I think our biggest mistake was choosing white countertops. I think if we had gone with the classic grey concrete, I would be singing a completely different tune.
The thing is, we fell in love with IKEA’s high-gloss grey cabinets.
Grey concrete counters on top of grey cabinets would turn our kitchen into a battleship. White just didn’t work. When we installed it and had out friend Charlie Barr sculpt all of the edges, it looked absolutely amazing.
Then we had to put a polyurethane seal on it and it completely ruined it. At first the counters turned yellow. I was so horrified I couldn’t even take a picture. So I went away for a weekend and Bryce and his dad spent a weekend sanding the hell out of the counters. I truly mean, SANDING THE HELL OUT OF THEM. Their handheld tools couldn’t get the toxic urethane, so they had to rent a huge floor sander.
Finally he got the toxic crap off, then he could start over. He researched a better seal that wouldn’t discolor. Then he re-lacquered the counters and we have just put up with them.
They didn’t discolor this time, but ANY kind of liquid with a tint makes a mess. Think coffee; wine; curry.
So the plan is to put up with them for now until we have a windfall of cash, then rip them out and install quartz. Then we will put in a backsplash and the kitchen will finally be complete. That probably will be about the time to remodel the kitchen anyway, ha!
When you’re building on your own with an extremely limited budget, you experiment. And sometimes the ideas just aren’t that great. Fortunately we spent only about $300 in materials, but spent a lot on labor. I am afraid the labor to rip out the counters will be spendy; I would prefer to hire out for a project like that. The cabinets are great, so no reason to replace them anytime soon.
In hindsight, lighter cabinets, or maybe even red, or a light wood tone, with the natural grey concrete counter would have been our best option.
Recently I have seen some faux wood countertops. Umm, no thank you. Faux anything makes my skin crawl. Why not just use real wood? I know the answer, it’s because wood countertops don’t hold up like concrete. Then choose something else!