Today’s home builders are blessed with so many attractive concrete countertops options that were not in existence before. Homeowners who would like to be different are no longer limited to traditional materials like granite.
Countertop suppliers have come up with other choices like bamboo, quartz, solid-surface, wood and other less expensive materials. Several manufacturers have also started to popularize polished concrete countertops. You would think that concrete is a dull and boring material. But it can be processed in such a way that it will rival the most expensive hard stone countertop in elegance, not to mention in hardness and durability as well.
We are used to seeing concrete floors, walls and ceilings but it is now being used to build attractive countertops as well. Countertops made of concrete are softer to the touch compared to granite but still has the feel of hard stone. Unlike other materials, you can customize concrete according to your preference or the requirement of the room where it will be located. You can put any color and texture on its surface that will blend with the existing decor of your house. When it comes to strength and durability, you can be sure that your concrete countertops will be able to handle all the weight of the activities that you intend to do on it.
Workability of Concrete
Since concrete can be completely customized, you can set your countertop in a unique, attractive and artistic fashion. Concrete slabs are individually cast therefore any combination of color, texture can be created which will match with your room’s color and design. Every concrete countertop will have their individual look distinct from each other. When concrete is treated and polished you can use it for any decorative purposes because it really looks attractive.
How Concrete Countertops Are Made
Concrete countertops are made by combining cement, color pigment, acrylic, fillers and aggregates. The proportion of these components varies according to the design of the countertop. Most often, they will also include reinforcing materials like rebar (reinforcing steel bars), wire mesh, fiber reinforcement and fiberglass. They are poured into a design mold and allowed to cure and harden for at least 48 hours. Once the concrete mix is set, the slab is sanded down in order to make it harder and tougher. They are then sealed with an epoxy sealant and then polished to increase their durability and luster. This results in a polished concrete countertop that is very strong and resistant to water, stains, heat and regular wear and tear.
This method of processing paved the way for a wide variety of this product to be available in the market today. They are different from each other on a number of things: their weights, thickness and patterns of the countertop surfaces. The average thickness of a concrete countertop ranges from 1.5 inches to 2 inches. Its weight would be about 19 pounds per square foot. As concrete is highly workable, you can customize the thickness and you can also choose from 150 different color hues. You can also integrate your countertop sinks, soap dishes and drain boards into the countertop if you want to.
Advantages of Concrete Countertops
Countertops made of concrete are really functional and can also be decorative at the same time. Let us now look at some of the benefits of having this countertop in your home.
- Concrete can be molded into any desired shape, be it circular, angular or any irregular shapes
- All the components and reinforcing materials ensure the stability and strength of the countertop therefore it will be durable and long lasting.
- With a wide variety of choices available, you can easily come up with the style or color that can match the overall decor of your home.
- You can integrate countertop sinks, soap dishes, backsplashes and drain boards into the countertop surface. This allows you to just have one complete structure negating the need for seams.
- Without any seams and joints, there is no place where molds, dew, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms can lodge in. You are assured of a clean place for food preparation.
- Compared to other countertop materials, concrete is very resistant to heat. Therefore you don’t have to worry about your hot pots and pans damaging the countertop surface.
- Concrete countertops are very flexible and can blend well with either a traditional or a modern kitchen.
- Cleaning and maintenance is very easy. Just wash the surface with mild soap, then rinse it with water and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
- The beauty and style of polished concrete countertop surfaces are unique and special.
Disadvantages of Concrete Countertops
Admittedly, there are also a number of weaknesses for these types of countertops. Below are some of the things you need to consider.
- The original appearance will be dulled after a few months.
- If not properly sealed, they can be stained due to the porosity of the cement.
- It can also be quite expensive compared to other alternative countertop materials.
- To some, concrete conveys an industrial image not suitable for kitchen use.
Cost Depends on Quality
The price of a polished concrete countertop varies widely depending on the size, design, the way it was built, the quality of the material components and the rate of the maker or manufacturer. As in all types of products, the higher the quality and beauty, the costlier it will be. With concrete, you have a choice of honed, ground or diamond polished countertop finishes. A ground polished concrete countertop will cost you from $65 to $75 per square foot. If you want a more flashy and expensive look such as the diamond polished countertop, you will have to pay about $180 to $200 per square foot.
Care and Maintenance of Concrete Countertops
If you want your concrete countertop to last, you should have it finished and sealed adequately to prevent water and stains from damaging it. Waxing the surface on a regular basis will keep the sealing intact and protect it from accidental scratches. Concrete is hard therefore don’t use your expensive knives and other cutleries directly on its surface to prevent them from being dulled and destroyed.