How To Make Recycled Glass Concrete Countertops

How To Make Recycled Glass Concrete Countertops

Making a recycled glass concrete countertop is an impressive project you should try out. Even though it is time-consuming and might be slightly costly because of the material and tools you will need, it is still worth it because you will create something you can use in your kitchen or bathroom.

Moreover, it will have a distinct look from the other kinds of countertops you will find in stores. It will give your home a fashion statement and leave visitors gushing over its elegance. It is a worthy project you will be proud of.

The dimension of the recycled glass concrete countertop in this blog post will be 91″ long and 24″ deep, and it will have a total thickness of 3/4″. After the construction, this countertop will weigh around 125 pounds. We suggest you use this same dimension, so you won’t be confused when building the form walls and wall liners.

How To Make Recycled Glass Concrete Countertops – Steps below

1. BUILD A SUPPORT

How To Make Recycled Glass Concrete Countertops

Before making a recycled glass concrete countertop, you will need to consider where it will be installed on. The popular item it is usually installed on is the cabinet in your kitchen or bathroom. Using a cabinet requires no special supports or bracing. However, if you don’t have a cabinet or its size is too small for the countertop you want, you can install it on a steel frame, and if you want, you can use the bottom of the steel frame as storage.

Step 1 – Planning

  • You need to consider the cabinet base and location of brackets because they will impact the countertop design. Make sure you measure the cabinet or steel frame.
  • Make sure that the cabinet or steel frame you want to use is flat, securely anchored, and has the strength to support heavy loads.

Step 2 – Anchoring

  • If you are using a steel frame, anchor it to the wall so it can stay firmly on the ground. Anchor the top, middle, and bottom to the wall.

 

2. BUILD THE FORM

The form will be a 1-inch thick slab for the countertop. Building it requires little effort. It should take about an hour at most when building this form.

 

Things you will need:

  • Utility Knife
  • Chop Saw/Table Saw
  • Vibco Variable Speed Controller
  • Vibco Table Vibrator
  • 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Straight Edge
  • 3/4″ Melamine
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • 100% Silicone Caulk
  • Caulking Gun
  • Corner and Seam Shaping Tools
  • Double-Sided Carpet Tape
  • Concrete Countertop Forms

 

Step 1 – Layout the melamine baseboard

  • The 3/4″ melamine form base will be cut with additional 4 inches of the countertop size you want. The countertop size is 24″ × 91″ so the melamine base will be 28″ × 95″. This is an extra 2″ on each side of the melamine board (a total of 8″). These extra inches is for the accommodation of the foam form walls.
  • Now, use a pencil to layout the 24″ x 91″ dimension of the countertop.

Step 2 – Cut the form walls height

  • If the countertop form you opt for is the CHENG Foam Form Walls and Liners, you will find them in 2″ and 2-1″ height. You will have to cut them to 3/4″, based on the countertop dimension we are using in this blog post.
  • Mark the form walls at 3/4″ with the ruler and the pencil. Mark it along the length of the foam.
  • Use a table saw to cut the excess foam off the top. If it’s a fine hand saw you find, you can use it. However, a table saw will give you better precision.
  • Cutting the form walls to length before you attach them to the melamine board isn’t necessary. At the corners, they should overlap.

Step 3 – Attach the form walls to the form base

  • At the bottom of the form walls, a double-stick carpet tape will be stuck there.
  • The form walls will then be pressed onto the baseboard. Make sure their layout marks align together.

Step 4 – Cut the wall liners

  • The CHENG pro-foam wall liners have a width that is more than 2″. You will have to trim them to 3/4″. Mark them with a blade or knife so they can be a visible cut line. Use the cut line to cut them to 3/4″.
  • The 3/4 form liners will be trimmed to length, which will leave them a hair short. Any gap you find in the corner will be filled with silicone when you’re sealing the mold (you will do that in step 6).

Step 5 – Glue the wall liners to the form walls

  • On one side the wall liners is a matte surface while on the other is a glossy surface. Use spray adhesive on the glossy side and leave it for a few minutes.
  • Attach it to the form walls. The factory edge of the liners should align with the top of the form wall. It is this straight factory edge that will ensure the bottom side of the recycled glass counter will be straight and uniform.
  • After it has glued together, you will pour a bead of silicone sealant on the top of the form wall. This will prevent the concrete from running between the wall sections of the foam wall and wall liners.

Step 6 – Seal the form

  • To make it watertight, you should seal the foam with a bead of 100% Silicone. Fill any gap around or between the form base and the liner. You can apply the bead of silicone with Corner and Seam Shaping Tools to give it professional rounded edges. You can also use the Corner and Seam Shaping Tools Guide to learn how to create perfect rounded edges and how to seal the form.
  • After sealing the form and the silicone has cured, you can now remove debris and dust with compressed air or vacuum.
  • Silicone residue can be removed with denatured alcohol.

Step 7 – Level the form

  • Leveling the form will help in maintaining an even thickness when you start casting the recycled glass.

Step 8 – Attach the vibrator to the casting table

  • Protect the casting table from direct sunlight and cold. It is better if it’s indoor. This is where you will leave the countertop to cure overnight.
  • Make use of two vibrator tables. One of the vibrators will be at one end of the casting table, and the other vibrator at the other end. Install the Table Vibrators and Variable Speed Controller with long screws on the casting surface.
  • The vibrators will be plugged into the controller while the controller will be plugged into a wall outlet. Before use, test them to ascertain they are working.

 

3.  MIXING

Do not mix recycled glass indoors.

 

Things you will need –

  • Xtreme Series Terrazzo Mix
  • Paddle Mixer
  • Surecrete PreCast Modifier (2)
  • Trowel
  • CHENG SmartColor Pigment
  • Recycled Glass Aggregate
  • 15-gallon mixing bucket

Step 1 – Combine pigment and the liquid modifier

 

 

  • Wear disposable gloves and a particle mask.
  • Shake the liquid modifier well, then pour it into the 15 gallon mixing bucket.
  • Pour all the contents of the indigo pigment bag into the bucket you poured the liquid modifier.
  • Blend using a paddle mixer.

Step 2 – Add the terrazzo mix

  • Pour 16 lbs (1/3) bag of terrazzo mix into the blend (pigment and modifier). Mix it vigorously until the whole concrete mixture has blended thoroughly and free of unmixed material and lumps.
  • Use the trowel to scrape materials from the sides of the bucket and continue mixing thoroughly.
  • Continue pouring 1/3 bag of the terrazzo mix at a time, repeating the steps above until you add 1 entire bag.
  • After mixing the terrazzo with the modifier and pigment blend, the mixture will be thicker.

Step 3 – Add the recycled glass aggregate

  • Pour 25 lbs. of glass aggregate into the terrazzo mixture and blend with the paddle mixer until all it evenly distributes the recycled glass. Make sure you put on your particle mask because of the glass dust/powder.
  • Pour and blend another 25 lbs. of glass aggregate. When it has also distributed evenly, pour another 25 lbs and blend.

Step 4 – Improve its consistency

Pour 2-3 cups of water to give it a semi-pourable consistency.

 

  1. CASTING

Casting ordinary concrete is similar to casting recycled glass terrazzo mix. The only difference is that the aggregate of the latter is really sharp. The glass will tear through thin latex gloves so you need heavy duty rubber gloves.

 

Things you will need –

  • Plastic buckets
  • Trowel
  • Vibco Table Vibrator
  • Vibco Variable Speed Controller

 

Step 1 – Pour the concrete

  • Remember, the casting table should be indoor (as stated in step 2)

 

  • Turn on the vibrator to a relatively high speed so that the recycled glass terrazzo mix will flow.
  • Use a bucket to pour the terrazzo concrete mixture into the form.
  • Spread and push the mix into the form with a trowel or your gloved hands. Make sure the form is completely and evenly filled.

Step 2 – Vibrate and trowel

  • If the form is overfilled, screed the excess off with the edge of clean and straight steel or wood.
  • Work the board diagonally in a sawing motion across the surface of the concrete. Make sure you do it carefully so as not to disturb the wall liners or foam walls.
  • Once you level the terrazzo mixture with the top of the form, until it needs no more concrete, you can now turn the vibrator to a low speed.

Step 3 – Compact the mix

  • Let the vibrators run for at least 8 minutes until all trapped air in the terrazzo mixture is out. Doing this will reduce the number of air bubbles on the countertop.
  • Use the trowel to tamp around the edges to compress the glass into unfilled corners. This will drive any air trapped around the edges of the form.

Step 4 – Cover it to cure

  • Use a thin covering of plastic to cover the form for humidity.
  • You can allow it to cure for approx. 24 hours.

 

  1. GRINDING

Once it is fully cured, you should grind off any rough area or high spot. Also, grind the front bottom edge so it will be straight and consistent with other edges. Make sure you grind the underside before removing it from the mold.

When it is removed from its mold, it must be supported every 12 inches to avoid cracks.

 

Things you will need –

  • Alpha WDP-120 Wet/Dry Variable Speed Concrete Polisher
  • Alpha 4-1/2″ Vexcel Rigid Diamond Grinding Disc
  • CS Unitec Vacuum Cleaner
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Particle Mask
  • Alpha Diamond Hand Polishing Pads (Set of 7)

 

Step 1 – Grind the bottom of the countertop

  • Make sure your particle mask is on with adequate breathing and eye protection.
  • Attach the Alpha WDP-120 polisher to a HEPA vacuum for controlling the dust.

  • The form wall line will act as the grinding guide. Keep grinding until the casting material is flush with the form wall liner. Doing this ensures that the thickness of the countertop is consistent.
  • If the surface is very rough, use a segmented grinding cup. If it isn’t very rough, use a grinder and disc. The bottom of the slab around the perimeter of the casting should be ground.
  • Keep on grinding around the perimeter until it is ground flush with the form wall liner.

Step 2 – Mark the location of supports

  • If it’s a metal frame that the countertop will sit on, make sure you mark the locations of the two support bars on the slab. Then grind the concrete flat in those areas.
  • Grind any other place that the countertop bottom will touch on the metal frame supports.
  • If the countertop support is a flat surface, such as a cabinet, make sure you grind the entire bottom surface.

Step 3 – Remove the form walls

  • Peel the form walls away and set it aside. They will be used when rolling the countertop over.
  • Before you flip the top of the countertop over, make sure you use the diamond hand pads to knock down any ragged edges on the concrete. This helps in minimizing spalls, and also helps in creating a smooth surface when running your hand along the underside of the countertop.
  • Gather the scraps of the foam wall and position them 12 inches apart.

Step 4 – Roll it over

  • Have helping hands (2-3 people) that will help in rolling the countertop over onto the foam scraps. Make sure you lift it evenly, without prying on the corners.

  • If the melamine form base sticks to the slab, make sure you remove it after settling the slab on the foam wall scraps.

 

6  POLISHING

Polishing the countertop will take some time, so you have to be patient. A lot of materials have to be removed and the glass aggregate will get hard too. You have to remove them to create a homogenous appearance after exposing the glass.

You can use a single head wet/dry polisher, however, if your countertop is bigger than the stated dimension in this blog post, you will need to use a triple-head planetary polisher to make things faster.

A lithium densifier will be used when polishing to make it slurry so as to fill in air pockets.

 

Things you will need:

  • Surecrete LD1800 Lithium Densifier
  • Alpha WDP-120 Wet/Dry Variable Speed Concrete Polisher
  • Alpha Wet/Dry Polishing System
  • CS Unitec Vacuum Cleaner
  • Spray Bottle with Water

 

Step 1 – Polish the countertop

  • First, remove as many materials as you can from the surface with a coarse 50 or 60 grit pad. This process is referred to as the “cut” because you are cutting into the countertop surface to expose the aggregate cast into the concrete.
  • Apply the polish with the 60 wet/dry polishing pad, then polish the countertop. Make sure you stop periodically to check the surface so as to ascertain that you are polishing it evenly.
  • Switch to the 150 grit pad. This removes the coarser pads cut marks.
  • When the aggregate has exposed uniformly, you can start the densifying process.

Step 2 – Create a slurry

  • Mix one part LD1800 densifying agent with one part water in a spray bottle. It should be a 50/50 ratio.

  • Use the LD1800 dilution to mist the surface while using a 300 grit pad on the variable speed polisher for dry polishing.
  • A slurry will be created that will fill air pockets on the surface, and it will also give it a glass-like consistency because of the densifying agent.
  • Continue misting and polishing it with the LD1800 dilution until the whole countertop air pockets are filled and polished.

Step 3 – Continue the polishing

  • Switch to higher grit pads and keep on dry polishing until you get your desired appearance. You need not use pads that are more than 50 grit because a sealer will still be used to get a topical membrane.
  • If there are no gloves on your hands, don’t touch the unsealed surface because the natural oil of your hand will stain it.

 

  1. SEALING

If you want the boldest color possible, you will have to use a high gloss color-enhancing sealer on your recycled glass countertop. Two coats of Surecrete PC12 Sealer will be applied to give it adequate protection and performance.

 

Things you will need –

  • 6″ Foam Roller Cover
  • 6″ Paint Roller
  • Surecrete XS-PC12 Sealer
  • Graduated Mixing Container – Quart
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Stir Stick
  • Orbital Sander
  • 320-Grit Sandpaper
  • Particle Mask

 

Step 1 – Mix and stir the sealer

  • The first coat will require 6 ounces of sealer. You will mix 4.5 ounces as Part A and 1.5 ounce as Part B (3:1 ratio). Stir it for about 3 minutes.

Step 2 – Apply the sealer

Pour a good amount of it on the countertop. Spread it with the high-density foam roller to cover the entire countertop with a uniform layer.

  • Excess sealer should be pushed off the edges with the roller.

Step 3– Backroll

  • Backroll the sealer to give it an even finish and to give it minimal pressure to knock down air bubbles.

Step 4 – Roll edges

  • Apply the sealer on all four edges and use the roller vertically.

Step 5 – Cure the sealer

Leave the first coat of sealer to cure for 24 hours. Afterward, sand and apply the second coat.

Step 6 – Sand the sealer

  • When the curing is done, roughen the surface lightly with 320 grit sandpaper. If you want to sand it quickly, use an orbital sander, however, make sure you don’t over-sand it. Just sand it enough to flatten any high spot and then create a rough texture that the second coat will bond to.
  • Make sure you sand the 3/4″ edges.

Step 7 – Wipe it

  • Use a lint-free cloth to wipe the countertop.

Step 8 – Apply the second coat of the sealer

  • Follow the same steps as the first when applying the second coat. Mix 4.5 ounces for Part A and Part B 1.5 ounce (3:1 ratio). Stir it for about 3 minutes.
  • Apply the sealer to the edges and the entire top using the roller. Also, backroll the sealer so it will smoothen the finish coat.

Step 9 – Cure and apply the final polish

  • For light-duty service, leave it to cure for 24 hours. However, it’s best you leave it for 48 hours to fully cure.
  • If you find debris or other impurities, you can sand it down. You can progressively polish the sealer up to a 2000 grit wet-sand.

Step 10

  • If you want a high-quality finish, you should sand it two more times.

 

CONCLUSION

Building a recycled glass concrete countertop is time-consuming and slightly expensive, but it is worth it. We made sure we covered everything you need to consider and do when building your countertop, so you can have desirable results. We also recommend you stick to the dimensions used in the blog post so you don’t get confused or ruin your countertop.

After completing this project, you can put it in your kitchen or bathroom.

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