Concrete, the humble material behind most a building foundation, makes for almost indestructible kitchen counters and provides artisan-crafted customization in the colour and layout. With these bragging rights, concrete rises above much of the counter contest. Learn more below and determine if concrete counters are right for your kitchen.
The fundamentals: Concrete is composed of water, a noun plus a filler.
The binder, cement, is often Portland cement, however slag cement and fly ash — both industrial waste by-products — have become common additions.The filler, an aggregate, is anything from sand, gravel and stone to smashed glass and beads.Concrete counters are either precast or cast onsite (also known as cast in place).
Precast concrete counters have been throw off by a local artisan, who pours the counter according to a template of this design. Cast-in-place (or site-cast) concrete counters have been poured directly on top of the cabinets and finished set up. Cost: $100 to $150 per square foot installed.
Benefits: Concrete’s durability is unquestionable. And choices beyond the industrial aesthetic are simple with additives and shapes such as stains, pigments, aggregates and coatings. Architects and designers prefer this material’s ability to unite with other concrete components in the home, such as flooring. And as the counters are handmade by artisans, you may easily have details such as integral drainboards.
Disadvantages: It’s not unusual for concrete, particularly when cast in place, to create tiny hairline fractures because of curing and settling. The cracks are typically not structural.
Special factors: Colored concrete can be made by one of three processes:
Integral pigment is a coloured powder that is blended into the wet concrete, leading to a color that penetrates the complete thickness of the slab. This is a permanent and predictable method to colour your slab, along with the colour options are almost limitless. Acid staining is less predictable than an integral pigment but provides a little magic to the procedure courtesy of metallic salts which react with the concrete. Acid staining is done on hardened slabs and ends in a permanent color change, but provides a reduced variety of colour choices. Dye, a liquid available in a vast range of colors, is applied to cured slabs and penetrates just the upper layer of the concrete. Some dyes are not UV stable.Your installer will help determine which, if any, colour procedure is right for you.
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
Care: as with the majority of countertops, a mild soap and a fabric are all that need to be utilized for routine cleanup. Make sure you avoid harsh cleansers.
The long-term pleasure of your concrete counter depends on finding the right sealer. Sealers are available in either entering or topical:
Penetrating sealers soak in the concrete and therefore are barely detectable once dry. They do not protect the concrete from contact with clogs but do inhibit clogs from penetrating. Unfortunately, this means that clogs could leave a lasting stain or mark more easily than on concrete sealed using a topical ointment. Topical sealers, such as wax, urethane, acrylic and epoxy, coat the surface of the concrete and vary in their look and performance. Epoxy and urethane sealers are thick, glossy and often obvious. Wax, while handsome and simple for the DIYer, performs poorly as a sealer. Acrylic coatings look and function quite well but scrape easily.While that the Concrete Countertop Institute acknowledges that there is not any ideal sealer, it has a handy chart that will help you find the sealer that will best meet your expectations.
It’s worth understanding that although concrete is almost indestructible, the sealer isn’t. The sealer may be compromised by routine cuttingedge, harsh cleansers, hot pans,\ and acidic foods. With caution and the use of cutting edge boards and trivets, you may keep your sealer in good shape, thereby reducing the potential for staining and harboring germs.
Sustainability: The cement in concrete is derived from heating limestone, which is a carbon-intensive procedure which makes gas emissions. However, slag cement, fly ash and silica fume — all industrial waste by-products which are carbon neutral — may replace more than 50 percent of the cement, reducing emissions and improving the concrete’s ecofriendliness.
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