This countertop is being a butt, to say the least. Yes, I did screw it up with a bad initial finishing job, so I can't really say much! Unlike many bloggers that only show their successes, I will show you when I bomb something and I have no problem admitting mistakes or screw-ups. I believe I mentioned earlier that the surface did not come out well, but I don't believe I posted any pics of it. Basically, what happened is that the surface cement, after it had cured, was becoming powdery and flaking up, exposing the sand and aggregate below. I am a bit confused on this one though. I know the mix was a little wet when I first poured but I've seen mud poured almost like soup and still get a hard finish on it. Also, after this countertop, I poured the little slab in the basement, and just to be safe, I mixed that slab rather dry using the same mix. It is doing the same thing. Now, initially I thought the mix was too wet and this water sat on the surface too long, causing the surface to weaken. But this really doesn't make sense. I've seen concrete slabs totally submerged by sudden rain, with the water standing on the slabs for hours, and they still finish fine. Now, maybe I'm just that poor a finisher, but I have finished many yards of concrete with no problems. I don't know if the mix was old or what. It came from a place that stores theirs outside and they may not move much of it, meaning it will sit there for a while, but the bags appeared fine when I bought them. No holes, no water stains.
Now, the photo above was taken AFTER I had applied a topping coat to correct the problem. Tearing a slab out is a major pain and I really don't want to do that. Besides, the rest of the countertop, below, seems fine. I applied one coat of topping mix (which is basically portland and sand with bonding agents) very thinly, and it adhered well, but it made a very rough surface. So, I applied another, thicker coat, using additional bonding agent, and troweled a smoother finish on it. Now, it is nowhere near smooth enough but it is better than what was there. I have ordered a pack of diamond sanding/ polishing pads to put the final finish on with. I think most countertop contractors finish their product this way anyway, rather than rely totally on a troweled finish. So, we will see. It's an experiment anyway. Who knows? it might come out with a much more beautiful surface this way.
After I finished with the countertop and was letting that cure, I decided to start the gate for the garden. The weather has been beautiful the past couple of days and promises to stay that way for about a week. I couldn't resist getting out my welding gear. I've been meaning to build this gate for some time and my desire to have a truly fruitful (no pun intended) garden this year means I've got to to get the fence and gate up to par to keep the deer and 'coons and rabbits out. I am truly embarrassed to show you all what I use for a gate now. Plus, it's a pain to go in and out of. This new gate is going to be awesome, if I must say so myself! I am building two, 3 foot wide panels, so you can open one side or both to get larger things, like a lawn tractor, through. It's cool! I can't wait to be finished. Oh, and I am building it solely from scrap metal that I have laying around here. I am not going to purchase anything, except maybe the hinges, if I can't make those.