•Q: “What’s the big deal with concrete countertops? Why are they so popular?”
It’s difficult to pin down exactly when and how concrete counters exploded in popularity. One reason may be that kitchen designers and remodelers saw this as a novel, fresh way of dealing with the countertop question: How to provide solid counters without necessarily going the “granite route.” One thing that concrete has above other countertop options: infinite style variations. Because concrete counters are made from scratch, you are not limited to colors, shapes, styles, etc. So, for the truly adventurous homeowner, concrete counters are an option to consider.
•Q: “I’m not feeling adventurous about my kitchen counters. I just want…plain old counters.”
Then, definitely stay away from concrete counters. If you just want basic counters, go for solid-surface (Silestone, Corian, etc.) or laminate. Or even granite. Concrete counters are not what you might call basic.
Q: "What STYLE do I want?" (click on style name below for full explaination with photos) •Q: “Are concrete counters really heavy and will I need special cabinets to hold the weight of them?”
Yes, concrete counters are heavy. But if you have ever seen a massively thick concrete counter (say, six inches or even more), you’re probably just viewing the front overhang. The bulk of that counter is probably just 1.5 to 2 inches thick. And you don’t need to have a thick face, either. That’s just another design option.
A 1.5 inch thick concrete counter is about 19 pounds per square foot. This compares to the weight of granite. So, no special cabinetry or bracing is needed for concrete. There is really no need at all for a six-inch countertop throughout.
•Q: “Are concrete counter tops formed on-site (in the kitchen) or back in the shop?”
Either, depending on the needs. In the shop, the fabricator has a controlled environment and can produce a more predictable product. This is the preferred method. If a counter is cast “on-site,” it’s because the job has special design needs that can be met only by casting while in place.
•Q: “I’ve heard that concrete counters need constant sealing. Is this true?”
They need sealing, but not “constant sealing.” After installation, the counter will receive an initial sealing. Afterwards, only occasional sealing is needed.
•Q: “How much do concrete countertops cost?”
The old saying is true: “It depends.” It depends on thickness, style, colors, etc. If you choose to have a craftsman do the countertops, expect to pay between $70.-150.00 a square foot. Our prices start at $70. per sq. ft. This compares favorably with granite countertops, which can easily run $100, $200, or more per square foot installed. The cost of concrete counters is more than solid-surface or laminate, but this is not an “apples-to-apples” comparison, since solid-surface and concrete are entirely different types of counters. Concrete is more of a high-end countertop choice.
When you think of concrete countertops, does it conjure up images of a gray, dull "driveway in the kitchen" style? Well, no more! Today's concrete can be colorful and decorative and molded into a myriad of shapes, thicknesses, and patterns. In fact, concrete is fast becoming "THE" countertop for high end houses.
Concrete can be poured in place or poured in the countertop shop, delivered to your kitchen and installed like granite.
Many custom touches can be added to the countertops to make them just the way you want.
•Color: There are three basic ways to color concrete: Adding dye to the concrete mix, acid staining cured concrete, or adding elements such as glass, marble or metal to the wet mix and grinding the top to expose the elements in patterns. •Patterns: The countertops can be formed upside down with large veins formed by packing the concrete loosely. When the concrete has cured, the countertop can be flipped over and the gaps filled with one or more coordinating or accent colors. The resulting look resembles marble. •Corners: You can add custom accents to the corners by pressing objects such as leaves into them for a special touch. •Maintenance: Concrete countertops need to be sealed with a penetrating sealer, followed by a satin or gloss sealer. The countertops are then polished frequently with beeswax to keep them from staining.
All in all, concrete countertops are extremely versatile in shape, size and look, and are as durable as any other type of countertop on the market.
Concrete is an extraordinary material that is practical, expressive, and aesthetic all at once. From a primal and formless slurry, you can transform it into virtually any shape that becomes a solid mass. The possibilities for creative expression are endless. You can grind, polish, stamp, or stain it. You can embed meaningful objects within it.
Concrete has substance and mass, permanence and warmth. It feels earthy, and is at home in both traditional and modern settings. It assumes forms that irrevocably touch our daily lives-bridges, highways, floors, walls... even countertops. Concrete is also surprisingly tactile. Cast and shaped, it can feel like stone rounded by the sea. Textured and colored, it can echo the patina of timeworn tile.
Because of its adaptability, concrete finds itself welcome in all areas of the home, especially in the kitchen and bath, but also in fireplaces, patios, garden paths, or water features. Concrete can also be used as a floor material with enormous creative advantages whether seeded, stained, stamped, broomed or diamond-finished. It can be a sole performer or play the supporting role to tile, mosaics, decorative aggregates, stone, wood, or metal. It is inexpensive, durable, noncombustible, impervious to decay, and also very effective for passive solar gain in the right application.
With vertical treatments, concrete gives us an opportunity to recapture some of the feeling of the monolithic wall-the feeling of substance, of protection. Walls are also a great place to explore form. A wall doesn't have to be flat or straight, but can curve and undulate. It can be textured to be rough as stone or smooth as glass.