A Series of Unfortunate Events

Have I mentioned before that sometimes when you DIY things don’t go as planned? No? Well you can consider the last week of my life as a testament to that fact, starting with this counter.

The Concrete Stain Debacle

Immediately after installing it there was a quick trip to the concrete specialty store (Did you know those existed? They do. And they sell 2000 grit sandpaper blocks at $20 a pop.) to pick out a stain. A light brown that was meant to tint the gray so that it fit in with the grays and browns in the room better.

What I actually got was orange. And it was not pretty.

Luckily I was smart enough to do a test patch where the sink would cover it up, so no harm done unless you count the $80 for a bottle of stain that will turn 400 square feet of concrete bright orange that can’t be returned.

Then, while talking with the guys at my local paint store, they recommended trying regular old wood stain, since concrete is porous and will absorb almost anything. It seemed like it was worth a shot.


I spent all of last week doing a mad scientist routine over a series of stain cans to get just the right color. I was pretty happy with the results as it went on, but after it dried…


I don’t know what I was thinking painting the stain on in straight lines. If I’d smeared it on in a circular fashion using a rag it probably would have been a lot better. But the real problem is the darker patches of concrete that were highlighted by the stain.


I tried doing a more irregular second coat to clear it up, but no dice.

So, this is what I was doing for most of last week while posting about strawberries. If I’m posting recipes from a kitchen that contains plywood counters, no sink, and no appliances, feel free to take that as a sign that things aren’t going exactly as I planned.

Plan B is to try a darker concrete stain to see if it evens things out, and Plan C is to put a topping like Skimstone on the thing. But by the time we get done with two gallons of concrete stain and/or the Skimstone, I probably could have just bought a slab of granite and called it done. Lesson learned.

If You Were Doing a Handstand, This Would Be Right

I was installing interior door hardware this weekend and a quick look at the directions led to a shocking revelation…


All of the hardware I installed on the exterior doors about this time last year, is upside down.

(Go ahead, laugh.)

Luckily, this mistake was an easy fix. These Schlage handles can be easily detached by pushing on the release button.


However, on exterior doors (and I’ve had this problem on more than one occasion) you have to put the key in the lock and turn it in order for the handle to release.


Obviously it would be way too easy to break into a house otherwise.

And… we can all return to our fully upright positions now, since all of the handles are facing the right way.


Fine, It Was Just a Little Blood

I mean, I did have what felt like a tree branch sized splinter shoved under my skin this weekend due to some overzealous sanding.


But despite my attempting to use needle-nose pliers in place of tweezers, it wasn’t exactly a gusher…

DSC_0418 (2)

Actually, I was lucky there was a veteran splinter remover on the premises. I didn’t lose the finger, but I did decide to grout a floor shortly after the operation occurred, so I’m probably going to be picking bits of sand and cement out of my finger for the next few years.

Do you think the fact that it’s always this finger is a karmic sign that perhaps I should stop flipping the bird to crappy drivers?

9 Responses

  1. Oh…my…that’s a bad week. I know absolutely nothing about staining/coloring concrete except what you’ve already written about so no wisdom here. Are you out of wine & chocolate? They always seem to help…separately or in combo!

  2. Not to rain on your pity parade, but I sincerely doubt that the cost of concrete + concrete stain + skimstone = granite. I bet you could mess up at least two more concrete counters and still come out ahead (ahead on money, that is, not frustration and time).

    Not that I would know. I’ve been trying to sell my husband on concrete counters as the perfect solution so I can get out of all that tiling, but he keeps saying it looks too hard. So please, at least for me, keep trying. I do NOT want to admit he might be right (even though I probably am going to stick with tiling).

    1. You have a point Nicole. For the 7′ vanity counter, the tub ledge and the bench in the shower, we probably used about $350 for concrete materials, $80 for stain $40 for sanding pads, and if we have to do this skimstone it could be another $150-200 that will cover all of it.

      If it was just for the vanity counter it would be around $80/LF, which I feel like you could maybe find cheap granite for that. But, since we have the crazy tub surround and the shower bench (they wanted to charge me $200 for that little piece of granite) I think we’ll still come out on top.

      Plus, I didn’t like the look of granite for in here, but I did recently find some quartz that I thought would have looked good. Maybe in the kitchen…

      1. Sorry to make you do all that math. I just know I have a tendency when something goes wrong to say, “DAMMIT! I should have just ___!” [paid someone, rented a condo, stayed in bed, etc.] when really this is just the tiniest blip in a string of outrageous victories.

  3. Okay. This explains the strawberry post. ‘Cause that? That had me really concerned about you. I kept wondering, WHY would you use graham crackers as a layer when you could have BOUGHT an already made graham cracker crust, with butter already in it?

    This totally explains it.

      1. Bwahaha! You really do need to get out more. Yes you can buy pre-made graham cracker crusts in pie tins.

        Your concrete stain issues never seem to end! If there was a blog award for “most posts on concrete stain” I’m sure you’d win. I know it costs more but I’m kinda of glad I have a remnant piece of granite lined up for our vanity top.

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