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Veneer before countertop? Bad idea?

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Newbie here and WOW this forum has been so valuable in this project for creating an outdoor kitchen! I've been lurking around and reading as much as I can and truly appreciate all the time and sharing of knowledge here.


First time working with metal so was a bit of a learning curve but ended up really enjoying that process and flexibility. So far I've got framing done and rough wiring in. Ready to to start putting up the cement board. My dilemma(s):


1) I've been a bit 'scared' to try a pour-in-place concrete countertop as I didn't want to end up messing up the finishing touch and I've had friends highly recommend doing it in forms and transporting. Just seems like it would be SO nice to have it all there in one big slab. I've seen both ways on here but never having done that, any thoughts?


2) I was considering putting up the veneer (eldorado stone) prior to the counter mainly because my friend is in town for a weekend and has done lots of this stone/veneer work and could help me. Seems like most are doing the countertop first though. Wondered if I could do veneer first if I worked it right up to my estimated overhand for the countertop?


Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this...







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Nice work!


I built my ODK last year (journey documented here: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threads/63645-Outdoor-Kitchen-Build-Kansas, and looks like something similar to yours as far as build - steel studs / concrete counter tops.


I had never worked with either before this project and had a blast doing it. I was very happy with how things turned out. I also was considering pour in place countertops, but ultimately decided to go with casting and moving, and I was glad that I did. For me, the reasons for going with cast and move were:

  1. Cast and move means that your work surface is on the "bottom" and so comes out super smooth when you remove it from the forms. If you cast in place, you have to finish your work surface with a trowel / float - never having worked with concrete, I didn't want to rely on my troweling skills to get a smooth surface
  2. Finishing the surface is a very messy affair - I used a water fed diamond pad grinder and it threw water/concrete all over the place in my garage - I put up tarps to shield everything, but would rather have it there than out on my ODK
  3. Temperature control was much easier in the garage - I just covered everything with plastic and didn't have to worry about the heat prematurely drying the top nor rain interfering
  4. Removing from the form and flipping was really not too bad - My biggest piece was 3' x 6' and probably weighed about 400 lbs. Friends and neighbors helped with the flipping and moving from garage to backyard - I built a cart to carry the biggest piece. The others moved on the little red wagon
  5. I finished my surface with glass chips and I think that would have complicated a pour in place approach even more
  6. I poured my tops in 2 sessions - and really didn't get the consistency of the concrete correct until the 2nd session - the first session the concrete for one of the smaller pieces wasn't wet enough and so the top didn't absorb the glass chips and wasn't usable - Might have been able to address that if pour in place instead, but it was easy enough (and cheap enough) to just donate the bad top to the scout troop as a dutch oven top and pour another one.

It was an extremely satisfying project.


Good luck and post more pictures as you progress!



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Hi Ray,

Thank you for all the insight from your experiences! Yes, totally makes sense and I think we will do exactly that. Going to prepare a template and pour in forms. Friend of a friend has done many of these and willing to help offsite so probably the way to go. I have some areas that should make some discreet seams so we shall see. In the mean time I plan to keep moving forward setting the stone veneer. Hour here, couple hours there seems to be what I can get now so may take a while :)

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Got a few more hours in and began tacking down the durock. Going with a lath and scratch coat and figured there would be a learning curve so started in the far back corner. Realized I forgot to set the vents before doing this so will pop those in before moving on. They are sitting in my garage. Wanted to make Dr Dave proud and set a high/low vent behind each gas appliance :).



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