Are you looking for a unique, cost effective alternative to granite for the countertops in your home? Well, look no further than polished concrete for a contemporary look that is sure to be high on style and low on budget.
While many homeowners are turning to concrete as a flooring option, many overlook the easiness at which this same technique can be applied as a countertop surface. Perfect for both bathroom and kitchen spaces, concrete countertops generally average nearly ten dollars less per square foot than that of granite. Their amazing durability and infinite style selections allow many homeowners to create a space that is truly unique. This is in direct contrast to granite, which only allows for a natural stone pattern to be used and is often difficult to care for.
But what exactly is a concrete countertop? Similar to the polished style of painted or glazed concrete flooring, the pieces that make up the finished product can be pre-cast in a shop or made onsite by a contractor specializing in concrete countertops. They are generally a very resilient blend of cement, lightweight aggregates, and other additives such as fiber reinforcement, silica, and acrylic. Rebar, fiberglass, or mesh may also be used to reinforce the concrete blend and create the desired size and shape. The finished manufactured product is an extremely heavy board, weighing in at nearly nineteen pounds per square foot, which can be custom fitted and trimmed to the desired area within your kitchen or bathroom.
The boards are then sanded down for a smooth, polished look and then decorated and glazed as desired by the homeowner. With over one hundred and fifty different glazes to choose from, there is sure to be a color or style to fit your needs. Some contractor’s can easily create a copper infused patina look, or even recreate the pattern of granite or stone. Inserts can even be placed between the concrete board and final glaze for an even more unique style. And because concrete countertops can easily be trimmed to fit your kitchen design needs, it is very simple to fit in butcher boards or range tops within your layout.
Cleaning and maintenance of a concrete countertop is amazingly easy. A simple mixture of a mild household cleanser that does not contain bleach to three parts water will keep your countertops looking beautiful for many years to come. And, just like granite, the use cutting boards and hot pads to keep scratches and burns from appearing, which can greatly extend their lifetime.
So what do you do if you have an existing kitchen that you would like to incorporate these remarkable countertops in?
Call a local contractor. While some projects during a kitchen renovation can be left to the home improvement novice, this is definitely not one of them. Due to the special tools needed to create, trim, sand, and polish a countertop into a magnificent piece it is recommended to leave the task to a professional craftsman. Plus, concrete can take up to four weeks to cure, which is perfectly fine if the starting boards are formulated in a shop versus in your home where normal living can cause them to crack. Different contractors have different limitations on the size, shape, design, and appearance of seams that they are able to create so it is best to check with them first before putting an entire design plan in place. However, there are a few things you can do to gear your kitchen up for the new addition on your own.
Due to the added weight placed on your cabinets after these countertops are installed, it is recommended that you first add one half inch sheet of plywood between all cabinets and walls to create added strength within the wood. Secure this with screws and glue directly onto the cabinet itself. The weight of the countertop will be distributed over the area of the cabinet, and this only adds an additional amount of area to ease the burden. Ask your contractor for any additional pre-work that can be done yourself in order to cut costs.
Beauty, style, and durability in one of the busiest rooms in your home. Truly, what’s not to love about concrete countertops?