Walttools joined forces with Z Counterform at a recent outdoor kitchen training in Pennsylvania at the Z-Counterform HQ. Close to 30 people from all walks of life took part in a hands-on training on the installation of an large L shaped outdoor kitchen with an elevated bar top using the Walttools modular panels and the Z Form Concrete Counter top system. Students saw first hand how this type of project can come to life in a very short time. The versatility of the lightweight panels to create kitchen islands of may shapes and sizes is a major plus.
The Z form crew had already poured a decorative pad to prepare for the training. The sawcut and stained pad was the perfect platform for what was to come. The training started off with Brandon Dooley of Walttools providing an overview of the system and what benefits it can provide them over other types of construction systems on the market. Coloring of the panels was the first topic and the exclusive REAX stain was demonstrated and, as always, that process is intriguing. It really is the most unique stain in the marketplace.
Next was making the required cuts for the actual applliances to be installed and the panels were ready for use. The discussion turned to layout of the actual kitchen and how to template that out on your surface including installing the rebar pins for permanent installations if desired. Before long, everyone was taking part in assembling the panels into the 10×10 foot kitchen island.
They saw just how quick the process is once you get going. In about 45 minutes, all the panels were in place, leveled and locked in as needed. Creating this base with other frame and wall methods would have taken much longer, not counting the process of installing stone!
After lunch it quickly turned into the Z Counterform show with Ed Baldoni of Z leading the way on the use of their system. By mid afternoon everyone had taken part in installing the form system, mixing and pouring of the concrete, and basic finishing of the top. They saw how to use the stone edge liners for this project and how to block out for the install of a sink and a grill. The next day was a mix bag of learning but was dominated by the installation of the large 10 ft bar top. It was a 10 person job to carfully carry and set it in place! Normally, the bar would be poured that day, but due to class timing the plan was to have the participants get a good picture of a completed project by the end of day 2 so that was precasted ahead of time. That just would not have ocurred if pouring were to happen day 2. Prior to that, Brandon showed the installation of the precast decorative corbels used to support the bar top. All the masons on hand were fantastic in that participation! Ed gave a coloring demo on that main bar top before installation as well. He used their Aqua Stain UV system to create a very rich leathery brown by layering a few colors. The matching precast foot rest was colored in the same scheme. Then the participants were turned loose with stains to do their own trial and error test pieces. It is amazing what you can do with stain!
The training wrapped up by the installation of the appliances and a quick sweep of the work area. All that remained was the staining on the main top that was poured the day before. We will post an update to this once a final completion shot is taken.
Despite the rainy and chilly weather, the event was still a huge success and there was a lot of knowledge gained by all. The number of trade tips that is passed along in this type of gathering is quite amazing. If you are out East, stay tuned for another date to be scheduled for a similar event in the future. As a last word, the precast panels are great for this application but can also be used for planters, decorative walls, fire features, wainscoting, etc. AND The Z Counterform system is a perfect match allowing even first timers to create a concrete countertop they can be proud of. Don’t be afraid to make your patio the talk of the neighborhood…..
Two views of the kitchen island