Concrete countertops have experienced a considerable upswing in kitchen design, as popular home improvement programs, magazines, books and other publications have shown that concrete is a viable surface option, particularly with the advent of industrial and farmhouse design concepts. Homeowners like the idea of a countertop that is trendy yet classically simple, and concrete fills the bill with its solid appearance and clean lines.
If you like the look of concrete and want a countertop that may be more affordable than materials like granite, quartz or marble, concrete may be a surface option to consider, but be sure and check out the advantages and disadvantages of it before making any final decisions. Here are some pros and cons concerning concrete countertops that may be of help in making an informed choice.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Countertops
Smooth and Seamless
A concrete surface can be smooth and without seams, which will depend, of course, on the size and design you choose but, for the most part, the surface will have an even and consistent flow to it without major breaks.
Concrete countertops are definitely distinctive and unique in their charm, as their modern yet rugged look is hard to duplicate. Concrete can be shaped and formed as well as colored and textured in many different ways. Kitchen elements, such as a farm or apron sink, fixtures or other built-ins can easily transform a kitchen countertop area to an urban industrial look or a rustic, country-like appearance. There really are numerous ways to personalize the look of concrete countertops.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Concrete countertops can be easily cleaned and maintained as long as they have gone through a precise installation and sealing process. Abrasive cleaners should be avoided. All that is necessary is warm water and soap for removing spills and stains, but for more concentrated cleaning, consult with an a countertop specialist as to the proper cleaner to use that won’t interfere with any sealers. If damage has occurred, resealing may be necessary to maintain the integrity of the concrete.
Concrete is heavy, so the first step in the process is to make sure any cabinetry already in place can withstand the weight that a concrete countertop slab will bring. The concrete can actually be poured directly in place, but this process will create a definite mess. The countertops can also be made away from a kitchen area and brought into the home once they are completed, but this process can be difficult if the countertops are thick, long and difficult to move.
Subtle cracks will almost always occur with concrete countertops that have been poured into place, but these cracks are unrelated to the structural process. Precise installation through a experienced contractor is the key and will aid in the reduction of hairline cracks. Usually most cracks are not prominent and can actually complement the appearance of the countertops, but in order to avoid future hairline cracks, care and maintenance are critical.
It’s probably not a good idea to place hot cookware or other extremely hot items on a concrete countertop as the surface and sealant could be damaged. The best solution is to keep thick hot pads and trivets in areas close to the stove top or oven to protect the countertop surface. There is also the option of incorporating built-in trivets directly into the counters for immediate access and an added decorative effect.
Spills and Stains
Any spills on concrete countertops need to be wiped away immediately, particularly if they are acidic or oily. Stains can easily occur within a few minutes on less protected concrete countertops, so it is imperative to protect countertops with sealers designed for concrete and continue to use sealers every one to three years.
In spite of its durability and resistance to everyday scratches, cutting directly on concrete countertops is not suggested. Using a sharp knife on a concrete surface can damage it, as the knife can penetrate through the sealant and cause weakness to the area. Cutting boards are recommended as are the placement of cutting boards directly in the countertops. They can provide protection as well as elements of design.
Concrete countertops are extremely durable and can be designed in almost any formation with added color, stains, textures and embedded features, but the process of fabricating and curing them can take a considerable amount of time. Though plain concrete countertops are not as costly as other countertop surface materials, they still can be expensive, especially with enhancements and professional installation. So, serious thought should go into making the choice of concrete countertops for your home.
If you want to pursue your interest in concrete countertops, complete the online contact form with any questions concerning fabrication and installation, and a specialist will get back to you with the answers you need to help you get the countertop of your dreams.