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Concrete Countertops: Hot Designs For Your Home

Aug 18, 2007
If you're unfamiliar with concrete countertops, you are probably feeling a little amused with the whole idea of having a sidewalk where your kitchen counter top or bathroom vanity should be.

I can assure you that this comical vision is far from the stylish, warm and natural look of this surface.

Concrete countertops can be customized with unique colors, unusual shapes and specialty finishes not available with other surfaces.

Truly a designing dream, concrete countertops are rapidly gaining popularity with restaurants, hotels and homeowners.

Colors

Virtually any color can be achieved with cement counter tops. Every fabricator of mixes their own recipe of sand, water and stone and custom color pigmentation can be added to the mix or stains can be applied in the later stages. Either way you get a unique color variation to your finished countertop.

The particular coloring process results in colors that are warm and rich with earthy tones. Considering that the colors found in nature provide us with an amazing spectrum from sandstone creams to deep reds and every shade in between, your choice is almost endless.

The most popular colors are creams, grays and browns that are a natural complement to popular decorating and design materials like wood, stone, stainless steel and brick.

Design Possibilities

As coloring pigments, stains, various aggregates, and epoxy coatings are added to the concrete mixture, your countertop may be created to resemble the look, texture, and feel of quarried stone such as marble, granite, and limestone.

Interesting objects such as shells, coins and glass tiles may be set into your kitchen counter top to enhance your decorating theme or give added depth to the counter top surface. This is particularly beneficial to restaurants and hotels when creating decor themes, but offers equally enticing design possibilities for your home as well.

Like stone or other natural surfaces, concrete is not a static material and it will acquire character over time.

Unlimited Shapes and Forms

If you desire a non-traditional shape, then concrete countertops definitely are the most versatile surface on the market. Your countertop can be as unique as your imagination. Molds can be individually shaped to perfectly suite any space, or unusual location.

Curves, L-shapes and V-shapes are all available options when designing with concrete.

Trivets for hot pots and pans can be made and built-in sinks are popular for both kitchen and bath.

Many edge styles are available and you're sure to find one you like, but each fabricator is a bit different so your choices depend on your contractor.

Fabrication and Installation

As with coloring, each manufacturer has their own method. They may be pre-cast the countertop in a shop controlled environment or create it on location.

Concrete countertops are made with a combination of cement, lightweight aggregates and additives such as silica, fume, pozzolan and acrylic fiber. Structural steel or wire mesh and/or fiberglass is used for reinforcement.

Sometimes the concrete may be ground or polished to achieve a finer, smoother finish.

The final step when installing your countertop is sealing the concrete. The type of sealer used varies so consult with your installer.

Price

Concrete countertops range in price from $66-$125 per square foot for materials, plus installation of between $40-$50 per hour. Installation is difficult and requires a high level of skill and experience to do properly. Hence, the steep price.

This might be far more than laminated surfaces, but concrete countertops offer more style and durability than laminate.

Actually, the price of an installed concrete countertop may rival that of some expensive granite or marble countertops with beauty to match.

Cleaning and Care

It is not recommended to use your concrete countertop as a cutting board or place hot pots and pans straight onto the surface. Concrete may be hard and durable, but your countertop must still be treated with proper care.

Cleaning your concrete is no different than cleaning your granite countertop. Hot water and a sponge will clean suitably. When more aggressive cleaning is required, neutrally balanced ph soaps are recommended. Abrasive cleaners should be avoided.

Your concrete countertop should be waxed every three months for continued care and protection of the sealer.

Are Concrete Countertops Right For You?

Let's see:

Pro's:

**Concrete countertops offer custom colors. The colors of wood, granite, marble and other durable alternatives are restricted to the material itself.

**Unique personalization is possible by embedding objects into your countertop to add depth or create a particular theme.

**Any shape or form can be fashioned with built-in sinks and drain boards.

**Concrete countertops can be installed without seams in many instances.

Con's:

**Concrete countertops are more porous than granite requiring sealing initially and waxing on a regular basis

**They are not heat or scratch proof

**Concrete is more susceptible to cracks

**Expensive--often more than granite or marble

Concrete countertops certainly offer interesting and stylish design possiblities not found with other surfaces and a few trade-offs as usual.

However, with professional installation and proper care, you can be confident your concrete countertops will provide you with years of fashionable and functional satisfaction.
About the Author
Author Ryan Burden publishes CountertopSpecialty.com, which provides expert guidance and information on custom countertops AND . . . produces a nice income. Perhaps YOU have a business or passion that you'd like to turn into online profits. Learn how with Websites That Work.
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