Concrete countertops are a popular option for many homeowners and businesses, but there are some specific steps to take in order to install them. Once you’ve built templates and the forms, it seems like a simple matter of pouring in the concrete, but there’s a little more to it than that. Here’s a guide to ensure your concrete countertops project is a success.
Start with safety
Before starting work on any project, you want to make sure you have the proper safety equipment on hand, and that everyone involved knows how to use it properly. When pouring concrete for your countertops, each individual should have a dust mask, eye protection and gloves. One person needs to take the lead and ensure everyone is clear of the mixer before pouring. Confirm it’s safe to begin by calling “clear” and getting a response from all other workers.
The Double-Checkmark system
With safety equipment and procedures in place, you’ll still want to ensure your mix and pour goes well. To do so, start with the double-checkmark system. List out a batch report with each ingredient needed and how much is needed in each batch. As you measure out ingredients, place a checkmark next to them on the list. Then, when you add that ingredient, put your second checkmark on the list. This will help keep everything organized and ensure each batch comes out the same.
Keep everything close
This could almost be a third checkmark in your system. Because mixing and pouring the concrete relies so heavily on timing, it’s vital that everything you’ll need to complete the process is accounted for and close by. That means all ingredients in their containers, admixtures, and, most importantly, water. You also want to have your tools like scoops and trowels handy.
Adjacent slabs come from the same batch
No matter how hard you try, and how many checkmarks you use, each batch is likely to turn out slightly different. Sand moisture, cement color, aggregate gradation, and many other factors can change slightly from batch to batch even for the most careful and precise mixes. If your project requires multiple batches, make a plan for which slabs will be next to each other. If possible, use the same batch for all adjacent slabs. If your slabs are too big, consider using one batch for adjacent slab faces, then fill in with another batch. You should also stir the edges of the pour to prevent casting lines.
Keep ingredients in order
It’s not only the amount of each ingredient that’s vital to a successful mix, but also the order that they’re added to the mixer. First, the sand, rocks, and pigment goes in, followed by water and admixtures, then fibers, pozzolans, and finally you gradually add cement. By mixing everything together with the water before adding cement helps to avoid clumping, and ensure all ingredients are properly wetted and dispersed. This won’t be possible with a bagged mix, so you’re stuck simply following the directions on the bag.
By properly preparing for, and executing your mixture and pour, you’ll give yourself the best chance to end up with great looking concrete countertops.
To pick up the supplies you need, including countertop mix, come see us at Maxwell Supply in Tulsa.