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Why Choose Concrete Countertops?

unspecified-1.jpgWhen it comes to countertops, there are so many options for materials like marble, tile, granite, synthetic laminate, quartz, slate, and concrete. Each comes with its own pros and cons, so there are many things to consider when it comes to selecting a countertop material including cost, design and customization options, and maintenance. Concrete is an amazing choice of a countertop material and here we will explore why that is.

Cost

The cost of a concrete countertop is very similar to that of granite, so it can be fairly cheap or pretty expensive depending on how special you want to make it. If you want the simple, industrial concrete look with no special edges or intricate staining, your concrete countertops will absolutely be cheaper than any granite option, especially because that is a more DIY-friendly project. However, the more customized look you want, the more expensive the countertop gets. With a bunch of custom design details, you’re looking at upwards of $150 per square foot, which is comparable to importing or just buying the most unique and beautiful slabs of granite. 


unspecified-3.jpgDesign/Customization

There are unlimited design options with concrete countertops, which is simply unlike anything else. Yes, you can pick out amazing slabs of granite choose different colored tiles and customize your space like that, but concrete goes far beyond that. There are so many options for color alone. The concrete can be integrally colored, stained with a variety of stains, coated with a crazy metallic  epoxy coating, mixed with all kinds of colored (or not) aggregate materials, etc. The size and shape of these countertops are 100% customizable considering they are usually poured specifically for each individual project. Different textures can be added, or the surface can be sanded to be super smooth. The edges can be left plain and simple, or they can be formed into different designs depending on the artistic feel that you want. If you are new to this, using the Z Counterform forming system is a great way to start.

Maintenance

One downfall of concrete countertops is that they can scratch fairly easily. These scratches can be reduced or prevented with a proper sealer and/or wax coating. When resealed and/or re-waxed, the scratches disappear. The countertops should be resealed every 1-3 years anyway. Cracks or hairline fractures can form due to the natural settling of houses over time. Cracks can be prevented by using rebar, mesh, or fiber reinforcement during installation. Hairline fractures can be repaired pretty easily with a quick patching/filling and resealing of the area. Concrete can also get stained from spills, especially if the mess is left on the surface for a while. However, this is the case for nearly all concrete surface types, even granite, so it is not an issue that is unique to concrete. All in all, maintenance is pretty easy, though. Just reseal the surface every 1-3 years and wipe up the surface with soap and water like you would with any other countertop. If you take care of them properly, these countertops will last decades.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  1. Though concrete is very heat-resistant by itself, sealers and coatings are not. You’ll have to be careful to not set hot pots and pans directly on the surface. You must keep trivets handy, or you can even build cool, customized trivets into the countertop itself to fix this problem. The heat will not break the counter, but it very well may discolor most sealers if if touches directly. 
  2. Concrete often countertops do develop a patina look over time, not unlike natural woods. This is a beautiful look to most, but if you are obsessive with the countertops staying the exact way they looked the first day, then you will really need to consider the sealer choices.
  3. Since concrete is so durable and heavy, it is hard to remove. This means the durability is a pro and a con at the same time. It will, in fact, stay strong and look good for decades, but if you like to redesign your whole kitchen every few years, this won’t be a fun option in terms of removal.

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