Concrete kitchen countertops are becoming an evermore popular choice for interior designers and new home builders. Though not as popular as granite or solid surface countertops, concrete’s versatility, durability and unique styling can add wonders to your kitchen.
Concrete countertops are made by mixing cement, aggregates, color pigments, acrylics & fillers together. This mix is poured over either, steel bars, mesh fiber or fiberglass to help reinforce the concrete when it forms. Concrete countertops are then cured and polished to form a level piece that is ready to be sealed. Epoxy is the most common sealer used as it is very strong and keeps moisture from entering the concrete countertops.
How much do Concrete kitchen Countertops Cost?
Concrete countertops can vary greatly in price range depending on what your needs are. If you are looking at a straight forward countertop you can expect to start in the 70-$90 a sq ft. Should you desire a custom concrete kitchen countertop, fabricated on site, with difficult inlays and pigments, expect to pay upwards of $180 – $200 a sq ft. Not the cheapest option, but worth the money if it can create the desired effect you are looking for.
Color & Design options for Concrete Countertops
Since concrete countertops are mixed with color pigments and/or acrylics, color choices can be endless. Coloring will fade over time and concrete countertops can begin to mellow with age. This will only add character to your countertops.
Many concrete countertops are mixed with aggregates, glass or marble to create a “Terrazzo” effect. This is where small pieces of stone or glass are set into the concrete and highly polished. This technique reflects light beautifully and will give your kitchen countertop a beautiful, reflective design and appearance.
Concrete countertops are fully customizable and can be made in a variety of shapes and/or forms. They are usually pre-fabricated but can be poured on site to work with your needs and designs.
Concrete countertops are versatile in that they can be designed to have inlaid sinks, chopping boards, drains and trivets built directly into them. A great choice if you have a unique idea in mind.
Durability of Concrete Kitchen Countertops
As kitchen countertop surfaces go, concrete is a very durable product. Concrete is naturally porous and needs to be sealed with epoxy or a sealer of some sort. This is done during construction so hopefully it is not for you to worry about. Do make sure that you treat your counters every 6 to 9 months with a liquid wax to extend the life of your counters.
Make sure that you use a cutting board as knives will damage the sealed surface. Concrete is affected by heat so use a pot holder or trivet if you plan to have this kind of counter top near cooking surfaces.
Concrete will start to age and crack over time; this is a character builder for the surface but beware of large fissures or movement to prevent further damage to your counter tops
Construction & Installation of Concrete Kitchen Countertops
Concrete kitchen countertops are manufactured two ways. Either by pre-casting the concrete slabs at the manufacturer or on site by the installer themselves.
If your countertops are pre-cast, the manufacturer will pour the slab, mix the pigment and aggregates, cure the concrete and polish and seal all in their shop. This technique allows for a more controlled environment for the counters to be built.
On site construction allows for the builder to customize according to the needs of the job. Unusual corners, rounded edges and such are easier to build on site and will lend to the uniqueness of your product.
It is best to always seek professional installation for concrete countertops.
Concrete’s impact on the Environment & Health
Concrete kitchen countertops can be a viable ecological choice because its properties can include recycled aggregates such as post consumer glass or stone. Their content can range from 80% to 95% recycled materials However the production of cement for concrete is an enormous contributor to carbon emissions and green house gasses. It is essential that your concrete manufacturer tries to use a high percentage of “fly-ash” in their product. Fly-ash is a cement substitute made from recycled material.
The look of a polished concrete surface or a beautiful terrazzo designed countertop will create a classy and unique piece to any sexy kitchen space. With its array of color, texture, and construction option, concrete is a very sexy alternative for your kitchen countertops. Give this product a try if you are tired of the ordinary and ready to walk on the wild side.
The Martini Factor
As far as glassware goes, concrete countertops are pretty unfriendly. Spills and stains need to be dealt with immediately to prevent long term staining but the use of proper sealers and maintenance will help.