To top things off...
We have (most) of our upstairs countertops!! ...
Above, the pictures basically walk around the house from the "key drop" by the front door, clockwise around the main floor, back to the powder room by the front entry.
The crews (two full crews worked on the counters to make it a one day job) from Innovative Surfaces did a great job and were kind enough to answer all my silly questions and put up with me taking pictures of the process ;)
Most of the counters are a very deep brown, with flecks of detail in them. This really doesn't show well in many of the pictures, as they look solid black. Other photos show too light. The variance in the color depending upon your angle and lighting is really an interesting aspect.
Part of the reason for the choice of a dark color was the same as the reasoning for the darker floor tile.
The darker color will absorb, and hold onto more heat. It will then release this heat at night.
This means we spend less energy, and money, heating the house. In addition, during summer months, the air in the house won't heat up as fast.
The countertop on the bench area in the great room is not secured in place yet.
We are planning to install air vents next to the wall, behind the bench countertop. The folks that were installing it suggested we install the vent first, as it is easier to make adjustments to the countertop and get a perfect fit.
They will be coming back to install the bathtub deck and the counters downstairs, so this won't insure any extra costs.
In the picture of the master bathroom vanity, there are a couple of pieces of countertop that will actually serve as the backsplash. We have a center tower in the middle, so that is going to wait for the tower to be in place.
The laundry room and powder room follow. The powder room will have some more colorful wall covering made of recycled newspaper. We decided on a lighter vanity top to avoid everything in the room being dark.
Now, the fun part!
When putting the counters together, they used a two part epoxy and a vacuum pump to get a tight, solid, almost invisible joint between sections.
It was very cool to watch.
Basically, they color match the epoxy to the countertop.
Then, they combine the two types of epoxy, which starts a chemical reaction.
This reaction hardens the epoxy, but it takes a short bit of time.
Just enough time for them to carefully spread the epoxy between the two slabs to join.
Next they use four vacuum pumps, two on each slab and force the gap closed while the epoxy hardens.
During this time they make constant adjustments to make sure the two slabs form a smooth joint, and clean off any excess epoxy as the two slabs and clamped together.
The sixth image shows a close-up of what the completed seam looks like. You really can't see them easily without a close-up shot.
More detail work has also been done. Low voltage networking, more carpentry prepping outside and completion of our screen porch, etc.
The downstairs counters are set to be installed in a couple of weeks, so I am not sure if I will have a blog until then, unless the bathroom counters are ready before then.
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Mark really doesn't like to talk about himself, the house is much more interesting.