Just like a kid who personalizes the family driveway by pressing its hands into the newly poured concrete and signing its name, this latest innovation in decorative surfacing lets your clients make their countertops uniquely their own. Whether with bits of colored glass, special rocks, fragments of geodes, seashells, memorabilia or even corporate logos, concrete is the medium of ultimate personalization.
What Should You Expect?
There are almost as many ways to get a concrete countertop installed in your home as there are qualified fabricators to do the work. In most cases your new countertop will be manufactured offsite in the fabricator’s shop and delivered as a finished countertop to your home. Depending on your tastes and the specialty finishes offered by your fabricator, you have the option of a wide range of colors and textures from which to choose.
An extremely heavy material, concrete has undergone a number of technological advances to make it lighter and easier to work with, as well as perform better under rigorous use. A noteworthy development is the use of Glass Reinforced Fiber Concrete, or GFRC, which results in a lighter, stronger and more versatile concrete countertop.
Made from raw materials like Portland cement, silica, pigments and other fillers, concrete countertops are typically “cast” in a specially constructed mold that fits the shape of your kitchen or bath. Concrete sinks can be molded into the countertop deck to make it a one-piece, seamless creation. Once the basic shape has been poured and allowed to set, it is removed from the mold and, where appropriate, colored stains are applied to create a one-of-a-kind look. Sealers, waxes and other protective finishes are applied to produce the final look and feel.
More Than Just Countertops
Because it can be formed to almost any shape and because it possesses physical properties that perform well under high heat conditions, concrete is rapidly becoming a popular material of choice for fireplace mantels and surrounds. Such decorative vertical applications run the gamut from rustic to exquisitely ornate in appearance.
Although concrete has been in use for hundreds of years as a structural material in home construction, in the last decade it has been developed for high-end, decorative applications such as countertops. It has become a material of choice for recycled materials like glass and aluminum and also performs well as a sustainable product in its own right. It’s versatility is limited only by your imagination and the skill of your local fabricator to produce what you envision.