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I Love Concrete Counters!

Concrete Counters w/ stone inlays

Concrete Counters w/ stone inlays

I love concrete counters!  I love their flexibility — just look at the inlaid stone in the counter, above.  I love the color possibilities — in this article I show counters in purple, indigo, grey and brown.  You can also have muted to bold shades of green, gold and wine.  I love their feel — to my hand they don’t have the cold feel of granite.  I love their earthiness and that they patina over time.  I love that I can do it myself — if I’m feeling strong and ambitious.  [I made the purple counters as well as the sandcast concrete backsplash with stone and glass inlays.]

You can see from the counters in this article that the material — as used in countertops — is quite refined.  It’s a 5000 to 6000 psi concrete (compared to the 3500 psi concrete used in sidewalks).  This is what allows for the fine finish.  They are reinforced with a mesh structure for strength.  The color is integral to the concrete so the color is through and through.  Just like for stone counters, a template is made so that the counter conforms to your walls.  A form is made — usually of melamine which give the clean finish.  The counters I use are usually cast upside down which allows for inlays and for the marbled or veined finish that you see in a few of these counters.  Other counters are cast right side up with a trowel finish.  After de-molding the counters are polished with diamond grinding and polishing equipment.  You can see — especially in the indigo counter, below — that you can use colored aggregate that you can reveal in the grinding.  This can add a lot of dimension to the countertop.  After polishing the countertops are finished with a sealer and then buffed to a high shine with a paste wax.

Concrete is definitely not for everyone.  It is a hand-made product and will have imperfections.  It is more prone to staining from the oils and acid in food than is polished granite.  In my mind, this creates a patina that gives the countertop character over time.  Concrete counters are usually also thicker.  Granite is usually about 1-1/4″.  The minimum for concrete is 1-1/2″ and more frequently they are 2″ thick. 

Here is a selection of concrete counters I’ve put in my projects.  Click on an image to enlarge. 

Row 1 – Kitchen #1:  Purple counters along with a sandcast purple backsplash — both with inlays fo stone and glass.
Row 2 – Kitchen #2:  Medium Gray Counters Veined with Silver on the outside walls; Medium Grey Counter without veins but with inlays of stainless steel and ceramic on the island.
Row 3 – Kitchen #3:  Indigo Counters with dark red aggregate partially exposed in grinding.  We also had matching indigo hearths fabricated.
Row 4 – Kitchen #4:  Dark Gray Counters with Taupe Veining.



About the Author


I'm the owner and principal of Braitman Design/Build. We remodel older homes within the urban and close-in suburban areas of Washington, DC. In addition to our full service Design/Build Practice We welcome small design projects and small home improvement projects. And consult with homeowners across the country who want to design and manage the remodeling process themselves. Finally, my work is informed by my experience as an exhibiting sculptor and designer. I truly work at the intersection of art, architecture and design. Please see for yourself the extraordinary result when architecture, design and art are seamless parts of the whole. Please also visit my sculpture website: www.jackiebraitman.com

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