Concrete is a daily part of our life and has been for some time. Isn’t it odd that so often it is poured and left to cure in its normal state of drab gray? When almost with the same amount of work, you could make your own DIY recycled glass countertop or even use it for patio or driveway.
Where to purchase recycled glass
At most places, you can find a manufacturer of crushed recycled glass. If not, it could also be ordered online as “decorative crushed glass” or something else close to it. You will find that some of these manufacturers are actually created as entities to provide jobs for people with disabilities. These enterprises sort bottles by color before running them through crushers.
The glass can typically be purchased in 5 to 50 lb bags. Ordered from internet can be as little as 1.5 lb. Usually they are separated by granule size and color.
You should be able to find glass for around $5-$10 per 50 lb bag. Ordering from the internet is more expensive as it’s sold as a decorative item, not recycled. You might have to soak your glass in water to remove any labels that made it through the crushing process. The remnants of paper will float to the top and can be skimmed off and you’ll be left with the glass at the bottom.
It should also be worth doing as you can get extra dirt off. Depending of way that it’s used it might matter or not.
Pick your size and color for your project
Recycled glass is typically brown, green, blue, red, clear, and mirror. These are the colors of bottles and such that usually gets crushed. The decorative glass comes in a greater variety of colors so if you have some specific plan for the countertop, you might want to check those out too.
You can purchase the glass in sizes ranging from sand granules to quarter size segments. It can be handled safely with your hands but gloves are recommended to reduce the risk of minor cuts. Many homeowners and institutions find that crushed glass provides a great stand-alone landscaping element. The glass can be arranged around flower beds and walkways.
How to make a recycled glass countertop
For making countertops, read this article here. I’ll concentrate more on the using of recycled glass part here.
Adding decorative glass to your concrete DIY glass countertops, patio or walkway is easy and requires only a few steps more than your typical pour.
When you have poured your concrete into the countertop form (or whatever else you’re doing), use float for the entire surface once to make it smooth. It is important not to float too much as you may mix the water and cement ratio too much. This can weaken the top of your slab.
Next, you should let the concrete stiffen up just a bit but don’t wait too long. If the curing process goes on for a while, the cement in the concrete won’t adhere to new objects well anymore. That’s why we want to use the moment when it’s hard enough for the glass to sink in the surface, but not to go to the bottom of the form.
This can be tricky if you’re not accustomed to working with concrete. If you have any doubts find someone to help before you start. Another good way is to experiment. Make a little concrete pad the same thickness as your countertop and test how much you need to let it cure.
When the concrete is set up a bit but not dry, sprinkle your recycled glass chips over the surface in whatever density you desire. You can also add small colored pebbles to give a textural and color variety to your patio.
After sprinkling the glass you will need a finishing trowel or plastic float to press the chips beneath the surface of the concrete. Work the finishing trowel or float back and forth across the slab until the glass is no longer visible.
The next day when the concrete has cured enough, you will need to take a hard wire brush, preferably one with a handle, and remove the top layer of cream. use a water hose in conjunction with the brush to clear away the cement residue as you work. This is the most labor-intensive part of the job but also the most satisfying.
If you’re working inside, you could try different concrete diamond sanding discs, if you have the tools or can rent them. You need to have a good vacuum as well as you don’t want the dust to get everywhere. Also could use water when you grind, that could help with the dust problem.
Using a diamond disc will help the glass to come out better than a wire brush as it will remove more concrete around it. You should do the final surface with a diamond wet polishing disc so you will get the smoothest surface possible and won’t have any grinding marks on it.
You will have complete creative control to expose as much glass as you desire. Prior to the exposition of the glass, you may find some of it flaking away. Don’t be alarmed this is normal. Make sure and sweep it away frequently before sealing your pad.
Adding the sealing coating for your DIY glass countertop
Depending on your countertop thickness, it might take up to 4 weeks for it to cure completely. It’s usually advised that you let your concrete cure before you use the sealing coating on it. There are some that advertise that they can be used 2 days after pour. I’d advise checking with the manufacturer.
For countertops, you also need a sealer that is safe to use when preparing food and that can handle everything else going on in the kitchen. Like cooking heat and use of kitchen tools. These sealers also need a day or two to reach full cure.
After the sealing, you’re ready to show off to your family and friends with your unique countertop.
Making recycled glass concrete countertop isn’t that different from making a concrete countertop. You just have to be careful when exposing the glass to not to break them.