We have had a good week on the renovation, even though progress is moving at glacial speed. Yesterday I worked on assembling the Ikea base cabinets for the kitchen island. These are two 30″ cabinets nested side by side. They provide the main storage for the kitchen. I got all the drawer rails installed, and even built one of the drawers to test how the system works. When I do my next kitchen I am going to use the Ikea dimensions and hardware, but build my own cabinets. The hardware is brilliant, the particle board does not inspire confidence.
Matt has been working on getting the two sinks ready for the pour. In the bathroom, he had to make a wooden washer to mimic a normal countertop thickness. With that in place, he dry fit the rest of the fittings and it looks fabulous.
All that remains on the bathroom counter prep is to put the cabinets under the counter, glue the sink to the plywood, and caulk the seam where the sink porcelain rests on the plywood. Before we do the final gluing, we have been trying to figure out how to make sure the sink is perfectly perpendicular to the counter because it is a round sink and there is no hard edge or corner to use for orientation. We have decided to map perpendicular markings onto the plywood and use the laser level to give us a horizontal reference. We will place the sink by feel, using these reference points, and mark indexes at four points around the sink base.
In the kitchen, Matt has built the sink knockout, which took three days of work. First, he built a wooden base for the faucets, so the fittings will thread through the wooden base rather than using pvc knockouts for each water line. Then he built the main sink knockout, to fit the double stainless sink. Finally he built tie down knock outs onto the main sink knock out. These will accommodate the screws that tighten the sink to the counter and stop it from getting jolted or wiggling around. My next job is to tape up the sink knock out so it will release easily from the concrete.
This was the part about building concrete countertops that we did not anticipate. There are so many finicky bits. Every day we will say to each other, “Tomorrow we should be able to pour.” And then we realize that something else needs to be tested, or built, or fitted.
One of these finicky bits was figuring out how we are going to treat the edge, where the concrete meets up with the oak trim edging. Because these counters are poured in place, we are troweling right onto the oak trim. On our test pieces we noticed we got a much better edge when the concrete was 1/16″ higher than the edge of the form. So our plan now is to actually trowel out the counters so they are higher than the edge of the oak trim, and then shape them to ease that edge. That is going to be my test pour today, practicing making that edge nice and neat.
But really, we should be ready to pour our first countertop on Monday.