Q: Any tips for choosing someone to install concrete countertops?
I have read that concrete countertops, while beautiful, are extremely tricky to fabricate. Does anyone have suggestions on how to identify a craftsman with the skill to pull it off? I am a huge fan of the look and would love to have these counters in my kitchen. I like poured concrete countertops even more than I like marble or granite.
A: Choose someone with EXPERIENCE
Concrete is one of the most difficult countertops to make and install successfully. One thing you should know; it will crack, it is just a matter of when. Concrete is a "rustic" surface, that has many imperfections, which is what makes it full of character and beauty.
You should research Fu Tung Cheng Concrete at http://www.concreteexchange.com/ He is the master of concrete surfaces (mainly countertops), he gives training courses, and has a contractor finder on his website. I worked with a gentleman here in Sacramento, CA who trained with him, and he was amazing.
There is also a company called Squak Mountain who make prefabricated concrete counters. You can look for a granite fabricator who might fabricate this material.
Good Luck with your tops! Concrete is one of my favorite surfaces!
Also remember that concrete tops are not cheap, so be prepared to spend more than the cost of granite. Anyone with good training will charge you what they are worth. There is much preparation and manpower needed for concrete tops, so don't look for the lowest price if you really want quality.
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A: Concrete counter tops
Concrete counter tops started out as a poor mans solution to granite or other counter surfaces. They now can make integrated sinks and drain boards. Concrete counters have come a long way. But the labor to make them is intense.
They have to be poured into forms, then all the air that is trapped in the slab is vibrated out of it. After they cure for a while(days or weeks) the imperfections are filled and then the slab is polished, and waxed to a smooth finish.
After all of this work, the concrete still must be maintained-- concrete is very prone to staining. I would recommend it for a kid free house , or where the kitchen doesn't get a ton of use.
There are granite colors and patterns that come close to the color and grain of cement, I did a kitchen with a caesar stone (quartz)
color that was very close to concrete.
Another choice is soapstone, which is cheaper than granite or concrete but has the same maintenance issues.
Nicolette was right in choosing a competent craftsman-- make sure that you have a lot of pictures and references from whoever does your counter tops
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