Concrete Countertop and the Reasons for Choosing Concrete
There are a lot of articles and materials about concrete countertops and we have written about them on more than one occasion (you may see and read here or here). Today is not an exception. So we are going to talk about concrete countertops (or some call them cement countertops), but we'll take more general overlook.
What is important to know about concrete counter tops?
The picture is beautiful, but how will the concrete kitchen countertops or the concrete washbasin in the bathroom "behave"?
What is interior concrete? In fact, it is an artificial stone created as a result of molding and solidification of mixture. The latter consists of an astringent substance (for example, cement), large and small aggregates, and water. For example, for concrete countertops sand, cement, water and some additives to improve performance are the main components.
The main thesis and argument "for" concrete countertops in the kitchen is that the material is pure from the ecological point of view. While the resins of other "artificial stones" are already raising questions, we are working with natural components.
- Cement is mixed calcined limestone with clay
- Sand is a natural mineral (all children play in the sandbox)
- Water – well, here everything is clear
- Mineral additives is very good sand
- Organic additives - no more than 2%
Is it easy to clean stains on concrete counter tops or sink made of concrete?
Concrete as a material is porous, and therefore, like a sponge absorbs moisture and contamination. No, the concrete countertops are not afraid of water, but even love it; but it will not be easy to clean impurities from porous structure. In addition, calcium, which plays role of the main binder, is easily destroyed with the action of acid. This means that a drop of lemon juice per minute will leave a matte mark on unprotected concrete.
That is why concrete countertops for kitchen and bathroom are necessarily protected; they are covered with a special polymer coating, which lies a thin layer on the surface (100-200 microns), closing the pores. It is impossible to see a thin layer with the naked eye, and the varnish gloss can be either matte or glossy. After processing, concrete countertop easily withstands impact of both tomato paste, and wine, and coffee, and 9% acetic acid, as well as toothpaste.
If carefully operated, coating of concrete countertop will last for many years and will not require repeated application.
Can I cut with a knife right on concrete countertops?
We'll say the following: the hardness of good polished concrete countertop is comparable to granite. But we have just mentioned that for being used in the kitchen, cement concrete is varnished. Therefore, when we talk about resistance to mechanical damage, then it is primarily about this protective varnish. Hardness of the coating is not much higher than that of acrylic (artificial stone). Scratching it very much possible, so it's better not to do anything right on the concrete countertops without cutting board.
And what if I put a hot pot on a concrete countertop?
Our experiments show that polished "bare" concrete is capable of withstanding temperature to 300 degrees for 30 seconds, after which it starts lightening. But concrete countertop for kitchen with protective varnish will withstand not more than 150 degrees. This means that they will survive the hot pan, but the hot pan is not.
If the concrete is processed - how to wash it?
Servicing concrete countertop is almost nothing different from servicing a traditional sink or sink for a bathroom made of acrylic. Recommendations how to care concrete countertop are simple: surface must be cleaned with a foam sponge or a microfiber cloth with a particular neutral cleaning agent. Sponges with abrasives and strong acidic agents are not recommended.
Can I use unprocessed concrete countertop in the interior?
In the kitchen and in the bathroom - no. But for the coffee table top you can easily use polished glossy concrete. Polished surface is applied with saturation for marble - it does not protect for 100%, but at the same time does not hide natural beauty of concrete. This saturation should be periodically renewed, but you can do it yourself.
Does furniture fall apart under concrete countertop?
This question is often asked by users who change old concrete countertop, leaving old lockers. Indeed, how hard will the concrete table surface be and will it be necessary to strengthen the frame to install such a surface?
For example, average construction with an edge height of 10 cm weighs no more than 35 kg. For such reinforce box is not required, and therefore, you can easily replace old acrylic model with concrete countertop. This applies to both kitchen countertops and sinks.
How can I decorate the concrete?
There are several ways to work with concrete decorations.
- There are white ingredients that make it possible to obtain white concrete. And also there are special pigments that allow imparting color. Palette is not very rich, but concrete is valued not for it.
- It is possible to mix natural stones, broken glass or shell rock into solution. After stripping, a significant layer must be grounded. This technique gives a lot of imagination, but for it to look beautiful and fit into interior, it is better to consult with the designer.
- It's a very popular variant to incrust concrete products with valuable rocks. It is well-known that combination of concrete countertop with wood in interior is considered to be an ideal.
Note that all of the above methods require from a manufacturer to have considerable experience and skills.
The concrete product can have two variants of completion:
- Cement Milk - whitish spots and streaks on vertical parts.
- Deep grinding to filler (sand) - the surface has a granular structure, you can see the grains of quartz
Where to buy a concrete countertop or a sink made of concrete?
The market of concrete countertops is not formed; therefore workshops determine the order of work. The order procedure is usually like this: call for a representative to make measurements, agree on dimensions and all the details. In production it is important to know the dimensions and layout of the frame. You will be considered a value, and then you need to make a prepayment. The manufacturing time is from 14 to 30 days. When concrete countertop is ready, installation and final payment will follow.
If a workshop is located in another city, then it will be necessary to carry out measurement independently, coordinate by phone or e-mail, and make a prepayment. When concrete counter tops is ready, then a photo / video report is sent and post payment follows. Then concrete countertop is securely packed and sent with the transport company. In the transport company, you can order delivery to the house and even climb to the floor, but you'll have to mount the countertop / sink yourself or use services of installers.
Order through the Internet, and even with a prepayment is quite dangerous in the matter of correct measurement. In order not to become a victim of scammers, check concrete countertops manufacturer with the following issues:
- The presence of public pages in social networks and open communication with customers.
- Portfolio should consist of real works (it's not difficult to understand if there are photos of products from the workshop or in the process).
- Well, if social networks have reviews from real people, ask them.
And why are you still "for" concrete?
We are ready to admit: concrete countertops cannot be called the best as the material for a countertop or a sink, because a protective coating can be scratched more easily than quartz agglomerate. And an acrylic stone is cheaper than real concrete, it is produced on every corner, and yes - it can be very similar to concrete.
But concrete, like natural stone, is appreciated for its environmental friendliness and uniqueness. On each product there are pores, stains, natural patina, and light spots of cement milk. Products made of concrete are rarely "perfect", but they are definitely individual and have a character.