preparing to pour concrete countertops #reno

We are finally nearing the end of our countertop preparations. Little did we know, when we decided to pour in place countertops with Ikea kitchen cabinetry, how long it was going to take to put it all together. Up until the end of June we were making good progress on the renovation. We were pretty much on schedule and all that remained was installing the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and counters before we could swing into renovation end game.

Then we learned we had to reinforce the Ikea cabinets because they are not strong enough to support a concrete countertop. Then we learned the walls, floors, and posts in the kitchen are not perfectly, machine-made square. Then we we learned we not only had to build an exo-skeleton for the Ikea cabinets, but we also had to clad the exo-skeleton with Ikea panel for a proper finish.

If you have ever worked with Ikea materials, you know they do not take kindly to any sort of adjustment. They are made to be put together a certain way, and there is no sanding, planing, or adjusting the pieces.

Matt has taken on the herculean task of building the exo-skeleton form fit to the Ikea cabinets and with cladding margins for the finished structure. He has built the countertops with angle iron to reinforce the sides, and oak trim all around. I swear, every single piece of wood that he has prepped for this installation has required 6 cuts. Minimum.

You might ask if Matt has ever done anything like this before, and the answer would be NO. He has worked as a machinist in his past life, so he knows how to measure and cut accurately. But every joint, every bullnose, every notch and lip, were his first.

Today my job is to fill the underside of the counters to ensure a tight seal for the concrete pour. Tomorrow I will sand the topside oak trim and finish sealing all the surfaces. I have cut the sink blanks from leftover rigid insulation. We will pre-cut the sink holes and tack them in place with a splint. There is still rebar to install. And I had better not forget to put in the faucet blanks.

These counters are going to be 2 1/2″ thick concrete. I still haven’t decided if I should colour them or simply put them in au naturel to match the floor.

It does feel like we are finally entering the end game of this renovation. Hoo Hoo.

Matt has bull-nosed the counter edge and sands it smooth.


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