How to Craft a Concrete Countertop: A Masterclass for Makers

This installment of 'The Concrete Podcast' is a treasure trove for Makers, DIY enthusiasts, and Weekend Warriors alike. Exploring the very project that often sparks an interest in concrete work—the creation of a concrete countertop. Tune in to discover a comprehensive guide on crafting your own concrete countertop, encompassing everything from creating templates and selecting mold materials to constructing molds, calculating the right mix, the mixing process, casting, curing, processing, and sealing! The wealth of information shared in this episode easily rivals that of a $1,000 class.




You ready?

Yeah, OK.

You going to surprise me?

It's going to be a surprise, buddy.

I'm done.

Got a whole list of notes here.

All right, let's go.

Oh, Jesus.

He just stepped on it.

I'm telling you, I got the mute button over here.


Don't make me use it.

Do not make me use this.

I I will turn this car around.

Don't make me do it.

Don't make me do it.




Jon Schuler.



Brenegar, how's it going?


Going awesome, man.

It's awesome.


Good to hear.

Literally looking out the window right now, watching the leaves fall and everything.

So no, man, life is Life is kicking butt right now.

Yeah, glad to hear it.

How about yourself?

I have been in tile making mode, been casting, yeah, been casting this concrete tile, quarter inch thick tile for the studio bathroom, one of the bathrooms, other bathroom.


I'm going to do Ram Crete in that bathroom, but the office when I'm going to do these tile.

Anyways, been in that mode.

It's been fun, but a few things, a few interesting things.

First is you know the last time I made tile on a large scale was back in the polymer days, so I haven't made a whole lot of tile since.


I've had molds that I keep for casting samples, but I do those on small scale anyways.

So I've made a ton of tile.

I've made well over 1000 tile in the last week, week and 1/2 and.

Like you're coating all the walls and tile.


No, no.

But it's two sizes of triangle.

It's a larger triangle, like a 7 inch triangle and then like a little 3 inch triangle.

Oh right on.

And so those little triangles, there's just infinite number of those.

It seems like they don't take a whole lot of square footage, so there's a bunch of them.


It's all about design on this.

I would have been smarter to do like a large format tile and just cast 20 of them be done with it, but instead no, I'm going to cast 1000 and you know.

Kind of jigsaw them together, Look that ass.

Yeah, yeah, it's going to be cool.

But where I'm going with this, Jon, the last time I did a large production run of tile was probably four or five years ago was the last time I did it like a large production run for a client.


And when I did that I was still using liquid polymer back then.

What I've noticed, it's interesting thing to notice, but because these are multiple use molds I have, I'm resetting them every day.

What I've noticed is without the polymer they're almost self cleaning.


Yeah, the Polymer.

I didn't really realize how problematic it was besides the air it introduces to the mix and the issues with sealer performance.

But the other thing that it does is it makes the mix stick to everything because it's glue.

And so it used to be when I'd cast tile and I'd pop them out the next day, I'd spend forever cleaning the molds because it'd be just a little like a film stuck to the insides and it would accumulate.


So you'd have to clean it off every day.

So I'd have to take diluted muriatic acid and and wash the forms and take a Scotch brite and scrub them and then, you know, blow them out there to dry them.

These I've, I haven't needed to do that.

So I essentially pop them out and if anything, I can just take a little bit of air.

If there's like a little little piece that's stuck, blow it.


It pops right off.

It's not sticking.

It's not bonding to the plastic, the the form.

So anyways, that was just an interesting observation that you know, we talk about the downsides of polymer and that's another one that I don't think we've touched on is.

Well, we don't touch enough on it.


I mean, well, the propensity you can mix this.

Without them, yeah.

I mean I hear all the time the again the little nuances is let's say that people pick up on immediately is also like.

Man, my mixer is so easy to clean.


Now there's always this, let's say this, you know, anticipation that if the mix sat too long in your mixer and how hard that's going to be to clean and it's going to get sticky and stuck in the, you know, in on the sides and so forth and so on.

And yeah, that's so guys that have moved over, that's not an issue anymore.


Or the same thing.

Remember your paddle?

I remember way back when.

Actually, when I first bought this Cola Mix XO Six when I was still using the the polymer base man, my mixer blade, it's just always built up, you know what I mean?


Especially on the center shaft and when the PVA fibers get locked in.

And then I was constantly, even though I tried cleaning and after each casting.

You know what I mean?

Two or three days later, I'm taking a.

Scraper to him, knocking all the stuff off.


Yeah, I don't do any of that anymore.

Yeah, it's awesome.

No, it is awesome.

It it's one of those things that you know, I mean, I I have noticed that my mixer is a lot easier to clean.

I have noticed that.

But it's the molds, you know, it's I pop out.

I'm like, damn, this mold is clean.

It's incredibly clean compared to what I was used to last time.


I did a really large run of tile and I spent so much time cleaning the molds in between casting.

So anyways, just don't out there.

The second thing that I've realized is I don't charge enough for tile.

The the days of charging 35A square foot for tile, those are over.


It's 135 a square foot.

That's my bare minimum price for a countertop.

And a countertop is half the amount of work as the tile is for the same amount of square footage because Oh my God, it's a tremendous amount of Labor.

You you pour a little bit in.


Oh, too much.

I got to get it out.

OK, a little bit in with the countertop, I can just dump it in, I'm done.

So you're not doing that number one.

Number two is when I pop them out, I got to take a little diamond hand pad and kind of back bevel the the bottom edge so it doesn't protrude out.


So when I go to set them, it's not going to keep the other top next to it from from lining up properly.

So that takes time, right?

Then lastly, I have to clean an acid edge and seal every individual tile.

And again a countertop.


That's easy.

It's one big thing, you can just start there and go there and you're done.

A tile, you're picking them up and you're setting it down, you're picking up.


My point is as as an industry, everybody that does tile, I hope you really sit down and re evaluate your numbers on it and maybe charge a fair price because I'm telling you 135 is an insanely fair price for the amount of work that goes in a tile.


It's something I'm going to stop doing tile.

I'm going to continue to do it.

I'm just going to value the tile for what it should be valued at, which is 135 square foot.

So there's that.

Well, you know what's interesting about this conversation, these are the things I mean here you you're basing it on again again perceived value, how much time and energy you're putting into them and etcetera, etcetera and I'll bet dollars to whatever, yeah, that when you set those prices.


The clientele looking for that price range because that's the budget they want to be in.

They're the ones that are going to demand that tile.

Yeah, not for sure.

It's coming in tile, part of your target audience?

Yeah, yeah, 100%.


It's beautiful.


I was thinking why I was doing it.

When I'm popping these out of the forms, as they come out of the form, they're beautiful.

They are beautiful.

And there might be a lot of clients out there that are happy with that.

That's what they want, right?

But for me, I want to clean them with simple green.


I want to acid etch them and I want to seal them.

And when I clean them with Simple green and I acid etch them, they look phenomenal.

Phenomenal, right.

But it's those extra steps that take the cost step because every time you touch it again, you touch it again, you touch it again, you know it's time, It's time and time is what we're billing for.


So anyways, I've just.

No, you're right though and not to stay on the subject for too long, but I think we've talked about it and I don't remember the names, but remember there was a guy making a he called them a cement tile, they were really neat looking and then some big designer or somebody end up and then he ended up making them exclusively for this person.


Do you remember that whole story?

They were like, no, it was like a Mexican tile or something.

Anyway, next thing you know, yeah, they they still he still makes them for him, but they're an insane amount of money per.

Yeah, no, I do remember somebody in the last class was talking about it or at the Hoedown somebody was talking about it.


Yeah, I just don't remember.

I mean, I sit, if I sit and Google it, I'll find it.

But because I don't remember, you know, for Versace or so it was for Anne Sachs.

It was for Anne Sachs.

Anne Sachs, Yeah, yeah.

No, I don't know anything about it.

What I do know is they're beautiful and they're durable and they're functional, but they're a lot of work and you need to charge for your work.


I'm doing it for my studio here.

I'm going to make custom tile for my house, for bathroom model I'm going to do.

And like I said, I do them for clients.

I don't do a lot for clients as far as tile, but I have done them over the years where I do get clients that come and they do want really beautiful handmade tile.


That being said, before us charging 35A square foot and I I didn't think that that was unreasonable, but I also didn't think I was really making any money at that price point.

And now doing it this time I I'm certain I'm not making any money at that price point.


Like I'm upside down at 35, but.

I guess again as I keep digressing and I apologize because no, please digress.

Jon, we're getting it.

No, we got it.

I know there's clientele there that want the 135 a square.

Foot tile, check it out.

I just, I just pulled up Ansac's tile just to have this conversation.


We're talking about it.

And right now I'm looking at an ANSAC Terizo something, something, you know, 24 by 24494 dial for a single tile.



But that's four square feet.

So it's like 120, not 120, no.


It's like 100 and. 2010 by 24, same 497, OK, Because I thought to pull up that 2, 150 square foot.

So yeah, I mean I'm there's people out there that buy it.

You know, the Anzac's name's going to carry more weight with the clientele as far as, you know, demanding that price point.


But all I'm saying, Jon, is anybody out there that makes tile reevaluate your numbers because if you're not 135 plus, you're probably not making money on it because it's so much work that goes into it.

Not that it's not worth it, it is worth it.


It's just doing it for the price that makes sense for yourself and for your for your business.

So it's number one.

Number two, you and I were having a conversation a little, a little while ago and we're talking about foam rollers and sealer and you are very much against using foam rollers to seal with.


Do you want to hit that real quick, Jon?

Well, it's really hard because I so much becomes personal preference.

But I will say this, there are individuals out there I'm thinking like even Martin, right?

Martin, I believe, and I haven't spoken to him specifically about what roller he's using, but because of his experience in doing other things, he likes using a foam roller.


He's got his system down and it works, right?

Me personally, no, I mean it was an abomination.

The now again ICT is a horrible topical sealer.

It'll never work that way.

So I found when I was trying to use a foam roller and roll with it, I got more of what I would refer to as a topple topical esque kind of thing and.


The sealer would be soft, it would scratch it just and it wouldn't perform.


I moved over to the 3/8 microfiber and that solved all issues for me.

Meaning the sealer lays out you don't spend a whole lot of time with it, cuz that's the other thing.


I've talked about this before, I think.

Because some of the calls I get with anybody having trouble, they overwork the sealer and often times they're overworking at using things like a foam roller and they keep rolling it, rolling and rolling it, and then they they just don't get off of it.

So what they end up doing is rolling it into almost a crust.


And I even a few people with the microfiber, they roll it in, creating a crust.

And it's obvious when that happens because you'll see the Sheen kind of dull out, almost like a soft mat.

It'll scratch easily, it's just not doing its job.


It was never intended to be that kind of application method and no reactions are happening.

So, but no so to me if anybody's using roller.

The best one is 3/8 microfiber, not quarter inch, not 3/4 believe it or not.


The 3/8, it just holds enough material so that it evens out everything you spray down and and then you just don't overwork it.

So if that makes sense, Those guys using foam rollers, Hey man, if it's working for you, great.


But if you find that things are soft, or it's scratching easily or marrying or scuffing easily or the staining and you're just not getting performance again all out of ICT then I would re evaluate not the sealer because the sealer's damn near bomb proof from everything I'm seeing, especially with where where we're at today with both concrete and sealer.


So what you need to re evaluate is your application method.

And if you're rolling what roller because really keep going, keep going.

This type of sealing technology has always been meant to be wiped on, right, wiped on microfiber floor mop or microfiber, sponge, microfiber cloth.


So it's only recently the last couple years that we've kind of, you know, been.

A modifying the technology to handle it, but B because so many people with their backgrounds in rolling methods, but then they they still got to break some habits and stop the whole quote.


UN quote back roll method.

Get used to using the materials using rollers and it certainly can be done.

But now you really have to pay attention to what kind of rollers you're using so that it's applied properly and not as a topical.


Yeah, so don't use a foam roller.

Is that what you're saying?

I'm straight up.

I mean, I I, for me, personally, I would tell anybody, just don't use a foam roller.

Don't use it, OK.

Don't make no sense.

Yeah, comparatively speaking, Yeah, OK.

But now I'm gonna get some calls.


Well, you said I've been using a foam roller.


It's like don't use a foam roller.

Well, I heard you say use a foam roller.

No, I said don't use a foam roller.

Dude, I I had an e-mail exchange with a client a few days ago and they want to have a conference call with like the GC and the cabinet installer and all these different people whatever on this project I'm creating this concrete fireplace and sync for anyways.


So the designer said the only day Brandon isn't available is Thursday.

And the first response back from like the Builders is like, Thursday works for me.

What time works for you guys?

And she just went back like, no, the only day he's not available Thursday.


He's like, oh, I misread that e-mail, sorry.

It's like, it can't be any more clear.

The only day is I'm not available.


OK, yeah, Thursday.

So anyways, I think that people just have a tendency to hear something.

They don't hear the not or don't or whatever.


They just hear something and they think that's it.


Well then they go back to like all of us.

They fall back on whatever habits they've gotten used to.

And if you look out at from sealer point of views, most are using some version of a foam roller.


The last thing I want to hit before we get to the the main part of our podcast here is we have a fundamentals workshop coming up December 4th and 5th which is like 3 weeks away.

Yeah three weeks.

So if you are interested in learning the basics of concrete, templating, mixing, casting, curing, sealing and you want to learn it the right way and get off on the right foot in this industry, consider this class.


Go to and you can register for that class there.

So what I want to talk about, Jon, is how to make a concrete countertop.

How to make a concrete countertop.

I think a lot of people that Finder way to to this material that is probably the first thing they're going to make is a concrete countertop for most people.


That's where you start.

Is that how you started?

You mean like a flat surface, a flat surface countertop, yeah, a desktop, you know, whatever.

But for the most part that's that's where you're going to start, right.

So I thought, let's talk about that that that's something a lot of people have interest in.

So let's let's talk about that subject.


Does that work for you?

Yeah, but so, but I mean, it's that's huge, man.

You know, No, it's a couple different casting.

Don't muddy the water, right, Don't muddy the water.

That is not an easy one.

Don't you, Jon?

Don't you, Jon?


Shuler this conversation with Technically, yes, but And then you go like go on 1000 tangents.

Let's not, let's not do that.

We're going to keep it simple.

Well, the reason why I brought that up is, I don't know, A minute ago I was on one of the forums, yeah.


And I read this post on an individual who's like said, hey, I've never done concrete countertops before and he had or or he or she, whoever they were, had used a like a plastic form liner.

Yeah, it was.

That, that that's, yeah, that's an interesting post 'cause it has over 200 responses, which I find classy and maybe that's why I'm thinking of it, because I saw all that post recently.


Yeah, I mean, I I feel for that guy because I totally understand the do it yourself spirit.

I'm very much of that mindset.

I do a lot of things myself, but I also understand that sometimes it doesn't work out.

You know, I installed a mini split over here and I over tightened the line set and lost all the refrigerant because I just cranked it too hard.


I had to pay an HVAC guy to come out and recharge it.

You know, it happens.

So there's lessons learned when you do it yourself and unfortunately that guy, you know, I I think learned.

I I don't know.

I guess we'll see.

Learned a tough lesson because some of it turned out good and some of it did not and it's going to take some work to to get it usable.


And maybe at the end of the day he's not happy with it and ends up tearing it out and doing it again.

But that's that's the process, you know?

I mean, it happens, still happens to me.

I still cast pieces that it comes out and for whatever reason, I'm just like, I can do that better.

I can do that better.


Maybe it was a transition in the form and I thought I could do it better and I I redo it, you know, it just is what it is.

It doesn't.

All feel that way.

Yeah, it doesn't happen all the time, and it happens way less than it used to, but it's it's just part of it.

But how to make a concrete countertops?

So I'm going to discuss what I view as the easiest way to do this, and I'm just going to run through the steps.


And I might ask you a few questions along the way.

Maybe, maybe not.

It depends.

We'll see how it goes and then we can discuss it.

OK, number one, template.

Now template.

There's a lot of ways.

A template.

The easiest way is to cut strips of a material, whether that's cardboard, whether that's plastic, whether that's Luan, whatever it is, and you actually template the counter or the the cabinet with those materials, So hot glue and strips and you make a template of that cabinet.


That's the easiest way.

You can also take measurements.

If it's square and your walls are square, it might be good enough, especially if you're gonna make a backsplash because that'll take up any inconsistencies in the wall.

So templates.

So that's number one.

Number two is the material you're gonna cast on for me and I think the easiest thing for a DIY is gonna be melamine.


Melamine is a material.

It's a sheet.


That's used in mainly the the the cabinet building community for closets, insides of cabinets, things like that.

So it's a it's a a particle board core, sometimes MDF, but usually particle board core with a melamine layer on on one side or two sides.


I normally get the two sided which essentially is a water resistant coating.

It's good for one cast.

You can't cast on it twice because it does swell slightly during during curing, but it's a good surface to cast on and it's easy to work with.

You can cut it with a a saw easily and you can pocket screw it and these kind of things.


So it's for me.

I think it makes the most sense to build forms out of.



Yeah, and readily available.

Yeah, you can go to Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards.

Menards is where I'm buying it.

Or actually I just bought an entire bunk or pallet or however you want to describe it, of melamine from a lumber distributor.


But yeah, Menards is a good place to go pick it up if you have a Menards close to you.

So there is that.

So melamine, the next thing is going to be layout.

So you're going to take your melamine and you're going to rip off some strips.

And then you're going to have to determine what thickness of a countertop you want.


Inch and 1/2 is the most common thickness.

I prefer inch and a half personally.

Everything in your house is built for inch and a half countertops.

Your stove, when it slides in, is designed for an inch and a half countertop.

So me personally, inch and a half makes the most sense.


It's thick enough that it's easy to to install.

When I say easy, relatively easy.

You still are going to need two or three strong friends to help you.

But it's it's thin enough that you don't have to reinforce your cabinetry.

If you went to two inch, 2, 1/2, three, you're getting into some serious weight unless you do a drop down edge that becomes problematic.


And I have had clients over the years that want 3 inch solid.

Great, I'm happy to do it.

But you're looking at 30 plus pounds, a square foot, £35 a square foot and you know if you're talking about a slab that's 30 square feet, that's £1000.

So you are going to need to reinforce your cabinetry to to hold that and it's going to be much more difficult to get it into space and blah blah blah blah blah.


So inch and a half solid is my preference for a kitchen countertop.

And like I said, everything in your kitchen is already designed for that thickness for the most part, so that's what I prefer.

So if you're doing inch and a half, you're going to rip inch and a half strips off the long side of your melamine, the 96 inch long side.


So inch and a half by 96, rip however many strips you're going to need 234.

Then I take that template and I put it face down on my melamine.

We're casting upside down, so you need to flip it over, put it face down.

And it's very important that when you make your template, you label this side up and then flip it over and put this side up in form or however you want to say it, it doesn't matter.


But you just need to make notes.

So you know when you put it in your form that it's upside down.

So you put your template in upside down and then you trace it.

I prefer to trace it.

I don't try to build my form to the template.

It has a tendency to want to move or you can, you know, push it in a little bit and and kind of distort it.


So when it's face down, I trace it with a pencil and I build to that pencil line.

And it's funny.

I've had architects over the years ask me, you know, what are your tolerances?

Like 8th of an inch.

Like 8th of an inch?

No, like a thousandth of an inch.

I split a pencil line.

When I make a template, or if I'm doing measurements, I draw it out and I split the pencil line.


That's my that's my tolerance.

Like, oh, wow, OK, yeah.

And I'm like, yeah, that's that's what we do.

So you're saying and I'm interrupting when you template, so you're not templating to the edge of the cabinet, you're actually templating to your overhang.

That's how I do it and that's how I was taught by granite Company.


I had a buddy in Phoenix that had a granite company and he taught me how to template.

And we're gonna teach, yeah, we're gonna teach you this in the the fundamentals class and how we template.

But there's a method to to template to final size and that's what I do.

I don't template and then leave notes like extend inch and a half.


I mean, you could you could do all those things, but I find it easier to actually template to final size and that resolves any potential issues in the field 'cause maybe you do extend and then this side extends and then they bump and you have a problem.

So it's a lot easier to template to the final size and then divide your template up into the pieces.


Which is the other thing, if you have a really long piece or an l-shaped piece, I template it all as one piece and then I divide my template into the actual pieces and I know when I put it back together it'll all fit perfectly.

That's a good point, Jon.

That's a good point.

So it's face down.

You trace it and then you're going to have to attach your edges to, you know, your big flat sheet of of melamine that you've traced your, your outline onto.


So for me, the easiest way to do that is with pocket screws.

Pocket screws have, I think, revolutionized form building.

I remember when pocket screws were first kind of coming on the scene for me was a game changer because up until then I'd been screwing down through the top of the melamine.


I'd drill a pilot hole and recess it and drill down in.

But inevitably you split the melamine.

It torques it in a weird way.

You don't create.

Little bubbles along it.



I took Buddy Rhodes very first class, the only class I ever went to, but his very first class he ever taught.


And I remember him building that form, and I didn't know anything about concrete back then or mold building when I took that class.

But I did know that that edge of the form shouldn't be doing what it was doing.

When you look down the edge of the they made a countertop.


It was waving in and out.

It was leaning in this way out that way, in this way, out that way because they were screwing down through the top of the melamine and it was just torquing the melamine back and forth, right?

And I I was thinking like there's probably a better way to do that, but you know, it it was just the nature of screwing through the top of melamine.


It was just problematic.

And so pocket screws came out and the main company in that space is called Craig KREG Craig.

And they sell pocket screw kits, DIY kits at any hardware store.

Now Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace, they all sell these Craig kits.


You go and you buy it and it's a little clamp jig that clamps to the edge of the melamine.

And then you have a a drill bit especially designed that goes into the angle and drills a pocket holes just a a a angled hole into the side of the melamine.

And then you use special screws that Craig manufacturers which I recommend to attach it down.


And you know there's there's a little bit of math involved and the box explains where to set that drill bit depth and what size screw you need depending on what you're screwing together.

But with three quarter inch melamine, which is what I recommend, not half inch but three quarter, I should have said that earlier, you're going to use inch and 1/4 crag screws.


So you pocket screw your edges, your inch and a half edges and you screw them to your form and split the pencil line.

Now something to know about pocket screws is they angle forward.

The best way to describe it, they angle forward and as you're tightening the screw, it wants to pull that edge a little bit in that direction.


It's kind of angling forward and as you tighten it, it pulls it that way.

So when you're putting your edges on, you want to hold them back.

Just a hair like one.

I don't know, 164th or even less.

And as you tighten it, you'll see it pulling up to the pencil line.


And after you do a few of them, you'll figure it out because if you put them perfectly on the line and you tighten it, it'll pull past the line and your mold will be slightly too small.

Now again, most people never notice, but if you're going for precision, you hold it back just a little bit and as you tighten it up, it pulls it right to that pencil line.


OK, so you got your form.

You screwed your edges down.

Now you need to create your round over in your form.

OK, now the round over is primarily to create a functional edge.

If you had a sharp concrete edge and you rub your hand on it, you would cut your hand.


You know, I actually happened to me today with these tile the the back edge is sharp until I tablet with a diamond hand pad and I cut my hand on it.

So you need to round that over and the best way to do that is by siliconing a round over into your form.


OK, now there used to be really complicated ways to do that.

I wanna say in Futong Chang's book they used blue tape and then they put silicone in there and tooled it and then pulled the tape and then you left like a little bit of a line in the silicone that showed up in your concrete.


Then you had to try to Polish out with your water polishing.

You could get it out but it was a very time intensive way.

When I first started that's the way I did it.

It was very time intensive and over the years we've come out with easier and faster ways to do it.

I'm going to tell you my way, which I think is the easiest way.


So you want to get GE silicone type 2.

OK, so type 2GE silicone.

And you want to get a color that is, I would say in the range of the piece you're casting, but that you can see.


So the white silicone is very hard to see on white melamine.

So if I'm casting a white piece I'll use a cream colored silicone.

If I'm casting a black piece, I'll use black silicone right?

You don't have to color match it.

If you're casting red concrete you don't need red silicone, but I'd use Gray.


And the reason for that is I've I I have experienced some tendency for colored silicone to absorb into the concrete and discolor it.

So if I'm using black silicone and casting white concrete, I have had that black silicone yellow the concrete slightly, slightly it it seemed like that pigment in the silicone slightly discolored the concrete.


And so from that day on I just if I'm doing light colored concrete I use cream, dark, I use black, anything in the middle I'll use Gray.

And I I don't worry about that slight discoloration if it were to ever happen again.

So you get GE type 2 silicone and you apply a nice bead into the corner you want to round over on.


Then while it's still wet, right after you apply it, you take foaming glass cleaner and I spray it spray the whole line of silicone.

Then I take a popsicle stick and I tool that line, meaning that I use the popsicle stick to create the roundover.


So I just run it down that line and it picks up the excess but doesn't none of the excess sticks to the edges if that makes sense.

It's almost like non stick.

And so you you tool it, you wipe off the excess on a paper towel and when it builds up and you tool it and you wipe off the excess and you tool it and you wipe off the excess and then you let it dry.


And if there's any that did bleed off the sides, just take a little razor blade scrape those off and and you know and then you're going to let it cure you let it cure overnight and you let the let the the glass cleaner just evaporate and dry.

You don't have to worry about trying to wipe it out.

It's not going to hurt anything.


And so that's how you do your silicone roundover the easy way.

There's harder ways.

I used to do the harder ways.

I don't do that anymore.

Now I just use a foamy glass cleaner and I tool it and I'm done.

So the next day you're going to come in and you're going to need to clean the form before you cast.

Now for me, I I'm actually going back to an old school Chang trick and that's to use a product called Gel Gloss and.


And I'm going to interrupt you.

So what was your reasoning as I'm sitting here listening because I'm just nodding my head as you go.

What's your reasoning for Waiting till tomorrow between caulking your edges, creating your round over?

Why did you wait a day?


I think that's important information, yeah, to allow the silicon to fully cure, so it doesn't want a bond to the concrete.


And if it doesn't, then it yeah, we get it's a sticky mess.

Air holes and sticking and etcetera, Yeah.


So wait, I mean, there's never a rush.

People like, well, I can cast an hour after I do it.


Yeah, good practice.



There's no point like, I just don't get it, but whatever, you know?

Yeah, these are the little things.

That's what I was saying.

When you just say yeah, then the next day, whoa, why did you wait till the next day?

That's you gotta let it cure.


Got a little cure, Jon.

So next day you come in.

You need to clean your form.

The the dried glass cleaner is gonna leave like some residue in the edges.

You can see it and raking light.

You gotta get that out.

But also your form.

There might be pencil lines, there might be scuffs, there might be whatever you need to clean it.


And so Futung Chang back in the day used to use Formica to cast on, which was high gloss.

I don't recommend that, but that's what he used to do, and they would clean the Formica with a product called gel gloss because it was made for cleaning high gloss surfaces.


I found it to be extremely good at cleaning melamine as well, and in some ways it it just creates a nicer cast finish.

It kind of slicks out the melamine in a way.

And So what you do with the gel gloss, and they sell that again at Lowe's or Home Depot, is you shake the can and you spray a nice even mist over the entire piece.


I'll do it on top of sink molds.

I do it on the melamine, your edges.

You spray it all.

You let it essentially sit there for a minute or so.

And then you take a towel and you wipe it all down and then you let it dry.

And so you wipe it to kind of even it out and pick up all the excess.


And then you just like leave a thin layer and you let it dry.

And once it dries, which takes a few minutes, you take another towel that's dry and you buff it.

And when you do that, you'll just see the whole mold shine up really nice, really nice.

And at that point, you're essentially ready to cast if, for instance, you had a sink mold in your form, which we're not talking about, we're talking about a countertop.


But if you did, you want to apply a release agent to that sink mold.

But if you're just casting into melamine, which we're doing, you don't need to add a release agent.

There's no need for it.

The melamine will release from the concrete.

And that being said, the gel gloss in some ways kind of acts as a release because it just makes it more hydrophobic.


The melamine, it makes it repel the concrete to an extent to where it just bit falls off.

When I use gel gloss and I pull my my edges, they just fall off.

So this point you're going to need to cast your concrete.

Now for this exercise, we're going to be talking about using SCC GFRC mix consistency with Kodiak Pro Maker mix, which I think is the easiest mix by far.


That's going to yield the best results by far.

So if you go to and you click on Maker Mix, we have the mix recipes available on the website.

You can download it and you're going to be using the SCCGFRC mix design, but you're going to need to calculate how much concrete you need.


And for that you're going to need to calculate your volume of your countertop.

And so for that you're gonna measure your length and your width and your height.

Height no TH your height.

And you're gonna multiply those three together so length times width times height.


And you're you're going to divide that number, whatever that is, by 1728, one 728.

So you get your length times width times height.

Multiply those three and then divide by 1728 and that will give you your cubic feet, which is volumetric.


That's a cubic foot of concrete.

And on the back of maker mix we have the volume that one bag makes.

What is that, Jon?

.37 cubic feet 0.37 So let's say for instance, your measurement was, you need .6 cubic feet.


OK, well, you're gonna probably need 2 bags, right?

There's no point in trying to weigh out the bag in 3/4, so you're gonna mix up. 2 bags 1.62 Yeah, yeah, what?


What are you talking about?

1.62 bags?

Yeah, 1.62, Yeah, but I'm saying who's gonna do that?

No, no, but you leave some extra.


Yeah, nobody's gonna do that.

So you're gonna you're gonna calculate your volume of your form, and then you're gonna divide that by .37 and that's gonna tell you how many bags you need.


And then from there you can figure out the rest of it, how much TBP you need, how much glass fiber you need, how much water and ice you need.

OK, So you'll you'll get your mix quantity and your materials needed by doing that.

That's a really common question, people.

How much concrete do I need?

That's how you calculate it right there.


That's the easiest and most accurate way.

The thing I'd recommend is always add 10 to 20% to that number for waste, because the mixing process itself is you know you're going to end up losing concrete sometimes on the floor, sometimes as you're pouring it, it falls on the floor.


Yeah, In the bucket, Yeah.

Don't try to get too precise in the sense of, oh, I, you know, it says I need .37, so I'm going to mix up one bag.

You might want to mix up a bag and 1/2 or a bag and a quarter just to have a little bit of excess.

It's better to have a little bit too much than not enough, because if you come up with a little bit short and then you have to go through the whole thing of batching, mixing, slaking, mixing glass, fiber pouring, you know, you might get a cold joint between those two layers.


So it's better just to have a little bit too much than a little bit too little.

That's my advice.

All right.

So SECGFRC, how do you mix that?

Well, let's talk about it.

So you're going to batch out your water and your ice.

You're going to batch your TBP, which you're going to weigh in grams, and your glass fiber.


And if you're using pigment, you're gonna weigh that out as well.

And so you're gonna, you're gonna have all your dries weighed out and you're gonna have all your liquid in a bucket.

So I'm gonna add my dry to my liquid.

I'm gonna add probably about 3/4 of it, maybe half, 3/4 of the dry to the liquid.


I'm gonna mix it up and I'm gonna be using a Colo Mix XO 6 handheld mixer.

If you don't have one of those, you go to Lowe's or Home Depot and they now sell these tile mixers, handheld tile mixers in the tile section.

They didn't have those when I started, but now they do.


And it's kind of a knock off of the column mix, but it'll work for a project or two.

I wouldn't buy it for a lot of pieces.

So you add your dry to the liquid, you Add all your TBP in there, You mix it up.

OK, you're gonna add, we talked about this in the last podcast, but you're not about 70% of your dry.


You're gonna mix it.

You're gonna add a little bit more of your dry, You're gonna mix it.

You're gonna add the remainder of your dry, you're gonna mix it.

And the reason you do that is so you don't choke the mix is what we call it.

But essentially you don't, you don't introduce too much dry too fast and it's difficult to mix.

So you want to kinda layer the dry into the liquid as you're mixing.


So you end up with a a easier mixing cycle in, in the end, a better mix in our opinion.

Any thoughts, Jon?

No dude, I'm just following along.

You're all there.

I was just going to say we we just went through the mixing and I'll tell you what, I've probably taken a dozen calls since the last podcast and messages when people have increased their flow and now using a little less TBP by again breaking the loading and and making everything more.


I always use the word efficient, but allowing the plasticizer to be stronger a lot of.

So yeah, it's it's amazing difference.

If you just follow those steps.

It is, yeah.

So you're going to mix up your mix however much you need.

You're going to mix it up and you're going to let it set for 10 minutes.


And this is called slaking.

It's called a flash set.

It's called a false set.

There's a lot of different names for different industries, different terminology, but it's all the same thing.

You're going to let that mix just rest.

You're not going to disturb it for 10 minutes.

The best way to describe what's happening is the concrete.


This is the way I describe it.

It's probably not correct.

But this in my mind it makes sense is the concrete's going to start forming some bonds.

It's going to start forming bonds and starting to set to some extent.

And we're going to break those bonds after 10 minutes, we're going to take the mix, we're going to mix it up again and it takes longer for those bonds to reform.


Now that's probably not the what's happening and Jon can give you a much more concise answer, but in my mind that makes sense and that's the way I visualize it in my head.

But guys that do masonry.

They mix up mortar, they let it slake, they let it set for 10 minutes, they mix it again and instead of that mix kicking off in 1520 minutes, it'll last for an hour while they're setting, setting brick.


So that's the same thought process with this is we let it set and then we mix it up again and we're gonna end up with a mix that has longer working time, longer open time essentially before it wants to gel up on you to some extent.

So we're going to mix it up again after that 10 minutes slake and then you're going to add in your glass fiber and we're using AR glass fiber, alkali resistant glass fiber.


Do not go down to a fiberglass supply store that sells fiberglass for automotive and get glass fiber and put that in your concrete.

The concrete will destroy that glass fiber.

You need to get AR glass fiber.

A company called Silica Systems is who I buy it from there in California, but AR glass fiber.


So you're going to add your glass fiber in?

And at this point, when you're mixing that glass fiber in, you want to slow down your mixer because the glass fiber is susceptible to damage.

So you don't want to be going full bore, you know, Max that thing out because you'll tear those fibers up.

So slow down your mixer, fold it in like you're baking, like you're you're making cinnamon rolls or something.


You just want to layer those in, fold it in, and as soon as they're dispersed evenly through the mix, you're done mixing.

Mixing anymore is not going to do any good.

It's just going to cause problems.

So once those fibers are dispersed through that mix, you're done, OK, so the mix is done.

At that point you're going to take the mix over to your form and you're going to pour it in.


Now a little tip for you is pour it in one spot.

I traditionally start in a corner and let the mix flow out ahead of you and pour onto existing mix.

Meaning if I pour here that mix flows out.

I'm not going to go over here and pour in a spot where there's no mix and then go over there important spot with no mix because as those.


Kind of blobs of concrete flow out and meet each other.

They're going to trap air where the where they meet.

And so if you have multiple pores and they all kind of come together, I see this on YouTube or TikTok or Instagram people posting videos making countertops and I see them pouring here and pouring there and pouring over there and pouring over there.


And every place that those pores eventually meet they're going to trap air.

And So what I do is I pour in one spot and then from there I just let it flow out and I keep pouring onto.

Existing mix, I don't pour in front of it.

I pour onto and I just let it keep flowing, keep flowing and I just follow it as it goes and keeps pouring onto it.


So you pour the concrete in, you fill it up to the top of your table, which the other thing I didn't tell you, Jon, which is important is before you start this whole process, make sure your table is level OK.

Because you're doing an SCC mix, it's going to find level on its own.


If your table is slanted, one side's an inch higher than the other side.

That concrete is going to find level and you're going to put the countertop that's inch and 1/2 here and 1/2 inch over there because it's tilted.

So be sure your table is level.


So you're going to fill it up to the top.

You're going to slosh the table around a little bit and I just bump it with my hip.


Just give it a little slosh and you'll see it.

Just you'll see the concrete just kind of level out very nice.

And then I take a a rubber mount and I just go around the form and I just tap gently.

Not the edge of the countertop, but just the flat section.

Just tap, tap, tap, tap, tap just around the edge.


So any air that might be trapped in that round over where we siliconed or whatever that it gives it a chance to want to pop up off that and come up to the to the surface.

So I just go around, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.

We're not going to use traditional concrete vibrator.


They sell vibrators for concrete.

Those are detrimental to an SCCG FRC mix.

So don't do that if you're going to do any vibration.

It's low amplitude.

It's going to be rubber mallets, and you're just going to gently tap the table and just go around the piece and that's it, OK?

At that point, you are, for, for all intents and purposes, you are done making the countertop.


So you're going to walk away.

You're going to walk away for, you know, you're going to go clean your shop, you're going to clean your tools, you're going to sweep the floor, you're going to throw away the empty bags.

And then you can go get a coffee, you can take a break, you can do whatever.

You're going to give it a few hours.

So wait a few hours.

You're going to come back and the concrete should have gelled up by then.


The the backside should be firm to the touch.

It's still going to be soft.

You can poke your finger through it if you push, but when you touch it, it's not going to stick to your finger.

OK, so it's gelled up.

At this point you're going to very gently and carefully cover the backside with polyester felt, and you can get that at any fabric store.


It's super cheap.

Polyester felt, not wool felt.

Wool felt's like 100 bucks a yard.

Polyester felt's like $3 a yard.

So polyester felt then you're going to put a sheet of plastic over the back.

So just a plastic like, you know, whatever it is.

I don't know what the thickness is 1 mil or .3 mil.


I don't know what it is, but the thick stuff.

Get the thick plastic at Lowe's or Home Depot, but a plastic 4 mil, 4 mil so So get a plastic drop cloth like a 9 by 12 at Lowe's or Home Depot and layer that on over the over the back of the polyester felt.


And then take some packing blankets.

You'll go to Harbor Freight.

That's the cheapest place to buy them.

They're like 7 bucks each.

Buy three or four packing blankets and cover the back of that with packing blankets.

OK, do that and let it set for 24 hours minimum. 24 hours from the time you cast it till till it's time to take the the form off. 24 hours.


When you come in the next day and you reach up underneath those layers, that thing should be cooking.

I mean, it should be really hot.

And you want to leave it.


Don't get antsy.

Don't pull the forms too soon.

Let the concrete continue to cure.

What you're going to be checking for is you want to reach up underneath, and you want the concrete to reach ambient room temperature on its own, covered.


So when that concrete has reached ambient temperature of the the room around it, at that point you can uncover it.

And typically it's going to be 24 hours, maybe a little bit more.

But let the concrete do its thing.

It's gaining strength.

It's not.

You're not doing any favors by pulling it early, right?

So let it go.

You're going to pull your plastic off the back, your felt off the back, and if you need to grind, now's the time to do it.


So maybe you poured a little bit too much and your concrete's a little too thick.

You can take a grinder and you can grind the backside, leaving the edges on the the melamine edges.

Leave those on.

They're going to A be a guide so you know that you've gone far enough, but B it helps protect them from chipping out.


If you take those off, then you grind.

You can ship that bottom edge because the grinder is aggressive and it can ship it out.

So leave the edges on and grind if you need to grind and then at that point you can pull the pocket screws and you can carefully remove the edges.


OK, so there's melamine edges at this point before I flip it, I take a diamond hand pad and I bevel the bottom edges.

I just give them a quick rub down.

They also sell rub stones for brick.

Not that I recommend them, but I know some people use them for this purpose.


But you just want to ease that edge.

You can even use a sand or a sandpaper like 80 grit sandpaper.

Ease that bottom edge cuz it's sharp so you want to ease it.

Then you want to essentially flip the piece over.

Oops, sorry, you want to flip the piece over by hinging it.


OK, So what I mean by this is if you're doing a countertop, you don't want to come over to one corner and just lift up on it, because what you're doing is you're putting all the pressure on the opposing corner.

You're lifting it up and you're creating a pressure point on one little tiny corner way over there.


That's not good.

Don't do that.

You want to have some help here, But what you do want to do is you want to hinge it.

Think of like a door hinge.

When I lift up the piece, I want the long edge on the other side to remain in full contact with that melamine form as I'm flipping it up so that pressure is evenly distributed.


It's not just on one corner, it's on a point load.

It's evenly distributed.

That's very important.

Whenever I see people say I broke a piece, it's because you just cranked on one edge.


You created a lot of stress and a piece didn't need to be there.

So you wanna lift it evenly and you wanna hinge on the long side.


Leave that so it's always rested on the melamine as you're flipping it.

So you have some help, you have some friends, and you very carefully lift up one side and you leave the other side touching the melamine.

You flip it up that point you can lift up evenly at the same time.


Again, don't lift to one side and put pressure on the other corner, but together as a team, lift it up.

Move it back, put foam strips down on top of your table and then you can again let it hinge on on one long edge.

Lower it down so now it's right side up so now it's right side up.


You can see it for the first time and it's resting on foam strips.

The foam strips let air evenly circulate around the piece.

This is very important if you just flipped it over and you let it be completely in contact with the melamine or your table or whatever, but air can't circulate the top.


Is going to expand and contract at a different than the bottom and that's going to create curling issues.

And so when again I see on social media people do that, they're just setting themselves up for problems with curling because it's going to be trying to cure and it's going to start to have a differential and it's going to curl.

So you want to flip it over and be sure it's on foam strip so air can circulate.


At this point you're going to need to process the concrete.

So what I do is I take the concrete, I usually let it set for a day.

Before I do this, so you want to let it set for a day, give it a day, but I take it into an area where I can get it wet.

So if you're doing it at your house those will be your driveway probably or out in the yard.


In my shop I have a a wet area inside my shop.

I take it in there and I hose the whole thing down with water and I take a diamond hand pad and they sell these for stone and granite and concrete.

I'm going to use that Diamond Hand Pad Wet.

On my round overs, just to clean them up just to make them look nice.


Maybe when I siliconed them there's like a spot where the popsicle stick created like a little line or something.

This will even it all out, make it look really nice.

So I hit all my round overs with that wet diamond hand pad and hit any other areas that need to to be rounded over a little bit more just you know, cleaned up.


And then I take simple green.

Simple Green is a degreaser.

Someplace like what am I thinking of Dollar General sales one called Purple Power, which is a degreaser.

A lot of people use that, but you need a degreaser and you're going to spray the whole piece down with the degreaser.


All the concrete that's going to get any residue off the concrete.

So maybe there was mold release or there was wax or there was gel gloss, Yeah, gel.

Any residue?

Yeah, cast residue.


You want to strip all that off so that degreaser is going to clean your concrete, so you're going to spray it with the degreaser again.


I use Simple Green.

Then you're gonna rinse it off of the water, and then you're gonna acid etch the concrete.

This is my preferred method for processing the concrete.

So for the acid etch, you're going to take water and muuratic acid, which they sell at any hardware store in the in the outdoor section.


It's in the pool area.

They use it for pools.

You're going to take muuratic acid and you want to get actual muuratic acid.

You don't want to get the muuratic acid alternatives.

They sell these, quote UN quote green acids, which actually aren't muuratic acid.

They're salt you want to get.

Muuratic acid and I'm gonna dilute it.


Five parts water, one part acid and I put it in a pump up sprayer and I just use a little handheld pump up sprayer.

They're like 10-12 bucks at Home Depot or Lowe's.

The pump up handheld sprayer.

So I put five parts water, one part acid in the pump up sprayer.


The concrete is wet, it's rinsed off, it's nice and wet, and I start spraying it down with this diluted acid solution.

And I just walk around the piece and I keep it wet.

I'm just continually reapplying the acid.

I'm never letting it dry and I'm just keeping it, keeping it constantly reapplied.


The reason is when I applied that muriatic acid to the concrete, that diluted muuric acid, it's reacting, but then it's it's self neutralizing pretty quickly against the concrete.

You can see it reacting, you can see it bubbling, but within 1520 seconds it just goes dormant, yeah.


So I need to keep it, keep reapplying, so it keeps, keeps activated and keeps etching the surface.

So you walk around it.

You're just, you're just walking around, walking around, walk around.

It's super easy, no stress, You're just keeping it wet.

After about, I don't know, 30 seconds to a minute, I take a hose and I rinse it off and I feel it.


I feel it with my finger.

Now I can tell pretty much just by looking at it that it's what I'm looking for.

But I feel it.

I'm I'm me personally, I'm looking for like a.

Anywhere from like a 220 to a 400.

Wet sandpaper feeling, tactile feeling.

When I touch the surface, there'll be a little bit of a tooth to it, but it's it's very fine.


OK, so then after I've rinsed off all the acid and it the the top is, you know, completely clean, I take a green Scotch brite pad which you again can get in your hardware store.

And I scrub the entire surface with water and the Scotch brite, and I scrub the whole surface.


I just scrub it all evenly, Go over the whole thing, go over two or three times.

You don't want to miss a spot.

And it's very easy to miss a spot when it's wet, you can't see it.

So just go over it, go over, go over, go over.

You're not going to hurt it.

Scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub.

Then rinse it off the water.

And that's when you actually see the concrete, because all that concrete on the top was softened by the acid.


But until you scrub it with the Scotch brite, it doesn't come off.

So when I rinse it with the water, it all washes off, that top layer washes off and then I can actually see the little sand particles and I see the concrete.

And then you know, and it's very even because when you first demould it, it might be some blotchiness due to moisture absorbing out of the form due to the melamine edge or whatever it is.


But when I asked it actually it evens it out so it's super even.

And that's when you actually have a good sense of what the finished piece is going to look like.

I take a squeegee and I squeegee off all the the water.

I'm going to take a clean cloth and I dry off any areas that still have some water left on it and I let it dry and at that point we're going to be ready for sealer.


But that is the process of how to make a concrete countertop from start to finish.

Did I miss anything?

No, I don't think so.

That's pretty much start to finish.

Build the mold, use your mold material, fill the mold, let it cure, cure it properly or the best of your ability and process it.


There it is.

And that really is 20 years of trying every wrong way to do it.

And that's the easiest way, in my opinion, to make a concrete countertop.

Yeah, the caveats that come in there is which mold materials, which silicones, you know anyway, blah.


And then that's where experience becomes endless on what you're doing.

You know, upright cast, precast SCC, you know, textured looks, you know, this is where the material itself becomes.


I think I, you know, I just think of concrete like a clay.

You could pretty much make it.

Which do you want it even?

Like a big part that you described was doing an again, an SCC to create that kind of even don't pour from three different spots, because where those spots end up coming together, you're going to have a certain look.


But on the flip side, without you knowing it, you just told people how to create a certain look, poured in different spots anyway, just stuff like that, yeah?

No, and that's the point in my my.

Point of view on this is, in my opinion, this is the easiest way to make a concrete countertop, undeniably.


Yes, from there, like you said, you can go into upright cast.

You can go into spraying in a phase coat and applying a back coat.

You can do the dusty creep method with casting powders and carving techniques.

There's From there it's infinite, but this is step one.


In a journey of 1000 miles, this is step one on how to make a countertop and I wish I would have known how to do it this way when I started because the ways I used to do it were so difficult in comparison to what I just described.

What I just described is a very easy way Any DIY or can do what I just described and come out with a countertop that rivals the best pros out there in the sense of you're if you're using the right mix.


The right form material, the right silicone, You're curing it properly.

You're processing properly in your sealing property.

There's no reason why your countertop that you made yourself in your garage doesn't look as good as one I made in my studio, and I've been doing it for 20 years.

You should be able to have the same good.



Yeah, exactly.

So last thing, Jon, is the sealer part.

I thought I'd leave that to you to discuss sealing for a beginner.

Don't go into the I wouldn't even use a torch because a lot of people don't have a torch.

They're not going to buy a torch.

What would be the best person?

So somebody's cured it, acid, etched it.


At this point they need to seal it with ICT.

What is your recommended protocol for sealing that piece for a beginner?

Again, taking into taking that into consideration that this is going to be the first piece they're going to seal using ICT, yeah to me that the simplest method would be first of all, the dry concrete.


You know you've already processed it.

Let it go at least overnight till the next day and 8 ounce pull trigger spray bottle that you can pick up from Amazon or any, you know, local heart, Ace Hardware, whatever the case may be and essentially A microfiber cloth microfiber sponge.


You wet the surface, you wipe the surface you base in in.

I mean in the simplest form I can see with ICT.

The idea is to treat it like a penetrating sealer and saturate and let the material dwell start out with diluted like my My recognition minimum on a first application dry piece of concrete would be two parts water, one part sealer so that you can really have some open work time to work a surface without the sealer reacting on you.


After that once that dries which would take a little minute if you're not using something, you know the little techniques that that the pros have used to speed the process up.

Let it dry.

I I would give it at least 30 minutes to dry and then apply a second application diluted 1 to one with water.


And when I say water, it's clean water.

And it doesn't have to be crazy crystal geyser.

Any clean waters, deionized water that you can pick up at, you know, most places, grocery stores and otherwise any of that stuff will work just fine.


Distilled water, which is like 50 distilled water, yeah, yeah, yeah, just stuff like that.

And a couple applications diluted and again using a microfiber sponge, microfiber cloth or depending on the size of the project, you could easily use your microfiber mop, you know the kind of stuff that's used on on cleaning floors.


And after that a couple 3-4 applications of full strength done each, each one of those application making sure they're dried in between give at least 30 minutes of dry time and finish up.

I said the caveat to this, just because we're talking about DIY, meaning people who may not have the tooling the torch, you know, these kind of things to manipulate the materials would be let all that sealer cure the next day and then I would still wipe down with vinegar, household vinegar and you know, try to to speed up the reactions.


But you're not going to do it as quickly as some of us are doing it.

You know, just a few minutes after an application.

But the following day, wipe with vinegar and and you, you'll be ready to go.

Are you diluting the vinegar or just using it full strength?

No, just full strength.


If you if you go till the following day and you've given it overnight to cure full strength will be just fine.

And would Windex with vinegar, would that have a similar effect or would you still recommend like a white vinegar?

No, that would be more cleaning.

Yeah there's because if on the young sealer like that which again we're describing non manipulation.


You know we're not we're not pushing heat to we're not doing any of this stuff like all of us who are doing.

I'm trying to turn a project and maybe install it the next day or within 48 hours someone who's doing it in place or at their home and maybe moving it into their bathroom to install.


You don't the even the Windex with vinegar is going to have soaps and cleaning agents and these kind of things that you don't want to disrupt the young sealer.

So just just just plain white distilled vinegar that you want in in any grocery store, that's what I would use.


Probably wipe it down two or three times, you know, every few hours or after you install kind of stuff that will push the chemistry a little bit faster without having but maintenance and cleaning.

Yeah, Windex with vinegar would be optimal.


Clorox Multi purpose cleaner, you know things like that.

And then after that would just be the the again the small nuances.

That would probably, again, one of those situations where I might recommend a ceramic coat.

Your basic ceramic coat that you'd find at Pep Boys or Kragan or any.


Of these.

So tell me about that, Because first time I hear you say that.


What ceramic coats?

So yeah, ceramic coats are a silica dioxide.

They're used a lot for your to keep your paints on, especially on new cars, keep them hard, let them slide easy.

Things like this.


Now most of us doing it where we're manipulating with things like heat and torch and wiping in between every application and doing all this kind of stuff, it's it's not as necessary.

But the reality is this goes back to heat curing versus not.


So now we're gonna talk about the sealer.

You're not heat curing it, right.

You're not pushing the chemistry like you're.

Talking about somebody doing it DIY, they're you know, right.

Yeah, Yeah.

So you're not.


And you know, you can still push it to the best of your ability, but you're just not gonna have the tooling unless you invest in it.

And that might get a little expensive for a, you know, small one off project.


But the silicon dioxide ceramic coat reacts with the sealers right off the bat and it helps create a a functional ceramic film.

That's how would I describe it it you know it's not going to let it's.


Sacrificial forever.

But yeah, it's superficial and it's going to be a short term duration for early protection, huh.

That we don't, we don't necessarily need, but I could see in the situation where you're not manipulating it, that would help tremendously.



Yeah, I've never heard of that.

Have you recommended that?

That's interesting.


Well, that's because most of us aren't doing it DIY.



I mean some people are, but yeah, well I don't know.

Most of us are using it in from a business point of view.


We're all using the manipulation techniques and I have talked talked about ceramics with many people just more as a how would I get again a a superficial something it's help slide you might be in a home that you know getting a lot of cast iron or or clay pottery and these kind of stuff but it's something that you know is going to wear out and it just helps ease that's all.


But yeah, I I definitely in this situation, if you're not using the heat and you're not using the manipulation techniques, I would definitely this.

I would recommend that as part of it rather than a maybe you ought to try it Now that that one I just go get order to Amazon.


Yeah, something like that.

Well, that's interesting.

I want to test it now just to do it I.

Like the ceramics, man.

I mean, they're they're really cool.


Well, I learned something new today, Jon, which is good.


Well, it's always good to learn new things.


And I'm I I will go down to AutoZone or something, pick some up and just apply it to a little test piece and see how I like it.

That's interesting.

I know Dusty used to do something kind of like that with coconut oil as like a sacrificial layer that he'd put on just to make it more hydrophobic in the early days.


Knowing that it's not going to last very long but you know it would yeah.

The problem with that is kind of like waxes in my now again in my experience, not opinion, this is experience with regardless of what sealer we're talking about, the use of the waxes or or the oils, these kind of that we think are sacrificial.


They still build up.


Now in this case something like a ceramic which is a silicon dioxide.

There is no build up.

It's a direct reaction with the film.

I mean the film, if you're using or with ICT, it's a direct reaction.

So when the surface wears however it wears, it takes it all with it.


So you don't have to strip anything like you would have to strip the wax or somehow strip the oil to to rejuvenate or repair the surface.


Yeah, makes sense.

Makes sense.

Cool buddy.

All right, well, one last time.

Just remind you.


December 4th and 5th Fundamentals Workshop.


Go check it out.

Anything else you want to talk about, Jon?

No, man.

OK, sounds a good podcast.

Yeah, felt a little long.

Yeah, I mean, it's a little long, but you know, that's a lot of information to pack in.


It is, but it isn't, You know, that's what I just distilled down to probably was about 30 minutes is literally 20 years of trial and error distilled down to 30 minutes.

Hopefully that saves some people, some trials and tribulations that that I went through that.


Aren't necessary any longer.

Well, huge advancements in materials, man.

I mean, I, I, I know we talk about this, but if we walk back even 10 years, everything you just described, it was so full of pitfalls that we had to try to work around because of the concrete materials that we were using.



So it's, we've come a long way.

We'll keep pushing.

But yeah, we've come a long way.


And learned a lot.

Yeah, because of everything you just described.

I was talking to my best friend Charles.

So, you know you've met Charles.

He called me.

I was, I was back here casting tile and he called me.


He's like, what are you doing?

I'm like, I'm casting tile.

He's like, is that is that difficult?

I was like, no, no, it's actually not.

Not anymore.

It used to be difficult.

It used to be extremely difficult to do stuff like this.

And it was impossible to cast 1/4 inch.

You know but I told him the materials that that Jon and I have developed with Kodiak.


It just it takes 99% of the the struggle out of the process and all the friction points and everything that made it difficult and and made it time consuming and just created all these issues those are gone and so really the DIY market these materials even though we've.


We've designed them for professionals, for the DI wires out there.

If you're a maker, you're a DI wire, you're a weekend warrior.

These materials will make your life and the products you make 1000 times better.

So if you're interested in trying concrete, I highly recommend don't make the mistakes that so many guys make where they go to Home Depot or Lowe's, they get Quickrete 5000, they get rapid set, they buy some mix from some company selling edge forms or something.


Do not go down that road unless.

You want to do it two or three times and then and then finally try Kodiak Pro and then like, why didn't I do this to start with?

You know, it's hard because all of that becomes very frustrating.

Yeah, as I was, you know, again, mentally while you were saying what you're saying, think of that because we've been there at some point.


I can.

My heart goes out to the guy who made that post that he, you know, with his cast in place.

And I mean, I just, I remember what it felt like.

And your heart would sink.

And even if that was in his own house, you're like, oh, my gosh, do I try to fix it?


Try, try to Pat, you know, do I get a lipstick on this pig?

Am I going to destroy my cabinetry by trying to rip it out?


I mean, that's just a horrible place to be in.

And none of us.

I mean, you really don't have to be there anymore.

Yeah, well, it was my last.


Point with that post was I I some of the comments I read were talking about saving money, right.

They're like, well do this, it's way cheaper or something.

There's one or two comments along those lines and I was what I thought when I read those comments was the cost of doing it twice is always far more than the cost of doing it right the first time.



To do it right one time only is the cheapest way, had this gentleman.

Contacted Joe Bates and ordered Maker Mix and poured this.

Using Maker Mix he would had very different results and not that he was wrong using Quikrete 5000.


I started using Quikrete 5000 when I first started my company, right, But that's what we're talking about.

Back then it was way more difficult than it needed to be.

It was difficult agreed because that was what it was.

I mean not that it needed to be.

It was difficult because it was difficult and through innovation it's become a lot easier and a lot better.


And a lot more consistent and just a lot better in product, but that's been through innovation over 2 decades.

But for somebody starting today, you don't have to go through those things that we went through unless you want to, unless you want to and some people do, then go down to Home Depot or Lowe's and and go that route.


But better things exist and we don't make it difficult.

The other thing is I electricians here today working.

You still there, buddy?


I'm like I I was waiting for you to come back.

What you did?

So I I had electricians here today working and I was working on these tile acid etching them and and doing the whole thing and they were they were like man those are those are really cool and like how do you cast it that thin.


I'm like, well, it's a UHPC and I said, you know UHPC, it's a material that other companies.

Manufacture UHPC products materials, but you have to buy a license.

That license can be $20,000 just to have the privilege to buy their product.


You have to buy a license to buy their product.

And if you don't buy the license, you can't buy their product.

And so by doing that, they essentially keep everybody from having access to the product.

Only you know, very wealthy companies can afford to buy that license and then buy their product.

Our product is readily available to everybody.


And so if you contact Joe Bates, Joe at, contact Joe Bates, he'll sell you a bag, you know, So these materials and these innovations are easily accessible, readily available, cost effective and make a world of difference for anybody that's wanting to make their own products.


So I highly encourage you if you're a maker, if you're a DIY, or don't make the mistake of using subpar products because of cost because by the time you do it 2-3 times.

You could have just done it right the first time and it had been far cheaper and you wouldn't have all that time invested in recasting again and again.


So it's my advice.

All right.

On that note, Jon, you ready to wrap it up?



Go no, no, no.

We in this with adios amigo.

OK, sorry buddy, adios.

Adios Jons, you are all quiet.


We leave quietly.

Leave quietly.

I come in like a Wrecking Ball, like swinging in on like a little Wrecking Ball.

Yeah, there you go, buddy.

I'll get my kick going kick.

All right.

All right, man.


Adios, adios.



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