I'm backkkkkk and excited to pick up where I left off last week...
Once the countertop prep was complete it was time to start pouring the concrete. Using a wheel-barrow the concrete was mixed with water by surprise, surprise - a shirtless Shearer brother.
The concrete process began on the far left side of the space which was the easiest side with no areas to work around.
Essentially, blobs of concrete were dumped on the top and then spread smooth.
As the guys made their way to the far right side of the structure there was the Big Green Egg to contend with. We wrapped him in some insulation surrounded by metal sheathing to provide a gap between the concrete and the Big Green Egg as the concrete dried. This material also helped protect the BGE as we poured and spread concrete around him.
Mix, dump, smooth, mix dump, smooth.......
Of course Luke was always close by monitoring our progress, mistaking pieces of wood for bones and trying to stay as far away from the water hose as possible. Hey Luke!
Once the concrete was poured, we let it sit for a couple of days.
Once dry, it was time to remove the wood template surround.
Using his drill Brent removed the screws from the wood framing.
And then carefully pulled the wood framing free from the countertops. He did this along all edges of the counter surface.
Once all of the wood was removed we had concrete countertops and suddenly it felt much more like an outdoor kitchen.
Before we moved into the next phase, Brent installed the grill into it's opening.
Finally it was time to finish the exterior. We considered several facade options but ultimately decided we wanted to go with a mix of cedar planks and stack stone. The cedar siding would cover all parts except for the brick oven area which would be stack stone. Brent took some measurements and cut each plank to size.
Then, I took the planks and stained the back of each piece before it was installed.
We chose a Minwax stain which would not only pretty the planks up, but would seal the wood. We thought staining both sides would add double protection.
Once the back of each piece was stained, Brent installed each plank using his nail gun.
And then I went to brushing the stain onto the fronts.
In the midst of all the cutting and staining, we took a mini break and Brent put the stainless steel doors back on the grill which of course made such a difference and made the finish line seem closer and closer.
The back of the outdoor kitchen was finished just like the front which got a little tricky as Brent had to measure and install the planks through the rails.
Planks were even added to the Big Green Egg's hole.
The hole to the left of the grill was to be the cabinet for all of the grilling tools, so it needed a door to enclose everything.
Again Brent measured and cut some wood for the frame of the door.
He created his frame.
And then added planks to the front.
Once all of the planks were installed he added the cabinet hinges.
And wah-lah - a door!
A little stain and a cute piece of hardware later and we were looking pretty good!
Somewhere between staining and making the door we took another break to revisit our concrete countertops. We were really happy with the overall outcome of the countertops but felt like the surface could be a little smoother. As you can see from the photo below the surface was rough, with pits and uneven spots.
Not sure if you knew this or not but I'm a major blog reader myself and one of my favorite blogs, Little Green Notebook recently posted about a project where she used this product called Ardex which is a concrete overlay. She used the product over her laminate countertops. The results were awesome, so we figured we could use the same product over our concrete, just to smooth it out.
We mixed the powder with water and poured it over our concrete.
The material is super fine and easy to spread.
We applied one coat, let it dry overnight and then went over it again the next day.
We used a paint brush for the edges and then had some fun going over the whole thing once more, adding some texture with brush strokes.
We were very happy with end results and while it was a little extra work we think it was worth it for the smoother finish.
Once all of the siding was installed and our countertops were smooth, Brent got started on the stack stone. At first Brent went to town stacking stone after stone but with one small hit of the hammer all of them collapsed. It was truly so sad. So, then we kind of decided we needed to do one row of stone a day, let that dry and then add another the next day. There may be a better way to go about this, but this plan has been working for us.
So, there you have it - outdoor kitchen phase 2. What a difference right? We are working on the pizza oven now, come back next week to see the final results, you won't believe it!
All photos are my own.