If you're tired of working with an outdated and undersized kitchen, you may be considering replacing your current counters and cabinets with something unique and functional—but reluctant to spend tens of thousands on granite counters or oak cabinets that may look dated by the time you're ready to sell. In many cases, incorporating polished concrete counters into your kitchen can provide you with a timeless and maintenance-free look while saving you money on renovation costs. However, these counters aren't suitable for everyone. Read on to learn more about concrete counters to determine whether this could be the right option for your kitchen and lifestyle.
How are concrete counters made?
These counters aren't unlike most modern engineered granite, quartz, or marble counters—rather than being mined in a solid slab, these engineered materials are made from crushed stone fragments mixed with a binding polymer to create a glossy and relatively non-porous surface. Concrete counters are also made with crushed stone and a binding agent, but are polished after installation to achieve a glossy sheen and unique finish pattern. You'll be able to use just about any type of concrete to mold your counters, from ultra-fine cement made primarily from quartz sand to a pebbled cement with palpable ridges and bumps.
In general, these counters are easy to make—they simply involve some measurements, the creation of a mold in the shape of your counter, and several days' drying time. Those with an eye for DIY projects and the time for a few do-overs if the first effort is unsuccessful may be able to tackle this project themselves, while others may need the help of an experienced concrete contractor.
What should you consider when deciding whether to install concrete counters in your kitchen?
These counters hold a number of advantages over their competitors—they're heat-proof and can handle you setting down a boiling pot without the use of a trivet, are resistant to most scratches and nicks (and can be easily polished to remove surface scratches that do occur), and are available in a wide variety of textures, patterns, and colors. However, their weight and heft (even when compared to granite or quartz) can make them hard to install if the surrounding and supporting beams aren't up to snuff. A lengthy concrete counter on a second-story kitchen may be a bad idea if the previous counter was located on an interior or non-load-bearing wall.
You'll also want to ensure your supporting counters are up to the task of holding a heavy concrete counter in place. If you planned to replace your cabinets anyway, it should be fairly simple to select an option that can handle the weight; if you'd like to keep your existing counters, you may want to have a contractor (like R. Pepin & Sons Inc.) determine whether they need some additional reinforcement.