The Sink Tumor that Killed the Concrete Countertops

Sink Tumor

Sink Tumor

That is probably the grossest picture ever posted on a half-assed blog ever.

(Side note.. google chrome suggested I change grossest to greatest.. so at least I have that going for me)

That’s the picture of the sink tumor that we came home to late one Sunday night in June.

We had both been gone for the weekend on different work trips.  I swung by the airport and grabbed Hubs and we arrived back home around 11pm.  He spotted that 3D swell area behind the sink while getting a drink right before bed.

It almost caused a huge fight.

It was so big you could see it from the front (may be the first time that phrase was used not in reference to a large butt).

I know that the brown is gross behind that faucet.. The main part of it is putty from putting the sink back in that hadn’t got cleaned off yet.. because the countertops weren’t done for that long.  Then some of it is just gross dirt around a gross kitchen faucet.  That thing was so filthy (spoiler alert we’ve since replaced it) that every time I’d clean it more dirt would seep out of it and take the old dirt’s place.  Marinara monster – I swear it.

Anyhow, Hubs touched the sink tumor and it was soft to the touch and then chipped right off.

We resolved right then and there to rip them off and replace the concrete with laminate.

(I have other pics of other holes that developed.  For instance, we had a run of the mill knife block sitting to the left of the oven.  When we picked it up to move it, it ripped a bunch of the concrete off with it?  Don’t know why.  I can post these pics if people like, but it’s truly overkill in my head.  If you don’t get the idea by now, I am sure its just because you are blaming us for it not working haha)

 

Stay tuned.

 

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The First Sign of Failure

The First Sign of Failure

The First Sign of Failure

There it is.  The first sign of failure in the beautiful ardex countertops.

(Click that image and it’ll enlarge, by the way)

The criminal?  The George Foreman drip tray.  It got sat there and forgot about for a day or so.  When I finally realized it and picked it up , it left behind that huge stain and those holes.

I know its gross that a drip pan of grease sat there for any amount of time and that plenty of people will judge us for being disgusting, but I am just keeping it real.  I am sure there are plenty of people out there that wish they were more OCD about picking things up and are in the same boat as we are.  If thats you and you are reading this and still thinking, but I’ll just BE super cautious about these because I want them so badly.  Stop.  I did that.  I was super cautious.  I was constantly wiping things up as soon as they touched the concrete.  It still happened.  The good thing is I now wipe countertops constantly even though I ripped the concrete out.  So maybe if you want to train yourself that way, you SHOULD do this, but expect to be redoing it in two months.

That hole and stain up there was within 2 weeks.  We hadn’t even gotten around to doing the rest of the countertops yet and that one already had to be chipped and patched and resealed.

 

Moral of the Story.

Not worth it.

 

Our Failed Sealants

I’ve shied away from talking about our fiasco that was our Ardex Feather Finished Countertops… if you want to read more about what I have already wrote on that, I suggest looking back through the blog… and here you go here (that’s the post where I burst everyone’s bubble and whine a lot.. but there’s also some progress shots elsewhere in the blog).

I thought I’d share what sealants we used and that didn’t work.

Sikagard 1 Gal. Natural Look Sealer

Sikagard 1 Gal. Natural Look Sealer

First off, we tried Sika Sikaguard Professional Natural Look Clear Sealer from Home Depot.  We did NOT try to wax this.  It did not work at all for us.  We put coats and coats and coat after coat of this stuff on and the water would still soak through. We put some MIO in water to make the water colored, and it stained the crap out of it.  I thought I had pictures of these stains, but apparently I didn’t take any while in my blind rage?

Side note – this was the ONLY concrete sealer I could find at my local Home Depot.  I thought that was odd.  The sales associates looked at me like I was nuts when I told them what I was looking for.

Sakrete Gallon Cure'n Seal Concrete Repair

Sakrete Gallon Cure’n Seal Concrete Repair

Next, I tried a sealant I got at Lowe’s instead.   This time I picked up Sakrete Concrete Cure N’ Seal.  I flipped over my ‘test’ concrete (As previously mentioned, I applied some to an old MDF shelf), applied more feather finish and then again coated until I thought for sure anymore would be overkill.  Around eight coats if I remember correctly.  THEN I waxed it..twice.  I spilled everything all over the tester and it didn’t soak in.  Everything was great.

As for the wax, I just bought kit carnuba wax from Amazon.

So what went wrong with the main installation?

I have no idea.  We did exactly to the countertops that we did to the tester shelf.  The only thing I can think is that these countertops were actually used, not “tested.”  We prepped meals on them.  We sat dishes down on them.  No matter what we did, we had to do whatever the equivalent is in this situation as “walk on eggshells” with them.  Don’t let your glass sit too long.  Don’t let your raw veggies touch them lest it comes off on the veggies.  Do not let grease splash on them because it’ll stain before you can even exhale.

I’ll post some aftermath photos asap to show the damage.

In the interim, does anybody know where we went wrong?  Or did we do everything we were supposed to and these were just an absolute disaster in the making no matter what we did?

Not everything you read online is a good idea.

This and other amazing insight.

Brought to you by… Ardex Countertops.

 

I haven’t been blogging lately because my spirit was crushed.

I am so dramatic.

When we bought this house, my eyes lit up with the possibilities.  I was so excited to tackle every single project the moment we were handed the keys.  I just wanted to dive in head first and not even check the water depth first.  A year in and my enthusiasm was yet to bend.  Then came the ardex kitchen countertops.

We started renovating our kitchen to give it a quick pick me last June.  We just wanted to put some lipstick on a pig and be satisfied with it until we could gut it and set it up better.  I just wanted it to look pretty while I had to live with it.  When we moved in, it was filthy.  So gross.  It looked like somebody had murdered a marinara monster and it’s marinara guts had sprayed everywhere.  Everywhere.  Inside of cabinets, under the countertop.  Everywhere.  It was filthy.

So we started by stripping and painting the solid wood cabinets.  Great start.  It didn’t go smoothly.  If I were to do it over again, I would have used different primer. But that was last year and they have held up great.  I’ve touched up a couple spots, but they’re seriously in great shape.  Maybe I’ll post pics of that soon.  Let me get to that.

We knew we also wanted to paint the walls (obviously), replace the floor, and do something with the disgusting pink countertops.

As you know from the blog, the floors went perfectly.  Everything went down quick and easy and they turned out beautifully.  They’re still one of my favorite things in this house – if not THE favorite.

But the countertops.  Ugh.  The countertops that killed my blogging sharing spirit.  The paint we knew wasn’t going to work.  We just knew it.  $20 and your countertops are gorgeous?  Ha. Ha. Ha.  Even before we decided to “just try it” – I had my heart set on concrete.  I had all of the tutorials pinned on how to pour your own or the -ohlala- “quick and easy and cheap” alternative of just skimming on some concrete topper known as Ardex Feather Finish.  But I agreed to try the painting first and as soon as it chipped up I swooped in with PLEASECONCRETEPLEASE JUSTPLEASTLETSTRY IT.  The hubs reluctantly agreed and I ran to the nearest supply store and ran back with my $20 bag of feather finish.

We tried it first on an old laminate shelf we weren’t using anymore.  We could NOT get it to seal.  It looked gorgeous but we test spilled all kinds of stuff on it and all kinds of stuff stained it.  I was convinced we were sealing it wrong and switched the sealant out AND bought some food-safe wax.  Flipped it over and started the experiment anew.  New application of feather finish, new sealant, new waxing.  Spills and spills and everything was fine.  Hubs again reluctantly gives in (It has to be hard arguing with a lawyer) and we rip the painted laminate off of the countertop and start applying.

I posted some pics of the during process and then nothing more.

And you know why?  Because it was a miserable, terrible, horrid failure.

OK now I am really being dramatic.  It wasn’t that bad, but I do regret doing it.

Immediately it started staining.  Let me stop right there.  I put NO LESS than 4 coats of concrete sealant on these THEN wax.  By all definitions they should’ve been sealed.  However, that didn’t help.  The first disaster was the tray from a George Forman grill left a nice ring that DID NOT come out.   I love the natural “patina” of concrete, but that was ridiculous.

Then we left for a few days and came back to find that we had missed some water behind the faucet and it had got under the concrete and swelled and exploded.  It looked like the sink had a tumor.  THere was a giant hole.  It was not a fun argument getting home at 11 at night on a work-night and finding a hole in the countertops we had just done 8 whole weeks ago.

So it broke me.  I was disappointed and frustrated and was sick of working and redoing a kitchen that I swore was going to be 3 leisurely months and done.  But instead we’re into a year later and STILL devoting most of our time to this kitchen.

So that’s why I’ve been absent.  It’s not that we haven’t worked on other rooms.  It’s that I was frustrated and done sharing for awhile. I just didn’t have it in me.

So what’s changed?  We redid the countertops again over the weekend.  For the THIRD time.  And final time.  Because this time we didn’t take shortcuts or try some “quick and easy” tip we found on one blog that NEVER mentioned it again.  We bought a sheet of laminate for $90 and my husband and his dad relaminated the countertops.  I opted out because of previously mentioned feelings of self defeat.  But they’re done and ready to be installed and they’re beautiful.  They are leaps and bounds better looking than the concrete was on it’s best day.  People judge laminate.  But its a beautiful, durable, affordable option.  And I am really excited to blog about this kitchen and whole house again.. because those laminated countertops have restored my enthusiasm.  And I needed that.  I finally feel like sharing again.