I Love Concrete Counters!

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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.
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