Is Concrete the Right Choice In Your Kitchen?
Concrete kitchen countertops are a unique design option for kitchens. They create a more modern or industrial look and no two are alike. Though not as popular as granite or quartz countertops, concrete is durable, functional, and gorgeous.
Concrete countertops, like in example above, 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 porous surface.
How Much Do Concrete Kitchen Countertops Cost?
Concrete countertops are expensive. If you are looking at a straight forward countertop you can expect to start in the 70-$100+ a sq ft with professional installation costing anywhere between $30-$90 per hour. Not cheap.
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 counters will patina with age which tell a story and provide character. Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash
Concrete Terrazzo Effect
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.
Versatility of Concrete
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.
Are Concrete Kitchen Countertops Durable?
As kitchen countertop surfaces go, concrete is a very durable product however, it is sensitive to water and liquids and does stain, creating a “patina” overtime. Concrete will start to age and crack over time; this builds character but beware of large fissures or movement to prevent further damage to your counter tops.
Maintaining Your Concrete Countertop
Concrete is naturally porous so to help protect them from liquids they require a sealant. This is done during construction but should also be done regularly by the homeowner to ensure proper maintenance. Treatments should take place every 6 to 9 months with a liquid wax to extend the life of your concrete counters.
Heat and Food Prep
To further protect your concrete, make sure to use cutting boards as knives will damage the sealed surface. Concrete is also affected by heat so be sure to use a pot holder or trivet if you plan to have this kind of counter top near cooking surfaces.
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.
Counter Productions LLC. manufactures a great product called “Vetrazzo” you can see visit them at www.counterproduction.com or visit www.thesexygreenhome.com to learn more.