concrete counters
July 10, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I'm interested in pros and cons of concrete counters. Cost compared to granite, marble, corian? Maintenance? Durability?
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new issue of consumer reports arrived yesterday. they rate kitchen components this month. quartz was highest with an 84 rating and cost PSF of $40-$100. granite next was81 and cost 40-100.
concrete midway down rated 40 and cost $60-120. nicks and stains easily and may develop cracks. they suggest ckg fabricators recent jobs and older ones to see how they're holding up.
friends rented a home with concrete counters in kitchen and baths while bldg. they complained about maintenance. no amount of scrubbing made it look really clean.
July 10, 2013 at 6:20AM      Thanked by mchown
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Twisted Minds Custom Designs
I've attached a link to a concrete countertops FAQ's page I created to answer questions just like yours. Feel free to read and if you have any further questions, feel free to ask and I would be glad to answer. Or contact a local concrete artisan to discuss all the options concrete has to offer.
July 14, 2013 at 5:36PM     
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VC Studio Inc.
Not all concrete is created equal.

It is very important to see a fabricator's product and talk to them to get a sense of their knowledge and experience.

Concrete technology has come light years in the last decade.
A good concrete mix today will repel liquids and be stain resistant before we even get to densifying or sealing.
Cracking is not an issue. Steel is rarely used. Fiber reinforcement has improved modern concrete in more ways than just eliminating structural cracks.
Concrete can be denser and harder than ever these days. Standard concrete, like your home's foundation, is only about 3500 psi (maybe 4000 on a good day:-) A quality fabricator today will use a mix that is over 10,000 psi. Many shops are closer to 15,000 psi now. Durable? Yeah, you could say that.
Concrete gives you an almost unlimited amount of options with color, texture, curved and 3D shapes, and so on.
Maintenance is low with the right sealers.

New ingredients, processes, and sealers are just about there, but concrete can be stained or etched if you really try. The biggest enemies of concrete are acidic since it is alkaline based. If you were to leave a puddle of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice on the surface to dry (instead of wiping it up) it could leave a light mark.
Too many choices.
Not a cheap alternative. You can get lower grade granite for much less. We still get calls once in a while from people who expected concrete to be "cheap". This is an artisan crafted custom product not a mass produced commodity.
I really can't think of any other cons.

You can't knock the performance of quartz but it is limited to a standard thickness flat slab. It must be cut and drilled in the fabrication process leaving lots of waste just like all the other slabs (quarried or manufactured).

Concrete counters in the Northwest could be anywhere from $80 sf to $110 sf depending on the many variables. The Bay Area and New York are 20% to 30% more.
Some shops may give you a low sf cost but then add on for every little thing effectively raising that number. Ask for a breakdown.

*If a price is really low don't get too excited. You may be better off with a higher bid.
Are they: licensed, bonded, insured, experienced, knowledgeable, have references, etc.?
Last summer I met one of my local competitors. He was very nice but as we talked shop and I asked him what kind of pozzolans he was using. He didn't know what that was. Always ask questions.

There are many quality concrete shops represented here on Houzz. If there aren't any close to you we would be happy to help you find one.

Vincent Cathcart
VC Studio Inc.
July 15, 2013 at 11:54AM   
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Vincent is right! I found two really great concrete countertops I want. One will go on our regular counters, and the other will go on our island. The island concrete countertop is coming from J&M Lifestyles in New Jersey (and we live in San Diego, CA). The regular concrete countertops for the rest of our kitchen are coming from the county north of us, in Anaheim, California. We're in earthquake country here. So I expect my concrete countertops to crack, as will my concrete stained floors. But the "look" of the repair will just make my old Spanish house look like it has character. Fill in the cracks and keep going. Pictures attached of the ones we're getting.
July 15, 2013 at 9:55PM   
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