PREMIUM CONCRETE COUNTERTOP MIX MIX™ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS www.tccmaterials.com © TCC Materials® • December 09 • Version 2.0 Why use a black caulk instead of some other color? We recommend using a caulk color that contrasts with the forms you are using. Black contrasts really well with white melamine particle board. When using more than 1 bag, do I need to mix every bag together prior to pouring it into the form? No, it is not required to mix all the bags, spread the first bag so that it covers the entire surface of the mould, then pour the subsequent bags on top of the first bag. We recommend using rubber gloves to gently mix or knead the top when all the material has been poured in the mould. Do not use a paint stick, it could scratch the melamine surface and leave a scar to form on the surface the countertop. If you are adding pigment, mix that to the dry powder before adding water. Do I have to mix 3 minutes, let material set 2 minutes and then remix for 2 minutes? Yes mix time is very critical. Not following these steps can create inconsistencies in the mix. How do you vibrate the form using a rubber mallet? Tapping around the perimeter of the mould works well to remove any air bubbles. We recommend 7-8 tapping sessions every 6”. Do I need to cover the countertop in plastic while it cures if it will be inside a garage during the summer? Yes, after 1-2 hours of open/drying time cover the cement will poly. Try to suspend the poly so that it does not touch the cement allowing it to air-cure. If I leave the countertop in the forms longer will it be less fragile? The countertop is not fragile, but it can be scratched. Be careful when removing the forms not to pry against the countertop. This could cause scratches, chips, etc. How durable are concrete countertops? Once cured, concrete is extremely durable, but like any other material the edges and corners are the most susceptible to damage or chipping standard precautions should be taken when working with pots, pans or other items. Do concrete countertops stain? Concrete in its natural state is porous and will stain. Concrete countertops are sealed for stain and water resistance. However, spills should be cleaned as soon as possible; especially acidic or oily liquids. Mild soap and water is the best way to clean the surface. How do I clean and disinfect my concrete countertops? The best cleaners are mild soap and water. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. Bleach can discolor the surface and abrasive cleaners can scratch the sealer. Can I cut directly on concrete countertops? It is usually recommended that a cutting board or protective surface be used. Knife marks can scratch the sealer, so use a cutting board when chopping or preparing foods. Cutting on the concrete countertop won't hurt the concrete, but will damage the sealer, which can effect the sealers ability to keep out water and stains. Can I set hot pots and pans on concrete countertops? Hot pots or pans can damage the sealer on countertops, so pot holders or hot pads should always be used. Placing hot pans on the concrete countertops should be avoided. Concrete is very heat resistant, but the issue is damaging and/or discoloring the sealer. PREMIUM CONCRETE COUNTERTOP MIX MIX™ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What kind of maintenance do concrete countertops require? It does not take much to maintain a beautiful surface. A food-grade beeswax should be applied about once a month to help protect the sealer. Simply buff it on and buff it off. What should I use...penetrating or surface sealers? One basic consideration when choosing between penetrating and surface sealers is that sealing concrete that is polished can be a challenge. The surface may be too smooth for many surface sealers to stick to. When concrete is polished, a penetrating sealer or wax might be best. Here are a few basic tips, but understand that many types of concrete sealers are readily available and may serve your purpose. Penetrating Sealers are applied to concrete and, once dried, can be nearly invisible. They often don’t affect the appearance of dry concrete. Some products leave the concrete looking dry, while a few provide a darker, wet look. Surface Sealers are the most common sealers on the market. There is a wide range of types with widely differing chemistries and varying degrees of appearance, performance and longevity. A few of the most common surface sealers are wax and acrylics. • Wax The most basic sealer is wax. Wax is both a penetrating and film-building sealer, depending on how much is used and how it is applied. Generally, a high-quality floor wax that contains carnauba and bees-wax, or just pure bees-wax, is used. Automotive paste wax should not be used because of the additives it contains. Wax produces a finish that brings out the character of the concrete’s color and visual texture. Wax is an easy to apply sealer, but may darken bare concrete. Wax cannot be scratched, although the concrete itself can get scratched or gouged. Wax will act as a “wear surface” and is easy to reapply and usually must be applied frequently to remain effective. Many sources report that most anything can stain waxed concrete if left on the surface for an extended time, and exposure times must be short to avoid any kind of surface staining. Hot temperatures and acids like vinegar or lemon juice tend to strip off the wax. • Acrylics Acrylic (solvent based or water based) are common concrete sealers. They were developed for sealing floors and driveways, and offer modest protection. Solvent-based acrylics can darken the concrete, while most water-based acrylics tend to look pale like it does when it is dry. Acrylics are thin-bodied liquids that are brushed, sprayed or rolled onto the concrete. Acrylic sealers sit on the surface of dense, impermeable concrete that is used in most concrete countertops. Acrylics generally provide modest heat resistance, but are UV resistant. Acrylics offer fairly good stain protection but are easily scratched. Scratches often leave the concrete completely bare and unprotected. Acrylic sealers often require frequent reapplication because they tend to scratch and wear off, especially if the surface they were applied to was not properly prepared. What is the difference between a precast and pour-in-place countertop ? There are two methods for creating concrete countertops. The “precast” concrete countertops are the most preferred way because it allows more customization, control, and level-smooth surface. “Pour-in-place” countertops are generally less refined and do not allow for some custom design elements, but may be a good alternative for certain projects. Though the precast method may seem more complex, at first, the skills required for final surface finishing are less demanding (for most Do-itYourselfers) than the pour-in-place method. PREMIUM CONCRETE COUNTERTOP MIX MIX™ PROJECT TIPS www.tccmaterials.com © TCC Materials® • December 09 • Version 3.0 FORM CONSTRUCTION: • Use melamine coated particle board, not white painted particle board. Melamine is a particle board that has been treated with a plastic coating on both sides. Make sure the melamine surface is free from any scratches, smears or cracking. Remove any stickers from the melamine form and make sure all adhesive residue is removed. • When forming the mold ensure screws don’t protrude from the surface of the melamine mold. Hint: Put clear painters tape over all of the screw heads to avoid concrete spillage in the screw heads which will make mold removal very difficult. • It is best to vacuum and wipe down the inside of the form with a clean rag and warm water or acetone. Use of other cleaning products can leave streaks and residue on the form that you may not be able to see until the top is removed from the mold. Thoroughly dry the inside of the form prior to pouring the mix. • Do not apply a form release agent to the melamine CAULKING OF FORMS: • Use 100% silicone black caulk. All forms must be caulked in the corners to avoid having razor sharp edges. Make sure that the caulk is smooth as any imperfections in the caulk surface will be reflected in the edge of the concrete countertop. Be careful that sawdust residue does not get into the caulk or it will show up on the countertop. Any sawdust residue that gets on the melamine mold can be simply vacuumed up with a shop vacuum. • Use painters tape to protect the caulking area. Remove the tape once the caulk is in place. Use a razor blade to remove excess silicone caulk. Excess caulk that is not cleaned up prior to pouring the mix will leave a mark in the concrete. MIXING: • Plan out your mixing procedure. A 50# bag of Concrete Countertop Mix with proper water addition can fit and be mixed in a five gallon bucket. It may be advisable, depending on the size of your pour, to have multiple five gallon buckets. • Pre-measure all water to be used. Do not over water. Mix 5 to 5.5 pints of clean, potable water per 50# bag of Concrete Countertop Mix for 3 minutes. Allow the product to sit/slake for 2 minutes and then remix for 2 minutes. Additional water is not required and may negatively affect the finished product. Mix time is critical, do not cut short. • Add water to the empty bucket first, then add Concrete Countertop Mix. Water and mix should be at room temperature (65°-75°F). • Best results are obtained when a five gallon pail and a mechanical mixer are used to mix the product. Be sure to use a mechanical paddle mixer – no shovels, hoes, wheelbarrows or barrel mixers. POURING INTO FORM: • For longer sections and large countertops, don’t mix material that you will not be able to lay in 20 minutes. Always try to have sufficient material to fill the bottom surface of the mold in one pour to minimize pour lines from showing on the surface. • Make sure forms are tapped with a rubber mallet or lightly vibrated with a palm sander (without pad). This helps to consolidate the mixture. REMOVAL OF FORMS: • Be sure to wait at least 18 hours before de-molding. • After de-molding, it is desirable to allow the countertop a few hours of drying time before applying sealers. It is important to follow the sealer manufacturer’s instructions as to timing of sealing and temperature considerations. • Be sure to lightly sand and smooth the bottom edges of the countertop to eliminate sharp edges. Be careful sanding corners, always sand lightly towards the top/piece to avoid chipping the edges. PREMIUM CONCRETE COUNTERTOP MIX MIX™ INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS High Strength ● Fast Setting ● Pourable Helpful Items: © TCC Materials® • December 09 • Version 3.0 Materials Needed: Tools Required: Concrete mixer or heavy duty ½” drill (600 RPM or less) Melamine-coated particleboard Drill/ driver and bits Coarse drywall screws Saw with a metal-cutting blade or hack saw blade w/ handle Colored Pigment (If desired) Caulk gun Plastic sheeting Rubber hammer Styrofoam Trowel Painters tape & packing tape Pliers PVC pipe Carpenter square Silicone caulk Tape measure Wire mesh, rebar, wire ties Several 5 gallon bucket Sanding block & palm sander Potable water Wood shims CONCRETE TOP SIZING CHART Yield: To determine how much material is required for a project, calculate the volume in cubic feet. Multiply the length by the width by the thickness of the finished countertop for volume in cubic inches, then divide the sum by 1728 for cubic feet. As an example, a countertop that will be 36" long x 24" deep x 2" thick will need 1 cubic foot of wet countertop mix-calculation: (36 x 24 x 2)/1728 = 1 cubic foot. Each 50# bag will yield approximately ⅓ of a cubic foot. Therefore, for every cubic foot this would require 3 bags of product . 24” L x 24” D 48” L x 24” D 36” L x 12” D 36” L x 24” D QUANTITY OF 50 POUND (22.7 kg) BAGS 1.5” Thick 1.5 3 1 2.25 2” Thick 2 4 1.5 3 3” Thick 3 6 2.25 4.5 All yields are approximate and do not account for waste or uneven forms, etc. P R E M I U M C O N C R E T E C O U N T E R TO P M I X ™ T C C M AT E R I A L S ™ Installation Instructions Preparation: Premium Concrete Countertop mix is specifically designed for a reverse cast(precast) process. The mold is formed with the countertop upside-down in order get a smooth surface. The reverse cast system is intended for ease in creating a smooth surface where troweling is not needed. Make sure the frame is completely built before mixing the Concrete Countertop Mix. Be sure that the mixing bucket used is clean of any debris from prior use. Measure out all of the additives to be used prior to mixing. This will create a consistent mix when casting multiple pieces. Make sure forms are level before pouring mixture. 1■ Build a form for making your countertop using ¾” Melamine coated particleboard. Cut strips for the sides 1 ½” – 3” wide to match the desired countertop thickness. 2■ Drill pilot holes on the side boards from the top down and assemble the side panels to the bottom panel using coarse drywall screws that are ½” longer than the side rails . Fasten the sides of the form to the base using coarse screws allowing for the depth of the countertop and fastening securely to the base. Fasteners should be located every 6-8 inches around the perimeter. Note: If the countertop will be positioned against walls that may not be square, we recommend creating a template out of cardboard first and positioning the sides to match the template. 3■ Sink Cut Out (if required – otherwise, skip to step #4): Make a sink cut out by using extruded foam equal to the depth of the form. Use a jigsaw with a metal cutting blade or a hack saw blade with handle to form the cut out. The cut out should be sanded to remove any rough spots and taped carefully with clear packing tape. Smooth out any air bubbles, etc. as they will transfer to the sink opening. Faucet templates can be made using PVC pipe wrapped in thin sill plate foam and wrapped with clear packing tape using the same procedures used for the sink. P R E M I U M C O N C R E T E C O U N T E R TO P M I X ™ T C C M AT E R I A L S ™ Installation Instructions 4■ Attach the sink cut out and faucet pieces to the form base using black silicone caulking. Also run a bead of silicone caulking around the inside seams of the countertop form. Smooth with a moisten finger tip once to get a uniform appearance. Note: Using painters tape to protect the caulking area will speed the process. Remove the tape once the caulk is in place. Clean any silicone residue off the form with a razor blade to reduce imperfections in the top of the finished product. Allow surface of silicone caulk to dry for up to 1 hour prior to pouring mix into the form. 5■ Reinforcement: In many concrete countertop applications, it will be desirable to use wire mesh or rebar for added strength and durability. It is especially recommended in applications that will endure heavy-duty use or force. Cut a piece of welded wire mesh 2” smaller than the interior of the form and 2” away from any sink or faucet cut outs. On countertops larger than 42” or over 2” thick #3 rebar should also be used. Using wire ties attach the rebar to the welded lath. Suspend the reinforcements near the middle of the height of the forms using wire ties attached to the side forms using screws. Place painter’s tape over the screw heads to create ease in dissembling the form. 6■ Mix each 50# bag of Premium Concrete Countertop Mix™ in a five gallon bucket or mortar mixer with 5 to 5.5 pints of clean, potable water for 3 minutes. Let product sit for 2 minutes undisturbed. Then, remix the product for 2 minutes until a flowable consistency is obtained. Mix time is critical, do not short. If color is desired, add dry powder pigment or liquid colorant to the mix water. Mix consistently so the pigment is evenly mixed. A general recommendation for adding 1 pint liquid pigment is to less the amount of liquid pigment to the overall mixing water. So if the liquid pigment is ½ solids and a ½ pint water, minus a ½ pint water from the 5 - 5.5 pints of recommended mixing water. Note: For small tops, 36” or less, a ½” drill (600 RPM or less) and paddle in a 5 gallon pail may be used. Use caution not to entrain air or pinholes into the surface. For larger applications, a mortar mixer capable of mixing several bags at once may be helpful. P R E M I U M C O N C R E T E C O U N T E R TO P M I X ™ T C C M AT E R I A L S ™ Installation Instructions 7■ Countertop should be level prior to filling with mixture. Fill the countertop form with the mixture making sure it fills in around any reinforcement and around all cutouts. Knead the material with your hands to assure the material is evenly spread throughout the mold and to begin elimination of air holes. Gloves should be worn for this process. 8■ Vibrate the form by tapping with a rubber mallet around all the edges or by using a palm sander without any paper on it. This is an important step to minimize pinholes in the countertop surface. Screed of any excess material with a 2x4. 9■ After the material in the form has begun to take a set, normally 1 hour, snip off the wire ties holding the wire mesh just below the surface of the countertop mix. If needed, screed the back off, using a 2” x 4” moving it in a sawing type movement against the top of the side forms. Cover the countertop mix with plastic and allow it to cure 18-24 hours. P R E M I U M C O N C R E T E C O U N T E R TO P M I X ™ T C C M AT E R I A L S ™ Installation Instructions 10■ In 18-24 hours, you may remove the plastic from the countertop surface and remove all the screws holding the form together. The countertop will still be very fragile so use care in removing forms. If necessary, use small wooded shims to help remove the sides of the form. Put down some small pieces of foam next to the base of the form. Then hold the base of the form and the countertop, lift the countertop onto the foam in a vertical position. Gently remove the bottom of the base. 11■ Gently remove any cut outs. Using caution lay the top down on foam scraps with the surface of the countertop up. Using a sanding block smooth all the edges and remove any imperfections/ defects. The surface of the countertop can be wet polished or cleaned and sealed, as is, depending on the desired appearance. Follow all instructions for the sealing products used. If pinholes are present use a non sanded patch to fill any pinholes or to touch up any imperfections or defects along the edges prior to finishing.
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