Have you ever seen a concrete countertop?
Most people probably have not, but if you have, chances are you have not forgotten it. Concrete has an unmistakable presence in a room that transcends alternative materials. No other material allows for the options that concrete does. It’s no wonder that concrete is hitting the design world like a title wave. In every design magazine and almost all home design television shows, you can see concrete being used in multiple applications, all of which are strikingly beautiful.
How are concrete countertops made?
For the customer, the process is very different from other countertop surfaces. You will have control of every aspect of the project from color and thickness, to whether you choose an integral sink or an undermount sink, to custom elements such as decorative inlays, or functional items such as integral towel bars, trivets, drain boards and more. There are endless options to choose from and it can be as simple or as unique as you would like it. Once the fabricator creates a template at your home, molds will be built based on the thickness, edge profile, sink choice and any other options that you have selected. Unlike most other materials, concrete starts off just like a cake mix. Once the water, color, and other additives are mixed together, the material becomes workable and is placed into a mold where it will harden overnight to be unveiled the next morning. The concrete countertops are processed to your desired finish, and are typically sealed with either a penetrating or a topical sealer.
How does concrete perform in the home?
Unlike most natural and engineered stone, not all concrete countertops are created equal since each manufacturer has a different mix design, fabrication method, and preferred sealer. A concrete countertop’s performance in the home will depend heavily on the sealer that the concrete fabricator chooses and there is no standard. Keep in mind that if the concrete is not sealed, like natural stone, it is porous and will absorb liquids and stain. However, when properly sealed, it can be a great alternative to stone in the kitchen and bath. “Kitchen and bathroom concrete countertops make up a majority of the products that we produce. With our process and finishing techniques, we are confident that our clients are receiving high quality, long lasting concrete countertops” says Dave Grech, owner of Trueform Concrete, a concrete countertop fabricator based in New Jersey. However, as with any other material, concrete countertops are not bulletproof. However, unlike other stones and materials, most concrete countertops can be easily repaired if something were to happen such as scratches, chips, or stains. Additionally, if the fabricator is up to date on mix technology you should rarely see any cracks develop. According to Grech, “Educating the client on care and use and properly setting their expectations for the performance of the product is critical to success. With a good product, the right sealer, and proper care and use, you should expect to live with and enjoy your concrete countertops for a very long time.”
As the design community keeps the demand up for concrete countertops, concrete fabricators will continue to advance their craft with a better product, better technologies and more innovative applications for concrete. The next time you are preparing to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, consider concrete and all of the unique design opportunities this amazing material can provide.
The images used in this hub have been provided by TrueForm Concrete, LLC the real concrete countertop masters.