Is it easy to build a kitchen island from scratch? Not really!
Is it doable? Totally!
And that’s exactly how this DIY concrete kitchen island came to be!
When we moved in, the kitchen cabinet were new but not the island. There was a small island with old cabinet door that did not fit much. And so, I thought let’s give it a try and build one!
I knew I wanted to give more character to the kitchen, and so I needed the island to be bigger for more functionality and with a raw, organic feel. Down the line, I knew I would add a kitchen range hood with an organic feel.
Where to start when doing a DIY concrete kitchen island
So, I opened my favorite inspo app Pinterest, and started looking for inspiration. And I fell on a few concrete counters and fell in love! That’s it, decision made, this is what I wanted!
My husband wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, he has never worked with food grade concrete nor did he know the materials, but I convinced him. And so, we started researching… We found 2 ways to build it:
1. By creating forms and pouring the concrete
2. Using a feather technique
The latter seemed to be the least recommended due to the concrete cracking. The first seemed complex and required a lot of work and a good technique. Also, the products I saw were not available in Canada so we had to make some extra research about what products we can use for durability and ease of finding them.
After a lot of searching, we found a local company, Colobar, that sells the following product. It seemed to be durable, applied as a feather technique and used even on floors. What makes it different from other products and from real concrete is that it is a concrete coating, hence its durability So, we decided to give it a try.
I drew up the design as I wanted it to have a Scandinavian / Mediterranean feel like many of the design elements you can find in our home.
Here are all the steps required to apply the concrete on your surface once it is ready. I’ll talk more in depth about building the actual island in another blog.
For reference, our island is 80” x 26” x36”. The concrete was applied to the entire top, on one side and on 3/4 of the back. We opted for a white color, but other colors are also available.
Materials needed for a DIY concrete kitchen island
- Joint tape
- Brick mortar filler
- Foam roller
- Sanding paper 160, 220 & 320 grit
- Cement spatula
- Art Béton products
There are 4 products from Art Béton that you’ll need.
Once the island is built out of plywood, use the mortar filler to cover all the screw holes and sand lightly if necessary to keep your surface smooth. Apply joint tape to all corners, joints and over screws.
Clean the surface and make sure it is dry and free of residue.
Using a small foam roller, spread the primer over the entire surface that will be covered with the concrete. This is what will make the concrete adhere to the surface. Let it dry for about 2 hours.
Mix the water and concrete powder in the amounts indicated, then spread with a spatula on the surface in a thin layer of 2-3 mm. Let dry for about 2 hours then apply a second coat and a third if needed. Let dry 2 to 4 hours between each coat. Sand lightly between each coat to obtain the desired texture.
Repeat 2 or 3 times and let dry 2 to 4 hours between each coat. Sand lightly between each coat with 220 or 320 paper to obtain the desired texture and a very smooth finish. Dust off well.
When you apply the concrete , keep in mind that the texture you will see is the last you will get. So if there are any lines or small holes that you don’t want to see, be sure to even them out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the end result is meant to be imperfect, and that is the beauty of a concrete countertop. That said, it will be smooth with the nice imperfections at the end. This is where the plaster and sandblasting will come into play as you will need to work the material well at this point to achieve the desired end effect.
Once dried, it’s time to seal. Apply with a foam roller in a very thin layer. Let dry 2 to 3 hours then sand lightly with 180 grit paper.
After sanding, dust off well. Make a second and third coat for more durability.
Finally, varnish the surface.
Your counter is now ready for use.
We’ve been using it for a few months now, and here’s what I think.
The result is absolutely stunning if you like rougher, imperfect textures that give an organic and natural look. I love that you can choose the color you want.
The application was very easy, which made the job so much easier.
In terms of durability, everything is perfect to date. The counter is waterproof, washes very well and there are no cracks. To refer to this technique, the difference is certainly the quality of the product used to put a layer versus pour the concrete in addition to the fact that it is a concrete plaster and not concrete as we know it.
Finally, on the budget side with the right products, a concrete plaster counter is way less pricey than a marble or quartz surface. So, it’s a lot more accessible and it’s a product that I will definitely use for other projects.