(BPT) - Concrete is the ideal material for kitchen and bathroom countertops. As beautiful and striking as marble, quartz and granite, concrete countertops are a fraction of the cost and easier to maintain. Concrete is also a much more attractive and durable alternative to laminate, composites and other lower-end countertop surfaces. Practical and functional, a concrete countertop is truly an expression of a homeowner’s personality and style.
Concrete is a versatile, DIY-friendly material that allows homeowners to customize countertops with their own two hands. A concrete countertop on a bathroom vanity can be stained or polished for a modern look. Concrete countertops with exposed aggregate or curved edges are also great for outdoor kitchens and can be made to match backyard landscaping. The creativity for concrete countertops is limited only by a person’s imagination, thanks to specially formulated concrete like Quikrete Concrete Countertop Mix.
Steps for making a concrete countertop:
Remember when working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.
- Build forms from 3/4” melamine-coated particle board by screwing four 2” strips to a base sheet according to the countertop dimensions. Concrete is heavy, so use multiple forms that don’t exceed 2’ x 3’ and 2” thick to manage larger countertop projects.
- Apply a bead of silicone caulk in the seams of the forms and smooth with a caulk tool or fingertip to give the countertop a smooth edge.
- Mix the concrete following the directions on the bag and pour into the forms in two 1” layers. If necessary, place metal rebar or wire mesh between the two layers for added strength.
- Overfill the forms slightly before pulling a 2x4 in a sawing motion over the surface several times each direction. This process, known as screeding, will level what will be the underside of the countertop.
- Consolidate the mix and remove air voids by tapping the forms with a rubber mallet or vibrating with an orbital sander without the pad.
- Unlike other concretes that have to set for days, the high-density, high-strength countertop mix can be removed from the forms in 18 hours. Once each countertop section is removed from the form, smooth the edges with fine sandpaper.
- With the help of a friend or family member, place the newly formed countertop piece(s) on top of the base and install the sink, grill, refrigerator or any other hardware or appliances, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Seal the concrete countertops with Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal to protect it from dirt, oil, grease and other stain-causing contaminates.
To give the concrete countertop a more decorative look, add liquid cement colors during the mixing process, stain the surface or fill any air holes with Polyblend Non-Sanded Grout from Custom Building Products. In addition, a food-safe wax should be applied to concrete countertops for safety. For full project instructions, watch the concrete countertop how-to video on QUIKRETE.com.