Counterop Heuristics with Spreadstone

(here is the first move).

I still don't know which way the market winds are going to blow.  The ebullience of the ADP payroll numbers on Thursday was conflated mightily on Friday.  I've been preoccupied with some other projects and work, so I've not been scouting for stocks.

I am scouting for a home rehab project seeing the poor, outdated condition of some of the properties my daughter has been looking at.  Countertops, floors and bathrooms appear to be the most needful items of replacement.  Homes from the 60's and 70's are particularly guilty of sporting a retro look that is not one worth remembering.  To be sure, the quality is quite high with lovely ceramic work.  The colors though, pinks, greens and blues, are not inviting to the eye.

In my fashion, I immersed myself in scouting for an affordable solution. The idea is to take a nice, outdated home (not a junk home), and update it cost effectively AND with the level of quality that will support resale in a home market that is still underwater (or perhaps gurgling with an occasional bob up for air). I do know this, home prices are not done falling.  Many of the homes that are coming on the market are foreclosures, and they are not in very good shape.  If there is a choice to paint, it is done in white with no care to to prep nor bothering to paint the trim in a semi-gloss.

So much for my lament.  My objective is to find a kitchen/bathroom rehab solution that does not require a sledgehammer.  As you know, I like to write about "stuff" , particularly if I think that there is something of use to others.  While my husband and I physically built our current home, let's be clear that my training is not in the trades!

Countertops seemed to be a reasonable place to start. I'll not drag you through all of my research, but I researched as wide and deep as I could. On day 3, I ran into Spreadstone by Daich. I will write the company and encourage them improve upon their web positioning. It should not have taken so long to find them.  That being said....

I had originally planned to try a faux granite painting technique, and I still may try that.  I found the Spreadstone, and that product has wall, countertop and floor rehab possibilities--all the problem areas that I'm noticing and for which I want to find a quality solution.  My project is not finished, but I wanted to write about where I am to date.  Fortunately, I had some countertop from our kitchen rehab. I actually like formica, and my original stuff lasted 20 years.  It was stylishly maroon in 1985.  It was sitting in the garage.  Here's what I started with:

The car that you see in the back in my 1982 Capri RS.  My husband has an idea that he will restore it.

Naturally I cleaned it all up and I primed it with Zinnser's BIN Primer

Many instructions for cleaning your service recommend to use TSP as a cleaning solution.  I read the B-I-N directions, and it specifically says not to use that. I used a degreaser and then alcohol.  I then applied  2 coats of primer, sanding in between coats. My original project plan was to do something different (countertop paint,   My idea was to do something different than Spreadstone because I did not even know about Spreadstone due to their poor web positioning! Then I found Spreadstone!  Love at first sight.   I put a coat of almond tinted Spreadstone pirmer over my already primed surface. Note that I am only trying to do a section of this countertop.  The primer was applied with a roller. It was very easy.  I would provide a picture if I had some good lighting.

You can put tape down at this point to simulate flagstone or tile.  I wasn't looking to do anything more than to see if I could do this project in its simplest form.  So nothing fancy.  The next coat was Rivershor.  This is when I picked up and used a trowel for the first time.  Snicker if you must.

Here it is close up.  Go ahead and click on it to make it larger.  You will be surprised that this came from my hand.

Now, there is a color wash that you can use to give more interest.  I elected to take the color wash (terra cotta, the only one that the dealer had) and mix with water to a tint (not sure if desirable or not as it was my first try).  I elected to improvise (read--this was not in the directions anywhere).  I took the colorwash and mixed it in with a small amount of the rivershor in the bumpy part of the paint tray.  The color was irregular as intended.  I took a sea sponge and dabbed it in tinted and untinted parts.  I then dabbed it on. I was very happy with the results.

Here's a look after sponging and sanding:

For a first time trowel and sponger, I have to say that my results to my eye are Wow!  It looks much better in person.  Very realistic.  I've already put my first coat of Hi-Build Sealer on it.

This product and my expectations for it given my nil-skill level was very forgiving.    I definitely believe that this is a high quality solution for what I want to do.  I am also considering this for my kitchen floor (when I'm forced to because of wear).  My kitchen floor is a beautiful white and black ceramic.  It is also (1) slippery and (2) white.  White is an extremely poor choice for a kitchen floor--particularly an active kitchen such as mine.  It looks good for the post-cleaning time frame of 5 minutes.  In fact, I would love to have a kitchen floor that looks just like the countertop above.  It has a beautiful, natural quality about it.  I would want to do some sort of "grouting" that made sense, though.

I'll bring a finished picture for you. What I like about this solution is that it has a very realistic look--and it is a product that can stand up to the rigors of kitchen life.

Update 07/10/11:  Here is the countertop after 3 coats of finish--the last one still wet:

For a countertop application, I should have made a smoother surface.  This texture is perfect for a floor.  I plan to run some durability tests (think hammer, hot pots, and water).  Of course, these are non-scientific and purely of my own imagination, but this is a heuristic exercise.  I will publish these in a separate post.

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