.
Just to be clear, I don’t put hot pots and pans directly onto my countertops. I’m not sure if I could, but I don’t even want to try. I just don’t find it a big issue to make sure there’s a wood cutting board in place before removing a hot pan from the stove. And while I don’t make it a habit to cut on my countertops (as a general practice, that’s just gross to me), I have done it on a few occasions when I’m certain that the countertop has been freshly cleaned and I’m not cutting something that requires sawing back and forth with a serrated knife. In other words, I’ll cut something like a slice of cheddar cheese with no issues.
I’m so glad I had the countertops refinished, and I find the polyurea-coated countertops very easy to live with and keep clean and stain-free.
Wood Bathroom Countertop
During the bathroom remodel in March 2015, I built a bathroom countertop using 2″ x 3″ pine studs. You can click here to see how I made the wood countertop. So after three years, how does the wood countertop look? Well, here it is today…
It has held up incredibly well over the years. The light spots to the left of the sink in the picture above are the knots in the wood — the very ones that gave me such trouble when I was trying to get the finish right three years ago, which is why the countertop ended up so dark. If I had to do it over again, I would have chosen clearer wood so that I didn’t have to fight with knots and stain it so dark to try to camouflage them.
But the wood and the finish has held up very well. If you look at it from the other direction, you can see some scratches in the surface, which show up as white specks. And there’s another inch-long scratch near the sink.
Those are from my cat. She likes to jump on the countertop, and she uses her claws. The inch-long scratch by the sink is from when I had to give Peeve a bath (she got into some paint), and she tried to claw her way out of my grip and out of the sink. (Cats aren’t really big on baths, as a general rule. 😀 )
But aside from kitty claw marks, the countertop has stood the test of regular use. The main question that people have is whether the boards have warped or separated over time, but as you can see, neither of those things has happened.
In the future, I’d love to replace this DIY version with a walnut wood countertop, but for now, this countertop is going strong.
Wood Bathtub Skirt
During that same bathroom remodel in 2015, I also built a decorative wood skirt on the side of my standard bathtub. You can click here to see how I built the bathtub skirt.
I get comments and emails quite regularly telling me that there’s no way this skirt will stand the test of time, and how it’ll basically fall apart, harbor all kinds of mold, and on, and on. So how does it look today? Exactly the same as it did three years ago, with the exception of the four-inch-long scratch in the paint on the trim around the middle panel that happened when Matt’s wheelchair scraped against it.
Other than that, it’s the exact same. And this is the only bathroom that I use…ever. I’ve taken all of my showers in here for the last three years, and the tub skirt isn’t disintegrating. People always ask, “How does it hold up when you get water all over it?” Questions like that always make me wonder what the heck people are doing in their bathroom. 😀 Other than a few drips here and there, which I wipe away after I shower, this tub skirt isn’t getting drenched with water. Why would it?
First of all, I use a shower curtain, so it’s not like water is ever spraying on the edge of the tub or over the side. When I step out, I may drip some on the ledge, but I wipe it up. And on those occasions where I get distracted and forget, a few drops of water isn’t going to ruin a painted surface. As far as the actual face of the skirt, my experience is that you’d actually have to try pretty hard to get water all over that. One or two drops of water at the most will get on it, if even at all, but that’s about it.
I’ll reiterate what I said in the original post, though. This bathroom is used by adults only. I don’t think I would ever do this in a bathroom that’s used by children or even teenagers. And if you do choose to take that chance and put it in a bathroom used by kids/teens, there are some extra steps I’d suggest taking, which I described in the original post. But for regular reasonably responsible adults who aren’t complete slobs and who are generally responsible to clean up their messes, this tub skirt should hold up just fine for the long haul.
So those are my top three most visited and most asked about projects. If you’ve tried any of these in your own home, feel free to share your experiences!
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I just love this post, thank you! My thoughts on the tub skirt is if you have kids you could use a laminated piece on top. These photos also remind us of what awesome work you do!
The only experience I have to share mimics yours:
Cats do not appreciate the concept of full immersion bathing.
No, they sure don’t! But to be fair to cats, it does say “self-cleaning” on their tins!
Oh, that’s good! LOL
Thanks for the update! I especially appreciate the wood skirting one. I’d love to do something like that in our master bath.
Thanks for the updates – I love your bathroom counter top! 🙂
But what’s wrong with me? I keep going back and longingly & lovingly stare at your coral doors!
I guess it’s the Spring time air~ahhh pure Easter egg beauty on those doors 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Where are your beautiful shower curtains that you made? Thanks for the update!
They were up there just with Velcro, and both panels fell about six months ago. I plan to put them back up more permanently, but I just keep forgetting about it.
Thanks for the update! You read my mind about not using a wood skirt in a bathroom used by kids. My 4 and 8 year old NEVER get the shower curtain closed properly. I ALWAYS have to close it. I supervise them as they get in for their showers and every day I try to get them to close it properly on their own and every day they don’t. They just can’t reach up high enough to pull the ring closest to the wall all the way over to the wall. Not to mention that if I need to help them, the shower curtain gets opened some and water would get out. So, anyway, that would never work in our shower. Interestingly enough, one of our bathrooms that gets used pretty frequently does have an old ladies make-up/vanity table as the vanity (with a sink) and however it was sealed seems pretty indestructible. It gets wet all the time and the finish is still quite strong. Great update!
Theresa, your shower curtain needs one of those slider handles like they use on hotel curtains so your kids can slide it all the way to the wall.
Are you using those metal rings that have the little roller balls on the top? That’s what I use, and I never have a problem closing mine all the way, even though I’m only five feet tall and my shower curtain is hung all the way at the ceiling. Here’s an affiliate Amazon link to the kind I’m talking about, but you can find them locally at places like Lowe’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc. https://amzn.to/2Ic9tyC
You’re right, Cathy! I do! It’s also just a general awareness thing… you have to repeat things 1,000 times before kids remember… Kristy, I don’t have the roller ball kind. That would probably help, too! 🙂
Not directly related to this post,but please tell me the brand name and source for your kitchen sink.
You are truly an inspiration!
Well, I have looked and searched through posts, and I can’t find that info anywhere! 🙁 I was certain that I had included it in a post, but now I’m thinking I must have failed to do so. I can tell you that the brand is Glacier Bay, and it was a combo sink and faucet deal that I found in stock at my local Home Depot. I absolutely love the sink. The faucet is okay, but nothing special. It works, though, so I guess that’s what matters. 🙂
Bless you for the update! Your countertops still look fab and it’s good to know that stains can be removed. Several posts on the “H” website have inquired about how to change their horrible tile floors…and I refer them to your blog. Your updates are a bright spot in my mornings. Thank you.
Just a little humor after reading and viewing the pictures of you concrete counters, my first thought was she has a crack in her concrete. The scrolling on down I realized it was a crack in my phone cover. Oh well senior moment. I’ve all you do and love revisiting these past projects.
Seems like everything is holding up well. Thanks for the update!
Haha If you saw our bathroom after our two boys have taken a bath or shower in there, you’d have the answer to the question, “why would it?”
That is good to know your wood work is holding up so well. I am sure its attributed to the extra time you take to seal your projects. Everything
you make is so professionally finished 🙂
Thanks for the update, I’m glad your choices are holding up especially your polyurea countertops which I love. Regarding the tub skirt, anyone concerned about the wood could always use the PVC board and trim up at the top and along the floor.
I don’t really have a comment on these items except to say how nice they are looking. I do want to say thanks, though, because I know I’m one of the people that asked you to re-visit your projects. So I appreciate the feed-back! I was looking at an Ikea bookshelf-bed project, and it made me wonder how your niece’s bedroom projects are holding up. I never managed to comment the other day, but I think I was pretty much with the majority who preferred your original plan of a garden sanctuary in the front, mostly to be viewed by Peeve from the breakfast room. Although a deck would be lovely, the backyard privacy would probably make it more functional.
“How does it hold up when you get water all over it?” Questions like that always make me wonder what the heck people are doing in their bathroom.
Two words: kids, dogs. It’s amazing what kind of messes they make! I have a wood skirt around my tub and it has not held up well over the years. I’m going to go back and re-read your original post and do what you did when I repair it. 😊
I just LOVE your blog…your work! And YES it amazes me with some people and the comments that come out of the mouths of some. One blogger was building a bookcase near a staircase landing…and the readers were so concerned about her children climbing up it. Well I don’t know….DON”T let your children climb it. “TEACH” them….my mother did not have child proofing gadgets all over the house like they have today…she taught us not to ‘do certain’ things. Like NOT to eat tide pods!!!! Oh what a world we live in sometimes….makes me laugh (cry). BEAUTIFUL home you are creating Kristi….you are amazing at what you do..I talk about you all the time to anyone who will listen.
Thanks for the updates. Your work always inspires me. I really love the look of the countertop in the bathroom. I was wondering your thoughts of using something like this in the kitchen. Pros, cons?? Beautiful work!! Also look forward to your blog.
I really don’t think it would be durable enough for a kitchen. If you’re looking for a wood countertop for a kitchen, my suggestion is to purchase butcherblock (I got my condo kitchen countertops at IKEA, but I’m not sure if they still sell them), and just protect them with mineral oil. My oiled butcherblock countertops were so easy to live with, as stains/scratches could be easily sanded out and re-oiled. It was beautiful. But the first three (!!) times I finished them, I went with stain and sealer (tried both Waterlox and a polyurethane, I believe) and the more finish you put on them, the more it shows when you scratch them, and it’s virtually impossible to do spot repairs.
That charcoal mark on the concrete would make me get out some white paint and clear nail polish. It’s great that you were able to refurbish that counter. I’m sure it was a lot of work to put in.
LOVE the look of the wood vanity! Never seen anything like it, and it’s so tactile. Yum.
Next, time, maybe you can trim the paint out of Peeve’s fur with some scissors. 😀
Kristi, I love how you revisit your projects & give us the truth on how they are holding up.
I know this was posted a few days ago, but just thought I’d add that I have had that same exact wood skirting around my bathtub in my master bathroom for 20 years and other than someone scratching it with the end of a mop, it looks exactly the same as it did 20 years ago.
I can’t find where you ever posted what you decided to use on the bathroom counter top. Polyurethane or lacquer.
I’ve loved both your kitchen counter counter top, and the wood bathroom counter top (it’s so RICH looking). Great job on both of those.