Monday, September 26, 2016

Kitchen Construction, Part 2 - Crushing Counters

Before - ugly tile
The next step in our kitchen remodel was to replace the countertops. We were definitely not sad to see our ugly old tile countertop go.

We won't miss the chipped, mismatched tile and filthy grout.

We saved a couple hundred bucks by doing the demo ourselves, but it was A LOT of work. I was smashing the counter and backsplash as hard as I could for hours. Apparently, in the '70s they thought it was necessary to lay down 1.5 inches of concrete under tile countertops.

It also made a HUGE mess. I put tarps down on the floor, which helped collect a lot of the debris, but chunks of concrete and tile still got everywhere. I made sure to wear safety glasses, hearing protection, and a respirator to protect myself from the hateful countertop.

Here's all the debris that wouldn't fit in the trash can. As you can imagine, our entire house is coated in dust now.

We thought we might be able to reuse the plywood top, but the installer cautioned that it might not be perfectly flat and level, which could lead to cracking down the road.

That meant the plywood, and planks in the corner, had to come out too.

Are you ready for the big reveal?
Here's the before and after.

We opted to go with Caesarstone quartz in "Lagos Blue," which is actually a grayish brown color. In the past we discussed pouring our own concrete countertops, but that seemed like a whole lot of work for an uncertain outcome. We also considered installing butcher block ourselves, but I was skeptical it would hold up.

We initially thought a solid surface would be out of our price range, but we got a referral from a friend and were surprised how affordable it was. It certainly wasn't cheap, but it was less than expected. The total cost was about $4,300. If we didn't have the extra-wide peninsula with the bar, it could have been done for a lot less, but the wide slabs aren't cheap.

After much deliberation, we decided to reuse our old sink. It's in good condition and we like the unique design. It's nice to set pots on the wide center section when filling them with water. We also couldn't find a replacement sink as wide as the old one, so anything new would have looked a little odd compared to the cabinet below it.

If you think our color choice looks a little odd with the cabinets, we agree. You'll have to wait and see what we do about that in a future post.

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