Shipping Container Concrete Kitchen Benchtop

After a successful laundry concrete benchtop, we moved on to the kitchen. The photos show a step by step process of how we made the benchtops. There are three pieces in total (next to the oven and the L-shaped sink section which is made up of two parts). We will make the side panels and the island benchtop at a later date. Below is a list of materials, tools and ingredients required.

Materials / Tools needed:
– Stand or trolley. (To provide a usable work platform).
– Melamine board. (This provides a relatively smooth surface to mould the concrete. There is the main surface and the side pieces. Our side pieces were 25mm (for hidden edges)and 43mm (for thick front face) in height).
– Scrap board. (To cover mould to form thicker 43mm seen edges).
– Timber screws and Brad Nails. (To hold melamine mould together).
– Silicone. (To form benchtops edge radius).
– Cabinet Maker’s wax. (For ease of concrete separation from mould).
– Caulking tool. (Spherical metal tool to form benchtops edge radius).
– Clean rags. (For cleaning surface and removing wet excess silicone).
– Razor Blades. (To clean dry excess silicone to form benchtops edge radius). 
– Circular Saw. (To cut Melamine).
– Brad gun and compressor. (To fasten mould together).
– Silicone gun. (To form benchtops edge radius). 
– Measuring devices. (Scales, measuring jugs to measure out wet and dry ingredients).
– Buckets and Tubs. (To contain measured out ingredients and to mix concrete mix).
– Scrapers / Stirring stick / Electric Mixing Drill. (To assist in mixing the concrete mixture).
– Gloves, P2 masks, goggles. (For your protection and safety).
– Construction adhesive. (For fixing finished concrete benchtop to benchtop carscasses).
– Variable speed polisher / buffer. (To be used in polishing process).
– Diamond polishing pads. (To be used in polishing process (200, 400, 800 grit)).
– Diamond polishing blocks. (To form chamfer on underside thick edge).
– Masonry cutting Wheel and Angle Grinder. (To cut concrete benchtop if required).
– Water Bottles. (To lubricate and assist polishing process).

 
Concrete Ingredients:
– Cement.
– Washed sand.
– Water.
– Alto-Pozz. (A white powder that improves strength, reduces shrinkage and improves surface).
– Black oxide. (This provides the dark grey colour in the concrete).
– AR (Alkali Resistant) Glass Strands. (Adds strength and flexibility to the concrete. Aids in high strength to low weight weight ratio).
– KongKrete (Liquid acrylic polymer). (Increases Flexural and tensile strength of the concrete. Improves workability without using water. Improves evenness of colour).
– Optimum (A superplasticiser). (Improves the workability without water (the more water used, the more strength is lost). The superplasticiser allows the workability of a wet mix, with the strength of a dryer mix).
– Defoamer. (This reduces air bubbles in mixture. This is important as air bubbles will create a pitted benchtop surface ).
– Sealer. (XS-327 Foodsafe sealant provides a waterproof and foodsafe layer over the concrete).

Shipping Container Home Balustrade

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Shipping Container Home, Steel Balustrade

The steel balustrade is made using N16 deformed bar, normally used for reinforcing concrete in large buildings and structures. We cut the rebar with a liquid cooled brobo cold saw, 2 stacked at a time. The total pack is 6m long and weighs around 360kg.

The top and bottom steel plates are made from 8mm lasercut mild steel plate. Laser cutting is helpful because the pre-cut holes align the N16 bar and make sure they are spaced evenly. The top timber rail is a 190x35mm blackbutt timber, Australian class 1 hardwood above ground, wide enough to have a coffee and a small plate of food when the sun comes up in the morning. (or a cold beer after work)

Cheers

The Odpod Crew

Concrete Bench Top Shipping Container Home

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Concrete Bench Top Shipping Container Home

The first of the concrete bench tops have been made and installed in the laundry. The piece is 3.2m long and 630mm deep with a 45mm return on the front edge. The concrete mixture uses glass fibres, pozzolan, plasticisers, defoaming agents, black oxide and others to increase the strength and durability. It took a long time to get the process correct and lots of samples were made. Because the concrete is very heavy we started by making some heavy duty steel workbenches on lockable caster wheels. The first 4x samples were made to test the mix design and to make sure we were happy with the colour and finish. We purchased a spherical radius tool, which made caulking very neat and easy. We tried polishing the samples with acid and the electric buff with diamond pads, in the end we prefer to use a combination of both. It’s very important to seal the bench top otherwise it will be porous and the bench top will mark and stain. We finally lifted the piece into position with the help of 5 people and glued it down to the timber sub straight. Overall a very good result, far better than we expected. Looking forward to working on the kitchen bench tops next!

Cheers

The Odpod Crew

 

Odpod Shipping Container Home Floor Finishing

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Odpod Shipping Container Home Floor Finishing

Just a quick update to show how the hardwood timber floors look during finishing. We used 86mm wide spotted gum boards upstairs, there is a huge amount of colour variation. The downstairs floor are 135mm wide mountain gum. The colour is much more consistent and looks a little pinkish, this will grey off over time as the UV changes the colour of the timber.

Odpod Shipping Container Home Progress Update

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Odpod Shipping Container Home Progress Update

We are pleased to have the fireplace installed for the cold winter in Healesville. It’s nice to work inside with the wood heater going. The electricians have fitted off the power points and LED down lights. All the finishes are coming together and making the house feel like a real home. The tiling in the bathrooms is now complete and the mirror cabinets increase the visual appeal. The floors have now been sanded up and downstairs ready to be finished in the coming week. Next the plumbers will come back to fit off all the taps, toilets, bath and showerheads. We will work on installing the kitchens cabinets, bench tops and splashbacks.

After all this there will only be a few jobs left for certificate of occupancy, including the balustrading and stair access.

Shipping Container Home Flooring

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Shipping Container Home Flooring

After much deliberation, we decided to use a solid timber floor instead of a floating floor. Both had their advantages and disadvantages, however ultimately we decided that a solid floor would be the best option as floating floors tended to feel cheap (due to that they are not fixed and move around causing an unpleasant noise when walked over). The disadvantages of the solid timber floor is that it does take longer to install due to the application of flooring adhesive and secret nailing. They will also have to be polished nearing the end of the project. The colours and patterns within the boards are amazing. From light whites to dark reds and browns, the colour range is astounding. We can’t wait to see how it looks when the floor is polished. We have used Bostick Ultraset SF as is has been highly recommended to us and through our own tests, it’s adhesive properties are significantly higher than the two other brands we used.

Shipping Container Home Tiling

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Shipping Container Home Tiling

After purchasing several pallets of tiles from Fowles building auctions at very competitive rates and the remainder from other tiling shops, we began tiling. We have employed a tiler for the majority of the tiling however we have been assisting and learning the basics of tiling too. There are three bathrooms that require tiling, so there is a significant amount of work to do, particularly as we are having floor to ceiling tiles and tiled shower bases. Of the three bases, one was poured and two were prefabricated. The Marmox Mat was the easiest to work with as it had the most suitable fall, was quick to install and was well made in terms of strength. Pouring the base was cheapest, however it took the longest and did require some correction prior to tiling.

Each bathroom has different colour combinations, all of which work well. The main bathroom upstairs has an upmarket with grey floor tiles, white and gloss black walls. The ensuite upstairs has grey floor tiles with white walls while the downstairs bathroom has an earthy light brown floor with white walls. They will come up really well when the grout is applied.

Shipping Container Home Concrete Stairs

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Shipping Container Home Concrete Stairs

We did a big job over the weekend concreting all the stairs and the blind side of the house. The results speak for themselves, and the stairs are all very solid. The process was slow, each stair tread was filled with buckets and we use wheelbarrows to get the concrete to the slab. The concrete truck charges waiting time if unloading takes too long, so we cut in half a 1cube plastic container to hold the concrete. The mix was quite wet to give us 2hours of working time. A black colour hardener was added towards the end to give the concrete a dark grey colour and increase the strength. Finally a brush takes the gloss off the steps and provides a non-slip surface.  We cleaned the steel the following day, this is important because it gets much harder the longer you leave it. The slab was built for all the services, water tanks, aircon units, hot water service and LPG bottles. We put a stipple pattern on the surface for a nice nonslip look. The concrete arrived at 2pm and we left site at around 9:30pm so it turned out to be a long day. Overall we are very happy with the results, both a nice looking and long lasting result.

Shipping Container Home Painting

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Shipping Container Home Painting

The door hardwood door jambs were installed and then tapped off prior to painting. The undercoat was super quick to apply with an airless sprayer. The 2 main brands of airless sprayer to choose from are greyco and wanger, however they cost thousands of dollars, so we hired one from the paint shop instead of buying one. We managed to undercoat the top and bottom storey in one day, which included the ceilings and walls. The following day we applied 2 coats of white to the ceiling. Finally it will take around 1.5 weeks to finish the walls because we will roll on the top coats. The textured top coat looks nicer on the walls.

We found the airless sprayer uses twice as much paint than rolling. However the sprayer is so fast we would definitely use one again for a large area. We made a little bit of a mess when switching the sprayer to prime mode by not holding onto the inlet. More photos of the final coat to follow. We chose the colour Bond White.