Concrete countertops: Properties, Pros, Cons & Maintenance

A Real Concrete countertops or Concrete look Countertop

The concrete countertop is entirely up-to-date. A concrete countertop is composed of sand, gravel, and cement.

The cement, which hardens by adding water, is used as a binding agent. Due to the neutral gray hue, a concrete countertop can be tough, industrial, or rural.

This allows a concrete worktop to fit into almost any kitchen style. However, given the many disadvantages of concrete, a countertop made of “cast concrete” in the kitchen is less practical.

Combine with colors and materials

A concrete kitchen worktop is easy to combine with various colors and materials. Thanks to the industrial and robust look, a concrete worktop always gives your kitchen an exclusive look.

The beautiful gray color of concrete is easy to combine with all kinds of interior styles. If you fan the rustic interior style, choose a wooden kitchen with a concrete kitchen top.

Wood is combined with concrete in the kitchen, creating a playful yet cohesive whole. A white kitchen with a concrete look top is ideally suited for a modern or classic kitchen style. Another popular option is a black kitchen with a concrete-look worktop.

The concrete worktop stands out nicely. For example, we often see a concrete countertop with a sink and a kitchen island with concrete.

In short, there are many options and possibilities for incorporating the concrete look in your kitchen.

Advantages of a Concrete Countertop

  • Very heat resistant. A hot oven dish can be placed on the tray without any problems. However, concrete also needs a special coating. If you want to put the pan down longer, use coasters to protect the coating.
  • Very durable and wear-resistant material that lasts a long time.
  • Generally not prone to staining if the coating is intact. Avoid acidic or corrosive substances, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or ammonia.
  • Available in various thicknesses and shades. The different types of coating determine the final shade.
  • Since a concrete kitchen worktop is a cast, there are many possibilities in dimensions and shapes.

Disadvantages of a concrete countertop

Because of the disadvantages mentioned below, concrete worktops are not often used in the kitchen world.

  • Heavy: A concrete countertop is very heavy, especially if you make it yourself. That is also the reason why concrete kitchen worktops are not sold that much. A heavy kitchen worktop without an additional support structure can damage your kitchen cabinets.
  • Fragile: A poured concrete worktop breaks much faster than a worktop made of other materials, and this can be partly compensated by reinforcing the concrete.
  • Stain-sensitive: Because concrete is naturally porous, it is very stain-prone and sensitive to acids. Your concrete worktop can be permanently damaged or even weakened to the point of breaking due to ignorance or carelessness.
  • High maintenance: to protect a concrete countertop against stains and acids, good care is necessary. A concrete kitchen worktop must be regularly provided with a new protective layer.
  • Fragile and scratch-sensitive: although concrete is a rigid material, it is not as dense in structure as natural stone or composite. To avoid scratches, you should always use a cutting board when preparing food. Shifting rough materials, such as pans can also leave scratches on the countertop.

Fortunately, there are countless sustainable materials available as alternatives to concrete. These materials often have the desired properties. Concrete look countertops are much lighter and also a lot easier to maintain.

Maintenance tips for a concrete kitchen countertop

Clean the concrete kitchen worktop after use with soapy water and green soap. Never use abrasive cleaners or a sponge. These materials affect the concrete worktop.

If you want to keep your concrete kitchen worktop beautiful, it is essential to regularly provide it with a new (epoxy) layer. In addition, you should avoid the use of acids: even an epoxy layer is not resistant to them.

Due to its porous nature, the concrete will quickly absorb liquids and acids, causing damage or damage to the kitchen worktop.

However, if your kitchen worktop becomes so damaged that it needs to be replaced, you can also consider making a new one yourself.

How to make your concrete countertop

Making a concrete countertop yourself has advantages and disadvantages.

The main advantage is the price: your concrete countertop will cost you a few tens at most, where you can easily lose hundreds of dollars at kitchen specialty stores.

Moreover, you can choose your shape and style altogether. Also not unimportant: the delivery time is a lot shorter. An essential disadvantage of a concrete countertop is that it quickly becomes very heavy, and this can cause it easy to break.

You also run the risk of your kitchen worktop crushing or damaging your kitchen cabinets due to the weight. However, if you are a handy do-it-yourselfer and you like it, here is the manual.

Step 1: make the mold for your concrete kitchen worktop

Make a mold for your concrete kitchen worktop. It is best to use white laminated chipboard for the mold: this material is cheap and flat and does not adhere.

Make sure that the mold has the exact shape of your kitchen worktop. Save space where taps, sinks, and other recessed parts will be installed.

Accurate measurement is a must: a slight deviation can lead to many problems connecting the tap or placing the sink.

In addition, make sure that you have a flat surface that is level: a slight unevenness can cause many problems later on or even result in a worktop that does not fit.

Attach the edges of the mold to the bottom plate. Use screws and make sure you can remove them even after the concrete has cured.

Tip: It is recommended to fill recesses with a suitable material, to get a smooth finish and prevent the mold from being difficult to remove later, such as polystyrene foam.

Seal all joints so that your result contains no seams or burrs. Sealing also prevents the concrete from flowing away.

Step 2: ensure good reinforcement

Reinforcements make your kitchen worktop heavier but also provide a lot of strength. Therefore, use reinforcing steel or iron bars to reinforce your worktop.

Ensure the reinforcement located in the middle of concrete does not sink to the bottom plate or cause unevenness on top.

Step 3: the real deal! Pour your concrete countertop

Please measure the amount of concrete you need and make sure you create a good amount in one go. You work from bottom to top, and a shortage of concrete can lead to color differences in your worktop.

If you are unexpectedly short, make sure that the top layer also consists of one concrete mixture.

You can use ready-made concrete from the hardware store for your concrete worktop. Mix it with gravel and use a tub mixer to mix the concrete well. You have to be quick because concrete hardens quickly.

Ready to mix? Then pour the concrete into the mold.

Use a palm sander (which you can buy very cheaply at some stores) to vibrate the air out of the concrete. This makes the concrete one hard mass, which is better for its strength.

Step 4: curing and finishing

Have you poured the concrete, and is the top of the worktop completely smooth and tight? Then let the countertop harden.

Keep the countertop moist and wait 4 days (or longer, depending on conditions) before removing the mold.

Concrete takes almost a month (about 28 days) to cure fully. However, waiting too long can cause problems with finishing.

Remove the mold and sand and polish the countertop. You can use a regular sander (e.g., the one from step 3), but that produces a lot of dust, and the sander also wears out a lot. You can therefore use a wet sander if necessary.

Sand the kitchen worktop and use progressively finer sandpaper—first use 60, then 120, 180, 200, and 400. The number says something about the coarseness of the sandpaper: the lower the number, the coarser.

Very fine sandpaper (400 and higher) gives your concrete countertops a smooth appearance. However, coarse sandpaper is needed for the rough work.

Note: if there were still air bubbles in your concrete countertop, ‘pits’ may form after sanding. Depending on your wishes, you can fill these with a mix of pure cement, colorant, adhesive emulsion, and water.

If there are few ‘pits’ or you think it’s nice, you don’t have to fill them.

Finally, give your concrete kitchen worktop a polymer coating finish. This coating is available at specialist shops or online.

The coating provides a moisture-resistant layer so that your countertop can withstand dirt. Apply the coating twice.

Depending on the intensity of use, you can reapply the coating every (semi) year. A polymer coating is available in different variants (matt, gloss).

Pay close attention to what you want because what matters is the appearance of your countertop.

Pouring Concrete Countertops? you need this:

4 parts sand/gravel to 1 part cement

Water: 0.4 times the weight of the cement; the more water, the weaker the result

The dye is a percentage of the cement

Waterproofing liquid, 2% of the cement weight

Superplasticizer – this keeps the concrete workable with little water

A Better Alternative to Concrete?

If you want all the advantages of concrete but not the disadvantages? Then Quartz countertop is a good option.

A Quartz composite countertop is composed of recycled natural stone, i.e., pieces of granite and quartz. These materials are then mixed and combined with strong resins, and it is available in many concrete colors and shades of gray.

At the same time, the Quartz countertop is many times harder than concrete and requires no annual maintenance. Do you want to know more materials for kitchen countertops?

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