DIY Concrete Counters: Pouring and Curing

Welcome back!  Hopefully you were not overwhelmed by yesterday’s post.  I promise, you can do this!  If you need motivation, remember how pretty they are???

Ok, part 2: pouring and curing.  Once we had done all the prep work, it was time to pour!  I have clearly never worked with concrete before because I thought this would be easy.  Don’t laugh too hard at me.  This was definitely some manual labor so if you have any strong friends, make them food and bribe them to help you.  80 pound concrete bags are heavy enough.  Add water to that and mix it up, super heavy.  We could have used an extra set or two of hands {seeing as my hands are about as wimpy as they come} but we did get it done with just Mike and I so even if you aren’t super strong, it can be done.  Think of all the calories you will burn and how much extra dessert you can eat that day.

Now that the forms are built, siliconed, and on level ground, it’s time to spray them down.  We ordered a release agent from this website.  We couldn’t find this stuff in any store but it came really quickly.  It is important to use some sort of release agent, otherwise, you may have trouble getting your counters out and you don’t want to ruin those pretty things.

We poured the release agent into a small spray bottle and lightly coated each form.  We wiped them all down with a napkin because the directions say to use a thin, even layer.  It worked like a charm.  Don’t forget the sides!

We rented this mixer from Grand Rental Station for $40/day.  We hooked it up in our drive way and then poured the mixed concrete into a 5 gallon bucket to take into the garage.  This way we wouldn’t waste a lot of concrete by spilling pouring directly into our molds.  We had some very narrow forms for the backsplash pieces and knew it would be easier to shovel it in.

Here’s where it gets tricky.  Consistency.  We had a little trouble here.  If I could do it over again, I would have sat inside and watched the Cheng master pouring video right before we did it because we just were not sure if what we did was right.  The directions say to add one gallon of water per bag and possibly a little more if necessary.  Ah!  I need specifics people.  The best way we came up with {thanks, Trent} was that the perfect consistency was similar to that of a Wendy’s frosty.  Our first few batches were a little chunky and not quite what you want.  BIG MISTAKE.  Mike didn’t want to add too much water, though, because we had read that people tend to add more water {for a more smooth, easy pour}, but that can make your counters weaker.  Fair enough.  I’m with ya.  Problem was, really chunky concrete isn’t great either.  We ended up repouring about half of our counters a few days later to make them better.  In a great turn of events, we are now in the works to make an outdoor kitchen with the first batch.  yay!  Ok, back to the pour.  Once you have the right consistency, pour enough concrete to fill your form about halfway up.  Then lay down your mesh.

Make sure it is good and centered.  Then fill the form the rest of the way with concrete.

I used a trowel to get it all in and smooth as Mike poured it in for me.

Once it is full, use a smooth board to screed it.  What’s screed you ask?  Let me explain {because I know these things now}.

Firmly press a board across the top of your form.  This will make it nice, smooth, and level.  Since the top of your form is actually the bottom of your counter, you want to this to be level so your counters sit nicely on your cabinets.

Once you have done these steps over and over and over again until you have all your forms filled, lay your plastic sheet over top.

You may see some condensation under your plastic, but don’t panic.  That’s a good thing.  It will help the curing process along.

The directions on the bag say you can demold after 18 hours, but we let ours sit for a few days before taking them out.  The fine print on the bag says that the counters will be at 2,000 PSI after 24 hours, 4,000 PSI after 7 days, and 6,000 PSI {full strength} after 28 days so it’s up to you how long you want to wait:)

The last step is to carve your initials into the concrete.  Duh.

It’s ok, you can throw up at our cuteness.  It’s a normal reaction.

Then take a big long nap.  You’ll want to rest up to carry these heavy things into your house.  Tomorrow is the final tutorial which means they are almost done!  yay!  Come back to see how to finish these beauties off. {Update: it’s here!}


  1. I just saw your post over at Tatertots and Jello!
    I forwarded this project to my hubby. We are so doing this! I will certainly be back to let you know how it goes. Hopefully it goes as amazing as yours did!

  2. Jenni T says:

    Jessi! I was reading Tatertots and Jello today and saw a familiar face! Your blog is awesome! I have subscribed!

    • Hi Jenni!
      I’m so glad you came over to say hi:) Thanks for checking out the blog-I hope you’re doing well!!!

  3. I have been planning for about two months to make a recycled glass and concrete countertop. Why, you ask, because my sister told me about one she’d seen and just as you did, I though, hey, let’s do that!! Took me about a week to talk my husband into it. This tutorial is Most Interesting!! Will begin ours in a few weeks (I’ve had to collect the colored glass).

  4. Nice job and great post!! I linked this to my countertops post today as well – you just might have a few more visitors over here checking out your blog!

  5. I love this post, thank you so much!

  6. Very helpful post man, thanks for the info.

  7. BlackSCRunner says:

    Great job on these counters! Looks like a LOT of work, but the results are incredible! I just have one question; how did you deal with the seams? Thanks for the great write up! :-)

  8. G’Day! Imperfectlypolished,
    Thanks for your thoughts, I am thinking of doing concrete counter tops in my kitchen. Does anyone have any tips or lessons learned they would be willing to share? If I decide to go this route I will be doing it myself. I haven’t done a project like this before but I am capable and intelligent enough to follow directions.
    Great Job!

  9. I ran accross your concrete counter top blog, but only got to read a bout your pouring experience and was wondering if you could give me the links to all of them! We are buying a house now and are planning on doing concrete counter tops as well….. much appriecaiated….

  10. Will McCracken says:

    Thinking aboout using 1″ x 1″ glass tiles intermitanly placed on the top. Would that work?

  11. Hi,
    I saw your post earlier today over at Tatertots and Jello. I know this blog is a bit old but my wife and I are just getting ready to do our concrete countertops now. I have been doing a lot of research and came across an interesting product called Z-counterform. Has anyone used them or know if they work? The reviews on their site all seem to be pretty good. Just thought i’d ask.

    Thank you

    • Hey Tyler – just wondering if you ended up using those Z-Counterforms? If so, how’d it go? Always good to get reviews from other sites besides the vendor :)

  12. This is such a wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much for it! I think I’ll start small in the whole concrete countertop world and make one of these for our hall bath remodel and if that goes well (cross your fingers), I’ll go for the kitchen. Thank you also for all the resources (especially for the concrete release spray and using countertop mix versus regular!) Love this post! Many thanks!

  13. how do i see the next post? haha sorry Thanks

  14. What kind of release agent did you use? There were several available from the site to offered. Thanks!

  15. Hey! Just curious if you used anything to vibrate the concrete after you poured it….to make sure there were no bubbles.


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