Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post by Floor & Decor. All opinions are 100% my own.
Holy cow. Are you guys ready for a big juicy DIY post? Because you are gonna feel as full as Thanksgiving second helpings after this one. It’s beefy. So beefy it makes cattle look like fish. Process that one for a minute.
Okay…so we are headed back into the Pedraza kitchen where we reworked walls, we installed gorgeous two toned cabinetry, laid some really family friendly tile in a herringbone pattern and now we are ready for countertops. In the original plan, we had said butcher block all the way….but we really had not picked it out or bought our pieces yet. It was back to one of my favorite places….Floor & Decor to get our materials.
So I know that some folks are like what? What is a Floor & Decor? And a couple years ago I would have said the same thing. Then a new giant store was built near the Mall of Georgia and now I make any excuse possible to go. Floor & Decor is like the Sam’s Club of tile, stone, flooring, laminate and countertops. It’s HUGE. And it can totally be shocking to the system….I know I was thrilled to be in such a huge place filled to the brim with tons of options but I can see how it could be overwhelming to some people.
The great part is that the stores are broken into sections….decorative tiles, floor tiles, laminates, hardwood and countertops. I broke it all down for you guys last year when we got a tour of the new store. There is even a section that has a designers waiting for you to come talk to them and help you in the shopping process. Oh and classrooms….ya know, for free how-to-tile classes 🙂 So when we went, we headed straight to the countertop section to check out their selection.
I knew that we were shopping for butcher block, but I had to stop in and see their stone options too…..
They carry these quartz and granite options….SO PRETTY. And ready to install. Like right now. Can we just take that in for a minute? You can leave the store and come home WITH A QUARTZ SLAB TO PUT IN YOUR KITCHEN RIGHT NOW.
That’s virtually unheard of in any other store. It’s crazy awesome.
And since Floor & Decor has a price guarantee, you can’t find the same item for less. Most quartz runs about $50-$60 per square foot and they have it for $18-$28. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Crazy. Awesome.
My favorites in the stone were this Bianco Carrara….of course 🙂 The first thing I thought when I saw it was….oh man, my instagrams would look so good with this as the background! ha!
The Cloud River quartz slab is a really nice option too…it’s more subtle and feels more mature in some way.
And of course I also liked the black honed granite. It reminds me of my kitchen 🙂 My favorites all had a squared edge and I am just dying to use it somewhere in my house.
After I got to touch all the counters….that isn’t an exaggeration….we headed over to the butcher block section.
Poor Weston really wanted to pick up the countertops. It’s tough being so strong buddy 🙂
We knew that we had discussed doing the walnut countertops but I wanted to be sure Floor & Decor didn’t get anything else into their lineup before making the final decision.
One of my friends is a carpenter and he was shocked to learn that you can buy these here. He literally asked me if I glued and clamped my own butcher block. I was like….um…..would you babysit my kids on friday night if I said yes?
The other great thing about this store vs. other tile or flooring places is that they are really supportive of DIYers. They really believe that you can learn as you tackle your own home. And they support that with constant educational signage around their store. They are like mini reminders to people who have done it before and great inspiration for first timers. We installed butcher block in our laundry room and this sign reminded me that I could detail the edge with my new router!
In the end, we went with the American Walnut. It can be sealed with Waterlox and turns this really beautiful dark rich color….so a Floor & Decor employee helped us locate our correct length of pieces….
And we were loaded up and ready to go before long.
When it came to installation, I knew it would be a little tricky….the walls in the Pedraza house are not square (most old houses aren’t!) so I’ll try my best to explain what we did.
First we cut the biggest piece….it required us to measure the length but also get the angle of the wall….
We used a little angle protractor to get the angle of the corner….
The butcher block comes unfinished and in a giant cardboard box. We needed to first decide which side was our top and what side was our front.
It helped us remember by writing it directly on the box.
Then we marked the length and the angle that we had measured in the kitchen.
That angle was continued down the board with a straight edge.
We had read that it was really important to get the right blade for your circular saw. This Plywood blade says its for laminates but it does not mean this kinda of laminated wood.
What you want is this ultra finish blade….it’s for hardwoods and plywood….but it won’t burn out on you 🙂
Once you are ready to go, take a deep breath and go for it…..
Then dry fit quickly because you won’t want to breathe until then 🙂
To ge the mitered joint at the corner, we measured from the wall the depth of the countertop and marked our diagonal line. Then we cut that. Then we repeated the process for all the other countertop boards. For the Pedraza kitchen, it required an 8 foot countertop and a 12 foot countertop. So the total cost for the butcher block itself was $780 which is a decent chunk of change but for the end result….totally worth it.
Once the countertops were cut and dry fit to the cabinets and walls….it was time to cut the sink hole. Remember our lovely Moen sink? Here are the details on that beauty.
Thankfully the sink came with a template and I googled the tar out of ‘how to cut a sink hole from a butcher block countertop”.
I decided that the best way for me to do it was to use a router. The first thing I needed was a router bit that was deep enough and a template made from thin wood.
How I made the template was to trace the paper template on this piece of 1/4″ plywood. Then I measured the distance from the edge of the router blade to the edge of the router….the router would sit on the inside of the cut plywood and the plywood would be a guideline for it while it cut the opening for the sink.
I cut the opening in the plywood with my jigsaw. Now I am decent with my jigsaw. BUT if I could go back and do it again, I would have set up a guide for the jigsaw so that the lines didn’t have even the slightest wave in them.
I had marked where the center of the sink should go when we dry fit the boards….so now I measured the center of the sink opening and aligned those two marks. The other thing to keep in mind is how far you want the sink to sit back. We did three inches from the front. We needed to have enough countertop in the back for the faucet and enough countertop in the front to mount the sink to.
So for the router bit, I texted my friend Carrie to see if her husband Shawn had a really deep router bit. I didn’t. I know. It’s hard to imagine I don’t have the right tool 🙂 Carrie & Shawn live in our neighborhood and are pretty much there for us anytime we need DIY help or essential oils or an ear to listen. He is an amazing woodworker and showed up five minutes later.
When he came in, he gave me the bit and asked what I was working on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right collar for my router to make it happen…and his collar wouldn’t fit on my tool….so he offered to cut it for me….I was like umyesthankyou and I’ll be over here on social media until you are done 🙂
After the hole was cut, Jer and I said goodbye to Shawn….told him that we would buy him a steak dinner….and went back to work.
I used my router to cut a rounded edge on the sink opening and on the front edge of the countertop.
Safety first people.
Then Jer and I sanded them all until they were ready for sealing. I used regular Waterlox for the sealing part and literally – this was my very favorite part because you could see the colors of the wood come through with that first coat.
So for sealing, you have to do 5 coats of the Waterlox at least where any moisture might touch it. I did three coats on the bottom where the sink opening was and then we took it over to the Pedraza’s to do more coats later.
Jeremy marked the holes for the faucet and those were sanded.
After the countertops were dry fitted in, we had to mount the sink. And then back to sealing.
To dry fit the sink, we followed the basic steps that we did in this past post. First you align the sink on the hole….this required me to get under the countertop while it was on sawhorses and make sure everything was right. Then the guys marked the location.
Most undermount sinks come with these little brackets to attach it. You will have to pre drill and then screw them in.
That little metal bracket will bend down when it’s in fully and it holds the sink in place. You will also want to use adhesive.
Once the sink is in place, make sure your faucet can go in and make sure none of the braces will interfere with cabinetry frames. Then we had to install the shield for the dishwasher. It went where Danny’s hand is in the photo below….
We picked up this thin sheet aluminum at the store and measured and marked the spot for that. We could have used just more Waterlox but we didn’t know how much heat would come off the dishwasher and even if any moisture was blocked, the heat could warp our counters possibly….so we decided metal would be the ultimate blocker.
I marked the lines of where to cut….
and it took both of them to get it snipped 🙂 I like how Jeremy is making this look really aerobic.
Then we used Liquid Nails adhesive to get a good base for the metal….
And then brad nailed it in place. That is one well protected countertop now 🙂
For the mitered corner, we had to figure out a way to attach the counters to each other in that corner….enter the Kreg Jig.
I drill a few pocket holes and we got the sink portion in. That made it sound really easy but it took three of us and a whole lot of yelling PIVOT!
Then we glued the corner miter piece and popped in the neighbor. I could access the pocket holes by climbing into the cabinet…..hey whatever works, right?
The corners where the pieces met were looking pretty good as is but we wanted to make sure that crack didn’t become a crumb catcher.
I had saved a bunch of sawdust from the routing process and decided to mix my own filler.
Basically you use fine saw dust and wood glue and mix it up till it’s like putty. This wood filler will match your counters much better when sealed and has some variation in the color (as opposed to regular filler). This is my first time and I loved the end result. I struggled with the mixing process (I’m no chef!) but after a while I got a good consistency and filled in the crack.
This is it all filled in. It still gets multiple layers of Waterlox so I just had to make sure it was very smooth.
Okay so for the sealing process….here is the short and sweet of it.
- Sand your counters with 120 sandpaper till smooth
- Sand with 220 sandpaper till smooth
- Remove all dust with brush and also with tack cloth
- Apply Waterlox with smooth bristle brush (view at a side to make sure it is on thick enough)
- Wait 24 hours
- Sand with 440 grit sandpaper
- Apply Waterlox with smooth bristle brush (view at a side to make sure it is on thick enough)
- Wait 24 hours
- Repeat sanding and sealing 4 more times.
- After final coat, wait 7-8 days for final curing. DO NOT TOUCH!
In the end, it will be so worth it. They will be smooth and look like the most amazing wood you’ve ever seen.
It will be very hard to not touch them in that final curing process but it will be well worth it and setting up a makeshift counter space is easy enough.
For the final installation, we used some small L brackets on the inside of the cabinets where it was open to the countertops. We just screwed those in place. Not that this thing can move…it’s literally not going ANYWHERE….but just for insurance. If you decide to do an top mounted sink, you can use Liquid Nails too….just put some on the cabinet frame before installing the countertops. It’s really easy. You can read this old butcher block countertop post for more info on that method.
And since I don’t have the end result photos for you just yet – wait for it….it will be in the reveal! – here is the photoshopped version so that you can imagine how great they will look with the back splash 🙂
Speaking of backsplash….that is next on the DIY’s and it looks AMAZING. More on that soon! Happy DIYing y’all!