Glossy. Artistic. Stylish. Concrete.
If these words seem unrelated, perhaps you have yet to behold one of the hottest new trends in high-end kitchen and bathroom design: concrete countertops.
Previously relegated to such supporting rolesliterallyas slabs, footings or foundations, today the near-ubiquitous building material often finds itself the design star in some of the finest homes. You might be familiar with stained and scored concrete as a colorful, texture-rich and cost-effective alternative to floor tile. Now concrete is becoming a hard-and-fast alternative to traditional countertops.
If you envision concrete countertops looking like chunks of city sidewalks resting atop your cabinets, think again. Concrete countertops come in a wide variety of thicknesses, colors, textures and finishes. Like solid-surface countertops such as Corian, concrete can be custom-molded to fit any space and create a seamless flow between sink and workspace. Additionally, metal, stones, tiles or other items can be embedded into the concrete to add artistic flair or serve as a transitional motif between rooms.
Concrete is the newcomer to the field of countertop choices. So it can be difficult to know where to start evaluating it or finding a reputable contractor to install it. Use the following questions and answers to learn more about concrete countertops and help determine whether they're a good fit for your space.
What is concrete?
Concrete is a masonry product comprising cement, sand and gravel. Notice that "cement," rather than being a synonym of concrete, is actually an ingredient. Cement is the glue that, when mixed with water, binds and hardens the other elements.
How are concrete countertops made?
There are two methods for making concrete countertops:
Precastthe manufacturer pours the countertops to custom size and specification at a plant and then installs them in your home. Cast in placea contractor builds the concrete forms in place on top of the cabinets. All work, from tinting to troweling to embedding decorative items, takes place at the installation site. What are the pros of concrete countertops?
How can I find a reputable contractor?
Not everybody who can pour a sidewalk can make concrete countertops, which are as much an art as a craft. Select a contractor who specializes in the product and has a wide portfolio. Additionally, make sure you check references before cementing the deal.