Concrete Countertops: Here’s What You Need to Know
Use this short guide to learn more about concrete countertops — including price, installation and maintenance. Find out if concrete is the right material for your kitchen.
Concrete countertops have risen in popularity over the last 10 years and become a kitchen favorite among homeowners for a reason. Not only do they work aesthetically with a variety of design styles, concrete is durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain.
Created in a similar way to concrete driveways and walkways, countertops are cast to the actual dimensions of your counter area. Decorative additions can be thrown into the mix as well: colors, stone chips, pieces of metal, hunks of glass. Once the countertop creation has dried thoroughly, it is then buffed and sealed.
Here are the main considerations to take into account when deciding on concrete countertops:
Concrete countertops are custom made and can be cast in either an installer’s workshop or on-site, depending on what type of work environment is preferred. Concrete countertops can also be cast and installed by skilled DIYers, but it’s important to experiment with color before casting the entire slab. In addition, certain conditions must be considered, such as temperature and humidity or else the concrete won’t cure properly. Since concrete countertops are incredibly heavy, a group of helpers will be needed to help install the countertops once they’re made.
Have you ever wondered why sidewalks, driveways and parking lots are paved in concrete? The answer is because its durability is unmatched. This applies to concrete countertops as well. Concrete is not only scratch- and heat-resistant, but also holds up to spills when sealed properly.
Sealing is absolutely critical for concrete countertops. Doing so gives concrete’s otherwise porous nature a barrier of protection, as well as an additional decorative layer. For example, you can choose sealer with a matte finish for a refined look, or one with a gloss finish comparative to that of high-gloss granite. The bonus to glossy concrete countertops is that they are easy to clean. The majority of homeowners opt for a smooth finish, but an interesting trait of concrete is that textured finishes are available too.
Easy upkeep is a huge benefit of concrete countertops. In fact, soap and water are all you need to take care of everyday spills. Simply use a soft sponge with soapy water to scrub off any stuck-on residue, and rinse with a damp sponge or towel. Harsh chemicals like bleach, and abrasive cleansers should be avoided, as they could potentially damage the sealer.
Concrete countertops require regular resealing to keep them looking and functioning optimally. A food-safe penetrating concrete sealer should be applied monthly. But remember that less is more when it comes to applying sealer — several thin coats are much more effective than a single thick coat. Wax is another option for finishing sealed concrete countertops. It provides an additional protective layer to resist moisture.
Because their fabrication and installation is so labor-intensive, concrete countertops carry installation rates of between $30 and $90 per hour. The weight of the slabs also makes installation time-intensive. These costs are what boost the overall price of concrete countertops into the $65 to $135 per square foot range. This means the average cost is approximately $7,500.