I have put three coats of the Ardex product on my counter using a wide concrete trowel on the first two then a much smaller 3" wide putty knife on the 3rd layer. The reason for this is that I want a really textural look to my finished countertop, possibly, hopefully a little more like stone in the end rather than flat perfect concrete. Then after the third layer was on I used the excess and now thicker Ardex that was still in my bowl and went back and smeared it on roughly here and there because it seams that the best textured results come when you sand the last layer with fine grit sand paper. The fine sandpaper has an almost polishing effect on the Ardex and it's those areas that end up darker. Or so I've read. It's all just a big experiment, I hope it turns out well. I'm sure I will love them when they are done, as I already love them now and they aren't even done yet. The hubby just wishes "yet another" project was done. He's tired of not being able to use the kitchen. Diddo!
I'm sorry the pictures aren't the greatest. I hope to update with better quality ones from my camera but for now IPad pics in early morning light are all I've got. :) hopefully you can see the smearing spots here and there to achieve maximum texture when the counter is finished.
In the process of sanding down the last layer (no I didn't waste time sanding between each and every layer) mainly because I'm going for that textured look and because I'm lazy lol. I'm using my black and decker sander first to do an overall smoothing then I'll go back with the fine grit sandpaper to get the polished effect I'm looking for in a final sanding.