Each day Matt and I predict that the next day we will pour concrete for our counter tops, at least we will pour our test pieces so we can practice screeding and troweling. And each day we realize we still have to caulk something, epoxy something, build a knockout, or cut out a hole in the countertop. The good news is that we are building a definitive list of the real steps it takes to install poured in place concrete countertops. The other good news is with each day we get closer to breaking open our first bag of flowcrete.
Yesterday I decided I had another spot I could make a test pour and build my trowel skills. Last year we removed the chimney, the fireplace, and the hearth as part of the demolition. At present, there is a gap in the floor, where the hearth tiles and the fireplace used to be. Eventually we want to put a free standing gas fireplace in that spot and I realized it would make a perfect spot to practice by pouring and troweling a polished concrete hearthstone. I set up the form and caulked it in last night. Today I am going to paint sealant on the plywood bottom and the sides. I should be ready to pour it tomorrow.
I also have my small form ready to go. Matt is building the knockouts out of 2×4 for the kitchen counter. Once he has those pieces built, I will coat the pieces and the post in epoxy to waterproof it.
We did a big clean out in the suite, sorting everything and putting away any tools and materials that were not directly involved in the concrete pour. We have the bags of flowcrete, the 2x4s for building the knockouts, and the counters are all ready. We have a nice powerful drill and mixing paddle and buckets, so we can mix the concrete in batches and pour it into the forms. We have a mag trowel and a steel trowel for smoothing and polishing the concrete as it hardens.
As Wallace said, “When I started out, I was much slower than everyone else because everything I was doing for the first time, and I really want to learn how to do things the best way possible. Later, I was much faster than everyone else, because I had figured out the best way to do things, and in the process, I had worked out where I could be more efficient, and where it really mattered to take time.”
That is what Matt and I are doing. We are learning as we go, and we are doing an excellent job.
As Rob, our foreman carpenter on the foundation work said, after inspecting Matt’s rebar work, “I can’t hire guys to do a job as good as that.”