Home decor and renovation craftalong

Our kitchen came with concrete counters.

Sigh. You’d think CONCRETE would be super durable but omg our kids can destroy anything.
Take care with the finish, ours is a sort of epoxy, I think? It scratches so easy, you can’t cut on it or put anything hot down on it. A friend’s cafe just oiled theirs & tho it looks great, it has stained & water logging caused a huge crack. There must be a super durable finish option to keep it looking awesome.


They were here bright and early setting up the concrete forms for the counters. It looks like a giant resin pour. They’ll be pouring concrete tomorrow.

We are doing the high gloss finish, but I’m really not too concerned about damage. No one will be cutting on the surface or putting hot things on it, and they darn well better be using coasters. :joy: Either way, I’m sure it’s fixable if my monkeys somehow manage to mess it up.


I just saw a show that said if you have those basement egress windows, you need to check them for small creatures that might fall in and can’t get out, thus starving or freezing to death.

A small wooden ramp discreetly placed in them would help them out. Apparently, frogs, toads, snakes and even small mammals are unable to jump out on their own!

I think in a basement, those counters will last a long time! They might need a bit of sealing periodically…they will look great!


There’s a cover over the window pit, so nothing too large is going to squeeze through the cracks to get in there. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to occasionally rescue a snake. No worries - we’ll be down there frequently and I have no trouble with rescuing the local wildlife when they need it.


I seem to recall that our old house also had clear covers over the wells (we had about six of them!).

We occasionally had to remove baby snakes, but even the tiny mice were able to scramble up the ridges!

In my new house, lizards that get stuck in the fireplace have to be rescued before the cats see them and go crazy trying to get at them through the screen!

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I’m sure your counters will look great. My friend also has concrete poured counters, and hers still look good, and they’re in a kitchen. Granted, they haven’t had it for that long and they’re super careful, and they know they’ll get stains eventually. But for a basement bar, where it probably won’t come into contact with hot pots and pans or a boiling water tap, which seem to be the biggest offenders.

We picked composite countertops for our kitchen. We initially wanted granite, but that’s much more porous than composite so it stains more easily. It looked pretty nice in the shop so I can’t wait to see what it looks like in our kitchen. Formica with a stone or marble look seemed a very popular option when we were kitchen shopping, but somehow I didn’t like the disconnect between something looking very much like marble, and then touching it, and not feeling marble at all. Composite feels “right”.


Composite…is that like stone?

I remember my dad had a type of synthetic countertop - Corian? - and I loved that. It didn’t stain, it hardly showed wear and tear, you could put pans straight off the stove onto it.

My kitchen remodel is next (if I get my way, lol), and I need ideas!


Google tells me it’s called quartz in English! We call it composite because it’s not actually solid stone, but 90% quartz with some resin. But that resin actually makes it more durable, even though it’s considered less “desirable” than real solid stone. We know we’re not always going to be super careful, that’s the reality. Plus the price tag was about 50% lower.

We had metal countertops in our old kitchen, and although the kitchen itself didn’t look great, that’s the most durable material ever. You can put hot pans on it, spill acid, spill fat, it all wipes away. If you leave some water standing somewhere (like underneath the coffee maker or something) it will rust but you can just scrub the rust away. It scratches a little bit, but the scratches were acceptable, especially considering the kitchen was more than 30 years old by the time we bought the house.

In the trailer we rent currently we also have some sort of synthetic countertop. What’s annoying about this one is that if you spill a bit of water, it doesn’t form a little puddle of water, it will spread out all over the surface. According to our kitchen supplier, that had to do with the type of material, I don’t remember which ones exactly. My mum has Formica that’s about 20 years old and it still looks great, it barely shows wear and tear. I know people look down on it a bit, but it’s actually pretty nice.


Composite countertops are my favorite. They are durable and feel so smooth and cool. They are a step up from formica/laminate and come in all kinds of colors and patterns. So many choices, but you have to pick what will work with your lifestyle. My husband and I are not careful so stains and burns could happen. With composite, anything can be buffed out if needed.

I am excited to see what you guys pick, since I no longer have any options to re-do anything since I am renting. We are discussing with our nephew for him to buy a property here for us to rent from him. He said we could upgrade it and do whatever we wanted as long as we made sure it was done properly. That would be a dream come true for me and for our family.


That c/would be a good opportunity for all involved- good luck!

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That would be a great solution! I wouldn’t mind renting but I’m completely tired of landlords. We’ve only had awful ones. You guys could have a reliable landlord who’s not going to refuse to fix your heating when it’s cold, and your nephew gets a solid investment and reliable tenants.

Our new windows have arrived!! I tried to stay away from them as I was too scared I’d tip them all over. They’re argon gas filled insulated glass in UPVC frames. This is by far the most expensive thing we’re doing - the new windows cost about the same as the bathrooms and the kitchen all together. But we are hoping this will make a major difference. Before, it felt like the wind was blowing right through our house and the glass was the same temperature as outside. During winter we’d get ice flowers on them.These new ones are supposed to keep the icy draught away. Thankfully, in our country some isolation measures are subsidized and we’ll get about 1/3 of the purchase price of this back from the government.


There are or were tax breaks for energy saving improvements to homes in the USA…better windows, insulation, etc. They are an investment that will save you loads of money in the future. A lot of people in colder states buy window kits, which are basically shrink wrap plastic and tape to put over the windows. We have double paned windows to keep out the heat as well as insulation drapes and blinds.

You will definitely notice a change in the windows!

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We had cavity wall insulation done a few years ago and we were surprised at how well it worked! It wasn’t that expensive at all - I don’t remember exactly but a 3-figure sum - and it reduced our gas use by about a third. Thanks for the war in Ukraine, we still pay three times as much for natural gas now as we did then, but had we not done it we would have paid even more. Hopefully next winter we’ll pay next to nothing.


The concrete got poured today!


They did a lot this week. The support beams were boxed in, the baseboards and trim around the stairs are in. Two of the three upper cabinets are up. We need to figure out where the fridge is going before that gets hung. The door to the utility room is framed and hung, too.


Looking good! Do you have an approximate finish date? Before summer? I bet you love seeing new things getting done each time. Love the door!


You’re getting sooooooo clooooooose!


No set date. It takes as long as it takes. Still need to trim out the staircase and bar, paint, finish up the electrical and plumbing, and correct some settling issues with the foundation (basically add dirt and grade it away from the house).

But, that’s okay because I really need time to go furniture/fridge/electronics/etc. shopping!


Looks nice! I love those panelled doors.

We heard yesterday we’re going to have a pretty big delay. So far, everything has been on schedule, except for our new windows. They were delivered two weeks ago and were supposed to go in then, but due to the weather (rain and wind) it wasn’t possible to do that until yesterday. They had scheduled the plasterer for last week, but of course they had to cancel that because the windows weren’t in yet, and apparantly the plasterer doesn’t have time for it until mid-April.

The plaster needs about 3 weeks of drying before we can start to paint / wallpaper / put floors in. We’d planned to plaster the first week of March, finish the upstairs during April weekends, then move into the upstairs at the end of April while we are still doing work downstairs. But now it looks like we won’t be able to start finishing anywhere until early May. That still leaves enough time for the kitchen, which we’ve scheduled for late May / early June, but it means we’ll need another month in our rental. We are renting a trailer on a holiday park. I’ve just emailed management to see if we can extend our stay, but when the summer season starts the park will probably be almost fully booked and the rent will likely be much higher, too, so it’s very unfortunate.

Our builder discussed this with Mr. Imma and he’s a pretty mellow guy who just accepted we’d have to spend another month here in the woods, but if extending our stay is an issue, I think I’ll discuss with him if he really can’t find any way to just plaster the upstairs already - it’s just two bedrooms and the landing, it’s not a lot, and it would make big difference for us.


Oh, no! That sounds like a bit of a nightmare! I’m sorry to hear that you’re having so many costly delays.