Building the counter, part 2…


We are making progress!

Yesterday we got the cement board measured, cut and in place with little trouble.  Though it was hard to score and snap smaller pieces of the backer-board.  The frustration over the smaller pieces made us feel like we were never going to get to the fun parts.  But once we had the cement board dry fitted everything started to fall into place.

We attached the cement board to the plywood base with mastic and let it dry for about two hours.  While it was drying I put mesh tape along the seams and did some putty work to fill in the gaps.  I also ran mesh tape along the back border onto the wall to help set the first row of the back splash.

While we waited for it to be dry enough to work on, S went into the office and attended to some homework while I got out the boxes of stone tiles to sort them.  Some of the stones are smooth and even, while some of the tiles are rough, flaky, have bumps and deep crevices.  We needed to have a lot of the smooth ones to be the counter top.  Part of the sorting process was sitting a coffee mug on the tiles to make sure it wouldn’t easily fall over on one piece of stone or the other.  I put aside all the lumpy stones which will make up the back splash.

Because we are using natural stone, the individual stones were rather filthy.  Some were caked in mud and others had what looked to be bird fecal matter on them.  So probably the most difficult part of my day was standing over the utility sink, scrubbing the stones with a little brush.  My back is killing me this morning.  After I got them all cleaned we laid them out on our makeshift table and tried to figure out which ones we wanted to be kept whole and which ones we were willing to cut.  There were also some thickness differences, so I made the executive decision that I would rather keep the thick ones whole so as to have an easier time cutting the thin ones.

Figuring out which stones went where took about an hour because we both had favorites and we didn’t want the stones to be in any discernible pattern.  The “no pattern” part was easy because there aren’t any stones that are similar really.  Some have a metallic look, some look like deep, black slate and others look almost tie-dyed.  There is one that I swear looks like it came from the skin of a dragon.  What is also cool is that there are so many colors.  We have pinks, reds, purples, grays, blues, greens and then all of those colors swirled together.  I cannot believe how cool they are.

Since it was getting close to ten o’clock, we decided to just put down the whole stones and leave all of the cutting for today.  Considering how late we were up the night before and how silly we got after 11:00, it seemed best not to be dealing with a tile saw and delicate stone cutting.  We do learn our lessons, you know.

Today is one of those “cut in half days” where we are going to have time to do things this morning and afternoon but then S has to go to class in the evening.  We are going to have to work when she gets home because we are going to lose all day tomorrow with our family visiting.  We are way off of my original schedule, no surprise, I suppose.  So we are going to need to be able to grout on Friday to get everything done by Sunday night.

Today’s plan:  Get the rest of the counter tiles down.  Get tiles up on the back splash.  Install the under counter light.


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